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Held Tightly by His Promises, Part 2

From the series He Holds Me Forever

Have you noticed that life’s greatest disappointments come after your greatest anticipation? They’re proportional. In this program, Theresa Ingram shares one of the greatest disappointments in her life - and then, the REST of the story. Don’t miss it!

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Message Transcript

Do you believe that God sees something infinitely precious in your life? That when He looks at you, you are precious to Him? Do you believe that God wants to do good in your life? Well, this is what He says, this is what His Word says is true, but we must begin the process of recognizing the lies we believe and choose to replace those lies with God’s truth, what He says is true about us.

In Psalm 119:76 and 77 it says, “May Your unfailing love be my comfort according to Your promise to Your servant. Let Your compassion come to me, that I may live, for Your law is my delight.”

And we can only learn what God tells us about ourselves by filling our minds with His Word. I can’t express that strong enough. It’s only through the light of His Word that we can see who we truly are and we can look at our circumstances and how He would want us to see them.

In fact, this, His whole Bible, the whole Word is a love story. And He wants us to be in His Scriptures so He can tell us how much He loves us.

And so, the steps to take is evaluate your own thinking patterns against Philippians 4:8. Think about this passage and think about, take the time, it takes a little work to stop and to think, Now, what am I thinking? Sometimes, things go through our minds and come out of our mouths and we don’t even think about it.

And so, I would encourage you to take some time, it’s not a bad thing to evaluate once in a while and see, What am I saying in my mind? And begin to catch those thoughts. And see, does it align? Am I saying things to myself that are true and honorable, admirable, lovely?

And secondly, is begin the process of replacing those lies with God’s truth. When you hear those negative thoughts and you are beginning to know His Word and what He says, then take that truth and replace those thoughts with God’s truth.

And the question to ask: Do I believe that God loves me unconditionally and always desires what is best for my life? Do I believe that? Do I believe that what I learned to think about myself during childhood from significant others in my life, circumstances, and my environment may or may not be what is true about me? You may be thinking things that aren’t true, but we can only find out as we look to God’s Word and see what is true.

Okay, so, the third closed window then is a believer who is building the foundation of their lives on worldly, temporal things instead of on God’s foundation and eternal things will have a hard time experiencing God’s love.

Hannah Whitall Smith calls this the “giant eye”. It’s me, focused on me. This person is consumed with themselves and what the world has to give to make them happy, significant, and secure. Consumed with themselves. They have a worldly mindset instead of a heavenly mindset.

In 1 John 2:15 and 16 it says, “Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and the pride in our possession. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God you will live forever.”

When he says, “Love not the world,” he’s talking about a world system that is created by Satan that is telling us that we don’t need God, who is trying to fill us up with other things and drawing people away from God.

God gives us things of this world to enjoy, but He says to be careful and don’t allow those things to consume your life. Don’t depend on the things of the world to make your life work. But He says to place your entire dependence in your heavenly Father who loves you and will give you all things, who is all powerful, who knows your future, who gives us all things to enjoy. “Love not the world,” He says, “but love Me first. Put Me first.”

Well, how do we love the world? We love the world when anything in our lives takes the place of God – anything – we are loving the world. It could be a person in our lives that takes the place of God. It could be a boyfriend, a husband, a child, a parent.

And so, how do we open that window then? How do we open that window? That we don’t place all of our value and things of this world? Well, we open it by surrendering our lives, all that we have and all that we are, to a Father in heaven, the one who is willing and able to give us all good things to enjoy.

And a believer who constantly surrenders to God will experience God’s love in their lives in an amazing way.

And you will give the Holy Spirit freedom to work as you live a life that is fully surrendered to God. It says God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts with His Holy Spirit, through His Holy Spirit living inside us. We are His temple. He has chosen us to dwell in us.

And so, the key then to giving the Holy Spirit freedom, to giving Him access and control at every area of our lives is surrender.

Surrendering to God means to release. It means to take whatever we are holding onto, whatever we are finding our value in, whatever is holding us up and we release it to God, and we entrust it to Him. And when we give it to Him, it’s in a place that it’s safe. You see, if we hold onto it, we’ll mess it up. But if we entrust it to Him, to a place of safe keeping, then he will begin to work in whatever we surrender to Him.

And His will will come about. And we know what His will is. That it’s always good and acceptable and perfect.

And so, then the steps to take to open this window is to build the foundation of your lives on God’s Word. Here we are again, back at His Word. We can’t get away from it, because it’s the only stable foundation that we have.

The things we build our lives on sometimes, like houses or jobs or people or looks or success, possessions – they are not a stable foundation. But God’s Word is. In Isaiah 48 it says, “The grass withers and flower fades, but the Word of God stands forever.” Lives forever! It’s a stable foundation.

And so, the second thing we do then is to seek His will in everything that we do to come before Him and to ask Him for whatever it is you need. Ask for His will to be done. And we will just be amazed at what God will do.

And then number three is to choose by faith, and it is by faith, that we sign over every area of our life to the Lord. And as we surrender, as we yield our lives to Him, we hand it over to a place where it’s safe and He will take care of all of our needs.

And so, the question to ask then is: can I, today, quit trying to run my life my own way and surrender everything to God, the true lover of my soul, and allow His Spirit to have freedom to work in every area of my life?

Okay, closed window number four is a believer who listens to Satan’s lies and accusations about God’s Word and God’s character will miss the signs of His love. Now, in Revelation 12:10, it tells us that Satan is the accuser of believer. That he is always fighting against those who follow God. That’s what he does.

In 1 Peter 5:8 it calls him our adversary. It says he is our enemy. And ever since the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all through the Bible when Jesus was tempted in Matthew 4 in the wilderness, and even up to today in our lives, Satan is trying to draw people away from God.

In Genesis 3:1 to 7 it says, “Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the Lord God had made.” And he’s talking about Satan here.

And Satan says, “‘Really?’ he asks the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?’ ‘Of course we may eat it,’ the woman told him, ‘it’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it or we will die.’”

See, she knew what God said. But then Satan says, “‘You won’t die,’ the serpent hissed, ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.’ The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious and it would make her so wise. So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband who was with her. Then he ate it too. At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.”

You see, from the very beginning of mankind, Satan questioned God. He questioned God’s Word. And he questions God’s character and His goodness. And so, he deceived Adam and Eve in the garden.

And the result of that was a tragedy. It was a tragedy because for the rest of their lives, they experienced pain and suffering and broken fellowship and a blemished earth and shame and blame and fear and death.

And Satan and his demons probably thought, Boy, they really got God this time. But God already had a plan to bring His people back to Himself. He already had a plan to redeem His people.

And since the fall of mankind until today, God has been pursuing His people to bring them back into a love relationship with Him – ever since that time – because He says His love for us is so severe. It’s so great that He would sacrifice His Son to die on the cross to bring us back into a relationship with Him that we would be His very own.

And so, how do we open that window? How do we not listen to those lies? Well, we come against Satan’s lies by prayer and by claiming the truth of God’s prayer. Pray specifically against the accusations of Satan and pray that God would increase your knowledge and awareness of His love for you.

Pray about that! And it says in 2 Corinthians 10:3 to 5, “For though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare of not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” There are our thought patterns again. It’s amazing how much that plays into how we live and how we act and how Satan tempts us.

And so, the steps to take then is to stand firm against Satan’s lies. In Matthew 4, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus took the offensive, for every lie or part truth that Satan spoke to Jesus, Jesus responded with the truth, with the real truth in God’s Word. And so, we need to know His truth.

And the Scripture says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” He has to flee. He has no power. He has no power against God’s Word. And then the second thing is for every doubt, pray a prayer. When you begin to doubt, start praying right away. Don’t let those doubts mull around in your mind and get you discouraged.

We need to ask God to help us believe how much He loves us, and to believe His truth.

In Ephesians 3, “When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan,” Paul says, “I fall to my knees in prayer. And he prays that from his glorious, unlimited resources that He will give us mighty power. And he says, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart, and I pray that you will understand as all God’s people should how great His love really is.” And so, we need to pray. It’s through prayer that we unleash the power of God in our lives.

And it’s through prayer that God’s power is directed at whatever situation we are praying about. It’s an amazing thing. And we inherit that as part of being God’s child.

And so, the questions to ask is: do I constantly listen to Satan’s lies that cause me to doubt God’s goodness in my life, His love for me, and the truth of His Word? Am I listening to that? You need to think about it.

Well, like the gentle breeze that was blowing in my bedroom window, God’s love is there all the time. His love is there, whether we open the window or not. But He wants us to open the window. He doesn’t want there to be anything in our lives that would keep us from experiencing His love.

And I don’t know near all of you, but today, in your heart, you can tell God that you’re sorry, that you’re a sinner, and that you’ve not been close to Him. And you can ask Him to come and to live in your life. And all you have to do is invite Him in and the Father who already loves you and has loved you ever since before you were even born will take up residence in your life, will make you His child and you will begin to experience His love as you read His Word, as you walk with Him, and as you share that love with God’s people.

And so, if there’s anyone here today, today could be the day that when you walk out of here you can walk out knowing and experiencing how much God loves you.