If we are meditating in God's Word, spending time to get to know Him, to understand His law, to understand how He would have us to live -- if we are spending time there, then we have the Holy Spirit given to us, to water us, to keep us living and growing... If you want a relationship that's growing, delight in the Law of the Lord.

Vintage message from April 28, 2002.

This is the amazing thing about most of the Psalms: they speak of God’s deliverance, God’s faithfulness, God’s power, God’s ability to help us to overcome those times when we are theologically or politically or spiritually incorrect or unmotivated. The Holy Spirit shows us God’s faithfulness and that’s what you’re going to find as we go through the Psalms. In almost every case, you’re going to find men who came to the conclusion, even though their life was hard, even though they had turmoil and struggle, that God was faithful in how He dealt with them…

God loves those whom He created. God cares deeply for men and wants to draw men into that love relationship with Himself…

And this is why we study God’s Word. To understand Who this God is that draws us into this love relationship; how He brings us to this place of understanding…

Have you ever felt surrounded by the harmful effects of life? Like it was just going to close in on you and destroy you? I know I have many times. But yet, you know, just like King David, I find that even when life is closing in on me, God is there. He doesn’t stop it, necessarily, from closing in, but He stops the panic in my heart. He stops the fear that the enemy would try to use to overwhelm me, and puts me on my feet in a place of faith and trust. Even if they slay me, God is still there. God is still in control…

I don’t care how insignificant you think you are. You have a God Who created you for the purpose of knowing and loving Him, and that there by itself, if nothing else in your life ever happened of importance, just the knowledge that you were created to have a relationship with God the Father makes you of the utmost importance. God created you for that purpose…

This is the life we need to seek: a life that finds us in God’s Word, understanding God through His Word, understanding how God would have us to live and why He would have us to live that way. He knows that we are men of the flesh and He knows that we are going to struggle sometimes with doing the things that He’s asked us to do. That’s the great thing about God. He tells us that, and He gives us a way of making it right in our lives…

If we are meditating in God’s Word, spending time to get to know Him, to understand His law, to understand how He would have us to live — if we are spending time there, then we have the Holy Spirit given to us, to water us, to keep us living and growing…

If you want a relationship that’s growing, delight in the law of the Lord. Confess your sin when you have sin. Be honest with the people who are around you. Give good counsel. Seek to be with people who want to love the Lord. And even if they’re blowing it, we help one another. Delight in the Law of the Lord. This is what the Psalmist is bringing us to. Give up gossip, mocking, slandering others, using your tongue to do evil. The tongue can be a great tool used in God’s kingdom, or it can be a very, very devastating weapon used against other people. Our tongue is given to us for communication. What are you communicating with others?

He created you specifically for the purpose of having love relationship with you. It's our sin that has drawn us out of that love relationship (not that God has rejected us, but that we rejected God) and if we would just take the time to listen, we will hear God say, "I love you."

Vintage message from May 5, 2002.

All of us sitting in this room today have done things to sin against God, none of us in this room are perfect, none of us in this room deserve heaven, none of us in this room deserve to have God’s interaction with us. We just don’t deserve it. [King] David, was one of those men, when you look at his life, was an imperfect man. He blew it in many ways… Why would God love a man like that? Why would God care? Why didn’t God just open up heaven and pour the flood waters on David’s head right then and just be away with him, be done with him? …We’re going to see God’s love as we go through these Psalms…and this great love relationship that God desires to have with mankind…

When you hear these terms of “fear and trembling before the Lord,” I don’t believe that God wants us to be afraidof Him. He doesn’t. He desires love relationship with us, but what He doesrequire is that we stand before Him righteously. We, in our sin nature, can not stand before God, and that shouldcause some concern to each and every one of us in this room because we all struggle with the sin nature. But yet God, in His love, resolved (in order that we might be in love relationship with Him) that sin nature by sacrificing His own Son so that we can rejoice, even though with trembling. When you think about what Jesus did on the cross for you, when you think about the great sacrifice that was made for you, that your sin no longer has to be the issue that holds you away from God, it should bring to your heart, into your mind, a respect for God that I would call fear. You know what? There are a lot of things I would like to do, a lot of experiences I would like to have in this life, but I don’t pursue them. And the reason I don’t pursue them is because I feel the eyes of God looking at me…

So often in our lives we find ourselves facing trouble, we find ourselves facing hardship, and we want to blame the world out there, we want to blame him or we want to blame her  or we want to blame this circumstance or that circumstance for our hard times. Well, you know what? Hard times are going to come, and it doesn’t matter who you want to blame for it. Who are you trusting to get you out of it? This is where [King] David’s heart was. His son had risen up against him, but yet he turns to the Lord, and he gives it over to the Lord… The question is, how many of us fear for our position in life? We fear that someone might take away from us that that we’ve obtained. If God hasn’t given it to you, guess what? You don’t need it. If someone else can steal it away from you, let them have it. It’s not worth fighting for. God can always give you back. If He wants you to have it, He can give you back what was taken… David understood that God was his strength…

I don’t care what the world wants to do. You don’t have to fear. When you leave this place today, you don’t have to fear what’s going to happen on the freeway out there. You’re not going to have to fear when you get into your home… It’s not your battle. If God has established you, then God will protect you. If God hasn’t established you, He’s simply removing fromyou those things that are the distraction that keep you from Him. And He, then, when you are in His will, becomes that shield around you…

Do you realize when you pray, God doesanswer you? I hear people say all the time, “Well, Inever hear God speak to me.” Well let me tell you, it’s not that God’s not speaking to you. God speaks through His Holy Spirit to each and every person on the face of this earth. That is what He was sent for: to draw those that are lost into that love relationship or to comfort and counsel those that are in that relationship. But one way or another, the Holy Spirit speaks to each and every one of us. He is serious about drawing us into that relationship with the Father. He speaks. Just because we don’t hear it doesn’t mean He doesn’t do His job. He is there. He is seeking to draw us to that place of love…

Do you see yourselves as men and women who love the Lord? I don’t care what you’re doing as far as dishonoring God — are you trying to deal with that? Do you look to God as your strength? Do you see yourself as a person who cares about the things God cares about? And when you blow it, do you say, “I blew it,” instead of trying to justify your own sin nature and say, “It’s okay for me to do this, because I don’t want to be known as a sinner!” So we change God’s Word so that it suits us. [King] David didn’t do that. David knew that he was a man who had sin in his life, but he also knew that he was godly because God had set him aside. God had touched his life. God had reached out to him first, just as God first loved us. It’s “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It doesn’t come from us. It comes from God, and His desire to have that relationship with us…

How often do you take account, take stock, of who you are and what God has done for you? …Do you know what you’ll hear when you allow yourself to be silent rather than continually opening your mouth to dump on God? You’ll hear God say, “I love you.” He created you specifically for the purpose of having love relationship with you. It’s our sin that has drawn us out of that love relationship, not that Godhas rejected us, but that werejected God, and if we would just take the time to listen, we will hear God say, “I love you.”

It's okay to struggle... It's okay...to hurt inside because it's in hurting that we learn about the mercy of God. It makes us draw close to Him... God hears us if we pray to Him, and He's merciful to us when we seek Him. He desires to have love relationship with us, and He never promises us that it's going to be easy.

Vintage message from May 12, 2002.

How often do we as believers today approach God from that perspective? “God, I’m struggling, and I need Your help!” You know what?…I’ll tell everybody else about all the things I’m angry about, but then I find when I pray — because, you know,  you gotta be reverent when you come before God and you gotta be religious and holy when you come before God and sometimes we fall into that trap of thinking about God in that way, but you know what? God does not want our holiness because He knows He’s not going to get it. If He’s looking for holiness from me, He knows the only way He’s going to get it is to put it in me, and He did that with His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants me to come to Him with truth; what’s truly going on in my heart; what’s truly going on in my life — and this is what [King] David knew…

Do you believe that God is merciful? Do you stand in God’s mercy? I’m here today because of God’s mercy. I deserve the destruction that the wicked should get that David’s praying for, but instead God led me into His house and showed me His mercy… And this is also a weakness that I find within our society today: people want to know that there’s the temples out there in the world, they want to claim religion, but you now what? There’s not a lot of people who truly want to seek God, to know Him personally, to go before Him, to receive that mercy that comes from Him… Do you see yourself, when you stop to pray, coming into the house of God? Do you see yourself humbling your heart before the God and King Who created you? And do you see yourself as being actually welcomed into that house?

The fact is, God does spread His protection over those who love Him, but what does that protection come in the form of? Does it mean that we’re never going to have trouble? When God is protecting us, does it mean that we’re never going to be hurt, that we’re never going to be challenged, that the enemies in the world around us are never going to stand against us? No. That protection comes in the form of protection for my heart. That God loves me and He brings me to a place where at least if I am being attacked, if I’m struggling because of the world around me,  that I knowthat I can depend on Him to give me a shoulder to cry on, to be Someone there Who will hear me when I’m struggling and that I can pray to, that I can talk to, that I can enter into love relationship with. And it’s not just for the bad times that we talk to God, but He wants us to approach Him in the good times as well. The door to His house is open to us…

It’s okay to struggle sometimes. It’s okay, from time to time, to hurt inside because it’s in hurting that we learn about the mercy of God. It makes us draw close to Him. We oftentimes, when things are too good, begin to take God for granted, and that’s where people really begin to struggle. That when the blessing then stops for some reason, then those people cry out, “Oh, God! Why have you abandoned me?” We assumethat material blessings, the things that we have, are God’s way of showing us His favor toward us. That’s not always true… That’s the thing we need to remember, though, when things are hard, when we’re struggling, when we have our last dime or we’re down to our last string, our last rope. That we’re falling. God hears us if we pray to Him, and He’s merciful to us when we seek Him. He desires to have love relationship with us, and He never promisesus that it’s going to be easy.

What makes you upright in heart? Is it from the good things you do? No, you can not do enough good things to call yourself upright in heart. There’s only onething that you can do to call yourself upright in heart and that is to receive the forgiveness that comes through the blood of Jesus Christ; to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior because of what He did for us on the cross. That is the only thing that makes us upright in heart.

God...tears down our strongholds of pride and draws us to that place of humility with Him, where we see our need for Him, where He calls us to a place of dependence on Him

Vintage message from May 26, 2002.

I think one of the greatest strengths we can have as a Christian is humility. Saying, “I don’t know everything. I’m not the strongest person on the face of the earth. I can’t accomplish anything on my own.” Paul told us in Philippians, “I can do all things,” but he didn’t stop there. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” So often we, in our arrogance and in our pride, think that we can conquer the world. That we can overcome any problem that we have; any problem that we face. “With just enough cleverness and enough time, I can overcome!” Well, I hate to be the one to dash water on your great hopes for your strength for the future, but guess what? Without Christ,  you can accomplish nothing, and anything that you doaccomplish is accomplished in arrogance and pride and God will destroy for you, because that’s what God does. He tears down our strongholds of pride and draws us into that place of humility with Him, where we see our need for Him, where He calls us to a place of dependence on Him. And then, it’s amazing. It’s almost as if He allows us to do those things on our own and take the credit for them, but we’re able to say, “You know what? I didn’t do that. Even though this was accomplished through this piece of flesh, guess what? It was Hewho did it through me.” And that’s the amazing thing about this relationship that we have with God…

The Lord, verse four, is in His holy temple. The Lord is on His heavenly throne. Just in those two understandings, so you realize you can have all of the victory  in the world? I don’t care what trial you’re facing, I don’t care what your struggles are, I don’t care what the wicked are doing or how they undermine your life. Guess what? If you just stop and think, “The Lord is in His temple. He is on His throne.” There’s nothing, nothing that the wicked can do to stop God. There is nothing that the wicked can do to take my life out of God’s hands and the charge that He has over me. He is on His throne. He has not relinquished His right to rule over what He’s created. So often, we believe that He has. So often, when we are facing trouble or struggles or trial, we sometimes find ourselves lonely and depressed, and we thing somehow God has given up that position of Holy God in His temple on His throne. Now, I’ve applied for the job on occasion, but guess what? He’s reminded me, it’s already filled and will never, ever be available! So guess what? I need to aspire to something different, and if I can’t aspire to beGod, guess what? I can aspire, at least, to trust Him, because He’s the one in charge! And He’s not going to give me the right to rule and reign over what He’s created. He’s not given that right to anyone

Sometimes the most appropriate prayer you can pray is, “Help!” And God knows! God already knows the trouble we’re in, and so if you find yourself struggling and in need, just cry out to Him, and He will respond…

So often, we will hide out in the depression rather than coming to the conclusion that David came to. Verse 5 he says, “But I trust in Your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.” …The point is that His love is unfailing and that He offers salvation that is worth rejoicing in, and He has been good to us…

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men.” He’s watching. He knows what’s going on. There is nothing that you’re going to do that you’re truly going to ever get away with because God’s going to see it, and He’s going to deal with it. He sees that we are wicked. He sees that there is nothing good in us. But do you know what He’s really looking for? He’s not looking for our goodness. He’s simply looking to see if we understand. Do we understand our own state? Do we understand our sin nature? Do we understand our need for Him? That’s what He’s looking for: to see if there are any who understand; any who seek God. It is because of my sin that I seek God. It is because I have come to that place of understanding that I blow it. There is no possible way I will ever stand before God in the halls of heaven unless I come to Him and seek Him. He’sthe One that makes it right, not me, and this is what God is looking for.

Lord...I want this life that You've given me to be Yours.

Vintage message from June 2, 2002. (The first one minute of the recording is distorted.)

How often do wethink about giving up what’s special to us before our God, because we trust God and He’s blessed us tremendously? How often have wesaid, “Lord, even though I want that vehicle” or “even though I want that home” or “even though I want that job, I’m giving it back to You. I want it to be Yourhouse, Yourjob, Yourvehicle. I want this life that You’ve given me to be Yours,” and pour it out before the Lord…

Do you see what God has given you as being delightful? Do you look at your life as being one that God has laid out the boundaries of and has made secure?…

Therein is the key to success. Do you want to be successful in your life in everything you do? Do you want to have a pleasant inheritance? Do you want the home you live in to be blessed and to flourish? This is the key. Praise the Lord. Take His counsel. At night, when you go to bed, seek God for His instruction. And always, always, set the Lord before you. Let the Lord be the One you desire and seek after. In hard times, in good times, when the weather’s bad or the weather’s good, put the Lord before you. Seek Him, and He willbe at your right hand, and guess what? Just like David, if you have that relationship with the Lord, then you will not be shaken, because guess what? Life will throw things at you to try to shake you. There are hard times waiting for you, but if you have that relationship with the Lord, you will not be shaken…

How many of us can say that: “Lord, I am right before You. You can search me. You can look at what’s in my heart.” I sometimes am embarrassed about what I find in my own heart, and there are times I say, “God, don’t look in my heart! Don’t go there! Okay, now, look on the outside. I’m doing pretty good right now. Look at these good works that I’ve done, but don’tlook inside,” because sometimes, inside, I try to hide the wickedness so that no one can see it. But you know what? You can’t hide from God. His eyes are continually looking, peering into the heart of men seeing who is righteous. And the He reminds me, it’s not by our deeds, it’s not by our good works that make us righteous, but by our seeking Him, and especially with the knowledge that we have from the testimony of David about the Holy One Who did not see decay, that through Jesus’s blood, even if we struggle in our heart, His blood has made us clean. Even if we struggle in life and stumble and fall, His blood has made us clean. It is in seeking the relationship with the Lord God the way He’sasked us to seek Him that we become righteous…

If you seek the Lord, if you praise the Lord, then, even when you find yourself surrounded by enemies, you’re not the one that will have to fight your way out…

Is your hope, is your future, are your plans for life set around eternity? Are the things that you hope to accomplish in your life set with eternity in mind? Is it in your heart to know that one day this flesh is going to end, and what likeness will you see when your eyes are opened again? Are you going to see the likeness of God? Are you going to be standing in His presence? Are you going to be satisfied? The only way to truly be satisfied in eternity is to have received the gift that He gave us now. While we have breath in our lungs, while w have life in this flesh, we can choose. We can choose our eternity, choose where we want to go. We can choose to be satisfied simply by receiving Jesus in, by trusting what Jesus did, by pouring Hisblood out as our drink offering, knowing that He did it freely for us. And by receiving Him  and being cleansed by His blood, it becomes our offering before God. Then God looks at the blood that cleansed us, not the sin that corrupted us. And let me tell you, we’re going to struggle with sin. We’re going to struggle with decay. We’re going to struggle every day that we live in this world and are surrounded by men of this world. We’re going to struggle, but by that blood that was shed for us we can see the righteousness of God. In the end, if we are seeking in eternity, one days our eyes will be opened and we can be satisfied in seeing His likeness.

We have a wonderful, forgiving, loving God Who gave us a way of escape from our sin. God did not ask us to be perfect. He just asked us to find perfection in Him... Do you know how much God loves you? Do you know how much God pursues you and desires to have you in love relationship with Him?

Vintage message from June 9, 2002.

“In my distress I called to the Lord. I cried to my God for help.” Exactly where we need to call for help when we find ourselves in these moments of distress. You know, I really like this about David. David is this great man of God, revered by the world now. We look back and we read this story of a mighty man who served God, for the most part, faithfully. But even David, for being such a great king, had those moments in his life where he was distressed, where he struggled, where he had hard times, where he found himself depressed. Just because we know the God Who created us and just because we have this relationship with God — and I believe David had a very intimate relationship with God  even from the time he was a child — does not mean that we will not have those moments where the world and our flesh and our circumstances cause distress and challenges. I’ll tell you what: if you’re not having challenges, if you’re not having moments where your life feels distress, you’re probably not human. I want to know what planet you’re from. Allof us face those moments. Some have less challenges than others, but I guarantee you, everyone, no matter what your station in life is, no matter if you’re wealthy or if you’re poor, you will have those moments where the world will challenge you, where your flesh will challenge you, and you will be in distress. And you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay that you recognize those moments in your life. It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. It doesn’t mean that you’re unspiritual. It doesn’t even mean that you’re weak. It just means that the world has attacked you. And this is where we find the resolution today. Even though the cords of death entangle us and the thorns of destruction overwhelm us and the cords of the grave coil around us and the snares of death confront us, David said, “In my distress I called to the Lord. I cried to my God for help.” I don’t care what you’re going through, God is always there to hear the cries from your heart. He wantsto hear the cries from your heart…

“He rescued me because He delighted in me.” I love this verse. David was a man, human in every way, flawed just like you and I are, made mistakes, made bad decisions, and struggled through life, but yet God delighted in David. Do you realize that God delights in you? This verse isn’t written just to show us how much God loved David, but I believe this verse is given to us as an encouragement. David saw the delight of God in his life, and we know through the blood of Jesus Christ and the fact that God allowed for His Son to suffer and die for us that God delights in men that He created. He’s just asking us to receive and come into that relationship. He delightsin us. He delighted in David, and David saw that. He knewhis rescue came, not because he was worthybut because God loved him and God cared for him…

Do you know where unrighteousness comes from? It’s not from those silly day-to-day mistakes that we make, but it’s from turning away from God in those mistakes. We have a wonderful, forgiving, loving God Who gave us a way of escape from our sin. God did not ask us to be perfect. He just asked us to find perfection in Him. When He chose us, He chose us knowing that we were unrighteous. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” we’re told in Romans. There’s nothing righteous in us, but God sees us as righteous through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. God sees us as righteous as we seek relationship with Him. What made men unrighteous on the face of this planet was they sought after other gods, they sought after their own flesh, they sought after the things of the world…

Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize the strength that you have at your disposal in the Person of the Creator of this universe? He loves you. He pursues you. He desires to have relationship with you. He’ll wipe away your sins. He’ll strengthen your arms. He’ll strengthen your legs. He’ll give you the ability to survive. He doesn’t promise that it’s going to be easy. He doesn’t promise that life is going to be fun. But when you read this psalm and you read the pouring out of David’s heart in gratitude toward God, you see a man who went through a very difficult, rough life, but was loved by God and brought through every step of the way, and then he turned and gives praise to that God. Do you know how much God loves you? Do you know how much God pursues you [and] desires to have you in love relationship with Him? It’s worth pursuing. Heis worth pursuing, and if you’ll take stock of your life, even to this point, I guarantee you, you will find those moments in your life where God was present, where God was preventing something from happening, where God was preserving you, where God was strengthening you, where God was bringing you through. In little ways or big ways, God was there. He deserves the praise and the honor from our lips before this world, before the men in this world who do not believe that there is a God Who created them.

He's given us the law to reveal our sin nature, but that sin nature then is supposed to show us our need for Him, so that we can walk in right relationship, in love relationship with Him.

Vintage message from June 16, 2002.

Do you realize that there is not one person on the face of this earth that will stand before God, justified because he did not hear the gospel? “God, I should be allowed to get into heaven. No one ever told me the gospel! I had no way of knowing, so therefore it would be unfair for You to send me to hell.” It’s not going to happen that way. No man is justified in and of himself. No man can use the excuse that “I did know know.” The only reason why men do not know is because they ignore, they close their hearts, they close their eyes, and they close their minds to the things that God has created, because these things — the heavens and the sky, those things that God has created are proclaiming God’s handiwork…

We have no excuse. God has proven Himself in the things that He’s created, but because men do not want to believe in God, because men do not want to have to submit to God, because men are in rebellion…

We go from chaos to order only in God’s kingdom, only when we trust and live in the Lord, and He gave us His creation to watch and to pay attention to, to hear His Word but guess what? It wasn’t enough. We weren’t paying attention. So what does God do? He gives us His law, and David tells us, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul,” but yet so often we fight against the law. We despise the law. We turn away from the law, even though it is the one thing, if we understand why the law was given. The law was given to reveal the sin nature of our heart and if, in fact, the sin nature of our heart is revealed, and we understand, then, that we are sinners, and then we study in God’s Word and we understand the trustworthiness of the statutes of the law — the statutes that God has given us — is that Heis the one Who saves, not the law. He’s given us the law to reveal our sin nature, but that sin nature, then, is supposed to show us our need for Him, so that we can walk in right relationship, in love relationship with Him.

So, “the law is perfect, and it revives the soul” because the soul understands its need for God and turns to God.

“The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” It doesn’t take great intelligence to understand that God loves you, that God cares enough to bring you into love relationship with Himself, even though you’re a sinner. Even the simplest of minds  can look up at the cross of Jesus Christ and understand: that was offered as a sacrifice because I’m a sinner…

You can not do any better in your life than understanding God’s Word: why He gave us His Word, what His Word needs to accomplish in our life. Once you begin to understand how God loves us, not trying to keep us from the things we want to do, but keeping us from the things that would hurt us, the things that would destroy us, the things that bring chaos to our life, that’s all He’s really trying to accomplish by telling us, “Don’t do these things.”

How many of us face turmoil in our lives? How many of us face struggle in our life? We all have those moments, but do you realize the God Who created you has an abundance of love, and that love is unfailing, and He offers it to you.

Vintage message from June 23, 2002.

So often, we forget to be grateful for the things that God has done for us… And you now what? It’s not wrong for us to pray to God and say, “God, I have need. Fulfill my need.” It’s not wrong to do that, but understand what prayer is for. Prayer is not a time to go to the almighty Santa Claus in the sky to get everything you want, but it is a time to communicate and be in fellowship and relationship with the God Who created you, understanding that Heknows you better than youknow you…

How many of us face turmoil in our lives? How many of us face struggle in our life? How many of us wake up on mornings and say, “God, why do I have to get out of bed today?” We all have those moments, but do you realize the God Who created you has an abundanceof love and that love is unfailing, and He offers it to you…

How many of us walk in the presence of the Lord?  Walk in relationship, day by day, understanding that when we get up, and we say, “Good morning, Lord,” that we are truly in the presence of God? It’s not just this spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Even though we don’t see Him the way we see each other, He is there through the power of His Spirit, interacting with us, touching us, guiding us, being our strength, leading us into a day that has challenges for us to face, decisions to be made, people to be encountered, battles to be won. And when we come to the end of that day, are we thankful? Do we tell God, “My joy is great because of the victories You’ve given me. Thank you, Lord, because You’ve brought me through this day.” I don’t care what your job is, sitting behind a computer ordering things for the government or pushing a lawn mower or driving a truck, delivering things for somebody else. Each day, the tasks that have been laid before us become victories at the end of the day when we have trusted God to see us through it…

Jesus was [placed] in the womb Mary for the specific purpose of being born to serve God, to bring the division between God and man to an end. We no longer have to be separated from God. We no longer have to walk outside of fellowship with God because Jesus, from the moment He was placed in Mary’s womb, was placed there with a very specific purpose. You were that purpose.Isn’t that amazing?  Doesn’t that send chills up and down your spine to think that the day that God placed the Person of Jesus Christ into the womb of Mary, He was thinking of you! He was thinking of me! He was thinking of the great fellowship and love that He could have by sacrificing this One that He had been in fellowship for all eternity. Father, Son, and Spirit, never, ever, as far as we know, separated from each other. Never divided. Always in agreement. Always in love. We did not get created for the purpose of fulfilling some need in God’s life to have love, because God was full in love, fulfilled completely in love. They did not need us to fulfill them in any way. They were fulfilled in and of themselves. Perfect in all that they were. Father, Son, and Spirit…

There’s a difference between honoring and praising. Are you praising God today for the great salvation that He has brought you? Are you praising God today for the knowledge that He laid out in advance? Are you praising Him because He knew that He would love you and save you?

We don't need to fear what's coming in life. We don't need to fear what God may have planned for us. We need only to look to the One Who is our protection.

Vintage message from July 7, 2002.

Now how can you be a sinner on one hand and blameless on the other? Well, everyone of us in this room, if we know the Lord, should know the answer to that. I sit here before you today, a blameless man, but guess what? I have a past, and I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but I have a past, and it’s a sordid past, and it’s a horrible past, but I sit here before you today blameless because Godis the One Who has dealt with me. His blood, through Jesus Christ, has washed me. ..

Do you realize there’s a lot of things that we can do in our life that are done in hypocrisy? It’s done just to make us look good. You know, anyone of us in this room can go out and do good deeds, and people around us may see those good deeds and say, “Oh, what a good person!” But you know what? My good deeds have nothing to do with my holiness. I sit here before. you today holy and righteous before God and not because I did good deeds last week; not because I’m a great person…

And I believe that’s important… that when we stand before God, God is going to judge us, and it is Jesus’s blood that vindicates us. God will judge us for what we’ve done, either having received Jesus or not. He’ll judge us if we are walking outside of Him… We will also stand before God to be judged, not for the good things or bad things that we’ve done, but simply to see if we have the blood of Jesus on us.  But even now in our lives we should be crying out to God, “God, search my heart! Judge me! Tell me if You find something bad, so that we can deal with it. Show me, Lord, those areas in my life where I’m right with you so that I don’t go off the path and be wrong before you. Judge me. Help me to see the good and the bad,” and then we depend on Jesus for vindication…

The fact is, I’m not going to stand before youin the judgement day, and it is not yourspirit that strengthens me through my day. We gather together in fellowship to build one another up, to care for one another, and we’re taught by Jesus Christ to love one another and to encourage and to be a strength for one another, but it is allby HisSpirit, by Hislove, by Hisstrength, because He is God and we are not. So often, though, we live our lives because of what other people think of us. We worry about what our neighbors think, we worry about what our friends think, we worry about what those at church think. So many people will dress up in their finery because what are people going to think if I’m dress like a slob? Well, you know what? They’ll think you’re a slob, but do they know your heart? You know, I could just as well be sitting here with my hole-y blue jeans on and teaching the same message, reading from the same Bible. This that you see on the outside is not what God looks at. Now, He may deal with what’s on the outside…but that happens because He deals with what’s on the inside. He’s the One that judges. He’s the One that tests. He’s the One that tries. He’s the One that gives His Spirit to move into us to bring the change that really matters. He’s the One that we should be worried about…

We don’t need to fear what’s coming in life. We don’t need to fear what God may have planned for us. We need only to look to the One Who is our protection…

Do you realize that there is a correlation in your attitude toward life and the time that you spend with the Lord? If you’re not spending much time with the Lord, guess what? Your attitude in life is going to stink and life is going to be lousy and you’re going to notice every little hard thing that comes your way, but if you’re spending time with the Lord, if you are dwelling in His house, an army could be outside and guess what? Who cares about the army outside, because it is the Lord that is our stronghold. It is the Lord that is our strength. It is the Lord that is our protection. Why fear what’s outside of this house if we’re inside?…

Are you convinced that God loves you today? Are you convinced that when you leave this place that there’s goodness waiting outside those doors for you? I don’t know what lives you live. I don’t know what you go home to. Piles of dishes. Dirty clothes. Kids that are rebellious. I don’t know what you’re going home to, but guess what? You can be confident of this: if you have Jesus Christ in your heart today, if you are walking in this love relationship that David walked in before his God, if you know the Lord in your heart the way David knew the Lord in his heart, guess what? You can be confident, when you leave this place, that there is still goodness. You can see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living…

Do you know where most of our struggles and our problems come from in this life? Do you know why we screw up so much? Do you know why we have the struggles that we have? Because so often we don’t wait for the Lord. We make the decision ourself. We move ahead ourself. We see something that we want and we take it, but regardless of how much we’ve blown it in our life, regardless of the struggles that we have, it’s never too late to get your heart and mind and flesh right with the Lord. He’ll deal with you because He loves you.  He wants this kind of relationship with all of us. But the operative word here is “wait.”

Do you want to be right with God today? Recognize God for Who He is: loving, forgiving, but also all powerful, all mighty...

Vintage message from July 14, 2002.

The most humbling thing you can do in your life is admit back to the Lord what the Lord is telling you. If you’re in sin, you humble yourself and say, “Yes, Lord, I’m in sin.” If you’re messing up, you say, “Yes, Lord, I’m messing up…” In fact, even when you sin, if you are covered with the blood of Jesus, and you recognize that sin because of the blood of Jesus, God no longer recognizes that sin. It’s gone, tossed as far as the East is from the west. It’s gone in God’s eyes because every drop of Jesus’s blood was precious to the Father, and when that blood was give for you and I, it cleansed us. The issue of sin, the issue of filth, the issue of wretchedness was dealt with on the cross. We sometimes forget that. Now I’m not saying you can go out and live how you want, go out and whoop it up and have a great, old time because everything is forgiven and that God sees you as clean. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying you still have to recognize what God’s Word says. If you’re living in sin, you confess your sin and thenHe will forgive you of your sin and is faithful and just to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. We’re given all the answers in God’s Word on how to live…

This becomes our problem so often as we walk as believers. We’re not going to be perfect, but we’re going to walk with a perfect God. We’re going to stumble and fall, and that perfect God is the one that we turn to, but so often we don’t. So often we ignore what we’re doing, or we excuse what we’re doing. We justify what we’re doing, but we don’t take responsibility for what we’re doing, and we fail to cry to God…

It’s not about mycomfort. It’s not about mefeeling good. It’s about me being rightwith God and seeking Hismercy and seeking Hislove and looking beyond myself and, once I’ve received that mercy, to share it with you…

Do you realize that’s where our salvation comes from? Not because of our goodness, not because we deserve it, not because we are any better than those that are the “wicked”…but we’re simply people who have received salvation because we understand our need for mercy. We understand our need for God’s help…

How do we see God? When we get up in the morning, we wash our face and we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see a person who’s been blessed and loved and forgiven by a God Who does have the right to zap us, fry us where we stand? Do we see, in that mirror, a face of someone who has fallen love with God because He is our strength and our shield, and He has protected us. He has guarded our lives. He has guarded our lives even though we did not deserve to have our lives guarded. Do we see God for the Great Creator that He is; the One Who deserves glory and praise, the One Who deserves to have us fall on our face before Him in just simple thanksgiving for the breath that we have in our lungs? If He never gave us one thing, if we struggled our entire lives, but still had breath in our lungs, He would still be deserving of the praise that would come because of that breath. Do we see God in that way? Or do we see God only as that bandaid that we pull out any time that we hurt ourself? Have a little bit of blood, so we pull out the “God-bandaid.” Put it on. Soon as the bleeding’s done, we pull the bandaid off and toss it away. “Oh, I have no more need for that. Oh, yeah, I’ll praise God next week. Right now I’ve got things to do. I’ve got to get things done.  I’ve got a life to live, after all.” And so, God becomes a God of convenience. God becomes a God of, well, when I have time… Do you realize that if you know God through His Son, Jesus Christ, you have become one of God’s mighty ones? Just like David. You are mighty in the Lord when you are walking with Him in love relationship…

Do you want to be right with God today? Recognize God for Who He is: loving, forgiving, but also all powerful, almighty. He could squish you like a bug, but guess what? I cried out to Him for mercy, and He heard my cry, and He gave me His Holy Spirit. I said, “Lord Jesus, come into my life,” and He came in.

There is nothing you can do to make yourself right with God. The only way to be right with God is to cry out for mercy!

Vintage message from July 21, 2002. (Audio clears up after the first 30 seconds.)

Do you realize that even today, we who find ourselves in the depths, who are despairing, who are hurting, who are struggling, can, in fact, exalt the Lord and praise the Lord. We don’t have to let the suffering and hurting keep us down. We don’t have to let it keep us away from God. In fact, the answer is not in hiding, hoping it will go away, but the answer is stepping out. Even though there is distraction, even though there’s men standing around you whispering, even though there’s business happening up in front of you, do you realize you can fall on your face before God and bring your struggle to Him, and praise Him, and rejoice in Him, and call out [for] help?…

The greatest tragedy there can be in anyone’s life is to have walked with the Lord, and then to feel the Lord have to turn away from you because you have rejected Him in how you’ve sinned, in how you’ve lived, and the things that you’ve been thinking and the direction you’ve been going. From time to time, God may have to look away, not because He hates us, but because He’s not willing to see us filthy with sin…

When you feel God at a distance from your life, are you dismayed? Does it make you uncomfortable to think that you may not be walking right with God? I know a lot of Christians who live their lives in such a way that they could care less. [They] have no clue whether God is close or far away. They love to name the Name of Jesus when it’s convenient; when it makes them look good, but what’s truly in your heart? This has nothing to do with anybody else out there. It has nothing to do with what other people see. Are you dismayed when you’re not right with God?…

This is where God draws us to. This is that place where we find ourselves truly right with the Lord. When we’re calling to Him for mercy. You know what? There’s nothing I can do to make myself right with God. There is nothing youcan do to make yourself right with God. The only way to be right with God is to cry out for mercy! “God, I deserve what I get, but I don’t want what I deserve! Forgive me, Lord! Have mercy on me! I don’t want to face the destruction that I know is coming to me…” This is where we should be, crying out to the Lord, seeking Him for His mercy, and letting Him know that we understand that we deserve what we get, we just don’t want what we deserve…

Do we think about eternity? Do we think about our dwelling within eternity? Are we going to be there thanking God forever?…

Where is your hope? Is your hope in the things of this world? Is your hope in a job? Is your hope in a home? Is your hope in a car? Is your hope in circumstances that you think are going to get you ahead? I don’t care how wealthy you may be, I don’t care how many good things you have in your life, if you are putting your hope in those things, your hope is in the wrong place. If your hope is not in God, understand something: all those things can be taken away…

We do, from time to time, find ourselves in distress. We do, from time to time, find our hearts struggling because of circumstances. We find our lives in turmoil because we’ve been wrong with God, or those around us have been wrong with God, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. We can call out to God! Heis the One that brings mercy to us. Heis the One that gives us the answers. The answers are not found in the circumstance. The answers are not found in the things, because as soon as we find security in things, those things fade and break and corrode and are destroyed…

Why do we want God to bless us? Why do we want relationship with Him? Is it because we think we’re something? Is it because we think we deserve it? If that’s where we’re at, I can tell you, you’re wrong with God. No matter how much good we do, no matter how righteous we think we are, if we are doing it because we think we are something, if we are trying to build a name for ourself, we are heading in the wrong direction…

God, You’re the One Who’s great, and for Your namesake, because of Who You are and what You’ve done in this world, because You have created me, because You are the One with the power. I have nothing, but simply, God, because of Your great mercy, because of Your love, because of Your creativeness, because of Who You are, help me. Be part of my life. I don’t deserve it, but guess what? When You are part of my life, others see it, and Your name is honored. Is that what people see in you? When they look at you, do they see the Lord Jesus Christ? When they look at you, do they see faithfulness of God because of your life? When they look at you, do they see God’s mercy in how He’s dwelt in you and dealt with you? Is this what we’re looking for? When I wake up in the morning, am I praying, “God bless me because I am such a good person,” or am I praying, “God, let Your name be known. Regardless of my circumstance let Your name be known, and by the way, if You can be merciful, I would sure appreciate it because I need it today.” That’s how we pray. That’s the God to Whom we’re praying. A great God of mercy and love Who cares and wants to interact with us. But guess what? It’s not because of our greatness. It’s not because of our goodness. It is simply because He is a great and loving God, and He proved it to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and it is by thatname, and that name alone that men are saved.

[God] desires to be in love relationship with us, and He went to the greatest lengths to make sure that that can happen. What's real blessing? It's being right with God.

Vintage message from July 28, 2002.

Do you want to know what real blessing is? The real blessing of life is when you do not have to carry the burden of your own sin. This is the problem with the world. They get up each day. They go off to work. They earn money. They buy homes. They buy cars. They get into relationships, all hoping that somehow this will mask the pain that they’re feeling inside. We step into life, and we are already at a disadvantage from the day we’re born. We are at a disadvantage because we are burdened [and] encumbered with the weight of sin. And our whole lives, unless we were raised in a home where we’re taught what sin truly is and how to deal with it, most of the world grows up with that burden of sin only getting heavier each and every day and struggling each day to cope with the pain and the hurt that comes from it. And they have no understanding…

Each of us in this room need to deal with the burden of sin, and the only way to do it is in relationship with God, through the blessing of God, seeking that blessing of God forgiving and not holding our transgressions against us…

Do you want real relationship with God? Do you want to know what real relationship is with God? Acknowledgement. Acknowledging Him. What are we told in John Chapter 1?
“To all those who received Him, to those who believed in His name.” Acknowledgment. That’s all He wants. He wants us to acknowledge that He is the Lord God, the Savior and Protector of who we are and what we can become.  He desires to be in love relationship with us, and He went to the greatest lengths to make sure that that can happen. God, in making the ultimate sacrifice in giving Jesus — see, the issue was notcan we clean up our own mess?… God knew from the very beginning that He was going to have to do it. [It] had nothing to do with what wecould accomplish, but you know what? People walk out every day thinking, “Okay, I’m a sinner, so therefore I will go do something good. Something good, something bad. We’re  balanced here now. Okay, it levels out.” But you know what? The problem with is it’s so heavy, it’s like lead. Thunk! All the way to the bottom, and there’s no amount of good that you can do to bring it back up, because God set the standard, and the standard was perfection. That’s what He desires. That’s the good you have to do, and no amount of good that you can do once you’ve sinned even one time, one bad thought, eliminates the perfection that you might seek. But yet, people still, every day, go out and try to live to perform good works to impress God…

What is real blessing?  It’s being right with God, and when you’re right with God, guess what? You can’t help but to find yourself in this place of rejoicing, singing, making music in your heart, enjoying life because God is there in you, with you, guiding you, faithful. But you know what? So often our hope is not in the Lord. Our hope is in our own strength. Our hope is in our own devices. Our hope is in those things that we think we can accomplish to try to impress God once again. Maybe if I do enough good, God will notice. Well, guess what? God is already noticing! God has not missed what you’ve done, and if you still feel bad in all that you’ve done, it’s not because God hasn’t noticed. It’s because maybe you’re doing the wrong thing! Maybe you’re heading in the wrong direction! God wants us to be in relationship with Him and rejoicing in Him and walking right with Him…

Do you want to be truly successful? You want to be truly excited about waking up in the morning and leaving your house and being about the business that’s before you? You want to truly know that the direction you’re going is right? Then be right with God, first and foremost. Search your heart. You’ll find sin there, I guarantee it! But acknowledge it to God and don’t hide it, but just simply tell Him what He already knows and then head out the door, and let Him guide your steps. Let Him become your success. Rejoice in Him, even when you don’t know the direction that you’re going to go. Say it, “Lord, I don’t know where I”m going, but I’m going there with You, and I’m going to be content with what You bring me today.” And that’s where we find real success. That’s where we find blessing.

We have been given a key to understanding. It's called God's Word. All we need to do is pick it up, and we can find the knowledge that it takes to be able to stand firm.

Vintage message from August 4, 2002.

If you’re ever in doubt within your circumstances, understand something, God is in control of those circumstances because He created you, He created this world, and He can control anything that you will trust Him with…

I noticed that there is a problem within Christendom, in general. You know what? When things are going good for us,  we have no problem saying, “Praise God!” When we get something that’s new and exciting, “Praise God!” But you let rough things start happening in our life,  you let challenge come to our heart, and you know what? Christians oftentimes become the whiniest cry babies I know. Whatever happened to praise God? You know what? We don’t like to hurt. We don’t like to be inconvenienced. We don’t like to struggle. Nobody does. But you know what? We have been given a key to understanding. It’s called God’s Word. All we need [to] do is pick it up, and we can find the knowledge that it takes to be able to stand firm…

It’s not always easy to praise the Lord. It’s not always easy when you are in the midst of struggle, when you are in the midst of trial, when you are in the midst of doubt, to bring yourself to that place of saying, “You know what? The truth of the matter is, God knows what’s going on. God knows what He’s doing. Even if Ido not know what God is doing, God knows what He’s doing.” It’s a difficult thing to say, but it’s still the truth, and even if you struggle with saying it, sometimes just telling yourself and everybody else around you the truth makes the difference. You know, for some people it’s just words, but I don’t care if it’s just words, it’s still the truth…

Does the Lord know what’s going on? Yes. He sees you. If you are pursuing righteousness, if you are pursuing relationship with Him, guess what? He is watching you. His eyes are actively looking into your heart, seeing what you’re thinking, seeing what you’re feeling. His ear is attentive. He knows when you’re crying out to Him. He knows when you’re struggling, because He hears. Even if He doesn’t act immediately the way you want Him to, guess what? He is seeing and He is hearing, and He has a plan to bless your life…

You’re going to face enemies in this life. You’re going to face struggles in this life. You’re going to face hardships in this life. They’re not dealt with through anger, through vengeance. They’re not dealt with through your hard efforts. They’re dealt with because you trust in the Lord, because you sought Him, because you’ve cried to Him, and you’ve waited on Him for His answer.

If righteousness is what you desire, then you'll humble yourself. You'll not worry about what the outside looks like as much as you worry about what the inside looks like.

Vintage message from August 11, 2002. (Recorded message is cut off at the end.)

There is only one way to deal with wickedness. There is only one way to truly get rid of the sinfulness of your life. You’re not going to change the course of your life by doing enough good things. It’s not like you have a scale or a balance and, “Okay, so I have a handful of bad things over here, so if I put a handful of good things over here it’s going to balance out, and so God will accept me.” It doesn’t work that way. One sin is like lead. It sinks the weight. And there’s not enough goodness in you to pick that weight back up. And there are a lot of people in this world that are living that lifestyle that would hurt us and that would draw us into sin and that would cause us to be unfaithful to God, just so we could join them. And you know what? It is not their fault. It is our own fault because we do it within our own imagination, thinking somehow we can get ahead. Do you want to deal with it? Stop dwelling on what’s out there and start dwelling on Who’s up there…

Do you realize that’s what heals all of our ills? It’s Hislove. Dwelling on Hislove. Thinking about Hislove. Knowing that Heloves us. He cares for us, and His love reaches to the heaven…

There is no one, no one more faithful that God, and He has been faithful to us to bring us to a place where we can truly walk in love relationship with Him… He offered us His Son in death in order to take away the issue of sin. He’s offered us His Spirit in order to draw us close so that we can hear Him and be ministered to by Him. There is no one more faithful that He is, and His faithfulness reaches to the skies…

We, so often, will dwell on what other men have done to us. We will dwell on their wickedness and how it has affected us. [King] David is choosing to dwell on the love that God has for him and the protection that God can give to him and the fact that God can deal with the evil doers. They are well within His control. We don’t have to worry about them. And sometimes those “them” are even those that may seem to be the closest to us. We don’t have to worry about them. We do not have to rail on the evil doer and wish bad things for them, because the fact is, they will lie fallen, thrown down — not by our hand, but by the hand of God. God will humble them. But guess what? If we want to do the things that they do, if we want to live the lifestyles that they live, if we want to pursue life the way that they would pursue life, and we are perceived as the wicked, God can humble us as well, and He’s not afraid to. In fact, He delights in humbling those that He loves in order to bring us into that closer love relationship with Him…

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I hear people read this verse, people who are simply and only living for their own flesh. You know, there are a lot of men in the flesh who are not believers who claim the promises of God. I see it all the time. They will claim the promises of God because, you know what? They think somehow, by naming the name of Jesus and claiming something for themselves that this magically makes God have to bless them. And I’ve heard teachers teach this. I don’t believe that God is motivated in any way by our commanding Him to give us anything, but in fact, I believe that if we are right with God, He doesn’t give us the things that we desire, necessarily, but He will give us the desire. He will place in our heart a desire for the things that are right. He will give to us a hunger for what is right. He will give us the desires of our heart, not the things that we desire, but He will put there the things that we should desire so that we are right with Him, that we are desiring the right things…

Walking right with the Lord does not mean that you can have all of the things that you think you want. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a lot of money or a successful business or a nice home. It doesn’t mean any of those things, because God has a lot of very poor people in this world that He loves just as equally, that He has blessed just as equally…

If righteousness is what you desire, then you’ll humble yourself. You’ll not worry about what the outside looks like as much as you worry about what the inside looks like. And I’m not telling you not to worry about the outside. I’m just saying, let the inside concern you more. If your heart is right with the Lord, He will give you wisdom on how to deal with the outside, and don’t worry about what people do around you. Don’t worry about their condemnations. Don’t worry about their judgements. Don’t worry about their stupidity. Don’t worry about their attacks against you. They will be there to attack you. You will have trials in your life, and sometimes, from time to time, you will stumble, but if you’re truly trusting in the Lord, He’s not going to let you fall. He is going to  continue to lift you up and place you on your feet because He loves you. God’s desire is to have love relationship with you and I. The reason God created you and I was to be with Him, to be in love with Him as He is in love with us.

Yes! I'm a man just like you are. I have sin in my life, but there is a God Who forgives me. There is a God Who loves me. There is a God Who cleansed me.

Vintage message from August 18, 2002.

[Do] you know the bad thing about sin: it never stays just to you. I hear people say all the time, “It’s my sin. It’s just between me and God.” Well, let me tell you, your sin is never just between you and God. When you are in sin, there are people watching. There are people who look to you. I don’t care who you are or how insignificant you think you are, there are people watching. If you have, even in the slightest way hinted that you have a relationship with God, people want to know just exactly how you’re going to live and they watch…

I know a lot of people look up to [King] David in history, and they have great things to say about David, but David was not necessarily a “good” man. David was a man of God. Oftentimes, the greatest men of God were the men who sinned against God the most, who had the greatest struggles in their life, and then God redeems them through. He put them on their feet. He displayed Himself to them and then those men turned to God and sought forgiveness for the lives they lived. And, I believe, this is what you see in David right now. He understands that he is in turmoil, that he is suffering, that he is hurting, that God is rebuking him and God is disciplining him. It’s not about what he can have in live. It’s about Who he can walk with in life, and walking with God is what he desires…

If we will just put our trust in the Lord. I don’t care where you’re at in life, I don’t care what your struggles are in life, I don’t care how hard you think life is, if you just wait and put your trust in the Lord, guess what? He will come. He willmeet you at your point of need. He doeshear your cry for help. And like David, then you, too, will be lifted out of the pit. You’ll be lifted out of the mud and the mire, and your feet will be set on a rock. God loves putting us in those firm places. The only reason why we find ourselves sinking is not because God did not put us on a firm foundation, but because we stepped off of that foundation. We step into the world. Guess what? It’s a mine field out there, and we don’t know where the mines are. God does, and He sets a firm place for us to walk. You step off the path, you’re stepping into danger. You’re stepping into quicksand, and you’re stepping into explosions, and you’re stepping into all kinds of things that can hurt you, but God wants to put our feet on a Rock and give them a firm place to stand. And you know what? Just like David, so often in our lives, when we finally have relief from something that we are struggling with, we find that there is a new song placed in our heart, a new song that comes from our mouth. Songs of praise that weren’t there before. An understanding of Who God is and the love that He has for us…

What is it that we hope to obtain in life? What do you hope to get out of life?  Once you’ve lived every day of your life and you finally get to the end, what is the legacy that you want to leave for yourself? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Are you about building up a large bank account and having a nice home and having that mansion here and the Cadillac and the comfort and the all the things that the world seems to desire? Or, do you want your legacy to be one that causes others to put their trust in the Lord? If we are living our lives truly in love with the Lord, then we will want others to know Him as well. That needs to be our legacy. That needs to be what guides us. That needs to be what motivates us. Like I’ve said, I have sin in my life. From time to time, it even comes out, and I stumble, and I fall. My desire, though, is to live in such a way that God can use me to be a witness and an example to the world, and if I’m in sin, God brings that out, not because He wants to make me look like a fool, because I’m already a fool, but because He wants me to stand up in the face of a lost and dying world and say, “Guess what? Yes! I’m a man just like you are. I have sin in my life, but there is a God Who forgives me. There is a God Who loves me. There is a God Who has cleansed me…”

People should be able to look at us and see the love and forgiveness of God… Do you know where the forgiveness comes from? Do you know where true cleansing comes from? It doesn’t come from being here in this room today. It doesn’t come from calling yourself a Christian. It comes from His mercy. It comes from His love. The reason that we can call ourselves Christians is because of His mercy and His love. That Hemade the sacrifices that needed to be made. He offered His Son, and He gave us mercy. He showed us mercy. He then filled us with His love. He gave us His truth in His Word, and that love and that truth will always protect us if we will turn to it, if we will seek it. If you will spend time in God’s Word, you will know the truth…

It pleases God to save us. It pleases God to show us mercy. It pleases God to touch our lives and to fill us with His love. It pleases Him… Even though our lives are filled with trouble, we need. Becauseour lives are filled with trouble, we need. You know, God doesn’t need us. God doesn’t need anything that we can give to Him. God doesn’t need any of our cleverness. He doesn’t need our strength. He doesn’t need our wisdom. God does not need us, we need His mercy, we need His love, we need His truth, and we need Him to save us. We need the Lord in our life. We need God touching us, building us up, forgiving us, and placing our feet on a firm place, putting our feet on a Rock where we can stand in Him, where when people in this world who are God’s enemies look at us, they’re not seeing a man of perfection. They’re seeing a man who was brought from imperfection and placed in a love relationship with God. Forgiven. Redeemed. We didn’t put ourself on that Rock… Only God can put us there.

If I ever begin to believe that my circumstance today is going to somehow overtake the power of God, all I need to do is remind myself of where I've already been and the things that God has saved me from.

Vintage message from August 25, 2002.

You can not invest enough in your worship of God, and I’m not just talking about money. I am talking about whoyou are. You can not invest enough in your walk, in your worship, before God…

If you are walking with the Lord in such a way that you are looking to the needs of those around you, building up the hearts and character of those that are struggling, when you face your foe, the Lord will delivery you. You may have to face him, but guess what? You’re not going to be given over to the desire that he has for you, because facing our foe is what God uses in our life to build character in us, to build strength in us, to show us that we can trust Him and walk right with Him…

I will tell you, sometimes, your closest friend can be your worst enemy. From time to time, your close friend may say or do things that will hurt you, and it is not our job to judge our close friend, but to hand them over to God… From time to time our close friends, even our closest friend, will do something that will hurt us. You know what? Our eyes are not to be on our close friends. Our eyes are to be on God, trusting Him…

We need to be in a place of praising and worshipping God. If you are not, then let me tell you, you are truly poor… If you are not worshipping God, if you are not living to be right with Him, you are poor and in need of someone to come along and help you, to reach out their hand and bring you to that place of knowing your need…

That’s where we need to be in life. In every situation, on every occasion, no matter how hard it is, we need to remind ourselves of God’s love. If nobody else will, guess what? You can do it… Remember the things that God has done for you in the past… And if I ever begin to believe that my circumstance today is going to somehow overtake the power God, all I need do is remind myself of where I’ve already been and the things that God has saved me from…

“Why are you downcast, oh my soul?” God’s going to get you through this. God is the One that I need to be looking to.  God is the One Who has delivered me in the past. Why am I so depressed? God is faithful to me… “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him.” It comes down to, what is your desire in life? What is it that you are hoping to accomplish in life? If your hope is to accomplish acquiring a million dollars, having a ‘cush’ retirement, if that is what you are looking forward to, guess what? I can see where depression would overcome you many times over…

But God, the bottomline is, I put my hope in You. You are what I hope for in the future. You are what I hope for in my life. Praising You is what I desire. That’s my “bank account.” That’s my retirement. That’s what I want to look forward to; is being able to crawl out of this bed and go before You and worship You; to spend that time in Your presence.

“Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” We’ll get depressed from time to time. We will find those moments in our life where we’re struggling. I’m not going to tell you that it’s not going to come. It would be foolish for any of us to think that we will not have moments of trouble. And guess what? You are not a “bad Christian” if you have these moments of struggle. In fact, as far as I see it, there is no such thing as a “good Christian” or a “bad Christian.” Those are labels that we, in our flesh, have tacked on. You are either a Christian or you’re not. If you are in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and He’s come into your life, guess what? You are a Christian, good, bad, or ugly, and He deals with it. His Spirit comes in and does the work. He’s what’s good. We’re not. And so, don’t ever allow yourself to get to that place where you start pounding on yourself, looking down on yourself, because guess what? You’re already a sinner. You’re as low as you can get! I hate to say it. You’ve only got good to look forward to… The only good there is up there for us is God through the power of His Spirit because He loves us. We need to put our hope in Him, and then when we have those moments of depression, when we have those moments of struggle, He helps us to overcome it. And just know, you canlook forward to something in life. “For I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

I don't always agree with everything God says...but guess what? It doesn't mean He's wrong! It means that I'm wrong. The problem is with me!

Vintage message from September 1, 2002.

Is God your stronghold? Is God the One that you turn to in times of trouble? Is God the One you that you dwell with and in, even in the good times? Is He that place where you find yourself that the world can not penetrate? So many of us toy with the world and we keep one foot in the world, and we find ourselves in messes and thenwe run back and ask God to take care of it for us.  And then we go back into the world and we mess up things again, and then we run back and say, “Oh, God, take care of this for me!” You know what? We need to make God our stronghold allthe time. We need to dwell there; live there; make every part of our life in that stronghold, and then we will have God’s protection. I’m not going to say that we’re ever going to be perfect… We’re all going to stumble. We’re all going to fall. We all need each other encouraging one another, building one another up, caring for one another…

Why do we end up with much of the trouble we have in our life? Much of the trouble we have is because we make wrong choices, and we open our lives up to the attack of the enemy…

“Why am I downcast, oh my soul?” You know what? I find that when we are not walking right with the Lord, we find ourselves struggling with depression… Sometimes the greatest medicine for depression is simply to remind ourselves. You know, if I’m depressed, if I’m struggling in my life, I know, generally, why I’m depressed and why I’m struggling in my life… It’s because I have not been right with the Lord. I have not put my hope in the Lord. I have put my hope in other things. I have put my hope in a job. I have put my hope in people. I have put my hope in the desire for  the future. And I have not put my hope in God, and guess what? That will always, always bring you to a place of depression. Put your hope in God, and everything else works its way out…

I find that the times that I am the most depressed is when I have put my hope, my desires, in other men, in other people around me. When I have lived with expectations of what those people should be, who they should be for me, how they should be responding to me, that’s a mistake. You should never, ever put your hope in other people, because, people will disappoint you. If you’re putting your hope in me, even as your pastor, I will sorely disappoint you because I’m a man with flaws. Yes, I may study God’s Word and teach it, but I oftentimes stumble over it, too. Sometimes I’ll read it and I’ll say, “No, God! I don’t want to do that!” And I challenge Him, and He kicks me in the pants! Sometimes, and I confess freely, I have walked away from God because I was mad at Him because He wanted me to do something that I didn’t want to do. I don’t always agree with everything that God says, and I don’t expect you to either, but guess what? It doesn’t mean that He’s wrong! It means that I’mwrong. The problem is in me. And so, when I get depressed, when I put my hope in the relationship I can have with you, if you’re putting your hope in the relationship you can have with me, guess what? We’re all going to be very disappointed. The only hope there is, is the hope you can put in God and that relationship you have with Him through His Word, through His light, through His truth.

God is on His throne. God is in charge, and we need only to trust Him. Even when those hard times come, even when the enemies do attack us, God is the One that's going to preserve us.

Vintage message from September 8, 2002.

We are the testimony of God — the loving testimony of God — to this world, and we need to be about sharing…

God is on His throne. God isin charge, and we need only to trust Him. Even when those hard times come, even when the enemies do attack us, God is the One that’s going to preserve us…

If you desire to be right with the Lord (and that does not mean that you’re going to be perfect), but if you desire to be right with the Lord, search your heart, confess your sin as often as it happens…

What is the reason that we exist today? What is the reason that God gave His Son to shed His blood [so] that you and I might be saved?… So that we can be a witness and a testimony to the nations that are lost and dying. You know what? It is not about our comfort, it is not about our success, it is not about our wealth and our prosperity, but it is about a God Who loved us enough to save us and cleanse us and bring us to a place where we are now right with Him, in order to turn around and share with a world that is lost. His desire is that the nations know that love. It is His desire that the nations come to that love, and guess who He wants to use to do it? You and I. He doesn’t need to use us. You now what? He didn’t need anybody to go to Abraham when He wanted to talk to Abraham… God can get the job done. He doesn’t need us, but because He loves us and He wants the world to see that He does love men, He chooses to use us, and He wants us to share the memories of the things that have happened in our lives and the lives of our friends so that the nations will turn, then, and praise Him…

And this is another problem I find so often within Christianity. We seek help from other places before we turn to God. And I don’t understand why, and I find that I do that, too. That something will be going on, and I will try all of the avenues that the world would offer me before it finally hits me and I go (slap), “Duh! God, would you help me here?” You know? And He loves it when we come to Him for help because He is our ever-present help. He is there always, waiting. But you know what? God’s not going to just jump in and take control and do the job for us because He wants us to acknowledge Him. He wants us to have love relationship with Him, and He knows how irritated we would get if He just came in and tried to run our life, because He knows our flesh, He knows our selfishness. He wants us to have relationship that trusts Him and turns to Him.

We match our lives to this book, but then we share our lives with those who are around us.

Vintage message from September 15, 2002.

When was the last time you actually worshipped God? You know, we sing to God all the time. We’ll put a tape in the tape player and we’ll sing along with it, and we’ll gather at church on Sunday morning, and we might even raise a hand now and again. And, in the church today, we have fallen to a place of calling thatworship, but you know what? Worship doesn’t happen because you’re at church. Worship doesn’t happen because you’re feeling good. Worship doesn’t happen because you gotta make it happen.  Worship happens because you are excited… I don’t care what people think. You know what? I get excited sometimes because God does great and awesome things!…

God has placed His power and His Spirit in us. We are that living word that needs to be shared. We take His Word and we match what God is doing in our life with His Word… We match our lives to this Book, but then we share our lives with those who are around us. We show them that there is reason that they should be understanding God and His Word, but that there is also reason to be understanding God and a living love relationship with Him…

Our testimonies, our living testimonies are so very important. Look at the things that God does in your life every day, and if you don’t have a good memory, write them down because it is those little things that God does each and every day that becomes exciting testimonies of the future that we can share with our friends and our kids…

Lord, let us, cause us, motivate us to be about sharing the great things that You’ve done for us, Lord, the things You do in us. Allow, Lord, for that testimony of Your faithfulness and love to us to become what motivates us every day, and cause us to share that, that we might see others come into the kingdom of God.

If you know the One Who created you and His Son Who died for you, you have all of the blessings of the universe.

Vintage message from September 22, 2002.

You know what? It [life] is not about what you can accumulate here. It is about coming to know the God Who created you and walking in right relationship with Him. Understanding the love that He has for you…

It’s not always comfortable knowing God, it’s not always easy following God, and sometimes it means sacrificing to be right with God…

It’s not about knowing that you have a million dollars in a bank account, or ten dollars in a bank account. It’s about whether or not you know where your salvation comes from. It’s about whether or not you know the Creator of this universe and the part He wants to play in your life… If you know the One Who created you and His Son Who died for you, you have all of the blessing of the universe. It’s been given to you, because you get to walk from this life, from this world, from the decadence of this world, into eternity with a God Who loves you and created you to be with Him for eternity. That’s the blessing. The blessings of life are far more than the things that God gives us…

You will have tribulation. Trials will be part of your life. Embrace those trials. Embrace those struggles. Don’t run from them, don’t despise them, because it is those trials and those struggles that make you strong, that draw you into that place before the God Who created you and loves you. But if you begin to embrace wealth, if you think wealth is going to answer the question, solve the problem, you’re only looking for more problems…

Do you know what it is that God is looking for?… “I want you to know Me and offer an offering of thanks that you can know Me.” Basically, God isn’t begging for us to fall on our face and make a bunch of noise before Him, and you know, God just wants us to walk in love relationship with Him and be thankful to Him for the salvation that He is to us. Be thankful that He created us to walk in love relationship with Him. So many people miss the point. They’ll show up at church thinking that somehow now I can feel good about myself. It’s not about you feeling good about yourself. It is about you walking in right relationship with God, and if you have sin in your life, if you have areas that are wrong in your life, you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. You should be looking to God to say, “How can I deal with this? I don’t feel good but God, thank You for loving me and now I need Your help.” He says it, call out to me in your time of trouble. He wantsus to call to Him. He wants us to be right with Him. He doesn’t mind us coming to Him when we’re struggling.

I can honestly tell you, most of my problems I've had in life are because I was not willing to obey God's Word... I did not have a willing spirit. I wanted to do it my way.

Vintage message from September 29, 2002.

[This] is an appeal that I believe that each of us in our lives need to make to God. “Have mercy on me according to Yourunfailing love.” You know what? God’s love is unfailing, God’s love is abundant, and God desires to share that love with us first and foremost. In fact, from the day that He conceived the idea to create man, I believe that He created man because of a desire to love. He didn’t create you and I (contrary to many popular beliefs) to be His slaves. If He wanted servants, if He wanted slaves, He would have created robots. But, He created man and gave us the ability to choose…

Just because you love God does not mean you are without sin, and does not mean that from time to time you do not need to humble yourself before God and say, “God, I am in need of Your unfailing love because I have sinned against You.” But see, this is the arrogance and the pride of our life. We think sometimes — and especiallywhen we become Christians — “I no longer need to fall before God in humility. I’ve already been forgiven of my sin.” You know, I’ve actually heard people in arrogance say, “Now that I’m a Christian, I won’t sin any more. God took care of that when I became a Christian. I just don’t sin any more.” …Do you realize there is nothing in your life, nothing, that is hidden? There is nothing you’re doing, nothing you have done that God does not already know about, good, bad, or otherwise. He knows everything about you. And you know what? His love is still unfailing. His desire to know you and be with you is unfailing. He just simply asks us to get it right with Him…

God is not always going to give you the things that you desire. It says that God will give you the desires of your heart. I don’t believe that means He’s going to give you everything that you desire, but I believe He’s going to put on your heart the desires that He wants you to have when you are walking right with Him. He’s not going to ever give you something that goes against His will that sins against Him, but He will help you to have a right desire when you’re walking right with Him, and then when you desire something you can know that that desire comes from Him. But so often, we desire the things that we’re not supposed to have. We desire the relationships that we’re not supposed to be in, and we sin against God, and we get to that place where God tells us, “Choose. There’s the road. You can hit the road if you want or you can stay with Me…”

Do you know why we sin against God? Do you know why we end up in that place that [King] David was standing, having to cry out to God? Because we do not have a willing spirit. We’re not willing to listen to our folks. We’re not willing to listen to our government. We’re not willing to listen to those people who God has placed over us. We think of every reason in the book to rebel against them. To go our own way, because we do not have a willing spirit. And the fact is, only God can give us that willing spirit, and we have to desire it. We have to ask Him for it… I can honestly tell you, most of my problems I’ve had in life are because I was not willing to obey God’s Word. I was not willing to obey the authority that was over me. I was not willing to listen to those that had wisdom. I did not have a willing spirit. I wanted to do it my way. My life. I’ll live it…

Do you want to be right with God? Don’t try to pay Him off. Don’t go out and try to do good. The good will never outweigh the bad. Fall before the Lord in humility. Confess your sin to Him. Approach Him with a broken heart. Show Him broken spirit because of your sin. Show Him your need of Him because of your sin. And He won’t despise that. He despises it when we try to bring Him an offering to impress Him because all we’re trying to do is to buy Him off. He will not be bought off.

And everything that God has done in our lives, everything that God has done for us, is deserving of our praise.

Vintage message from October 6, 2002.

I believe this is the message [King] David would give to each one of us today. If David were here talking to us…he would say, “Make God your stronghold…”

I have to ask a question… How many of us have made our stronghold our own ability and strength?  How many of us look to our own wealth? How many of us look to our own position? How many of us look to our own ability to make what we have in life happen? Understand something: that when you seek position in this life, when you seek money in this life, when you seek a name for yourself in this life, and you do it outside of making God your stronghold… [then] you are a person seeking for yourself, and guess what? When men seek for themselves, when they do not put their faith and trust in God Who created them, God will uproot them.  He may let them flourish on this planet for a while. He puts those people here to test the faith and the strength of character of those who truly do trust Him…

God has given each and every one of us in this room a testimony. From the day you said, “Lord Jesus, come into my life”…God started writing a book for you, a testimony that you can share with others. He writes it in your heart. He does things for you, and so often we are blind to the things that God is doing in our lives every single day… And we need to be rejoicing, and we need to be praising, and we need to be looking at those things that God has done. And you know what? The more we look at the things God has done, we’re not paying attention to those things that God has not done, or that we expected Him to do, or that we commanded Him to do, or that we believed He should have done. We take our eyes off of those things that aren’t happening, those things that would direct us in paths that maybe God does not want us to go on, and I find a lot of people who make decisions based on the fact that God hasn’t done something for them yet. They get it in their mind, “This has to happen for me. God owes this to me. I will have this in my life,” and I hear people make these statements. “I deserve this, and God’s not giving it to me, so I’ll go get it some other way. If God is not going to do it for me, then I’ll just go make it happen some other way. God must not know what He’s doing.” If we look there, guess what? We’re going to miss the things that God has done.  And everything that God has done in our lives, everything that God has done for us, is deserving of our praise…

The only way to flourish is not try to hide the things you do. We’re all going to sin. We’re all going to blow it. We’ve already done it. There’s no sense in trying to be good to overcome the bad. Just confess the bad and be done with it, and plant your tree firmly so that it will flourish, and then…the praises begin to come. We stop seeking for ourself and we start seeking for what God desires for us…

I believe one of the ways that we succeed in life as believers, is to look at the truth of who we are… Do you realize that God is watching you? Right now. God is seeing the things that you do. God is seeing the things that I do. He is paying attention. God has not lost sight of who we are or what we’ve done. He knows the wickedness that we’ve committed, just as He knows the good things that we’ve done…

God loves it when we pursue Him. God loves it when we do good because He is dwelling in our heart, and the good is the natural response to a loving, holy God living inside of us. But so often, we do the good things that we do so that others will recognize, so that people will look at us and say, “Oh, isn’t that person good?” You know, a truly good person doesn’t care who sees… And everything we do should be about Him, for Him, because of Him, not for us or because of us. When we look at only what’s going to make us comfortable, we exclude God. God isn’t in it for our comfort. God is in it to love us.

If you're not in His Word, if you don't know His Word, if you don't know Him through His Word, when struggles come your way, you're going to crumble.

Vintage message from October 13, 2002.

There’s nothing harder to deal with in our lives than betrayal from someone who is really close to us… We can be betrayed by a brother or a sister, a husband or a wife. It happens. Our close friends, sometimes, are the ones that become our worst enemies, and we need to be looking always to the Lord. We need to keep our eyes always on the Lord, so that we’re not taken by surprise. Being stabbed in the back is a very hard thing. But David does have the answer one again, “But as for me, I trust in You.” How many of us actually can say, “I’ve trusted the Lord through betrayal”? How many of us can say, “I’ve trusted the Lord through those times when my enemy was my closest friend”?…

We find our peace and we find our strength in that relationship that we have with God. We find our peace and we find our strength when we’ve walked in God’s Word, when we’ve trusted in His Word, when we’ve allowed for His Son Jesus Christ to be that part of our life that is going to guide us through those hard times…

One of the things that we need to seek in God’s kingdom, more than anything else, is His mercy. There is not one of us in this room that deserves to live on the face of this planet in peace, because of the sin issues of our life, because of our betrayal to God. When we pray, we need to be praying, “God, be merciful to me…”

[King] David is a great inspiration to me. He shows me that it is okay to have emotions. It’s okay to fear, and it’s okay to struggle with anger, and it is okay to struggle sometimes with wanting God to take vengeance. Those are all part of who we are, and what we’ll deal with in this flesh. What makes it wrong is how we respond to it. David had all these feelings, but David dealt with them in prayer, and David dealt with them before God, and David allowed God to be his Champion, rather than going out and trying to do it himself…

How many of us spend time in God’s Word, to know God so that we can praise him?… If you want to really know God, you have to know Him in His Word. You have to spend time studying. You have to spend time reading. You have to spend time praying through what He has said to us, and becoming acquainted with Him and time in His Word… If you’re not in His Word, if you don’t know His Word, if you don’t know Him through His Word, when struggles come your way, you’re going to crumble.

I will find my refuge in God, and I will sing and make music regardless of what the struggle is. I will see God exalted. My heart is steadfast, oh God. I'm not moved. I'm standing here, firm in You.

Vintage message from October 20, 2002.

[King David was] a man who was truly in love with God, but even in his shortcomings, he truly understood that God loved him. He knew that God was watching. He knew that God was caring. He knew that God was faithful. And he knew, no matter what the disaster was, he could turn to God, and God would be faithful. Not faithful to not allow these things to happen. That’s not the faithfulness of God. You know what? God is dealing with the flesh of men. God is trying to humble the flesh of men. God is trying to destroy the pride and sin issues in man’s flesh, and sometimes it takes a disaster in our life for us to come to the end of ourself and know that we need Him…

It says, “I am in the midst of lions. I lie among ravenous beasts.” How many times have we felt that we were in that place? That life was ready to devour us. We had no idea where we could turn [or] how it was going to be resolved for us…

You notice that [David] doesn’t say, “And Lord, save me from this!” He’s not concerned that he might find himself in this turmoil. He’s saying, “God, I’m in this turmoil, but I know Your love, and Your love is for this world. You exalt Yourself, Lord, and if by my being in this distress will exalt You, God, exalt Yourself.” When was the last time we found ourselves saying, “God, put my life on the train track with the train coming if, in fact, putting me on that train track will glorify You.” We’re afraid to stand in front of the locomotive. We’re afraid of standing in the midst of the lions. We’re afraid of the hardships that come our way in life, and we run from them rather than saying, “God, how can I glorify You through this? How can You be exalted by using me in the midst of this?” That’s where we should be. Understanding that God not only loves me, but God loves you and God loves everybody outside the doors of this building. God loves the world. He loves men who He’s created, and He would love to get their attention…

You’re never a victim…when you stand in the face of turmoil, when you stand in the face of struggle, when you stand in the face of the enemy and say, “My God is great whether I live or die. My God is great…”

It’s not about me. It’s about Him, right? But so often, all we can see is our own flesh, our own minuscule struggles on the face of this planet. We think that we are all that it is about, but it is not about me. It is not about my struggle. It is about the God Who created me, and why has He allowed me to stand in the midst of this struggle. To sing and make music. To prove His love to a lost and dying world. To stand firm… I will find my refuge in God, and I will sing and make music regardless of what the struggle is. I will see God exalted. My heart is steadfast, oh God. I’m not moved. I’m standing here, firm in You…

My strength is found in God because God loves me.

It is never too late to be restored to God. God in His wisdom, God in His power, God in His love, desires to restore us to a place of love relationship with Him. He is just waiting for us to ask.

Vintage message from October 27, 2002.

It is never too late to be restored to God. God in His wisdom, God in His power, God in His love, desires to restore us to a place of love relationship with Him. He is just waiting for us to ask…

We get to that place where it is time to turn back to that relationship with God. We come to that time in our life where we have to say, “God, turning to man is not going to help us any longer.” So often we still try to work out our life with clever schemes. We turn to other men, and we turn to the schemes of men and expect that somehow that is going to save us. Somehow that is going to deliver us from our turmoil. “If I just had a better job. If I just had a boss who would pay me more. If I just had a better car to get back and forth to work. If someone would just give me this or someone would give me that.” We look to the schemes of men. David came to that place that “the help of man is worthless.” There comes a time in our life where we have to decide [that] even those that we love and are close to and in good relationship with, that they are not the answer.  I am not the answer to your problems. The person sitting next to you is not the answer to your problem.

Husbands, wives, you’re not the answer to each other’s problems. Do you realize the only answer to any problem that you have is turning in right relationship to the Lord God Who created you? It’s not turning to man. It’s not turning to each other. It’s not trying to console and strengthen and build up one another that we get our help…

It is our flesh and the sin in our flesh that keeps us in bondage. It is that sin in our flesh that keeps waging war against the Spirit that’s in us that desires to bring us to a place of love relationship with God. But every time we try to get our lives right, every time we turn to the Lord and say, “Oh, Lord, I want to be right with you this time,” what happens? The enemy attacks! And turning to clever schemes, turning to the devices of men, will not change that circumstance that you’re in. It will not destroy the enemy that comes against you. With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies… It is only God Who can deal with our issues of sin and our sin nature…

If we only understood the protection that God desires to give us. Each and every day in our lives, God desires to be that “mother hen” over us…

Do you realize that we can not survive, we can not accomplish anything that we desire, without God’s love and God’s faithfulness… If it was not for God’s love and God’s faithfulness,  you could not accomplish anything. And so often, even in the unbeliever, God will allow them to accomplish amazing things, hoping to get their attention, to draw them into that love relationship with Him…

You know what? Rest is not going to come to us because we have a nice house, rest is not going to come to us because we have large bank accounts, rest is not going to come to us because we do this or we do that. The only way we will find rest is when we understand the salvation that we have in God. That’s where rest comes from. Jesus is our rest…

You’ll not go wrong when you put your trust in a God Who is strong and loving… He can deal with your every need, He can deal with your every circumstance in life, and you know what? He loves doing it because He loves you, and He loves me.

Isn't it amazing that the God Who can still an ocean desires to work on your behalf?

Vintage message from November 3, 2002.

Whatever is going on in your life, whatever challenges you face in life, whatever hardships you may endure, there is always reason to praise God Who created you. There is always reason for you to rejoice in the Lord…

As we study through God’s Word, what are we determined to do with the knowledge we gain of God? Are we willing to stand up in the face of a dry and arid land and say, “Oh God, You aremy God.” Are we willing to let people know that we believe in the God Who created heaven and earth? Are we wiling to stand up and say, “The Lord has saved me, and He has done the work in my life. My soul thirsts”? It’s a question I have to ask myself every day: am I thirsting and am I hungering for the Lord? So often we get caught up in the things of the world, we get distracted by the delicacies that the world offers us, and we try to fill our lives with those things…

Are you thirsting and hungering? Does your body long for that relationship that you can have in God?…

It starts with a testimony. It starts with you and I going out to those who are lost and saying, “Come and see… Come and search with me…”

You know what? Not everybody is going to believe, not everybody is going to understand, not everybody is going to give their lives over to the Lord, but we don’t have responsibility for that. We have the responsibility of saying to them, “Come and see. This is what God has done in my life. This is what God has done for me today…”

Isn’t it amazing that God Who can still an ocean desires to work  on your behalf?  He desiresthat! He wants to be part of your life, and He wants to part of the lives of those people that you encounter each and every day. and all we have to do is let them know. Open your eyes and start looking at the wonders of God. Open your eyes and start seeing the power and the character of God in all that He does for you each and every day.

I know there's going to be hard times in my life. I know there are going to be challenges in my life tomorrow. But you know what? God has proven Himself already before. God has done great things before. You know, we can trust God because of what He has done before.

Vintage message from November 10, 2002.

Do you realize that as a child of God, if you receive Jesus into your heart, you have an inheritance waiting? You have a place that God has created you to be in? He’s prepared a place for you. And you might have to cross the desert to get to it, but if you look at it from God’s eyes, He’s already pouring down the showers of blessing. He’s allowing for the vegetation to grow. He’s allowing for the provision to be there…

You know what? None of us can accomplish anything outside of God’s Word. We thinkwe can… If you’re dwelling within God’s Word, if you are acting within God’s Word, if you are moving because of God’s Word, then there’s not an enemy, there’s not a king, there’s not an army big enough to stop you…

Where are our hearts? Do we find ourselves looking with envy at what God has given to others? Are we not content with what God has given us?…

God, what can I do to be right with You? …What can I do to be used and to see the blessings that You give and to use those blessings [so] that the rest of the world would see that I am truly blessed? That I have a relationship with God Who created me….

Once again, [King] David is not saying that life is going to be free from burdens, but that if we were right with God, if we will trust God, guess what? He’ll carry those burdens for us. He’ll help us through those burdens. Our God is a God Who saves…

I know there’s going to be hard times in my life. I know there are going to be challenges in my life tomorrow. But you know what? God has proven Himself already before. God has done great things before. You know, we can trust God because of what He has done before.

Throughout history...God has desired only to have relationship with man who He's created. He doesn't want our sacrifices. He doesn't need our money... He wants our heart attitudes to be right with Him.

Vintage message from November 17, 2002.

So often in life we find ourselves in trouble, we find ourselves in struggle, and all we can say is, “God, help me! God, help me! God, make this go away! God, make me stop hurting. God, I don’t want this to happen to me…”

What was the purpose for Jesus coming? To restore what He did not steal; to restore our lives; to restore the lives that westole from God through our sin, through our sin nature, through our rebellion. We lived a life, from the day we were born, because of the nature of sin that indwelt us, we stole from God what was rightfully His because of our sin, and Jesus was forced to restore it. His death on the cross became the redemption. The price paid for what He did not steal. He paid a very high price, a very dear price…

Throughout history, from the time of Adam and Eve, God has desired only to have relationship with man who He’s created. He doesn’t want our sacrifices. He doesn’t needour money. He doesn’t have to have us build big buildings for Him to impress Him. He wants our heart attitudes to be right with Him. And He wants us to come to Him in acknowledgement and relationship, and that pleases Him more than the offerings that [King] David could bring…

He knows where we’re suffering, and He knows where we’re hurting, and He knows what our spirits need in order to refresh us. He knew it long before we were born, even, because it is within the imagination of God to see us and to see our lives fulfilled. It is wewho do not see God. It’s we,in our flesh, who have closed oureyes when we allow the needs of our lives to blind us, and we begin, then, to put faith in ourselves and put faith in our own abilities. And somehow, we convince ourselves that either God is unjust for allowing us to go through the hard time, or that maybe we’re just so bad that God’s can’t deal with it. “I’m the exception to the rule. God can’t forgive me!” You know how many times I’ve heard people say that? “Jesus’s death on the cross was meaningless because God can’t forgive me, because I’ve blown it sobad that God wouldn’t wantto forgive me.”  Do you realize that’s what you’re saying when you say God can’t forgive you, or when you say, “God can’t bless me,” or when you say that God can’t do this or that God can’t do that. You’re saying that, “Iam the exception to the rule. Iam the one that God created that God has lost control of.” God knew you before you came into this room, and He knew Jesus and what Jesus would experience before Jesus was born to the face of this earth…

Do you love the name of God? Do you love the Lord? Do you desire to have that relationship with Him? Do you realize there is a time coming that you will dwell with Him forever? That time actually begins the moment you say, “Jesus, come into my life.”

God cares more for your soul than you do, and He cares less for your flesh than you do.

Vintage message from December 29, 2002.

So often I hear people who fall on hard times say, “It’s because God is unfair. I don’t deserve this,” but most of the time I find it is that God is just being fair after having warned us, given us His Word, given us history to look at, given us people who’ve shared testimony with us about why hard times come, and we ignored it. And so, because God loves us,  and because God cares to bring us into love relationship, sometimes He has to do that by getting our attention. By allowing hardship to come into our life because hardship generally drives people to their knees. Generally drives people to a place of wanting to know or understand someone greater than themselves that can get them out of the trouble that they’re in…

So often, when we find ourselves in trouble, when trouble finally comes to us because of our own stupidity, what’s the first thing we try to do? Remind God of Hisobligation. “God, it’s Yourfault!” or “God, You’re supposed to loveus!” or “God, You have to do it this way,” or “God, You have to do it that way…”

God is doing as He pleases, because it pleases Him to draw men into love relationship. It is His desire. God cares more for your soul than you do, and He cares less for your flesh than you do. He doesn’t mind if your flesh gets destroyed, if the destruction of your flesh is going to draw you into a love relationship; a place where you understand your need for relationship with Him…

Understand something, I always work from the foundation of God is love. We are told that, emphatically. God is love

And I think sometimes in our lives, we encounter people who we look at the hardships they’re going through — and we may not be going through hardship — and we have the tendency to believe or to say or to think, “They deserve what they get,” but isn’t it funny that when we find ourselves in those times of distress, it’s never our fault. It’s alwayssomebody else’s fault. It’s got to be this or that, or God did it. When we encounter those that are in hardship, don’t underestimate what God may be doing in your life…

The next time you find yourself in a place of hardship, don’t be so quick to accuse God. Don’t be so quick to accuse your neighbors, or the corrupt government that you happen to be part of, but look into your own heart and ask, “What is there in my life that God is working on? Why is God trying to get my attention in this way?” Otherwise, the destruction that happens seems so much worse, is so much harder to deal with… God is just, and God is right, and God is merciful… We all need God’s mercy to come quickly to us because it is only by His mercy that we survive….

When we pray, when you humble yourself and you get your heart right with God, God hears, and God intervenes.

We have every reason to be thankful to God for what He's given to us.

Vintage message from January 5, 2003. (Message is cut off at the end.)

When we begin to get sucked in, in any way, to something that draws us away from fellowshipping with other believers and spending time with the Lord, it is because the Lord is finally given us over to our stubborn hearts, and He leaves us to our own devices…

We have every reason to celebrate. We have every reason to be thankful to God for what He’s given to us. For the deliverance the we’ve given from slavery, the bondage that we had in Egypt [symbolic of sin]. We’ve been delivered from that. But, the problem is, slavery does not always come at the hand of another. Oftentimes, slavery comes willingly, voluntarily. We become enslaved because of the stubbornness of our heart…

What happens when you give yourself over to the hardness of your heart and begin to worship other gods? God’s enemies move in quickly to consume you…

Part of the problem is, we cry out to God to save us because we refuse to humble ourselves before Him because we refuse to obey His Word. God loves you and I. God loves to do good for you and I. But you know what? God is also trying to get our attention. God also desires for us to walk right with Him. Sometimes — and I’m not saying the only reason why bad things happen to people is because they’re outside of God’s will. You know, sometimes bad things happen to people because God is usingthem to get somebody else’s attention, and He’s strengthening them through a hardship so that the rest of the world can stand back and look and say, “Wow! That person is enduring that because he loves God? Maybe Ishould do that…”

Part of the problem is that God still loves us even when He lets the enemy overrun us, and I think sometimes it’s because He loves us that He has to let an enemy overrun us. When we are ignoring Him, when we are giving place in our own heart to the worship of the things that wewant to our own devices, that God hands us over to those things and then the enemy pursues.

You know what? God is not afraid of our enemies…  God is not afraid of any enemy that you’re facing right now. God is not held back with fear because of any trial that you may be facing right now in your life. God may be standing back, but He’s not held back in fear. It’s not that God can not or does not want to work in your life, but it may be that God is working in your life in a way that He’s using you, or it may be that He’s working in your life in a way to get your attention to help you step out of that device that you’ve handed yourself over to. But whatever the condition of your heart, God gives us reason to rejoice. God has delivered, or offers deliverance to each and every one of us in this room.  God desires for us to walk in celebration with Him because of that deliverance, and the life that He wants us to live with Him is reason to rejoice! That’s reason for a celebration.

His love is unfailing. He does not abandon us. It is our condition of sin that has caused us to abandon Him...

Vintage message from January 12, 2003.

This is something I find is a problem in our society to day, this is a problem I find in our churches today, and this is a problem I find oftentimes in my life, that so often, though my heart may cry out for God, my flesh wants everything else. I’m not quite at that point always where I say, “Lord, I am fully and completely sold out to You.” And there are times that I impose separation on myself to fulfill the desires of my flesh…but I find in those times when I’ve engaged my flesh and the desires that it has for this world, even though my heart may still love the Lord and desire for the Lord, I find that there’s a yearning, and God reminds me of my place, and then I have to bring my flesh back into God’s will…

So often our lives are a mess. We’ve dwelt in sin rather than in His house, and those issues of sin need to be dealt with, but yet God is forgiving…

You know what? You can go to church your entire life and not  ever be fulfilled. If your heart’s not right with the Lord, you’re just filling a pew… We need to be coming to the Lord praying, “Lord, show me what’s in my life!”

Worship happens inside [of us]. Our love and drive for the Lord happens inside. So, if you’re away from the Lord, or you’re struggling with separation from the Lord, maybe you need to be praying, “Lord, You forgave the iniquity of those people, so I know you can forgive me. Restore meagain, oh Lord.”

How does God want us to live? How does God want us to pursue Him? Through humbled hearts. Hearts that recognize how we got separated in the first place as a people and as individuals. We need to come to that place of digging and seeing what God is seeing in us. And if you’re separated from the Lord, if you’re feeling lonely and in need of the Lord because you’ve not been walking with the Lord, then ask, “Lord, what is there in my life? What is there that You need to restore in me? What sin issue is there that is hindering me from being right with You?”

You know, when God offers us His anger, it’s offered out of love. It’s not like we offer anger so often, out of hatred and malice. He only offers us anger out of His love because His love is unfailing. It’s always there for us. He loves us because He created us, and He gets angry with us because He wants to draw us back into that relationship. He’s not angry with us because we’re sinning. He’s angry with us because our sin has drawn us away from Him and that place of relationship. If you’re in sin, you’re separated…

In many cases I hear people say, “God, why did You leave me?” Is it God’s fault? Did Godleave us? No! His  love is unfailing. He does notabandon us. It is ourcondition of sin that has caused us to abandon Him, to walk away from Him, and we’rethe ones that need to say, “Lord, restore us! Come and do the work in mylife that’s going to draw me back to You. Forgive me! Lord, it is myfault, not Your fault. Idid it, not You.”

You can’t be in that place of God’s glory, you can’t be in that place of God’s righteousness, you can’t be in that place of God’s peace and know the faithfulness of God if you’re continually living away from Him, and if you’re living in sin, you’re not going to come into His presence…

He loves to give us what is good. He loves to meet our needs…

What harvest comes from your life? When God pours His good out on you, He’s planting, you know. He’s planting in you the goodness of heaven. You are what’s growing as a testimony and a witness to this world. What harvest is there from the good that God pours out on you?

God, regardless of what's going on in my life, I'm going to trust You. I'm not going to allow my heart to be divided over these things [or] these circumstances in this world. I'm going to look to Your truth, and Your truth is You love me.

Vintage message from January 19, 2003.

People ask me, “Why does God allow this to happen to those that love Him and that He loves?” And I have no good answer for you because God loves men. I knowthat from God’s Word, in studying for years, that God loves those whom He’s created, and if He is allowing you to go through something, even for an extended period of time, it is out of His love for you, not His hatred of you. And I hear people say all the time, “God must hate me. God is unfair to me. God has done this to me and it is not right.” Well, you know what? If God has done it, ifGod has done it, it isright, because God knowswhat He’s doing. We may not understand it, and we may not have all the answers…

It is God’s desire to bring us into everlasting life with Him. It is God’s desire to show His love to us. It is God’s desire that we understand the sacrifice that He’smade. We sometimes think that life is hard for us. Imagine for a moment how hard life must have been for Jesus…

Why do we find ourselves in depression so often? Because wewant to make the decisions for ourselves, and though sometimes God’s hand isheavy on us because He is trying to get our attention, I think most of the depression, most of the despair that we feel in life is not because Godhas rejected us, but because wehave decided we can do it in our own strength. We can do it ourselves… Then we experience this hole that we dig for ourselves, this depression that overwhelms us because we stepped away from the love of God..

Is it okay for God to allow me to suffer for 60 or 70 years if He’s using me to get His heart across to other men? Is it okay? He’s God, and if I like it or not, it has to be okay. I’m not going to reject Him over it. I choose to say, “Oh, Lord, the God Who saves me. It is still You I will turn to. It is still You that I will pray to. And though the hardship is there and though I face death and thought I face despair, I know, Lord, it is You Who saves me…”

God is alwaysloving and faithful. We don’t always understand that faithfulness. We don’t always understand how His love is poured out on us. But oftentimes I’ve found in my life, when there’s been struggle and hardship, that that hardship has come because of mysin nature or the sin nature of another, not because God has ignored me…

God is always compassionate and loving towards us, if we will keep our eyes and our hearts on Him. Doesn’t mean that we’re not going to face hard times. It just means that when we face those hard times, His loving faithfulness is there and will bring us through. No matter how long we’re there, it is His loving faithfulness that will bring us through…

The deeds of God are amazing. The deeds of God are wonderful and there is nothingthat compares with what God does in our life, if we will take the time to count each day those things that God does for us…

This is where we find the answer to turmoil. It’s not in running and hiding from struggle, not from hollering at God because He’s allowed trouble in our life, not to deny that we have depression in our life, but to turn to God and say, “God, regardless of what’s going on in my life, I’m going to trust You. I’m not going to allow my heart to be divided over these things [or] these circumstances in this world. I’m going to look to Your truth, and Your truth is You love me.” His Word confirms His love for us. You love me. And the more you can say that, the more you are convinced of that,  the less the things of the world are going to affect you; the more your mind is going to be clear so that when you’re facing the hardship, you work your way through the hardship.  Hard times are going to happen. I’m not telling you they’re not.

Just because you're facing turmoil, does that mean that God's faithfulness has failed?... No! God is always faithful and God is always awesome.

Vintage message from January 26, 2003.

It’s amazing to me. God makes covenants with us. God goes out of His way to show us His love. God goes out of His way to strengthen and build us up, and then wefail to look at our lives, wefail to look at what God also said He would do (and God also told Israel when He establish them, that if they did not follow His covenant, that what would He do? He would allow them to be destroyed and taken into captivity). And it’s so easy for us to look at our life from today past, and look at what’s going on in our life, and look at those promises that we feel that God made to us, and then get to this place, when the promise doesn’t happen, that we start accusing God. And you know what? It is so hilarious to me, and I see this so often, that we will spend time accusing people of not fulfilling their promises. “Youdidn’t do what youwere supposed to do!” But how often do we stop and say, “Idid not do what Iwas supposed to do.” We’re quick to remind everybody else of their shortcomings and their failures. Very quick to tell them, “You didn’t do your part!” But we somehow conveniently always leave out our part. What ourresponsibility was. What was expected of us…

And this is the hard part. We look at God’s Word, and I look through the New Testament, and I see God’s faithfulness in His giving us His Son as a Savior. And the teaching I hear in the world today so often says that if you’re walking with Jesus, everything in your life is going to be good. Everything in your life is going to be right. But you know what? It’s not true. God never promised us that. In fact, we’re told that in this life you will have tribulation, but we can be of good cheer because He, Jesus, has overcome the world. But we are also told that we need to walk right with the Lord, that we need to keep our hearts right with the Lord, that we need to keep our focus on the Lord, and if our focus is on the Lord, if we keep Jesus in view, then when the bad things are happening around us, we know where our strength comes from. But so often we find ourselves in those times of tribulation and because we can’t see tomorrow, we cry out to God, “God, why have You abandoned me? Why have You allowed this hardship to come on me? You promised, God!” Well, what has God promised us really? He’s promised us salvation. And you know what? The only way I’m going to see salvation is if I die. Have you ever thought about that? The only way you’re going to live in eternity and experience the salvation of God is to die in this flesh that is temporal, and Jesus told us you must give up the flesh. We don’t like to dwell there.  We don’t like to hear thatpart of the truth…

You know, sometimes you get to the place where you may not understand what’s going on, you may not understand why there’s turmoil in your life, you may not understand why God as allowed you to  face the hardships, and like the Psalmist, you may find yourself in a place where you’re saying, “Lord, how long is this going to go on?” But just because you’re facing turmoil, does that mean that God’s faithfulness has failed? See, that’s how we equate it. That’s how we see it so often. We somehow think that weshould be exempt from the hardships, that weshould be exempt from the hand of God when He has to discipline a nation or a people…

God is awesome, God is powerful, and God knows His love for us, and He has established His throne, and He has established David’s line forever because He raised up Jesus…

What happens when you find yourself facing that scenario where it seems like the promise of God is not going to happen in your life? Has God become unfaithful? No. God is always faithful, and God is always awesome. So the answer isn’t that God is the problem. The answer is that God is doing something that I don’t understand. Next question is, is that okay? Is it okay for God to be God in your life? So often the answer is no. “God, I want my way and I want it now. I want the things I want, and I want it when I want it…” And that’s how we approach God so often. “God, give me what I want.” Not what I deserve, but give me what I want. It’s our attitudes. This is what God was dealing with, but just because we don’t see tomorrow doesn’t mean that God is not working for tomorrow. In fact, I guarantee you, that God is working for tomorrow because of His great love and His faithfulness for you.

If God has not established the work of my hands, then it's meaningless.

Vintage message from January 26, 2003.

It’s amazing to me. God makes covenants with us. God goes out of His way to show us His love. God goes out of His way to strengthen and build us up, and then wefail to look at our lives, wefail to look at what God also said He would do (and God also told Israel when He establish them, that if they did not follow His covenant, that what would He do? He would allow them to be destroyed and taken into captivity). And it’s so easy for us to look at our life from today past, and look at what’s going on in our life, and look at those promises that we feel that God made to us, and then get to this place, when the promise doesn’t happen, that we start accusing God. And you know what? It is so hilarious to me, and I see this so often, that we will spend time accusing people of not fulfilling their promises. “Youdidn’t do what youwere supposed to do!” But how often do we stop and say, “Idid not do what Iwas supposed to do.” We’re quick to remind everybody else of their shortcomings and their failures. Very quick to tell them, “You didn’t do your part!” But we somehow conveniently always leave out our part. What ourresponsibility was. What was expected of us…

And this is the hard part. We look at God’s Word, and I look through the New Testament, and I see God’s faithfulness in His giving us His Son as a Savior. And the teaching I hear in the world today so often says that if you’re walking with Jesus, everything in your life is going to be good. Everything in your life is going to be right. But you know what? It’s not true. God never promised us that. In fact, we’re told that in this life you will have tribulation, but we can be of good cheer because He, Jesus, has overcome the world. But we are also told that we need to walk right with the Lord, that we need to keep our hearts right with the Lord, that we need to keep our focus on the Lord, and if our focus is on the Lord, if we keep Jesus in view, then when the bad things are happening around us, we know where our strength comes from. But so often we find ourselves in those times of tribulation and because we can’t see tomorrow, we cry out to God, “God, why have You abandoned me? Why have You allowed this hardship to come on me? You promised, God!” Well, what has God promised us really? He’s promised us salvation. And you know what? The only way I’m going to see salvation is if I die. Have you ever thought about that? The only way you’re going to live in eternity and experience the salvation of God is to die in this flesh that is temporal, and Jesus told us you must give up the flesh. We don’t like to dwell there.  We don’t like to hear thatpart of the truth…

You know, sometimes you get to the place where you may not understand what’s going on, you may not understand why there’s turmoil in your life, you may not understand why God as allowed you to  face the hardships, and like the Psalmist, you may find yourself in a place where you’re saying, “Lord, how long is this going to go on?” But just because you’re facing turmoil, does that mean that God’s faithfulness has failed? See, that’s how we equate it. That’s how we see it so often. We somehow think that weshould be exempt from the hardships, that weshould be exempt from the hand of God when He has to discipline a nation or a people…

God is awesome, God is powerful, and God knows His love for us, and He has established His throne, and He has established David’s line forever because He raised up Jesus…

What happens when you find yourself facing that scenario where it seems like the promise of God is not going to happen in your life? Has God become unfaithful? No. God is always faithful, and God is always awesome. So the answer isn’t that God is the problem. The answer is that God is doing something that I don’t understand. Next question is, is that okay? Is it okay for God to be God in your life? So often the answer is no. “God, I want my way and I want it now. I want the things I want, and I want it when I want it…” And that’s how we approach God so often. “God, give me what I want.” Not what I deserve, but give me what I want. It’s our attitudes. This is what God was dealing with, but just because we don’t see tomorrow doesn’t mean that God is not working for tomorrow. In fact, I guarantee you, that God is working for tomorrow because of His great love and His faithfulness for you.

Everything that God does, He does because He loves.

Vintage message from February 9, 2003.

It is good to be filled with the Spirit of God and have this understanding and this feeling that God is so overwhelming in your life that you have no other choice but to praise Him and to make music to Him and to enjoy that time that you can have with Him… We should be experiencing this place in the Lord that we are filled, giddy, “drunk,” with the Spirit, that we are singing and filled with thankfulness and praise for God…

So what is it that the Psalmist is responding to? He’s encountered relationship with God. God has done things in his life. God has blessed him in such a way that he is now responding to these deeds that God has done. And the greatest deed that God has done for man is to give us His Holy Spirit; is to come first in the Person of Jesus Christ and offer us salvation. But then, once Jesus went to prepare the place for us where we’re going to dwell with Him for all eternity, He left us with His Spirit so that we could interact on a daily basis; be filled on a daily basis. Not just show up to church and have our tank filled… We should be filling up every day, looking at the things that God has done for us, looking at the deeds that God has accomplished in and through us and for us…

We’re not to find our joy and our fullness in the things of the world but we’re to find our filling in the things of the Spirit, and that brings us to this place of joy, this place of gladness, this place that causes a response in our heart that we interact with one another…

It doesn’t matter what you have in the world — it’s never enough. You’re never going to have enough outside of God. But it’s amazing: even if you have almost nothing inside of God, you have everything! Some of the most content people I know are those who have almost nothing but love the Lord…

Do you see where it is where those that are righteous are going to flourish? We don’t flourish in the things of the world. We don’t flourish by living in the prosperity that the world tells us we must have, but we flourish in that place before God, when we are planted in the love of the Lord, when we are walking right with Who God is and getting to know His heart; then we flourish like the palm tree and we grow like the cedar because we’re planted in the house of the Lord, we’re planted in that place where God’s Word is given. Where God dwells. Where His Spirit touches our hearts. It has nothing to do with things. It has nothing to do with what we can have outside of love relationship with God. When you are dwelling in that house of God, you’re flourishing, and you’re flourishing with God forever…

Sometimes we want to accuse God. Sometimes bad things happen to us. Sometimes life is hard for us. And what is it we want to do? Accuse and blame God. The Psalmist has come to this conclusion: there is no wickedness in God, and the only way that you’re going to understand that there is no wickedness in God is to dwell in His presence, to be in His house, to sing and praise and worship God, because praising God brings you into that place of love relationship. It opens your heart. It humbles you before God when you admit that He is and we are not. So often our problem is we want to be on the throne. We want to be the ones making the decisions. We want to tell God what to do. And you know what? There are many who don’t mind having a relationship with God as long as He doesn’t mind submitting to their will… And I see these people and they’re clueless that they are the ones that are God’s servants and that sometimes God requires for our lives to be hard. Sometimes, in what God is doing in this world over all, means that Imight be uncomfortable…

God does not do things out of wickedness. Everything that God does, He does because He loves. He loves men who He created. He loves you, He loves me, but He also loves my neighbor, and you know what? For my neighbor to see that love, it may mean inconveniencing me.

The more you experience what God is doing, the more you want to shout and sing... And when you're bubbling inside, sometimes the loudest song you can sing is the smile across your face.

Vintage message from March 2, 2003.

It is a good thing that God is coming to judge this world and that He does not leave that judgement up to me. He’s coming to do it. He’s taking up that responsibility, but you know what? Too often I believe that is my responsibility. It’s my place to tell you what you’re doing wrong. It’s my place to tell you how you’re blowing it here. It’s my place to tell you how you’re blowing it there. And isn’t it amazing how, when we begin to judge others, we look at those negative things in their life, rather than going up to people and saying, “Wow! Look at that amazing thing that God has done in you; how God is working in you. I see the power of God’s Spirit dwelling in you!” We don’t like to do that, because you know what? It doesn’t make us feel superior. How can you feel good about yourself unless you’re putting somebody else down? That’s why God is the Judge, and I’m not the judge. He’s the One that’s superior over all of us. And you know what? I have no ability whatsoever to judge with equality, with equity. I have no ability to know what’s in your heart to judge fairly…

The more you experience what God is doing, the more you want to shout, the more excited you feel. It’s hard to contain. When God is bubbling over in you, it’s hard to contain what the Spirit wants to do, and it is okay to get excited. It is okay to just start singing and praising God as you’re walking down the street. It’s okay, even when you’re at work, to sing a new song to God in your heart and make music inside, even if you can’t do it out loud… And when you’re bubbling inside, sometimes the loudest song you can sing is the smile across your face…

One of the things that I think we sometimes forget in our very casual world today, in our busy lives today, is Who God really is. He is a holy God, but you know what? It is still true today that He is also a forgiving God, and He desires for us to come to Him. Even though He is holy, He knows that we are not, and…it was His hand, His mighty arm, that made salvation possible because He desired to have relationship with those of us that are unholy, but we have to acknowledge His holiness and then praise Him because He made that way for us. He reigns. He’s on the throne. And this is something, also, that I sometimes forget when I’m in the midst of disaster, when I’m in the midst of hardship [and] it looks like there is chaos all around me [but] the Lord is still reigning, and the Lord is still sitting on His throne… Just because mylife is in turmoil doesn’t mean that God has stepped off the throne. And what I find most often is when there is turmoil in my life, it’s because the God on the throne is trying to get my attention, and I’ve been ignoring Him. And He will allow that turmoil to come to draw my attention back to Him, so that I have to then look back at the throne again to see if He’s still there. But if I never took my eyes off the throne, guess what? I would always know He’s there. But so often, again, we get caught up in our own selfish lives, looking at memysituation, how am Igoing to do it, and when our eyes are pointed inward it’s easy to lose sight of the throne that God sits on, and it’s easy to become confused, and it’s easy to become distraught, and it’s easy, then, to allow the circumstances that surround us to overwhelm us. But I’ve observed, there are people who do very well at keeping their eyes on the throne. It’s not that they have less problems than I have. It’s that they are looking at the throne, and when those hardships come, they know that they’ve got a King that’s in control, Who’s reigning, Who’s ruling, Who’s judging, Who’s watching over the deeds of the nation. He knows what’s going on. He hasn’t lost sight of it. He’s still in control…

Another area I think we fall short in is the memory department. We oftentimes forget that it is God Who made us. We were created for a purpose. We were created for His purpose. We were put here for a reason. He made us. We belong to Him. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t care what they’re doing out in the world. They still belong to Him, and yet God love is still poured out on us. He made us. We need to remember that. We need to put our lives back into His hands and trust that He knows who we are and what we’re doing…

Just because we’re hurting or suffering or struggling doesn’t mean that God does not love us. In fact, it is in those times that we struggle that we see God’s love come through the most. I find the times that I don’t really feel God’s love are those times when things are really going well, and I’m taking Him for granted. When I’m ignoring God because things are good in my life, and like I said, oftentimes God will then send hardship, allow it to happen in my life. He will allow my flesh to fester to get my attention. Says, “Oh, yoohoo, Dave, I’m still here!” He doesn’t want us ignoring Him. He wants us walking in love relationship with Him, and He went out of His way to make this love relationship happen. He suffered in order for this love relationship to happen. He sacrificed in order for this love relationship to happen. He has gone out of His way, and so often we ignore what He’s done.

We're chosen to be used by God in order to be examples to the rest of the world in how we respond to what He's doing in our life.

Vintage message from March 9, 2003.

So often, we find ourselves in times of trouble, we find ourself it times of struggle, and we rail against God, and it’s, “God, it’s Your fault! You’ve done this to me,” and we get angry at Him, and we rail on Him…

“But You, O Lord, sit enthroned forever…” See, the fact is, God is on the throne. God is the One Who’s in control. God is the One Who is the King and the Creator, and sometimes we forget that, and we think that ourwill and ourlife is more important than what God is doing in this universe and all that He’s created. And [the psalmist] comes to this place, “But, forget everything I’ve just said about myself. You, oh Lord, sit enthroned. You are the King. You are the One that’s in charge, and You sit enthroned forever.” This isn’t just a temporary position for God. This isn’t something that somebody’s going to come along and over thrown Him. This is His permanent place where we need to have our eyes, on His throne…

Though we find ourselves in hard times…it doesn’t mean that we have the right to give up. We keep crying out to God. We pray to Him. We bring our plea before Him, and you know what? He is a compassionate, loving God…

Have you ever stopped to think that what you’re going through, what God is allowing you to suffer, what God is allowing you to do in your life, may be done for the reason of drawing another? That there may be somebody else looking at you and how you respond to your suffering? And you may not even know it… The eyes of our friends and our neighbors are on us because we are chosen. Doesn’t mean that we are chosen to have an easy life. It doesn’t mean that we are chose to have fun everyday. It doesn’t mean that we are chose to have food in our belly and a roof over our head. We’re chosen to live in the love and compassion of God. We’re chosen to be used by God in order to be examples to the rest of the world in how we respond to what He’s doing in our life. We don’t often see it that way. When the bad comes, we cry out to God, “Why are You doing this to me?” rather than calling out to God, “God, allow me to endure this and be a good example to those who are looking…”

This is the reason that God’s created: that He will have generations of men in His presence, because He loves to be in relationship with those that He’s created.

This is God's desire: to show His love. Do you know how much God loves you this morning?

Vintage message from March 16, 2003.

We need to be in a place where we’ve learned that God loves us; that God desires for us to be in relationship with Him and walking in that love; good, bad, and ugly. I don’t care what’s going on in your life. God wants to be there with you going through it. The fact is, if you’re a believer this morning, and you have the Holy Spirit in your life, I don’t care what your situation is, the Lord is going through it with you whether you talk to Him about it or not, so you might as well…

The thing I need to be reminded of the most is to praise the Lord, and yet, it’s not just praising the Lord on the outside. It’s looking into my heart, looking into my soul, looking into that place that I have that closest, intimate time with the Lord, that I have to remind myself sometimes, “Soul, praise the Lord! It doesn’t matter what’s going on out here. Soul, praise the Lord!”

This is God’s desire: to show His love. Do you know how much God loves you this morning? You know, from time to time I have to stop and say, “Do you realize how much God loves you today?” and remind myself of that! …And we have to remind each other of that from time to time. Do you know how much God loves you? He loved us enough…that He gave us His Son to prove that love…

This is the amazing thing about the relationship that we have with God… He is slow to anger. He doesn’t want to have to sit up on the throne and zap us with lightning every time we do something wrong. He wants us to know we have sin in our life and it needs to be dealt with, but because of His compassion and His love for us, He deals with us differently than how we would deal with each other… I, in my flesh, sometimes, am quick to judge because of what somebody else has done to me, but yet God in His love, in His compassion, in His graciousness, is slow to His anger, and He abounds in love…

Understand something: even though He doesn’t accuse us right away and even though He’s slow to anger, it doesn’t mean that He’s going to always withhold His anger. There is a time that God has to deal with us. There comes a time when my flesh just keeps getting in the way, that God does have to kick me in the pants… But He does it because He’s dealing with heart issues that we have that keep us separated from Him… Sin separates us from Him. His desire is to be in love relationship with us…

God went to great lengths to see to it that we could have love relationship with Him. It’s phenomenal. If you took time just to think of the dynamics of that, it is phenomenal that God would even care, but He does…

But the one thing you can be sure of is God's promise will be fulfilled regardless of what your circumstances are.

Vintage message from March 23, 2003.

Sometimes in our lives God allows for things to happen to challenge our heart, to strengthen our life and faith, but guess what? God will always fulfill His plan for us. The Lord knows the direction we need to take to get to the end, and sometimes that direction is not easy. Sometimes that direction to see the fulfillment of God’s Word in our life can be very difficult…

And this is the thing: the Lord’s Word will always prove itself. It’s not something Ihave to do. You know what? It’s not up to me to prove God. It’s up to God to prove God, and it’s up to God to strengthen me and use me as He will. I have nothing to offer God, but God has created me, just as God has created you, and He chooses to use us as His vessels. Sometimes, to pour out pleasant things. Sometimes, to pour out not-so-pleasant things. But He will bring us from point A to point B, and all of us, all of us, have been given the promise that if we receive Jesus into our life, one day we will see glory. We will see heaven. We will see that place before God and His throne. We’ll see Jesus ruling over this world in righteousness. That’s a promise that’s been made to us. But what happens in our lives before that point may not be so pleasant, but God will allow us to go through it. But He will fulfill His promise. He will fulfill His Word to us, and Hewill prove, He will prove the truth…

So often we go through our day, we go through our week, we go through our months, we go through our year, and rarely remember the kindness that God has shown us. We need to start taking stock of those things that God does in our life. Write them down. Use them to share testimony with those that are unsaved around us. Part of the problem that Israel had was, once they were delivered, delivered from their burden, delivered from their slavery, delivered from their discomfort, they got out into the wilderness and all they could do was complain, though God was showing them great kindness and great provision… He provided quail. He provided bread. He provided water. He provided direction. He gave them light at night and gave them shade in the day, but yet, all that they could do was look at the bad. All they could do was complain…

We, so often in our lives, carry a big “but.” Think about it. God does amazing things and for a moment we’ll stop, “Oh, Lord! Thank You for the new car. Thank You for the house. Thank You for this. Thank You for that.” Ten minutes later, “Oh, God! Why is this happening to me?,” forgetting the blessing that He had just given us. “But they soon forgot…”

“But.” And we all live by the “but.” We all live by that thing in our life that finally distracts us from the greatness of God, that distracts us from the good things that God has done, that deters us from giving praise to God continually. The hardships come, and then what does He do? He gives us over to our cravings. You know what? He is not going to stop us from seeking after the thing that we crave. He loves us. He wants to bless us. The fact is, He gives us choice, and He will give us over to our cravings… But once you’ve fulfilled yourself on that that you crave, there’s oftentimes pain and suffering that comes with it…

How often do we find ourselves grumbling about the things in our lives because we do not believe the promise of God?… But so often we don’t believethe promise of God. We don’t trustthe promise of God. And just like Israel, even though we see miracles happen day in and day out and we see God’s provision, we don’t want it. We want to do it ourself. We want to do it for ourself. We don’t want some God that came to us telling us how to do it. We want to make our own gods…

Even when we go out of our way to stab God in the back, He loves us, He delivers us, and He has made a way for such a great salvation. It is unbelievable how much He’s shown His love to us. It is wewho are bent on rebellion. It is wewho are bent on destroying our own lives. Regardless of what God has done, we’re the one that keeps getting in the way. God did the great miracles. God showed His power. God showed His faithfulness. God fulfilled His promises… God allows for us to live our lives. God allows for us to make choice even when that choice is wrong…

But the one thing you can be sure of is God’s promise will be fulfilled regardless of what your circumstances are. God’s promise willbe fulfilled if you’ll trust the Lord your God, if you’ll receive Jesus into your life… Got to believe Him, got to receive Him, and then you have the rights of a child of a King. The promises are made, they’re made for us, and God will fulfill those promises. We just have to recognize God for Who He is and what He’s done, and allow for His strength to work in our life.

"God, why are You doing this to me?" It's obvious why God's doing it to me. Because I abandoned His Word! I did not take His counsel, and I clap myself in irons. I bind myself up as a prisoner when I do not follow His Word.

Vintage message from March 30, 2003.

We oftentimes are not thankful for what God has done in us. We are not thankful for what God does for us and through us… But God is deserving of that thanks and that gratitude that should be pouring out of our hearts, because His love is what endures. It is His love that has touched us. It is His love that has freed us. It is His love for us that has give us His Word to study, and the ability to walk in relationship with Him. Give thanks to the Lord for He isgood. Not bad, as so many people think. Not hateful, as so many people think. Not angry, as so many people think. We are so often the byproduct of the world that hates God; our own sin; the circumstances of a fallen world. It’s not because God is bad. God is good, and it is because of His faithful love to us that we are alive and able to learn this today…

Why are we giving thanks to God? Because all of us at some time or other, whether we understand it or not, have wandered in a wasteland, have wandered in a desert, have been in that place of need to find a city where we can settle, a city where God is in control, and this is the city God wants to bring us to. And when we cry out to Him, when our hunger and our thirst finally gets to that place where we cry out to Him, rather than trying to do it in our own strength, then He leads us by straight ways…

In general — now, of course, it’s not the case for everybody — but in general, I find when people are struggling, when people are hurting, it’s because they have turned away from God’s Word. They’ve turned away from God’s counsel. They don’t like God’s counsel. I have to confess there’s been many times God has asked meto do things, and I didn’t like His counsel! There’s been times I’ve wanted to take revenge on my enemies, and then God says, “But Dave, you’re not supposed to haveenemies to take revenge on.” Revenge is His, and the enemy is HisI’mcalled to love, and He reminds me of that. And you know what? I don’t always likeit. I don’t always want to doit. And then I find myself in trouble, and I find myself struggling, and you know? The first words out of my mouth, “God, why are You doing this to me?” It’s obvious why God’s doing it to me. Because I abandoned His Word! I did not take His counsel, and I clap myself in irons. I bind myself up as a prisoner when I do not follow His Word. When we despise the counsel of the Lord, when we turn away from His Word, we are in bondage…

God will give us over to the darkness, and He’ll say, “Fine, go for it. Live that way, but I’m not there to help.” He’ll step back. He’ll let you struggle and suffer in that darkness. But the amazing thing is He’s never too far away that when you come to the end of yourself and cry out to Him that He’s there to deliver you. He’s there to save you…

God’s love is great. His desire to love us is great. The things that He’s done for us are great. So often, we look at all that God has done, we look at all that God has blessed us with, and despise it because He’s not given us more. Rather than seeing the blessing, we spit on the blessing and say, “God, that’s not what Iwant.”

Do you want to be wise? Open God’s Word, learn of His love, receive the power of that love through His Spirit, and become wise in the knowledge of Him, and then you can truly heed these things, and begin to understand as you consider, you understand how great the love of the Lord is.

You can't always trust men, but you can always trust God and once you trust God, then you can love men whether you can trust them or not.

Vintage message from April 27, 2003.

When we do something good for somebody and actually do it with right motives, it’s not because we’re good. It’s because God Who is in us is good, and God chooses to use us to be part of men’s lives… All of us have a testimony, if we would just take time to look at it. If we would take time to look at our past and look at what God has done in us, we would realize that the Lord has been good to us, and our soul can find rest… Find out and share with each other what God is doing and what God has done in my life, because God has been good, and that’s where the soul finds rest. That’s where you and I can find that place of peace, is when we are walking right in the Lord, when we’ve come to that place of understanding that the Lord cares, that we can call out to Him, He’s there doing miracles in our lives. And we remind ourselves, “Be at rest once more, because this is my testimony. This is what God has done. He’s delivered me. He’s been my strength. He’s been good to me.” And I think we need to say that to ourselves. And I think we need to say that to other people. That we, when we are sharing with each other, have to remind each other that God hasbeen good. The bad that’s happening around us is the result of a fallen world, not of a loving God. A loving God stayed His hand and, rather than destroying all there is, He chose to work with the fallen state of man and show them love. We do our best to destroy that love and to keep love from happening in other men’s lives, but God overcomes and He’s good to us…

You can’t always trust men, but you can always trust God and, once you trust God, then you can love men whether you can trust them or not. And then you fulfill your vows and you show the salvation that God has given to you. You make the sacrifice to the Lord, not with animals, not with symbols, but you make the sacrifice to the Lord with your life. We’re told that we need to be a living sacrifice, giving ourselves back to God…

God has been faithful to you and I. And you know what? There are times that we’ll have people who will come to us and have all kinds of trouble and all kinds of struggles. The best thing you can do for them is say, “God is faithful. Don’t look at the trouble. Look at Him.” Praise God. Extol His name. Look at what He’sdoing. Don’t look at what the world is doing to you. We get so wrapped up and lost in our little world that we fail to see the faithfulness of God in our life. God is faithful. I don’t care what your circumstances are. God isfaithful. There’s nothing that’s going to change that. There’s no disaster in your life that’s going to change that. God is faithful, and His love is great, and His love is great toward us. Can’t say it any plainer. God loves you, and God is faithful to you. I don’t care what you’re experiencing. The experience does not dictate how God feels towards you. God loves you, and God is faithful to you. You just have to remind yourself of that, and tell everybody else that, and make sure that the people around you know how you feel about God by praising the Lord. That’s our responsibility. To praise the Lord…

“His love endures forever.” That’s a long time, isn’t it? And we need to say it. We need to say it, and we need to say it often. The more we bring our heart to that place of understanding Who God is and His love for us, it’s amazing how trivial, then, the problems seem when they finally come. It’s amazing how a major disaster can be looked at as, wow, and inconvenience to overcome. “God, You’re faithful. Your love endures. This is nothing.” We have to remind ourself, and we have to remind others…

The circumstances are not what dictates Your love to me, or my love to You. The circumstances are just circumstances that You’re in control of, if I will let you. We can be glad. We canrejoice…

His love endures forever. There’s nothing you’re going to do to stop His love. There’s nothing I’m going to do to stop His love… I don’t care what the circumstances are, I don’t care how miserable life may feel, it does not affect the love of God for you or I. It endures… It’s made to last, and it’s going to last forever, and you can count on it, and you can trust it. So, be glad. Rejoice. Take your eyes off of you, put them on the Lord, and you’ll be amazed the difference, because then you can truly give thanks to the Lord for He is good. He doeslove, and that love endures.

It's God's Word that brings us through the hardships... That's where we need to be. Spending time in God's Word. Not trying to make it in our own strength.

Vintage message from May 4, 2003.

One of the amazing things about God, He didn’t leave it to us to figure out Who He was by hearing the little whispers in the night, and so often we find the world falling into heresy because people turn to those little whispers in the night, thinking that God is speaking to them, but we have God’s Word in writing that when you hear a whisper, you match it to what’s here. And if it doesn’t match up, guess what? That whisper is wrong every time. I guarantee you, God is not going to give you new information that is in conflict with His Word…

The commands were give so that we could love. It says the greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul. the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Each of these commands were given so that we could learn to love, to be free to love, to be able to interact with our neighbors in love, and to be able to interact with God in love. And so, if you are truly understanding God’s law, there’s blessing because you are loving…

You know, I find when I’m in trouble, when I’m struggling in life, when I have fallen, it’s not because God has abandoned me, but it’s because I have not spent the time in God’s Word to find strength. We can walk right before God by understanding His Word, and we can praise the Lord and ask the Lord that we might not sin against Him, by spending that time there…

Do you ever have question about how you should live? If you’re ever struggling somewhere in your life, you know, it’s okay to go to someone and talk to them, but it’s better to go to God’s Word because God’s Word truly isthe counselor, and any good friend that will give you counsel, will give you counsel from God’s Word. His statues need to be our delight. Understanding His Word needs to be our delight. It needs to be what we live for…

Do you believe that God’s Word is the truth? This is where a lot of people struggle. We have an abundance of God’s Word in this nation, but a lot of people never turn to it because they do not trust that God has given us the truth. You have to decide in your heart whether or not God’s Word is true, and whether that love that He has for us is also true… The only true comfort there is, is in God’s Word; in knowing and in walking with the Lord and understanding Him from His Word, spending time with Him…

The reason that we understand God’s love is because He’s given us His Word. He’s given us His law… If we truly seek out God and His Word, we begin to understand God in a loving way. His laws weren’t given to be meanto us, to tell us what we can’tdo, but His Word was given to us to show us how we canbe involved with Him. How we can walk with Him. How we can have love relationship with Him. And so often we find ourself in dispute with God, not because God was wrong but because we don’t like His Word. We don’t like what He has to say…

How much time do we spend in God’s Word? When was the last time we stayed up all night studying God’s Word, waiting to see God’s promise fulfilled in our life from His Word to bless us, to bring us through a hard time, to bring us through the hardships that we’re facing? We may have something that we’re coming into in a day that we don’t want to face. We find the comfort and the answer in God’s Word, not in dwelling on the problem. It’s God’s law, God’s Word, God’s precepts that bring us through the hardships. We just need to spend the time there… That’s where we need to be. Spending time in God’s Word. Getting to know God from His Word. Not trying to figure out life on our own. Not trying to make it in our own path, in our own strength, by our own cleverness. So often, that’s how we do it. The more time you spend in God’s Word and understand His love, the more you know you can wait on Him, and He will fulfill His promise to you: to love you, to care for you, to provide for you. Do you want to fulfill God’s Word? Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, with all of your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

But in everything that He allows in our lives, it is to bring us to a place of looking to Him, praying to Him, seeking Him for mercy, seeking Him for His involvement in our life.

Vintage message from May 11, 2003.

There’s this separation that happens between you and God when you are disobeying Him, and oftentimes He, then, allows for you to be held captive by that separation. It’s an enemy. Separation is an enemy to you when that separation causes you to be away from God Who created you, God Who loves you, God Who desires to be the majorpart of your life. He’s not going to take your life away from you. It’s not like when you have a relationship with God you have to lay on the floor the whole time going, “Ohm, ohm,” as some people try to tell you that’s what religion is. It’s noneof that. Being in relationship with God is being able to walk outside in the morning and look up and see sun shining and say, “Wow! What a lovely day, God. You gave this to me! And You’re allowing me to live in it.” Walking out of your door and seeing the rain falling and the thunder pounding and the lightning flashing and saying, “Wow, God! What awesome power!” You know how awesome the power is in a single thunderstorm? And yet, that’s a very, very small portion of the power that God has to display. But yet we stand there in awe…

We look at these things, and some people, because they do not want to acknowledge God in their life, because they do not want to receive the salvation that God gave us, because they want nothing to do with Who God is and what God has created, they’ll walk out and they’ll see the same thunderstorm and say, “Oh. Inconvenient. Terrible weather. Horrible day…” You know, they only look for the negative things… We oftentimes, because we are looking inward, all we see is negative. If all you’re doing is looking at your own heart and your own life, dwelling on who you are, guess what? Life is pretty negative. It’s horrible to live in that kind of life. But when you’ve been freed from the captivity, the isolation that separation brings it’s amazing to see the clear sky and understand the power of God in the thunderstorm… You being to see the world from a different perspective altogether, your life from a different perspective altogether. But it only happens when you come to that place of being in love relationship…

Where does your help come from? When you find yourself struggling, where does your help come from? When you find yourself in need, where does your help come from? Do you believe that God is the shade over you when the sun is beating down on your head?… But God will watch over you. God does not desire for harm to come to you. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to ever feel any physical pain in your life from the wickedness of men around you, but the only real harm that can happen is to your spirit. A man can’t do that. Only by your choice can you be harmed. Either because you trusted God or you did not trust God…

But He does desire for us to be in love relationship with Him, and He allows for us to suffer from our own wrong choices. Sometimes He allows for us to suffer from other’s wrong choices. But in everything that He allows in our lives, it is to bring us to a place of looking to Him, praying to Him, seeking Him for mercy, seeking Him for His involvement in our life.

God never said we would not face hardship in our life. He just asked us to trust Him through those hard times.

Vintage message from May 18, 2003.

The Lord is on our side. We need to understand what the Lord does for us, how the Lord blesses us, the involvement that He has in our life, and then we need to say it. If the Lord was not on my side, I can imagine what my life would be! We, who are sitting here this morning, are blessed abundantly, and we need to let people know that. Let the church say, “If the Lord had not been on my side.” God has blessed us with His Son. God has blessed us with salvation. God has, in fact, removed completely the trap that death had laid for us. It’s no longer just broken. It’s removed completely. You and I today, if we have asked Jesus Christ to come into our lives, we no longer have that trap to walk into. The teeth of death have been removed. The trap of death is gone. We have escaped, just as the psalmist said. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth…

Is your trust in the Lord? Once again, we face hardships in our life. God never said we would not face hardship in our life. He just asked us to trust Him through those hard times. He doesn’t tell us we’re going to have a particular amount of friends. He doesn’t tell us we’re going to have a particular job. He doesn’t tell us how long we’ll have a particular job when we have it. He doesn’t promise us that we’re going to have life that is filled with ease and peace of mind. But He does tell us that we can have a life filled with peace because His Holy Spirit is in us, even when we have the hard times facing us…

Understand something. You and I may have to wake up tomorrow morning and face the wicked. We may have to dwell in the land where wicked men rule. But our faith is not found in a system of wicked men. Our faith is found in the Lord Who’s created all things, and those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which can not be shaken. I have to admit, sometimes I forget that, and hard times come my way and unfair things happen in my life, and I get shaken. I feel like I’m going to fall apart. But the fact is, if my trust were to remain, if I would take the time to stop looking at the circumstance and look at the Lord and what the Lord is doing, I’d have no complaints. I would not be shaken. I could walk through the hard times knowing that they’re supposed to be there, and then pray for peace. Peace upon Israel. Peace upon the church. Peace for my brothers and sisters. But peace that comes because Jesus is the King. Because Jesus has established Himself in my heart and on His throne…

When was the last time you stopped and looked at your life and realized that God has done great things for you? He didn’t keep you from the hard times… And I find, oftentimes in our life, when we face hardships, when we face hard times, when life seems unfair, it is because God is trying to get our attention, to look at Him. And then the hard time is easier to face. Then when we make it through, we have laughter in our mouth, “Wow! I made it! Isn’t this great? I made it through! God has blessed me!” The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy…

God can do amazing things. Just because you may find yourself in a situation today that may be rough, may be lacking, doesn’t mean that God is unaware or unable to meet that need… It’s about the heart. God is dealing with heart attitude, heart issues. So often we find ourselves in struggle because our hearts are hard. We’re not crying before the Lord. We’re not weeping over our sin. We’re not giving to God the things caused us to be led into captivity in the first place. There’s many forms of captivity. It doesn’t come just at the hand of people, but it comes at the hand of substances that we abuse our bodies with, money that we thing that we have to have, homes and cars and selfishness that tells us we have to have, and we’re taken captive by it, and we’re held captive by it. And oftentimes we’re not released from that captivity until we soften our hearts and say, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need You to do it for me.” And it takes coming to that point of tears. Sowing in tears. And attitude that says, “Lord, I’m planting these tears because I have nothing else to plant. I’ve come to the end of myself. The only thing I have to put in the ground is the tears that come from my eyes, the broken heart that I have.” And that kind of brokenheartedness reaps songs of joy because God is not going to abandon you…

We have to understand God’s involvement. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord who walk in His ways.” Sometimes I walk in His ways. Sometimes, you know what? I think it’s going to be easier to do it my way. Sometimes I think it’s going to be easier if God would just leave me alone and let me get the job done. “If God would just leave me alone, I could accomplish a lot!” But it doesn’t work that way. The blessing comes in my fearing the Lord and walking in His way. Understanding what it is He wants for me. And I find myself so often struggling through life, stumbling along, falling flat on my face, and then I want to accuse God. I want to blame God for all of my problems. Well, let me tell you something. It may be His fault! He may be doing it because He wants to get my attention, and that’s where I need to stop and say, “Thank You, Lord, for inconveniencing my life. Thank You for tripping me up. Thank you for showing me I was on the wrong path.” Instead of [angry voice], “God, You did this to me! This is your fault!” You know, He’s standing back just smiling, “Yes, that one was My fault. I did that. See that scrape on his nose? Idid that.” I guarantee you, God loves us so much He stands back and He just brags about the scratched nose we have because He tripped us up to get our attention — that’s my version of it. God loves us. God loves us so much He wants is to understand that He is the only strength that we can have, and when we try to step out on our own strength, we’re going to stumble and we’re going to fall. He wants to bless us, but the blessing comes in the fear of the Lord and walking in His ways.

Where do you put your hope? Does God's Word sit on a shelf collecting dust? Or is His Word what you're longing for, daily bringing it out to feed on it, to grow by it, to understand Him?

Vintage message from May 25, 2003.

You know what? The world’s going to hurt you. People are going to hurt you. Friends are going to hurt you. But the Lord is righteous, and the Lord’s love will cut you free from the bondage of the pain that comes from there — wherever there is, whatever circumstance you found yourself in that brought the pain, if you’ll trust the Lord, give your life into His hands, His righteousness frees from those bonds. You know what? I don’t have to blame my mom. I don’t have to blame my dad. I don’t have to blame the boss that fired me. I don’t have to blame the hard circumstance I had when I had the auto accident. I don’t have to blame people. The circumstance was there and it was hard, but the Lord was there as well. His righteousness was there as well. It’s a matter of where we’re looking? Where are we placing our eyes? Are we looking to the Lord’s righteousness and the love that He has for our life? He has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. You know, I don’t have to be bound by them. I don’t have to worry about them. When they come after me, when the wickedness of this world tries to surround me, I don’t have to fear. I have been cut free from those bonds because Jesus came into my life…

Sin separates us from God. And you know what? It is oftentimes sin that causes the hardships that we have in our life. I encounter people daily that are in hardship, not because life is rough, but because they’re sinning against God, and they refuse to give up their sin, they refuse to acknowledge their sin, and yet their life is coming to ruin because of their sin. The psalmist recognized there is an issue of sin that needs to be dealt with, but it is only dealt with in the mercy of God…

When was the last time you understood the depth of your sin and the hurt that you’ve brought to the heart of God? That you found yourself alone and had to cry out to God? I think it’s something we all need to do. From time to time we need to find ourselves…crying out to God, because we understand the sin issue in my life. And that sin issue, even though I’m a believer, still sometimes causes there to be a separation. Times that I don’t trust God because I’m trusting in me

And I know He does not keep a record of sin once I’ve confessed it. This is a problem we have so much in the flesh within friendships. We remind each other regularly of the hurt that we’ve done to each other. We use the sin issues in another person’s life to keep them in check. We use it as a battering ram oftentimes. God doesn’t do that. You know, when you’ve sinned against God, and you’ve confessed that sin, it’s gone. He’s dealt with it, and He does not come back to you and say, “Oh, but do you remember the time?” [Laughs] “You know, I don’t know if I’m going to trust you with this particular calling because, you know, you did thatback in your life, and I can’t trust you any more.” This is how we respond to each other. This is nothow God responds to us. He does not keep a record, but there is forgiveness. He truly doesforgive…

Once you’ve been forgiven, and you understand that you are forgiven, then you understand how close you came to being separated from God. When God has filled your life with joy, you begin to understand, “Wow, I almost missed that.” And then we begin to fear — love God deeply — so that we never want to sin against Him again because when we do it causes a void. We don’t want that anymore…

Where is your hope? This is something that has not changed for thousands of years. God has made available to those that love Him His Word, and we have His Word today in abundance in this nation. Where do you put your hope? Does God’s Word sit on a shelf at your home collecting dust with all the trinkets and knick knacks that you also collect? Or is His Word what you’re longing for, daily bringing it out to feed on it, to grow by it, to understand Him? You know what? Without His Word, without knowing His Word, we can not know Him fully. He gives us understanding of Who He is through His Word, and our hope needs to be found there. He has spoken to us. He has spoken His love to us. He has spoken His forgiveness to us… His Word has always been there to give us an understanding of how to be forgiven, to put our trust in Him.

The number one reason for problems in the world is because Jesus isn't there.

Vintage message from June 1, 2003.

Where does God dwell today? Where do we desire for God to dwell today? In our hearts. Exactly. But you know what? You look out at society and they don’t even have a clue about God; where He dwells; where He would like to dwell… When I encounter people that are having struggles in the world — I do a lot of counseling — and when I encounter those people, there first thing I have to ask is, “Where is God dwelling? Do you have Jesus in your heart?” The number one reason for problems in the world is because Jesus isn’t there. I mean, Christians are going to have problem because the enemy is going to attack us, but there is a joy that comes when we face problems that the world doesn’t have, because we at least know that we can go to that place of dwelling to meet with our God, to meet with our Creator…

And this is the understanding that we need to come to. It isn’t about this church… It’s not about where we come to gather together, though it is important that we have a place to come and gather together. It’s not about the building. It’s not about how gaudy it looks. It’s not about how big it is. It’s not about how high the steeples are or how loud the bell rings. But for many people, that’s what it becomes when they talk about the dwelling of God. But the dwelling of God starts with a desire here. To want to know God. To want to be with God. To want to be right with God…

We are the temple that God is building. You and I become the stones placed in that temple where He’s going to dwell for all eternity. Is that your desire? Is that what you long for? To be in that place of dwelling with God?…

People don’t understand when they reject God, when they turn away from what Jesus has done for them, the shame that they clothe themselves with. The only thing that God offers them to wear is shame because in the end they’ll realize how wrong they were, and they become God’s enemy…

There can only be unity when we are together in our understanding and our desire to love and serve the Lord. That brings life. Eternal life…

We need to be praising the Lord. We need to come to that place of dwelling where God is and praise the Lord. We need to share with one another in praising the Lord. We need to recognize the Maker of heaven and earth. Why are we here? How did we get here? Do we get all caught up in the controversy of evolution versus creation? No. God made us. I don’t have to argue about it. I don’t have to fight with anybody about it. I know He created me. I just need to praise Him for that. And if the rest of the world doesn’t like Him, let them do something about it. But I can move forward. I can live my life in contentment because I’m His servant…

What is it we’re supposed to do? Praise the Lord! There’s nothing else out there in life that deserves our attention. God deserves our attention. There is no idol that you can make that deserves anything that you have in your life… It’s the Lord that we look to. It’s the God Who created us that deserves our attention. It’s His Name that’s going to endure… You know what? You don’t have to believe Him. He wants you to trust Him. He wants you to put your faith in Him. But guess what? Just because you don’t, doesn’t mean that He’s not God. Doesn’t mean that He stops doing the things that He needs to do in this earth, and His power is displayed always around us. He’s giving us every opportunity to know Him… We praise Him. We need to praise Him because He deserves our praise, because He’s created us and He interacts with us, but He does what He pleases. He rules this world, He rules our lives, and one day all men will stand before Him. And the greatest example we can be to a world that is lost and dying is when they see us praising the Lord.

Don't forget the great blessing that God has given you. Don't allow yourself even to get in to that place where God has to take it away from you to remind you of what you were given.

Vintage message from June 8, 2003.

His love endures forever. Do you believe that? Do you trust that? I trust it. well, until something happens that gives me a bad attitude. I trust it until something happens in my life that I don’t like. I believe it until, of course, our bank account is low and the gas tank is low, you know. Oh, and the car breaks down. I believe it until those times. But that’s the whole point of this. We have to remember the good things that God has also done. Yes, Israel spent time as slaves in Egypt, but God didn’t abandon them to that, but He led them out. He freed them from that oppression, and He protected them from kings that would destroy them, and He gave them a land, and He gave them a home. Just as He’s given us a land, and He’s given us a home. He’s given us life, and He’s given us all the wonders of the universe to encounter, because He loves us. Yeah, we’ll have some hard times. We’ll have some things in our life that will challenge us, some even to our very soul, but it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. If you take time to look at all that God has done around you, you’ll see God’s blessing, you’ll see God’s love, you’ll understand that this is an enduring love that has been going on from eternity past all the way into eternity present and future. His love endures forever…

Don’t forget the great blessing that God has given you. Don’t allow yourself even to get in to that place where God has to take it away from you to remind you of what you were given… “You don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” And so often, that’s our problem. We take for granted the blessings that are poured out on us. We thumb our nose at God’s blessing to us, and we never even realize it as blessing until one day it’s missing. Until one day it’s taken away from us. I mean, we take for granted our car until it breaks down and it costs more than we have to fix it. The car’s a blessing, but how often do we take it for granted?… If you abuse the blessing, it can be taken away… Don’t allow yourself to get into a place of losing what you have because you’ve abused it and you’ve taken it for granted. Look at what you have. Look at your children around you, look at your home, look at the freedom that we have, and then look up to heaven and say, “God, thank You. Thank You for what You’ve given to me. Thank You for the great freedom that You’ve given to me; the blessing that You’ve poured out on me. Your love endures forever…”

Are you the works of God’s hands? Are you the one who has been blessed tremendously by the Lord? Do you realize that God still looks down on those of us that He’s created? He’s looking for the lowly of heart. He’s looking for the humble of heart. But He still sees the proud. He knows they’re there. God is not put off because men reject Him, but men do not realize the harm they’re doing to themselves when they reject God…

Do you understand that hard times will happen to you? And if you name the Name of Jesus in your heart, if you claim the Name of Jesus openly, that there will be hard times waiting for you? Because you have an enemy that hates God… I encounter daily challenges to my heart and my flesh, but God’s love and God’s character interacts with my life, and He reminds me that He has overcome my flesh, and He wants to rule in my heart…

The bottom line is we have every reason to praise God. We have only reason to praise God. And if you’re not praising God, if you’re not walking with the Lord, if you’re not giving your attention to the Lord, it’s not God’s fault. It is because you are dwelling in your own flesh, and God is stepping back and allowing you to make the bed that you want to sleep in, and He’ll let you. He doesn’t stop loving you. He doesn’t stop watching you. He doesn’t stop trying to interact with you, but He’ll let you live that life.

You don't have to believe in Him for Him to know you intimately. You don't have to care about Him for Him to know every hair on your head. You don't have to think about Him for Him to know...everything about you already. And He desires for you to know Him, and that's the amazing thing.

Vintage message from June 15, 2003.

When you think of God, when you think of your life and your relationship with God, what do you believe God knows about you? And, as you think about God and what He knows about you, are you still willing to take that next step that you’re about to take?… Isn’t that amazing? God is familiar, not only with [King] David’s ways, but He knows each and every one of us. He cares enough to know every thought, every step, every movement. He cares enough to know that about you and I…

What is your love relationship with God like? Do you feel the hand of God upon you when you get up in the morning and head out to work? Do you feel the hand of God directing you when you step into your scenario of life that you face each and every day? Do you feel God standing there in front of you and standing behind you, motivating you, trying to get you to go in the direction that He would desire for you to go? And the amazing thing about God, even though He is that close to you, He’s not going to stop you from doing what you desire to do. He’s not going to stop you from sinning against Him, and He’s not going to stop you from slapping His hand while it’s upon you, but He knows that you’re going to do it before you do it. And He loves you enough to be there with you to go through it with you…

If you have Jesus in your life, if you have that love relationship with Him, even though you may screw up from time to time, it is His hand that is holding you. He knows who you are, He knows what you’re going to do, and He is not afraid of the life that you may live because He is pursuing you always. He knows what you’re going to do…

When you begin to understand the relationship that you can have with God, when you begin to understand the love that God has for you, you begin to understand where that love relationship started. God created you for a purpose…

What a “coincidence” that you were born on the face of this earth, huh? What a “coincidence” that things happened in your life. David is saying there is no coincidence. Things happen because God has created you for a purpose for those things to happen, and they may be rough. We live in a fallen, sinful world, and because of a fallen and sinful world, we’re sometimes affected by that, and God is not going to keep us from feeling the pain that comes from this world in its fallen state. But what He willdo is He will dwell inus, and He will work forus, and He will work throughus, and He will bring us to that knowledge of knowing Him intimately, and understanding that He already knows us intimately. You know what? You don’t have to believe in Him for Him to know you intimately. You don’t have to care about Him for Him to know every hair on your head. You don’t have to think about Him for Him to know every cell, every part of your body, your makeup completely, your inmost thought, your heart — how it beats — He knows everything about you already. And He desires for you to know Him, and that’s the amazing thing. Some of the things I’ve done in my life, I can’t understand why would God want me? Why would God choose me? Well, God chose me long before He even created me, and even though He knew who I was going to be, even though He knew what I would do, He said, “I still love Dave enough to create him. I want that relationship, and I am willing to risk his walking away from Me to put him on the face of the earth.” That’s the depth of God’s love for you. He desires to be in relationship with you, and He has already laid out your days, knowing just exactly what you’re going to do, and still, because He wants you to know His love and choose to be in that love relationship with Him, He created you. Though your life is written, He is the Author of your life, He knows how your life is going to turn out. You get to live that life, not knowing the end. You get the great opportunity of hearing His truth, of hearing His love, of experiencing His love, and then turning to Him and seeking Him each day to find out how wonderful the end of that story can be. There is not one of us that has to have a bad end to our life from our perspective, because God had given us the opportunity to turn to Him.

The Lord knows when you're suffering, He knows when you're in need, He knows when you're hurting, and He is not afraid to hear your complaint. In fact, He desires for you to come to Him in every situation of life.

Vintage message from June 22, 2003.

“Set a guard over my mouth.” How many of us need to pray¬†that prayer? And how often? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of gossip, of slander, of being angry, and without thinking, destroying our brothers and sisters and those in the world with our lips. Using our tongue because we’re angry, rather than calling out to God and letting God have it. “Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil.” And even still today, we are so often drawn to that evil because we don’t see the justice in the world, we’re dealt with unfairly, and we lash out at the unfairness, and oftentimes that lashing comes from our mouth and our tongue. That our heart is filled with anger and bitterness, and we allow that to come out of our mouth. What does it say? “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” People can tell, just almost, what you believe by what comes out of your mouth. What are we showing people and telling people we believe when they encounter us?…

So often we dread discipline. We hate it when people have to rebuke us. We don’t want to be exposed. And when somebody does see what’s going on in our life, and they come to us with a rebuke, we resist. We don’t like it. We argue and accuse them

It’s okay for you to complain to the Lord. The Lord knows when you’re suffering, He knows when you’re in need, He knows when you’re hurting, and He is not afraid to hear your complaint. In fact, He desires for you to come to Him in everysituation of life. When you’re happy or when you’re hurting. When you’re in need or when you’re just downright angry at Him. I’ve been angry at God many times, and I’ve let Him know I was angry at Him… What are we to God but children who don’t understand the God Who created us, who don’t understand the circumstances around us. Of course, from time to time, because we don’t understand, we’re going to lash out. We may say things to God that days later we’ll regret, but God has no regret because of His love for us. He desires for us to come to Him. And then, through time, He works in our heart and He shows us just exactly what He’s doing in our life, and we look back and say, “Oh, that’swhat You were doing back then. Oh, Lord. I’m so sorry. I’ll try not to complain next time.” Well, you know what? The next time we willcomplain, but our complaint is directed in the right place. Do you know who it does nogood to complain to? Each other. You know what? We do it. We make each other’s lives miserable because we complain to each other when we don’t like something, when we’re struggling with something, because we don’t think that God is listening! And since God isn’t going to deal with it, well, I’ll just go to my friend! Well, let me tell you. Your friends can’t deal with it either. They may be able to give you a pat on the back, a few bucks in your pocket, but it has been my experience in life, the things that really matter that need to be changed, have to be changed from inside here. [Points to heart.] Something that your money or your pat on the back is not going to change. It will not cover whats happening in here, inside my heart, inside my life. And the only One Who can change that is God Himself.

So, complaint or gratitude, it doesn’t matter. It needs to go to Him. And sometimes we do find ourselves at that place where our spirits grow faint. We become very weary of the life that God has asked us to live and the circumstances in which He’s placed us. We don’t understand. And we find ourselves getting to the end of our strength. But He’s there for us, waiting for us to call out, waiting for us to desire Him to work with it, and then what does He do in the end? “Then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.” We become a witness. We become an example to those who are around us who are also suffering, who are also hurting, but also have a desire to be right with God. And when we do it right, and they see that it can be done right, they do it right. When we see that they do it right, we know that I can do it right…

In everything you do, is God the reason that you're there doing it? Is He your strength? Is He the reason that you have the ability to do it?

Vintage message from June 29, 2003.

How do you see God? Is God real to you? Is God Someone that, when you pray, you’re praying to Someone you know is listening? That Someone you know is standing there watching? Paying attention? Caring about what you’re seeking, what you’re asking about? Now, of course, when you pray He’s not going to always answer your prayer the way you wantHim to, but no good father is going to give his child everything that child asks for. But a good Father stands there and pays attention…

When you begin to see God as being real in your life, then you’re going to live your life in such a way that your sons and your daughters are going to see it and be affected by it. One of the shames, I would say, that I see within the church: parents that do not live their love for the Lord, do not display faith in believing that God is there and real before their kids…

In everything you do, is God the reason that you’re there doing it? Is He your strength? Is He the reason that you have the ability to do it? And do your kids know that? That’s where our kids are going to grow strong…and then God’s blessing is poured out when we come to that place of understanding Who God is and how much He loves us, how much He cares for us…

Have you ever asked for blessing in your life? Do you want blessing in your life? …”Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.” Blessing comes in knowledge, and that knowledge is in the Lord Himself. That’s where you find blessing. You find blessing when you put your trust in God, when you’ve not put your trust in yourself, when you’ve not put your trust in your own strength, when you’ve not put your trust in your own ability, but you understand that God gives you all that He wants you to have.– little or a lot. If you look at what you have, and you understand that that has come to you from God’s hand, and you praise Him for it, and you acknowledge Him for it, you find yourself in a place of peace. You find yourself in a place of rest. You find yourself in a place where you don’t have to worry about warring with everybody around you. But God has to be the One Who does it. And you have to acknowledge and come to that place of letting Him be your Lord. Is He your Lord today? It’s not enough to just know He’s God…

Are we letting people know of the great things God has done in our lives? The great things God does for us? Are we letting people know that there is reason to rejoice?… We have a responsibility to praising God openly to this generation so that the next generation will know that there was at least some in this generation that understood… I have a responsibility to make sure that others know that I believe that there is a God that sits on the throne that will be our King. Do you believe that? If you believed that, you would be letting others know, and then it would be passed on from generation to generation…

“The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all that He has made.” Have you ever heard someone complain about how horrible God is to them? “God’s done this to me, and God’s done that to me! This is all God’s fault!” But the fact is, God isn’t the one that does the bad. You know, it is my experience that when you have “bad” in your life, it’s because you’ve ignored God. He’s there trying to do the good, and He is trying to show you compassion, but so often our sin gets in the way. Our sin stops us from receiving the goodness from God’s hand. Our sin blocks His compassion and keeps us from experiencing all that God desires for us. And then we go off in our sin and blame God for all the horrible things that happen in our life because of that sin.

You have a responsibility to praise the Lord. God has given you this great and awesome honor. God has put you here for a purpose, and within that purpose is found His unfailing love.

Vintage message from July 6, 2003.

God is always there wanting to touch us and feed us and bless us… And His pleasure isn’t in our strength or what we can do for Him. He takes no delight in that, but He delights in our knowing that He’s there and loving us and blessing us and desiring to be part of us, that we fear Him, that we look to Him. That’s where the relationship begins, and that’s where God’s love for us is poured out. “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love…”

There is reason to praise the Lord because God created you. You know, I don’t imagine the rock spends much time thinking about, “Why did God make me thus.” But yet, I know a lot of men who spend their time, wasting their lives saying, “God, why did You do this with me?,” instead of saying, “God, You did this. I’m going to praise You for it. I’m going to find the reason that You put me here; the reason that You created me to have love relationship with You. I’m going to find that, and I’m going to share it with everybody! I’m going to let everybody know that they need to praise the Lord, too!” We get so caught up in our own circumstances; in our own minute, little life. But yet, the psalmist, coming out of captivity, looks around him and even the sea creatures, the birds of the air, the plants, the rocks, everything has responsibility to God because God created them. And what is that responsibility? To praise Him for His everlasting love…

We can sing a new song! We don’t have to sing the old song that we’ve been singing for years, “Oh, God! Why?” You know what? God created us because He loves us and He’s given us a life of excitement. Because we have breath in our lungs, because we have sight to see, we look around us, we’ve been blessed with this great ability to see all that God has done, to experience all that God has done. That’s a new song. We need to sing the new song. Rather than complaining to God about all the hardships, look past the hardships, and sing the new song, and praise Him in the assembly of the saints. Take opportunity to gather together with one another in fellowship. Don’t avoid the assembly of the saints, but gather together with them in order to sing this new song of praise to the Lord…

God’s Word is going to deal with this world. God has created a scenario where our praise is going to, then, bind the nations. Our vengeance: the double-edged sword. Do you know what the double-edged sword is, guys? It’s not a weapon that we use to inflict punishment on people; pain and cut their arms and legs off. The double-edged sword is the Word of God that He’s put in our hand… And this is the glory of all the saints. The glory of the saints is being able to share God’s Word in such a way that people know that they are in sin against God…

Do you have breath today? You have a responsibility to praise the Lord. God has given you this great and awesome honor called life. God has put you here for a purpose, and within that purpose is found His unfailing love. He displays to His creation — not just us but all that He’s created — He displays His unfailing love in how He interacts with us, and we have a responsibility. We’ve been given a great honor, and it comes from here [touches his mouth] and it comes from here [touches his heart]. We praise Him with our mouth but it starts in our heart. How do you feel about God? What has your life brought you to? Are we going to be one of these men that God chose over a thousand years to represent Him when we stand in the halls of heaven? Is God going to say, “And there’s my child. He praised Me openly. He wasn’t afraid to name my Name. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for Me. She had a great testimony. She opened her mouth every opportunity, and shared the love that I had for her.” This is what God is looking for in us. He doesn’t promise us good times. He doesn’t promise us easy times. He doesn’t promise us health and wealth. In fact, sometimes, great men of God suffer and die… But we have the great honor of standing up and displaying before all creation a conscious effort, with knowledge of Who He is and knowledge of who we are, to still praise God and experience His unfailing love. It’s a great and awesome responsibility.