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Three Strikes

John Bradshaw


The God of the Bible wants you to place great demands of Him, to ask for more and not less. And when you do, it will change your life forever!


John Bradshaw

President of It Is Written



  • August 11, 2020
    9:00 AM
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I'm glad to get this opportunity to open the Bible with you and spend some time in the wood so let's pray together now and ask God's blessing Father in heaven we're grateful to have the opportunity to open up your wooden allow you to speak to us we want to listen with open ears and open hearts let your spirit guide in place we pray and we thank you in Jesus name a Maying we are going to begin by diving right in 2nd Kings Chapter 131416 Kings 1314 let's start in the would have gone to here's what the Bible says now Eli show was full and sick of his sickness where all he died and Joe ash the king of Israel came down on to him and wept over his face and said Oh my father my father the chariot of Israel and the horsemen they are all. It's 60 is since he was 1st told to be a prophet and now Elijah is sick interesting Lee virtually no mentions being made of a life in regards to anything that's happened over the last 45 years yet here comes the king who knew that a lie sure was was to Israel as though he was the chariots and horsemen King a have on the other hand derided as a traveler in Israel but King Joe I says he is to Israel as want chariots and horsemen The sun was setting on a life his life and yet still he was worthy of the respect of a King so we don't want anyone to think particularly the aged to think that they're not useful let not any of the younger generation think that the older generation has nothing to offer their wisdom. Is a treasure of great value Israel at this time was prodigious really wicked during a life his ministry he had dealt with scoundrels scoundrels like King Ahab and Joram son zealous yet brutal j. who the corrupt queen at the live now there was at least one parent spot Joe wish the boy king but in general the leaders of Israel were deprived Malva through it all however. Had been constant He was a steadfast representative of God even in the midst of the wholesale depravity and corporate apostasy through it all. Has stayed true this tells me friend that God will give you the capacity to be true to him irrespective of your surroundings or your circumstances while it is true that some situations we just don't want to put ourselves into the will of God and the grace of God is always able to sustain you rough job rough family rough marriage rough town rough colleagues rough life rough school rough should. God will give you the grace to be as faithful to him in the midst of your situation as was Elijah in the midst of the decadence the dissoluteness and the degeneracy that he faced. And get this even though the king was a wicked man even though it might have wondered if his witness meant anything at all to that wicked king even though he may have wondered whether his life was making any difference at all his witness was powerful when the chips were down the king knew to turn to friend even if you wonder if your witness means anything at all to people continue to let your light shine brightly it will make a difference people notice somebody is going to call on you when times get rough someone is going to ask you to pray when a crisis comes remember when you're ready to exercise faith like Desmond Doss folks ridiculed him wanted them out of the military wanted him dead but it got to the stage that they would hold up entire battles during World War 2 and wouldn't stop them until after Desmond Doss had completed his personal devotions powerful your witness makes a difference you don't have to see the difference you can know the difference you can believe the difference the Bible says Jesus it let your light shine the Bible says you are the light of the world and those so. And so ought to be introduced carefully you don't take so and put it in some body's eyes you might take so and put it in just the right amount and some body's food it tastes good. Yes it is going to taste good when you mix up as so not get in anybody's eyes but letting people see Jesus in you and see Jesus work through you verse 15. Eliza said unto him take boat and arrows and he took on to him bow and arrows strange request to bow and arrows clearly the prophets got something cooking verse 16 and he said to the king of Israel put Dyna hand upon the boat and he put his hand upon it and. Put his hands upon the king's head and he said Open the window eastward and he opened it. Opens it opens it and it's facing east in the direction of Syria Israel's mortal enemy at the time this was a great assurance for the King not only was a life of prophesied with the words but he was confirming this thing with signs that the King would have the victory take the bow and grab an arrow King does and then a lie sure does a curious thing he places his old hands upon the king's hands for what for additional power in shooting the thing get a little extra distance now the prophet is a dying man not Robin Hood he's not helping the king hit a target oh shoot further than ever before he's teaching this king something he's saying King if your hands are in the hands of the God of heaven. If you move forward in faith making God Your council if you trust in the Lord with all lined heart and lean not on to the known understanding if you rely on God if you do things his way you go to have victory you are going to triumph only one thing preventing you from wasting your enemies King and that is failure to go with God King you'll win with God so much to the beat his drum and watch him do something incredible and God says that to us today if you will live this life relying on God trusting in God depending on dog connected to God your hands in God's hands God is going to bring victory in the old life and in the words of Peter the Bible right you shall never fall verse 17 then in life he said shoot and he shot and he said the arrow of the Lord's deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria without shelter smite the Syrians in a fake till they all have consumed then. No that's magnificent Joe Ashe did like his forefathers and permitted idolatry to go on in Israel now in case you don't know idolatry is bad God is not into that at all yet when this scoundrel comes to the prophet God meets him where he is and offers the guy all the help that he needs you know what this means you can be a terrible Cinna yet if you have friends up on God's doorstep you can know that God will take you in and make you feel at home and make you part of the family what a great God come on and say I'm a dad he's in the business of accepting the repentant and forgiving sin is and fixing broken hearts praise the Lord what a great day to be a Christian and then into life kicks it up a notch those 18 and he said take the arrows and he took them and he said unto the king of Israel smite upon the ground and he smote rice and state or he struck the ground 3 times and stopped 3 strikes 1st 19 and the man of God was wroth with him and said You should have smitten 5 or 6 times then hadst thou smitten serial till that I had consumed it whereas No you shall smite Syria but 3 times you know in baseball if you get a 3 strikes no hits as bad news good news for the pitcher the pitcher doesn't have to waste energy throwing extra pitches you know the side Young Award winning is if I got it right there the premier best picture of the year in the various leagues. They get 200 strikeouts a year 250 maybe 300 strikeouts in a season these pitches evidently pitch so well that all of those times the better never even got a base hit instead he's off back to the dugout and you know what he wants more than anything as he's off to the dugout he wants more strikes he's saying to himself give me more strikes that pitcher will be sorry give me more strikes I'll hit a home run now if you connect on the pitch and make a base it you're fine but so often 3 strikes isn't enough and Joe Ashes 3 strikes were probably at least 3 strikes too few he should have pounded away on the ground until Eli should told him hold on Tiger pull back you need to quit but he did it and the prophet of God was angry of course there is the temptation to say that's a bit harsh of Elijah if only the king had known if only I had told him they knew would have pounded the turf relentlessly but that's the point Eli should drew out of the man what was in the man's heart and revealed what was not in his heart he didn't have a he didn't really trust in the Lord 3 stripes come on are you kidding you know what that means he wasn't giving his energies to the Lord he was like those soldiers following Gideon remember they got down to the water most of those men fell down on their hands and knees and gulp that water down but the soldiers who meant business they were the ones who stayed upright all ready for action prepared to do battle they were the ones that Gideon could use. Joe I should be in there that day to fall and down in the water with the rest of the incompetent he had given a little of himself to God and so he made a few demands on God Listen to this with you he made a few demands on God He didn't ask God for much and God was. Good by that god wanted to ask for the sun and the moon and the stars but instead Joe ash was asking for small change which God wanted Joe as much Jesus did not say ask and you might receive he said in John 1413 whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do that will I do Joe I should made small demands on God and therefore received less than he should have and would have but the reason was he invested 2 in God. Problem wasn't that he asked God for a little That's like saying your problem is shortness of breath when what you have is emphysema His problem wasn't that the little he. Because of his problem and his problem was that he wasn't invested in God he wasn't connected to God he wasn't surrender to God when you are connected when you're invested when you surrender did you start making a huge to Manzoni God praying big praise asking for huge blessings consistently because you want to see God galore a 5. It is hard to us God to intervene powerfully in your life if you've never made the decision to turn your life over to God course I'm not suggesting that if you've never tuned your life over to God you shouldn't pray no even if you are light years away from God You may still come to him but as you do there there needs to be a willingness to surrender your all to him now with me consider some ways in which this might be real in our lives if you want God to bless your family you are going to commit your family to God the parents that crave the moving of God in their family are going to be praying to God for their children they are going to be leading their family in family worship in the morning and in the evening if you don't have time in the morning make time because you want to see God's power and presence in your family husband who wants to see God's blessing in his home won't spend all day watching Nascar on t.v. while his wife is quietly going out of his mind you know if you got a deal set and she's happy here and you happy did that maybe your definition of a happy home that's fine but every time there's a dish to be washed or a baby to be changed or a child to be by a dad or not disappear out to the garage you get out a marriage what you put in if you want God's blessing on your home let God take control of your home conduct the home in reference to God's will let it be a little piece of heaven on earth that does not have to be a dream you know do all you can to be sure that your children are getting a Christian education does it cost them. No it doesn't cost it pays I'm not ignoring financial realities I'm simply saying that in eternity you are not going to want that money back. At the time of the 2nd coming you're not going to be complaining about having too little in your pocket it depends on what your priorities. And let me say this if you want your children to have Christian education and you cannot afford it you go to God 1st God will say Do all you can because that's right and if at the end of the day it just isn't enough then you go to God and you say I've done what I can this Christian education thing that's your idea not mine that school was set up by you not me it's He'll public school which often might be like feeding your kid to shocks spiritually speaking and so you want to commit to God your family and say Lord I want my kids to be raised and educated in the best environment and so you probably want to big. You know pound the ground 3 times you go to God and you pound it and you say Christian education law church school law I want my kids to be arranged in the right way you want to bring your children to God You want to expose them to heavenly things you want to educate them on God's Will you want to do all you can to keep the devil out of their lives maybe it's time for radical action if so take radical action no point clipping toenails of what you need to do is amputate a leg if you see a little of God's presence in your family while you're asking for a little of God's presence in your family to that indeed to be good for all of us to take a look at. Our Selves who occupies the throne of our home. It must be time to run the devil out of our homes if we've not done that already let's take our homes and make them truly God's equivocally indisputably. Big us Lee gods let them speak of God's presence God's ownership when you're sick often you'll do what you wouldn't ordinarily do because you're serious about getting well you are committed to regaining your health you take medicine you drink carrot juice let me tell you you get these folks that make up these smoothies carriage I like carrot juice I like smoothies carrot juice I drink it all day long carrot juice and celery that's Ok it's pretty good and then and then they're going to add kale we did this thing once where we added cactus you can get a flower pot on a cactus it's like trying to blend rocks because of the seeds in there I don't think we need to go too deep into that story but some of these smoothies remember the time people have finished with them let's be honest they taste terrible old someone says smoothies are good good smoothies are good but bad smoothies a bad but you know why you drink them filled up with garlic and beet juice and I don't know what else you drink them because you think they're going to be good for you and so you do it worse thing I have a drink was not a smoothie it was golden seal I drank it as a key I was a college student and I was sick and I wanted to be well and someone said what you need to do man is drink this golden seal tea and I said Bring it on. Goldenseal tea tasted like good no no wait a minute that's not fair on dude dude would not have tasted that bad Truth be told I got well by the next day I was well out enough was the golden seal of my body just rebelled against me and said anything to stop you from putting goldenseal inside of me Bush didn't have a taste it another time a friend of mine gave me some tea bags he bought at an Asian stall in Chinatown in San Francisco told me it would be the worst tasting stuff I had ever had but that it would make me will wouldn't really sick but a drank some of these tea bags and it was drank the tea from the tea bags he said that would be a good precautionary thing it was disgusting I have no idea what was in there except told he told me it was all Ok but why do you do it you do it because you tell yourself it's for a good cause we do it for our health that's why we do it a man in southeast China said that he avoided intestinal problems for 40 years he avoided intestinal problems for 40 years by swallowing live tree frogs and live rats This is not a joke until he was 26 years old he suffered from abdominal pains and coughing so it all then suggested treefrog as a remedy. After a month of eating a live frog his stomach pains and his coughing were completely gone over the years he added live mice baby rats and green frogs to his diet once a 20 mice in a single day no please don't try this at home I'm not recommending it I that is madness my point is when you want something you do what you feel like you need to do. For end we have to have the power of God's Spirit in our lives Joe s. got little because he expected little and he expected little because he had surrendered to it we want to see the blessing of God in our finances in a businesses in our investments isn't that true yes we do You don't want your wallet to be any skinnier than it needs to be now God came to us and gave us the secret for financial security he said by the prophet Malik I bring all that Todd's into the storehouse and prove me now here with said the Lord and he promises to open up the windows of heaven and pour out such a list saying that we will not have room enough to receive it never has anyone made such an outrageous promise to you regarding your finances God says I'll open up to you the windows of heaven you won't have room enough to receive all the blessings that promise is predicated upon a certain something God says I'll do this but 1st I need for you to do that now it isn't the money God wants God Once you're hot this is about the attitude of the heart the hot that says I faith in God I believe in God I trust in God I love God he asks for 10 percent I'll give it in fact God does something a little interesting he says but 10th is mine in actual fact when you get your next paycheck you ought to look at it and then tell the Lord Lord they've done it again somehow they managed to get my money all mixed up with some of your money. This 10 percent isn't mine but they give it to me anyway 10 percent is your father and I want you to have it back the 10th this is we ought not to withhold that is far more than a duty to return it to go it's. A sing I know you're going to say a man hope you're going to say a man and there's a huge promise attached God says I know you'll be skittish of atoning other 10 percent of your income so I'm making you a promise if you do I pledge God says I vow I assure you I will open up for you the windows of heaven and pull you out great blessing honest to goodness if Warren Buffet Oh Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos made me that promise and take him up on it I simply will all would not saying will as though they will but if they did I would I would if Bill Gates sat down opposite me and said here's what I want is what I want to do you invest with me 10 percent of your increase of your income every day week month year whatever it is you give me 10 percent I'll look after you like you couldn't believe I would be in like a robber's dog many people would Warren Buffett wise invest in a very successful in business is just 10 percent and I'll take care you for good except God God does better than that he says 10 percent I'll take care of you for ever God once it's not the money it's the hog. Imagine telling your investment advisor or your bank manager you know what I think I'll pass this week I won't be putting I would be putting my weekly amount in I'm just going to sort of do my own thing with that money this week there are things I've got to do good things you know your investment advisor he or she would tell you well that's up to you but in the end you're the one who'd be hurt you'll get less back we want God's moving in our lives but we're doing like Joe ash committing little to God and not receiving what God wants to give us yes Joe I got 3 victories that was good but it wasn't what he could have had it wasn't what he should have had so the 10th is God's But God does something interesting he says he says there are ties and offerings Oh friend if you're serious about being jointed to Jesus don't forget the offerings how much that's up to you now as a church we typically recommend that a person would think about giving 5 or 6 percent offerings all maybe further maybe 10 or more depends how you go. But of course you don't need to start you could give more the Jews used to give 30 percent more to God you think there's a reason that as a people they know something about wise money management I want to encourage you if you're not giving offerings start to do so good what you can if God is a priority in your life in the vast majority of cases you can find ways of being generous towards God in our family we have built it into the family budget and it's exciting Yes I can support my church all this ministry or that organization what matters most to us if we can give to the cable company we can surely give to God if we can give to the all of God We can surely give to God if we can give to e-bay. Or for one k. or a motor vehicle manufacturer in Detroit we can definitely give to God You see if all I want is 3 strikes I must infer a little from God in return if my love for God is great I will pound the ground again and again and again and open my life and open my wallet and commit my family to the Lord I'm not talking about God's blessing I'm talking about what the Bible is talking about being in a right relationship with God so that we can expect God's blessing you can't buy God's favor there are many Christians who try if you just give this God will give that. I can promise you this if you give this God will bless you not too many Christian believers think I'm going to sow my seed offering and I'll give 100 and God will give me back a 1000 no God may give you peace he may protect you from illness the ties on your column a loss a little bit longer you may have good neighbors move in instead of bad you just let God bless you the way God wants to bless you you don't need to be turning blessing into covetousness faithfulness into greed yet you don't want to do that what you realize from God what you receive from God will be in proportion to what you yield to go there and dog wants your. I have a friend who used to be. Let me protect his identity he used to be involved in less then on assist pursuits let me just put it that way no he devotes an awful lot of time to helping people who are in the same gym he used to be in but his pursuit of the less than honest pursuits put his family under huge pressure. Led to very real threats against his a life due to his dishonest ways he wanted to be rich he wanted to live the big life he was raised to attend a certain church but he wanted far from God wanted nothing to do with religion these these dishonest pursuits were his life was destroying his life it ruined his family but then my friend found Jesus he was baptized he became part of the church he did his back on dishonest suits he started a little business and he decided he would be honest he did not need to get rich quick he decided I'm not going to try and cut corners I'm not going to try to live the high life I'm not going to show off in front of anybody I just want to live my Christian life this is how I'm going to earn my daily bread and I'm going to be faithful in my giving to God a funny thing happened this man started to see his business grow as a matter of fact his business Boone and he became what anybody would describe as a very wealthy man God could trust him with wealth because he had a converted hot and what's more he can help himself he has to share his faith wherever he goes he started sharing his faith with a man that I'm going to call Joe Joe ran some businesses he lived life in the fast lane with nice cars and glamorous friends and money running through his hands like water. Over 20 years ago weighed over 20 years ago way of a 20. There's no need I tell you many years ago I used to be a patron at one of Joe's businesses left way too much money behind in those places was as lost as Joe was you know Joe told me he spent 20 years without being sober a single day I believe him if it was an exaggeration you still get the point Needless to say Joe who is living the high life lost it all he went from the heights to the depths from having it all to losing it all he had nothing but the influence of God's Spirit and my friends encourage Mint job to do it in church he reached out to Jesus he started attending a series of meetings that I held and when that series was over I got baptized the man whose nightclub I used to attend is n. years before God brought us both up out of the pit we gave it all to God and God gave it all to us Joe moved into a modest apartment Joe had little of this world's goods but he had peace and eternal life and he knew Jesus Christ as easy to go savior what you get out depends on what you put in just put it all in the same token if I want to see God's blessing in my spiritual life I will throw myself into my relationship with God if I want to grow spiritually I need to take that seriously. My walk with the Lord is going nowhere if I'm not praying and reading my Bible how can I be knit together with God If I'm not spending time with God we got to spend time with God daily take your Bible read a passage feed on that meditate on that ask God what he's saying to you write down some key points store some of that in your mind and then pray speak with God commit your life to him tell him what's going on in your mind tell him what's going on in your life praise him. Thank him and then go on your way believing that your heart is towards him we can't get anything out if we refuse to put anything in. With your blessing in my life child why would you would prefer me why weren't you in Sabbath school why aren't you coming to church if you get by on the bare minimum if you're not connecting you'll receive a b. and minimum it's common for Christians today to work harder on their abs than on they walk with Jesus it's common for people to spend more time talking to their potted plants than to Jesus I'm not getting anything out of my relationship with God if I am not putting anything in I'm not going to walk on water if I refuse to get out of the boat friend of mine sent me the lyrics to a Saul the other day I've never heard it I can tell you what it's like but the song tells a forceful story it's called the Lumba song No hold on a minute that's not right it's about lumber it's called that's all the lumber in the song the man finds himself in heaven and instead of getting a great big old just mention as he hoped and expected he was escorted to a 2 room shack. In disbelief he asked How can this be and he's told that's all the lumber you send the man in the big mentioned Bill that place with his hot but as for you that's all the lumber you're sent of course there are flaws in the theology of the song nobody in heaven is going to live in a little shack there isn't a hierarchy of mentions for the more faithful and the less faithful we're all equal in heaven but what a thought the Bible says where your heart is there with your treasure be also how much lumber are you sending to Jesus what do you tell him to bill you by the way you give or don't give him your heart you make small demands on God You realize pitiful returns in your spiritual life small prayer is small and says small commitment level small blessing little small surrender small spiritual power small investment in God little transformation God asks for all your heart and when he gets it that's when the fun begins it's good stuff it's wonderful when you throw yourself into God's plan for you alive have you done that poor old King came to the prophet he said I know you the man who is the right thing to say you speak of the blessing of God You got us in God's ways a man put his hands in the hands of the Prophet shot that arrow pounded the ground. And he quit Think about your devotional life in with God really think of your prayer life. In with God Think of the way your family operates if someone walked into your home would they say Christian. Would they walk into a home and say. No different to anybody else are you taking this thing seriously God takes you seriously serious enough that Jesus came to this earth stretched out his arms allowed himself to be nailed to an old rugged cross and died so that he might spend eternity with you he's serious about you did least serious this isn't hard work it's just an attitude shift it's a difference in focus and direction it's not hard work to say no to the devil I mean temptation can get at you but it's not onerous to say I'm not following that way anymore doesn't make your life would not a 2nd class citizen because you're investing in God and allowing the God of heaven to fill your heart with this presence and one day Jesus comes back we're going home we believe that day as soon you read in Revelation Chapter 14 in verse 12 it speaks of the saved in the end of time here is the patience of the saints What do they look like here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus they've chosen to surrender and Jesus is living his life in them have you made that choice if you've chosen to surrender if you've done the Lord not my way your way and I got a bad temper Lord please give me a new. I know I'm stingy I may not be faithful in my stewardship Lord forgive me and give me a new hot I'm not treat those around me like I want to treat them Lord. Forgive me give me a new hot live in me you do it I can on faithful is he that cold with you who also will do it this is what the Bible says if you pray the period that says Lord do it let's pray that prayer now it's pray to get a Father in heaven do it we pray give us grace that our lives are all in with the life of Jesus. A pounding the ground just 3 times but pounding and pounding and pounding. And continuing to make great demands on you and pray big prayers. Because that's all we can do in our lives a bound up with your life let it be so we choose Jesus again and again friend can you pray that prayer today lol to I want to be all in I want to live a life of commitment can you pray that prayer would you pray it now load here the prayer of the hots the prayer of a hot is we want to live a life of commitment and so therefore we need Jesus to live his life in us let it be so we pray and thank you in Jesus name please say with me a man thank you God bless you I'm glad we've had this opportunity in the wood.


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