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Logo of Forward to Zion: Ohio Hometown Camp Meeting 2016: Sharing the Truth in a Dangerous World

Purified and Preserved

Danielle Harrison


Danielle Harrison

Involved in "Into His Light" Ministries and Associate of "Coming Out Ministries"



  • June 4, 2016
    7:45 PM
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Your Heavenly Father Lord we have already had such a rich day. It's been full. And it's been a blessing to many of us. Many have come and gone throughout the course of the day and and many still remain and so I'm glad to look out and see the faces here Lord and I trust that the people that need to be here are here because I've been asking you to provide that that you would bring the people that need to hear this message and I thank you for bringing each and every one of us here safely. Lord I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to speak through me and into these hearts and in a mighty way that's profound Lord and help me to share this presentation like it's the very first time I've ever shared it and I pray that the true must come through and then I will get in the way. And that you will just be able to speak that I will just be a conduit through which your message of truth can flow and Lorna. I just turn again to your word and I claim again like I did the first night exodus for twelve and Isaiah fifty one sixteen words. For your promises to put your words in my mouth and covered you under the shadow of my nan because you made my mouth and you even divided the waters that Israel could cross over on dry ground so if you're powerful enough to do that then you're powerful enough to speak even through me today. And so I think you for what you're about to share with us in Jesus. So when I share my testimony I always share at the end how the day that I was about to I wore a red dress all day by before my baptism and I wore a white dress all day after my baptism and I did that as an object lesson of the cleansing that I believed that God had given to me because he promised it in His Word in first John one nine And so I asked him Lord to please forgive. My sins and to cleanse me of all unrighteousness. And I believe that he did that and I said Lord I I had made promises of purity when I was younger and I knew that I couldn't keep those and I had tried in my own strength and failed and so I said Lord I enter into a new covenant with you now and may you hold me in that state of purity me you wash me clean like a virgin your eyes and and to hold me in that state of purity and some people ask how how can a transformation like who you used to be come to be who you are how can this kind of transformation take place when I can tell you a stronghold addictions of many years of different forms that it's only by God's grace that this kind of transformation can to you place and that's what I hope you hear from from this message tonight. But it takes more than just an intellectual knowledge of him and a surface reading of his Bible it takes a true relationship with him and we've talked we've talked about that this weekend or this week and it takes more than just human effort it takes humor human effort coupled with Divine Aid and that's what we're going to talk about tonight as well there are those who profess to serve God. While they were lying upon their own efforts to obey His law to form a right character and secure salvation their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of love of Christ but they seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain rather than now look what she says next. Such religion is worth nothing when Christ dwells in the heart of the soul be so filled with his the love with the joy of communion with him. That it will. Cleaved to him. And in the contemplation of him a self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Those who feel the constraining love of God Do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God They do not ask for the lowest standard but they aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Reed Timmer with the earnest desire they yield all they yield all and manifest an interest proportion that to the value of the object which the see with earnest desire they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object which they see a profession of Christ without the steeple lot of his mere talk dry formality and heavy drudgery. Maybe some of us have experienced this in our Christian walk or it just becomes a burden a drudgery going through the motions but for me every time that I started to have a lasting change in my life. It was when I started to understand this concept and every time I started to experience victory in a certain area of my life it came as a change in my perspective we talked about seeing things from God's perspective right. And that's what I had to experience walking away from the perspective that I had in the way that I looked at the topic and started to see it from God's perspective so let me ask what do you see when you look at this photo. Don't be shy two faces right made up with the black here and the Goblet in the center. Native the white right. Some people look at the photo and first they see the faces then and some people look at it and first see the goblets some of them don't see the other image. Unless someone else mentions it to them some of them some people see it very quickly both of them but I think one thing is for sure that once we've seen both of them we can't see them right. And that's what we have to do we have to come to see our sins from God's perspective and one of the things that God helped me to come to realize and to understand was the simple concept that self service is idolatry. When I choose to serve cells and go my own way instead of walking in the light that God has given I am putting myself up on a pedestal and saying I know better or whatever the case may be I am I am setting myself up as an idol in my life because I'm choosing to serve myself instead of God and when I started to see that that was pretty profound and there's there's a myriad of different things that God helps us to come to see from his perspective. But once we start to acknowledge first we start to realize that what we're doing the way that we're living is not in harmony with God and His desire in comes to be conviction and conviction is a very comfortable. Which makes things a little bit complicated when you live in a world that tells you to follow your feelings and follow your heart when we approach the Bible in the Word of God it pricks us it convicts us. It makes us uncomfortable our natural inclination is to get away from that thing that's making me uncomfortable right where you see God created a narrow path to heaven. And and he lines about path with a hedge of protection. He lined that path on either side so that we don't turn to the left or to the right because we can go too far to in the wrong direction or we can actually become overzealous and in the right direction and we can go wrong in that way too right. So he placed a hedge on on either side then and we see in Genesis three that as a result of sin thorns and thistles came upon creation right. And so as we're traveling along the narrow way if we turn and we start venturing off in our own direction then we get into bad heads and we feel those thorns were pricked. It's not designed to create us or force us away from God to run away from him in his word it's to warn us it's designed to be uncomfortable to help us to see that we're in danger and that we need to get back into the center path. The only path that's going to take us to where we really want to go and where God wants us to go. The Lord has given his holy Commandments to be a wall of protection around his created beings and those who will keep themselves from the defilement of appetite and passion may be partakers of the divine nature their perceptions will be clear they will know how to preserve every faculty in health so that it will be preserved to God in service. So I went out to the Black Hills and I started to learn things on the farm remember I was all into energy healing and everything was in there G. and you know it was a it was really my hippy phase in my life and so when I go in there and they're there they're cutting off parts of the plants you know they're there pruning the plants and I'm and I was just reading in my energy healing book that just how you can see auras of people you can also see auras of plants and if you if you look at a plant those how to broken off you will see. The outline of where the leave used to be or the stem used to be and and it will be a different color than the rest of the aura and blah blah blah blah blah you know this is what I'm reading right so I'm going in there and they're they're cutting off parts of the plants and I'm like oh no this isn't good you shouldn't be doing this. And the farmer he was he was very patient and he started to describe to me why they were doing such a silly thing right. He said you know Daniel if you just let the plant grow how it naturally would grow. You're going to have an abundance of branches you're going to have way more branches than are necessary to to the productivity of the plant and so if you come in and you take away some of those needless branches. Then you won't have so much extra foliage all the extra leaves so that all of the energy of the plant is going to. Instead of all those extra leaves the energy can can go right to the fruit and so if you prune the plant and you keep the branches that are necessary then you will have bigger and sweeter fruit as a result makes sense right. And this is what God is striving to do for each and every one of us. If we allow ourselves to grow the way with that we naturally will. We will have so many things that come into our lives and distract our energies away from productivity for God and His kingdom and so God by His grace he comes into our life and he starts to show us these branches that are needless and distracting and taking away the energy that can go to the fruit that will make it big and sweet and he starts to prune those away and it might be a little bit uncomfortable to be pruned of God. Oftentimes it's very uncomfortable but if we will submit then we will become more productive not just in this world. Before for the kingdom of Christ. So I remember when I was very first going through a per class that I that I actually now offer in ministry. We were reading through some some verses about claiming the promises of God and I was talking about how not only can we find promises were God says he will do this you know but even the commands are also promises and this actually started to change the way that I looked even at the ten commandments. Because I approach the ten commandments the same way all of my life. I've read them now shall not kill the hour shall not steal our shall not commit adultery Thou Shalt Not not not and when I was younger I just stated that it was like all these things that God is trying to do you know she wagged his finger at me and some of those things you know maybe I want to do or maybe I feel entitled to do them right. And I win and and I was a newer Christian and so with this in the back of my mind to it I was I was approaching the Word of God and I was reading my devotions and I could remember most of the commandments but not all of them and definitely not in order so for my devotion some morning I'm going to read the Ten Commandments so I went there and I started reading them just the way that I would that I always have and then the still small voice came into my mind and said Daniel you're putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable or on the wrong word Actually he you're putting the emphasis on the wrong word Danielle. And what I'd read in my purpose came back to my mind that even the commands of God are promises because God is trying to show us that we shall not steal we shall not kill. We shall not commit adultery. We can be free from these things remember when I was a young girl I started to realize that I wanted to be good but there was just this this broadcast on that I couldn't pass between the person that I wanted to be. You know who I naturally was. And God was finally showing me that you know if you're struggling with any of these things you can turn to me and you can claim these as promises more do you say I shall not commit adultery. Don't let me walk on that person the last hour for them please Lord help me help me in this moment of my challenge. The ten Commandments Thou shall than thou shall not our ten promises assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe the law of ten precepts of the greatest love that can be presented to man is the voice of God From have been speaking to the soul in the promise this do and you will not come under the dominion and control of Satan so not powerful. That was one I had to save note of because I've been deceived many times by the enemy. There is not a negative in the law although it may appear thus it is to do and live. So we can see the Ten Commandments not as confining But as the liberated and just the way that the butterfly cannot perform the unfathomable task of changing itself from something that creeps on the ground to something that flies in the air we too cannot do the unfathomable of pruning away the needless branches in our lives. Only God can do that for us. No man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work then the language of the soul will be Listen to this prayer Lord take my heart for I cannot give it. It is not property keep it pure for I cannot. Before the Save me in spite of myself my wee unpriced like self molded me Fashion me raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere where the rich current of love can flow through my soul and this Brothers and Sisters is where we have to come. We have to come to admitting that we have absolutely no power in and of ourselves. No power no ability. We have to realize our dependence on God every day every hour every moment. If we will be sustained in lasting victory. This is so important. Also while I was out. On the farm. I spend a lot of time seeding and I talked about how I would take the seas and put it in the spoil the soil and watch a full circle experience of God's creative power in action do you remember me talking about. And I started to learn something else while I was there and the farmer Larry he was teaching me about how how the seed sprouts and he was saying that that each seed depending on whatever kind of see that is each seed has a natural amount of intrinsic energy contained within that seed it naturally has based on the the cellular make up of that plant based on the proteins in the different things that are that are contained within it it has just enough energy within that seed to make it sprout. So you pour the water on it it activates the seed to begin to grow and all the energy is used up to create the first stamina and the first root and those first two leaves which are called the card allegiance and soul take all of the energy to create that first little sprout. But once those two little coddling bins pop above the ground. They will start to derive the energy through the sunlight and then the plant will continue to grow through photosynthesis right. And this is exactly what you and I will have to go through not only will we have to submit to the pruning of the Lord but we'll have to do it through through acknowledging and understanding this principle right here because for you and for me brothers and sisters that will take every ounce of energy that you contain within yourself to reach away from self and reach out to your only source of strength to reach away from self and reach to Christ but once you get those two little cattle even above the soil. You will receive all of the energy that you need to continue to grow into the fullness of the plan that God designed you to be. And so then from there we have to we have to learn how to abide with him we have to learn to to walk with Jesus and we hear these terms we hear them. You know in the church over and over give it to God of the you know walk with Jesus abide with him but what does that really mean how do I really apply that to my life. Well let's look at a couple simple quotes here to make it a little bit more clear. Many are inquiring how am I to make the surrender of myself to God you desire to give yourself to him but you are weak in moral power in slavery to doubt and controlled by the habits of your life of sin your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand we read this part of the quote in my testimony right you cannot control your thoughts your impulses your affections and the knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own. And Sarah. And causes you to feel that you can that God cannot accept too but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the Will this is the governing power of the nature of man the power of decision. The power of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will that was what we read the other night here goes it continues the power of joyous choice. God has given to man and it is there is two X. server sides. You cannot change your heart you cannot of yourself give to God its affections. But you can choose to serve him. You can give him your will he will then work in you to will and to do according to HIS good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ your affections will be centered upon him. Your thoughts in harmony with him so I'm going to do my best to kind of break this down a little bit and I'm going to use some object lessons to do it and I hope that we can all just come to a better understanding of what this really means because the battle really begins in the mind right. That's where it all starts and how many of us we we just kind of leave the door open just a little interest a little we leave the Doro of our heart and our mind we'll we leave it open just a crack and we think that's OK but how far would you have to leave the door open to let a snake this big and it only takes one inch to let the whole snake in and then he says he quietly solution to your beautiful. Peaceful home and he he curls up behind the couch over by the heater right. And you don't even raise their But then somehow your thoughts are like the little mice that sneak in maybe. As the doors open a crack your thoughts they run in and that snake devours the mice your thoughts continue to run in and feed the snake that you don't realize is there and eventually it grows bigger and bigger and bigger and then one day maybe you're like OK I'm going to I'm going to move or whatever the case may be you decide you're going to move that couch and and there you move it away. And there's a huge snake inside of your house and can you by yourself remove that snake. If that snake is big enough and strong enough to to kill a deer OK really are human is a snake going to get that big in your house without you noticing it probably not but follow me with the illustration because you can't overestimate from your living room that's big enough to kill a deer. Your you're going to have to have some kind of assistance outside of your cell and I believe that God has given us that assistance in something that maybe for some of us starts all very small maybe the size of a mustard seed because it all starts with believe you believe that you no longer need to live according to your feelings and your old nature but that you can live for what God wants for us this is actually quote from a book called the local response therapy it's written by Dan Gelber he's the one that I talked about me seeing the fruits of the spirit in and I went to church one the first time I went to hear his message and he was the one the baptized me. I saw this working out in his life he didn't only read a book on it I saw it in his life and that was what changed mine. Believe that you can live for what God wants for you and this sudden reckoning this decision must happen not just once but every time the trigger comes every time something comes into your mind and triggers you to think I want or need this thing right now whether that trigger is a threatening situation and entice an idea an emotion and impulse or some kind of sensory input whatever it is that triggers the outside every time you are tempted to indulge in the old habit you must recommit your life right then and repurpose in your heart right then that you are a new creature and that Jesus will see you through and as we persistently continue in faith to deny the old response and practice the new healthy one the day will come when that old ungodly habit will have been phased out of our life. It has been overcome and replaced by a Christ like habit that will never need changing. So what we're actually going through when we're when we're walking through this experience and every time the temptation comes in the end I think I want bad right now I can choose to serve Christ yet again. And as I practice this every time the temptation comes and I am actually allowing a physical change to take place in my brain because science has found that your narrow your neural pathways inside your brain are just like your muscles so the neural pathways those those neurons that fire down a certain path every time you think a certain thought God designed to your brain to function in a way that when you use those neuropathy. Ways they strengthen just like your muscles do with use and this is how you form healthy habits. That's why after you do something for a while you just do it naturally you almost don't even have to think about it anymore because it becomes a habit or your brain just naturally fires down that pathway. But the opposite is also true. If you discontinue the use of those neural pathways. It's just like you if you discontinue the use of your muscle what happens it becomes weaker right. It begins to atrophy and so if you discontinue the use of those neural pathways they will begin to atrophy and eventually if they become weak enough they will eventually die. So if you are not allowing yourself to move into this direction anymore and instead you're moving in this way you're letting those old neural pathways die and you're letting these ones become established and stronger every time you turn in the new direction and your brain is physically changing and science has also found that the average craving that I need and want this thing right now last on average so sometimes is shorter sometimes it's longer three and a half minutes. So when I think about that you know three and a half minutes isn't too bad. The average habit this new forming of neural pathways in your brain sciences on average takes about forty five days. So it mates. It may seem overwhelming to you to think that I am what I might have to practice those turning away from what I really want and turning to Jesus instead. Every time the temptation comes in for forty five days. You know I tell you the last five minutes. But if we put this all together it becomes very very profound because I cannot. Changed my heart and my mind I can try and fail and so I can try again and I can feel again and I can try harder and I can fail again I've done this in my Christian experience over and over again but if instead. I turn to Christ and I call out to him I might not be able to walk the right walk for the next forty five days but I can how many of us can spend the next three and a half minutes with Jesus. I can turn to Jesus Christ in prayer. I can turn to him and I can claim his promises and I would encourage your brothers and sisters to commit scripture to memory. Because there is something powerful in the word God use the word to speak all of creation into existence and so we're tapping into something greater than we could ever fathom we claim the words of God and when he writes those on our hearts. It's something that's powerful and we're not always going to have our Bibles right. So I can turn to the Lord and maybe you know I will I hope I will seek out if I'm struggling with something and I want to have victory in that I will search the word for his promises they can apply to that very point and I will strive to memorize them and if I don't have them down I'll just write him on an investor index card I'll stick them in my purse and if the temptation comes back and I turn to Him in prayer I turn to his word. And each and every time that I do that I'm allowing the old neural pathway to weaken and the new neural pathway to become established and strong. And there's a physical change taking place. I'm going to show you now something that I call the cause to effect water. And maybe some of you have heard this said basically said. Is that our thoughts create our actions or repeated actions form our habits our habits collectively build our character right. Haven't you guys heard this is the new concept for some some of you have heard it. So this is something that was really very helpful for me whenever I started to come in to Adventism into Christianity on the strength of striving for for victory in my life this was a simple concept that was very beneficial to me but as time has gone on I've I've I've kind of meditated on this thought in the Lord's help it helped it to expand in my mind because I think that there are sometimes things that come even before the thoughts are strongly influenced the thoughts are strongly encourage the thoughts and that is that the sensory input of the information that comes into our mind through our senses and if we have the things that are selfish that we're putting in front of us things that we know are not in harmony with God's Will things that we know that are inspired by the enemy when we put those things in front of us and we allow sensory input that it is influenced by the enemy to come into our minds and our hearts through our senses. It's like we're allowing Satan to come into the garden of our mind and scatter his seed there. He's coming into the garden of our mind in his throwing out he's casting out his seeds and then when the thoughts come in as a result of what the enemy has common strewn in the garden of our mind when we allow our thoughts to travel along the paths of those seeds. It's like we're pouring water on those seeds and we're activating them to sprout and then when our actions. Naturally follow the thoughts we've been contemplating these lies of the enemy that have come into our minds in our hearts. It's like the sunlight is coming. Down and giving that sprout the strength that it needs to grow into the plan that it was designed by the enemy to be. And so then it makes sense that the habits of course would be the flowers and the character would be the fruit and the only thing that we're going to take to have been with us is our character. So I think it's safe to say that our character determines our destiny and so if we have selfish wise or Satan as our sensory input. We're going to have a selfish destiny. So we must continue to dig up every root of unbelief. When these poisonous plants are pulled up for they cease to grow for want of nourishment in Word and in action the soul must have the precious plants of faith and love put in the soil of the heart and thrown their faith and works is the is the reference for this one here. I see her saying after you what is the its faith and works is the reference. So how often do we walk out into the garden of our minds and we we come to the garden alone while the DO is still on the roses and we look down and there's this big ugly we growing in the middle of our garden. It's thorny It's ugly I don't want it there and it shouldn't be there right. So I go up to the to the We then I proceed to pluck off all of the leaves off of that and even then I I brush off my hands and I'm proud of myself and I go about my day and and then every time I come back to my garden the ego still there not only is it still there but it's getting bigger and bigger. It's actually become a tree that's overshadowing all the other plants and and they're not thriving either. If only I would have dealt with that when it was small and how often brothers and sisters do we go up to the plant the weeds in our mind and pluck off the leaves because we're focusing on the habit the habit the habit. The habit. We're not getting down and what do we need to do to get rid of that we need we need to reach down and pull it up by the roots. We need to get to the roots of the issue. If you have a bad habit in your life maybe you need to you need to pray and ask the Lord to help you to to search all your thoughts and observe your mind how often do we just allow our mind to wander in whatever channel it wants to go and write it totally unbridled unbroken horse. I don't know if you've ever been on a horse the the head doesn't want to do what you wanted to it's kind of a scary experience right. And how many of us are on unbridled and broken minds and we're not afraid at all we need to become observant of our mind we need to we need to ask the Lord to eliminate the ways in which we're totally unaware of the negative thought processes. And those negative sensory inputs that are in our life that need to be weeded out they need to be rooted out of our lives and thrown away. So we need to guard the avenues of our soul We're told again and again and again in the spirit of prophecy that we need to become well Sentinel and the Sentinel is a guard that stands to keep watch you have to become a faithful sentinel or your eyes ears and all of your senses. If you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul the power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work and. You also have to realize brothers and sisters that we're not just in the physical battle here we're not just we're not just battling with our physical habits we're wrestling. This is a spiritual battle right. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of the darkness of this world again spiritual work innocent high places there's an enemy of souls right. And he's coming in these He's sowing the seeds. So we have to ask lord where are the enemy's lives and we have to refuel lose to believe and associate with allies of enemies we have to clear our houses right we were talking about tonight. How many avenues through which the enemy can come into our homes into our lives into our hearts and lead us in the wrong direction. So also fog comes into your mind that is not in harmony with the will of God You don't have to own that thought it's not from you it's really in the ME. And so you can say I refuse that father I'm not going to meditate on not fun I'm not going to accept it I'm going to walk away from it and I'm going to choose instead not to believe in the garbage but to believe in the Word of God. And to believe in His promises and believe in his truth and what he says and he promises will shed light on all of the deceptions of the enemy and striving to late. Constant war against the carnal mind must be maintained and we must be aided by the refining influence of the grace of God which will attract the mind upward and habituated to meditate on pure and holy things. So if what we were talking about before is true the opposite would be true as well right. If we allow God to sow his seed in our hearts and he comes and then. And he plants his troops in our hearts and we allow our sensory input to be holy and beautiful and inspiring and uplifting that draws are how our hearts and minds out to him. Then his seeds will grow because our thoughts will naturally follow the sensory input and our actions will naturally follow those thoughts will be like the water that activates his seeds and the action will be the sunlight that allows those plants to grow into what they were designed to be and we will have flowers and fruit for a holy destiny and character as well. So we need to shift the focus away from the habits and the character and put it on where really needs to be those who are watching on to prayer and are searching the scriptures daily with an earnest desire to know and do the will of God will not be a lot of stray by some of the deceptions of Satan. That's not what it says is it. Oh I'm so glad there are many people in CA that some places I just have to stand there for about thirty seconds and then one person says the words to you guys are paying attention that is encouraging. It doesn't say some of the deceptions of Satan it says that if we do these simple things right here. We will not be led astray by an e on the deceptions of Satan that got my attention. That got my attention so what are the things we can do. Don't be shy. What does the code say that we can do. Right search of the Scriptures daily watching on to prayer. And keeping an honest desire to know and do the will of God If we do these simple things we will not be a lot of stray by any of the deceptions of Satan. So not only do we empty our mind because we just empty it. We're just going to be trying to practice meditation and that's not going to get us anywhere and will just sweep our minds clean and then seven more demons will come right back in the right. So we've got to sweep away the mass the lies of the enemy we've got to fill it with something better something holy something uplifting something that will change us in a holy way because by beholding we become changed by word have I hid in mine hard that I might not sinned against me and we have sold many bluffs said councils that we have been given and I don't know about you but I'm not reading enough. And then fortunately as I as I venture through the Adventist world I think I'm not the only one that's not reading enough. And when it comes to the issues of sexual purity we have so much counsel. We've not been left without counsel books like Adventist home messages to young people letters see young lovers testimonies on sexual behavior adultery. Divorce is just a few that I would list off from the top of my head. You know when I read these writings. I can't help but know that they are inspired they're beautiful and they're powerful. And I have never found them contradict the Bible they they they make them more vivid for me brings it to life and uses something that's very simple for me also is that the Lord has helped me to. See how much the eight Laws of health can be of benefit to us in our walk of the jury who would have thought right. You know we know all that. That these help us to have a healthy body and they also help us to have a healthy mind but they also help us to have spiritual health as well and you know for me I started to realize that if if a temptation would come into my mind a simple thought that that should not be there would be really easy for me to continue to dwell on that thought if I would just stay in that area where the temptation came in my mind so if I was able I would get up and I would physically move my sort of situations in my surroundings. I would get up and I would walk out of that place and if I physically moved it would help me to mentally move as well and shift my attention off of that temptation and on to Christ. And I would go and get a glass of water because I know that they're well hydrated brain fires more clearly and so it's not the water that saves me it's not just taking my mind off the temptation that saves me it's putting my mind on Christ and calling out to him for the help that I need because I can do it on my own right and I always watch to see how many people start drinking after I start talking about water there are three who are taking a separate Now you four. And then you know maybe that three and a half minute average is not so average this time around I know I'm still really struggling and I get up and I plan my goal outside. Now I'm getting fresh air. I'm getting exercise I'm getting sunlight. Not that these things save me but they help me to focus my mind on Christ how many of us is just I need to go for a walk in need to air out my head. Right to help us. Get our focus off of the temptation and on to Christ that gives us the victory. Maybe sometimes I'll just find a quiet place to maybe just think to just pray out in nature and I asked for God to show me something in his creation to teach me an object lesson you know these simple things can help me in this journey and you know while while I'm on the slide I would just mention you know you see this this beautiful long flowing dress she has on you know my. Dress reform doesn't save us either but you also how we used to dress for hate and as I started to change the way that I dress the way that the way that I presented myself. It started to change the way that I looked at myself and it started to change the way that others looked at me as well and many most of us will not experience victory and loss we have accountability. God told us to confess our faults one toward another so we can have the healing that we need right. He's the only one that we need to go to to confess our sins but he wants us to be transparent with each other so that we can pray for each other so that we can lift each other up because if just pretending like we're never struggling. How are we ever going to get through this we need each other we need the prayers of our brothers and sisters and we need the encouragement and support because it's easy for me to let myself down. I can find all the excuses in the world why it's OK for me to to do what I want to do but if I call someone who I've been talking to about my struggle you know it is so helpful to me. It reminds me of all the reasons why I made the decisions in the first place right. But if you decide to establish accountability the enemy might do something like. This because he does it to me a lot of wow Danielle you're struggling you're going to show while you only collar when you're struggling. What kind of a friend are you. Maybe you should just wait a little while and give her a call when you're doing all right. And then you won't be a bad friend you know you can actually just have a relationship with her and so they're just using her to lean on a return you need something or whatever the case may be he might. He might present his facade of his lie in a different way for you because that wouldn't work for you that's what works for me. He will try. He will strive. To talk you out of contacting your accountability partner but have you ever had someone call you and say I'm really struggling Can you pray with me can you and you know do you have any encouragement you have a Bible verse anything. Have you ever had someone do that do you feel like they're a terrible friend you feel put off how encouraging is it. Is another plus saying to be an encouragement to someone I've had people call me and say can. Can you hold me can you know I'm really struggling and I could be struggling with the same thing that as soon as they're on the line and they need the help I've got all the right words I've got the Bible verses they just they just come right. You know it's a blessing. It's a blessing to be in this family together and to be walking together and encouraging each other in victory. Because it's a shame when I walk alone because when I fall down I won't have anyone to lift me back up. But if we're walking together when I'm weak you can be the strain. That I need to point me back to Jesus instead of just letting me wallow in my discouragement. When I recently had a I recently had a friend who was very dear to me commit suicide and and for a while I started wondering Lord why did you love this happened when I was just getting ready to start an event. You know I had to go up and. In front of everybody like everything was just fine and I was falling apart inside. But I look back on it and I'm so glad that I was with my colleagues of that time because even with them. They're holding me up through those days you know I still fell into a couple weeks of depression. What would have happened if I would have been all alone when all of that happened. You know we need each other we need each other so that we can point each other back to Christ God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above then you are able but will with the temptation also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. You know sometimes when the temptation comes into my mind and and I'm struggling with the thoughts and the lore. You know I might have the still small voice the that encourages me to get up and go walk outside right. Or maybe I'll just feel inspired to to pick up my own character and personality or start reading or a Bible verse will come into my mind or a song. Song is one of the strongest weapons against discouragement the right song will come into my mind and it will just lift me up or maybe I'll just think you know I should call Michelle and these things they don't save me but they help me to focus my mind on Christ. So I'm going to try and just kind of wrap it up here with an object that I think is very profound and beautiful and I hope that it's a blessing to you because it's been such a blessing to me and Dan jabbered that the spiritual teacher that was that was out there at the Black Hills that I learned so much from he used to tell the story he said when my son Kyle was born I remember that day he came out of pots and I caught him and when my son was born there was a a lot of Born in my heart the that doesn't compare to anything else and he said that when my son began to grow when he he got bigger. And he started to look at mommy and daddy and I could see the gears turning in his mind you know and he you he would kind of look at us and I wondered if you was thinking well they only use. They only used to they don't scoot around on all four I want to do that and he'd start pulling himself up on the couch and as weakens as a weak and feeble as his little legs may be but he would use the couch to take some steps right and he'd walk alongside the couch and this time went on he got a little bit more comfortable with walking on those little legs and eventually the day came when he developed the courage to let go of the couch and take his first few steps and when he did that what do you think happened. He fell down and he said What do you think I did when that happened. He said I didn't run over to him and say a little look at you you're for. You'll never get it right at that rate mothers will stay down. And no of course even say that what kind of a loving parent would say that to their child and I don't think any parent would say that to their child. Known he rushed over in the scooped him up and he said yea you did it. Let's try again and he sat he sat back on his feet and he started to let him walk again and take a few steps and he would fall down and even lift him back up and he'd take a few steps and he'd fall back down and and after a few tries. He pulled little feet on top of his big thievin and grabbed onto his let him grab onto his fingers like this and did one of these you know what I mean. And he like hi feel what it felt like to walk like daddy did and this is the experience that we have to wait. When we first started turning on our Christian experience to stand up my still little bit awkward and we can see but as we as we start to learn how it is to walk we you know we might hold on to a few things in order to to to get the feel for it but then the. They will come when we will stop away from the couch We'll let go of that crowd that we've been holding onto and we'll take our first few steps then and when we fall down if we take our first few steps in the right direction do you think God looks at us if we fall down and you think he shakes that as he shakes his head of US and shame and says you might as well stay down. No home stuff and I have three seventeen tells us that he rejoices over us was seen right because the just man falls seven times but rises up again while the wicked man falls into mischief. So what was the difference between the righteous and the wicked and wasn't whether or not they fell right because they both fell. It was whether or not they got back up and kept trying and kept pressing on pressing towards the mark and you know as we continue in our Christian journey while we may follow a lot in the beginning. Just like we fell a lot when we were children as we grow up walking becomes more natural to us right and we fall less and less and I don't I don't fall very often anymore and that now that I'm an adult. Sometimes I take it for granted and and I realize how much I've taken it for granted whenever I do fall right. And that's what we're like in our Christian experience our plops become less and less as we journey on in our Christian faith and if we do fall if we're striving and if we're if we continue to keep getting back up those plops that we have are filled in by the Blood of Jesus Christ because his grace is sufficient. Right. So this object lesson has been made perfect as my little niece had has come into the world. So I am going to talk about one of those little leaves you saw and when she was born she was only four and a half pounds. She wasn't premature she just had our which was interview during growth restriction she she was just a little bit small right but she. Little Fingers in our little tolls and and her eyes and her nose and and she was just perfect. And then as she started to grow when she was getting bigger I She just looked like a little baby doll you know when shoes start to learn how to crawl around. She was sober. And when had Basso started to learn how to walk I'll tell you what this little girl had more fun than any other child I have ever seen as she was learning how to walk. She would fall down but she would just lose. And she would get right back. And daddy was always there to catch her and she would just walk and walk until she couldn't even walk anymore and she had to take a break. I have read. In my head it was perfect. And this was when she was learning how to ride her bike without training wheels My sister sent this little video and she was five she had just turned five in this video this was just a little over a year ago now and when my sister sent this little video to me I just it brought me so much joy. I'll tell you would my head does is perfect. I love watching her grow. It's one of my biggest joys in life and my house is perfect because she never does anything wrong because my head also makes mistakes. But when I look at her and I see her living up to the fullness of the little head down so she can be there she's perfect in my eyes because I I don't expect anything more from her than what she can do right now with what she handles and that's how God looks at you as long as you're striving as long as you are as long as you're getting back up and walking in the right direction and you're living up to the potential that you can love. You know I didn't I didn't want to stay four and a half pounds forever even though I thought she was perfect. I don't want to just say five or six for every mother I look forward to watching her grow and will graduate from high school or walk down the aisle and get married before that has to happen but if I as grace it doesn't then I look forward to watching her grow into the fullness of the woman that she was designed to be and that's Hogan looksee God does not require us to give up anything that is for our best interest to retain in all that he does he has the wellbeing of his children and deal with it all who have not chosen Christ my realize is that he has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves so maybe some of you tonight. You're realizing that that this little girl is you. She's Me too. Maybe you have this thing in your life and God's been laying on on your her for a long time. Or maybe it's a new or conviction maybe maybe it's something that's just come on your heart this weekend or even this evening. But you're realizing that there's something in your life said that you've been cherishing it completes you or it defines you or it comforts you. It does something for you the you think it does but really only God can do for you and God has been calling out to you and saying I need you to give that to me but up until this point you just you haven't been able to you've been saying good but God. I love it when God is asking you he's saying Just trust me. And you haven't been willing to give that to him to surrender to him and say OK Lord I believe that you have something better in store for me and tonight you finally want to say OK Lord I I trust you I I trust you that if you ask something of me it's only because you have something better in store for me and I'm sure it's infinitely better than a teddy bear but I think you get the point right. Is there anybody here tonight that just wants to acknowledge that you've been clinging to something that God has been asking you to give up and tonight you want to say OK Lord. You can take it if that's you are just one encourage you to respond to that call tonight on your heart from the Lord if if if if that's you I want to ask you to stand to your feet. So anybody else. You know I don't do this very often but tonight I think I'm going to do it and you know maybe there is somebody here tonight who who's never made a decision for Christ if they've never made that full commitment to him and the decision for baptism. Maybe they're someone here tonight who hasn't made that decision yet but they want to make that decision tonight. So anybody who wants to make that decision. If you do I want to ask you to come forward takes a brave person come. In. Cerny body else and know what it's like to wrestle with the decision was a to anyone else. Sometimes I would think of all interim into that decision that commitment and I would be a little bit afraid. I don't know what to expect but I can tell you for sure that God will carry you through anything that allows you to experience and walking with him is better than anything else. Anything else and I've been through a lot certainly one else. We're told that all haven't rejoices when even one makes that decision. And while they're rejoicing I'm rejoicing too and rejoicing for you never would have imagined this moment when we first met God is good and it doesn't mean that I will just get easier. Caus doesn't usually but it's worth it and if you need that accountability I'm here for you in what you did. And I'm encouraged and I'm strengthened by everyone else who's standing as well let's close with a word of prayer to your heavenly Father we've had such a rich and full week together. We've had so many blessing blessings LORDAN and we've sense your presence we've seen sense your guidance. There's been a lot of clarity on a lot of hard issues and Lord it's been an honor for each and every one of us to be able to come together and share this time together the Lord to groan in the knowledge of grace together as a family to learn from each other lord to spend time together to make memories together to learn how to witness real and to learn and be encouraged by the experiences of others. You've heard a lot of different testimonies woven into the different presentations and we've just been we've been encouraged and strengthened and. And Noble through this time together Lord and we just want to acknowledge you as the source of all of that blessing. We're doing tonight there are some of us who are standing. And Lord I just I just want to thank you for those who you have helped them to see that the things that they're holding onto in their lives Lord that there that those things are distracting from you and those those things are holding them back from receiving a greater blessing the you have in store for them and so Lord I pray that each and every one of them will begin to walk in a new direction in their life and and the word you will teach them and help them and remind them of the things that they've learned this weekend and help them to implement them in their lives and Lord help them to reach out and share them with the authors Lord and keep us praying for others in order to help are focused not be on self all the time and not on the problems in the church. But on on you and on helping others in service to others and reflecting your character so that you can come Lord help us to remember why we're even here and not to waste the time and I want to especially pray for my my precious sister who's come forward the sea and Lord I pray that you will send an army of angels to walk with her lord into this new decision. And they will send all the resources that she needs for the studies that she may need to prepare or whatever whatever the case may be and the arrangements for her baptism and Lord each and every one of us who are here I know we would we would just want to make ourselves available as a support and accountability for her if she needs it in the way. Thank you Lord especially for Jesus because we have no hope without him. Thank you Jesus for for coming in and living. Thank you for living a life of servitude not just for raising from the dad. Thank you thank you for providing a website dedicated to spreading and much more if you would like to know more about.


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