By the grace of God we have come to the final minutes of the 2012. Today as I was thanking God for the City Harvest Family all I could see was the hand of God that has brought us thus far. God has blessed us this year. Yes, some of you went through tough times, but I thank God He brought us safe to this moment. We had difficulties but God was with us. Let’s all give thanks to God for 2012.
Tonight, I want to share with you on the challenging theme of 2013: Possess Your Promise.
Every one of us here has a promise from God. God has promised us a life that is filled with His Presence and peace, a life that overcomes every sin. John 10:10 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. God has promised us an abundant life – A life that is happy, joyful, and blessed. Now the question is, how do we ‘possess’ that life?
HOW DO WE POSSESS GOD’S PROMISES?
What does God expect us to do? You see, one of the groups of people who possessed the promise in the Bible is the Israelites. God promised them a land and God also enabled them to take hold of it. It was Joshua who led the Israelites from wandering in the desert into the Promised Land. Looking at the directions given by God to Joshua, we can take some valuable lessons tonight on how we can claim our inheritance.
Understand anytime you try to make a progress towards our destiny, the devil does not like it. He is there out to frighten and put fear into you. It is how Satan keeps people from going forward. He puts the fear of future into people. Joshua was one such man. When Moses died the mantle of leading the Israelites fell upon him.
Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I wore to their forefathers to give them.
Fear would have gripped Joshua when he had to take up the leadership responsibility. Can you imagine having to fill the shoes of Moses? Taking the place of a man who could speak to God through a burning bush, cast down his rod and have it turn into a snake, and then retrieve it and find it a rod again. Can you imagine being the predecessor of a man that could stretch out his rod and divide the Red Sea, a man that could bring water out of a rock when the people died from thirst? It was tough to fit into the shoes of Moses. Joshua had a personal problem handling the leadership.
Joshua also had problems with the people. He now finds himself the leader of a group of people known for murmuring, complaining, backsliding, and wishing they were back where they came from.
Today maybe you are facing opposition in what God has called you for. Maybe you are sitting here with fear of what the future holds for you. Maybe you are carrying a big load. You are wondering how things will be in the next year. I want to tell you, if God has called you, you have an inheritance. God will bless you. You can be successful. God looked at Joshua and said, “You are the Man I have chosen to lead these people. You have promises to possess.”
Can you imagine the thoughts that would have gone through the mind of Joshua? “Will people accept me, what will people say, I do not know the way, I am afraid what will happen, there are so many battles to be fought.” Every thought that we think would have come to Joshua.
Some of you are overpowered by many thoughts about our career, children, finances, health, and thoughts about the future. Yet there are many of us who think about these and are overwhelmed by fear; fear of rejection, fear of the future, and fear of people. I want to tell you; by God you can overcome every hindrance and finish what you have started.
How could Joshua go forward and possess the promise? See what God is telling Joshua:
Joshua 1:1-2 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. Look at the word ‘get ready.’
1. Get ready.
Look to the future. Stand up in faith.
In order to get anything in life we need to have a heart that is willing to possess it.
We have come to the flag end of 2012, and as we get into 2013 God is telling us get ready. I am going to do a new thing for you. You may be sitting here with mixed emotions of the last year. God is telling – Get ready. Look to the future. It’s not over yet. You have miles to go, dreams to be fulfilled, and promises to possess.
The question is which direction are you facing in life now? Are you looking backwards or forward? Are you looking at yesterday or tomorrow? Some of you may have wonderful memories of great victories or moments of the past that you want to re-live again and again. Yet, some of you may have regrets or terrible pain that you are not able to overcome. God is telling forget the past, look to the future.
Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Philippians 3:13 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Look ahead, forget the past.
2: Understand your promise.
Illustration: How do you buy a new product that is in the market? We first come to know about it either by our friends or we see it in TV. Once we know about its existence and availability, we see it for real perhaps in a shop or in a friend’s house. Once our desire is awakened by seeing it, we go to the shop and buy it if we want to. So, first we know about a product, then we see it, and finally we possess it. Notice that the knowledge of a product is a necessary preparation to possession the product.
Understand you have a promise for the year 2013. A good understanding of our promise is an important step to possess our promise. God has not called us to be a failure; God has called us to be a blessing. God speaks through the Bible that whenever he has called someone, he has always called them to be a blessing. God said Abraham, “I will bless you” and God blessed him.
Look at some of the promises God spoke to the Israelites.
Psalm 81:10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Psalm 81:16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Understand God has a promise for you.
How can we possess a promise that we do not know about? When we see the life of Joshua, God opened his understanding and let him know that he has a promise awaiting him. Deuteronomy 1:8 See, I have given you this land……
Knowing the promises God has for us is the first step to possess our promise. Know that God has a promise for you in 2013. God wants to give you a breakthrough. I can see by faith that your circumstances are changing and God’s promises fulfilling in 2013.
3. Lay hold of it.
Make it yours by faith.
Deuteronomy 1:8 See, I have given you this land.that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.
If you want something material in this world, you pay the price for it and lay hold of it buying from the shop.
How do we take hold of God’s promises? What is the price we pay? Listen I give you a secret, the price has already been paid. God has already blessed us. It’s absolutely free. It is not because of our money or ability. God has already paid for your abundant life by the blood of Christ and so the promise is free for us. Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. God has already blessed us. Our breakthrough has already been accomplished. Walk each day in the blessedness of God.
Remember even though it is available freely to us it is not easy; we still have to lay hold of them, and make them ours. We need to come to Him, reach out with our hand of faith, and lay hold of our promise by force.
When Jesus was in this world he preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
At hand means happening at the present time. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is here from the time Jesus started preaching. So salvation is at hand, God’s power is at hand. The blessings of God are at hand. We need to reach out and receive it by faith.
See the principle of receiving the Kingdom of God: Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. We are to forcefully hold on to the Kingdom of God. Forcefully hold on to our salvation, forcefully lay hold of the blessings that God has already purchased by His Blood. This is where faith is needed. Understand that you have a promise, God has already blessed you, and you need to forcefully take hold of it by faith.
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
This is the same principle in the OT. Once Israel knew of the Promised Land and that it was for them to possess, then they had to go in and actually possess it, by putting their foot on each piece of it. They knew it, they laid hold of it. Then every place where they put the soles of their feet became theirs.
So we get ready, know the promise, and possess the promise by faith. But after taking these steps there is still a possibility of failure. Remember the devil is waiting to steal away our promises. Year after year we receive God’s promises but we cannot possess it because the devil takes it away. This year we are going to possess our promise. What do we do?
4. RESIST THE DEVIL.
Illustration: If you had something precious in your house and a thief came to take it, would you be passive and do nothing to stop him? You will do all that you can to save your precious item. You would resist him or you will call the police who can stop the theft.
In the spiritual realm there is a thief who will certainly use his cunning to try and take our blessings When you are holding on to the promises of God, Satan will come to deny, challenge, and steal the promises of God. How many times he has robbed us of God’s blessing? So I must know how to recognize and deal with him.
HOW DO WE RESIST THE DEVIL?
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5:8-9 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
a. Submit to God.
Make a decision to submit your life every day to God in 2013. Take decision to spend time in prayer, devotion. Give priority to church and God.
b. Be alert. Resist the devil. Lead holy lives. How to lead holy life? Romans 6:12-13 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
It comes from the word “strength” and means, “one who holds himself in.” To be self-controlled is to not live in bondage to the desires, passions and appetites of the flesh. My body is a good servant but a miserable master.
Commit our habits into God’s hands.
d. Stand firm in faith.
No matter what happens let our faith in God not be shaken. Work out your salvation.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…
NLT Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
So God has promised us abundant life but in order to get that promise we have work hard and produce result.
How we start the New Year will determine how we will end this year. Let’s march forward with faith. I believe 2013 is going to be an exceptional year. I want to announce that the tide is turning. A shift is taking place. You are entering into a new season of God. Things are going to change for your favor. Be ready God is going to do a new thing for you. Amen.