BY: TROY NICHOLS
BONNIE CHARNESKI’S TESTIMONY
WHY HAST THOU THUS DEALT WITH US?
WHY HAST THOU FORGOTTEN ME?
WHY WITHDRAWEST THY HAND?
WHY IS IT WHEN I SPEAK THE WORD – I SEE NO RESULTS?
I want to dedicate this booklet to Bonnie Charneski. This message was birthed after hearing her share her hurt and pains in a cell group one Sunday evening in March 2002. I pray that you will be as blessed as she was after receiving these answers. You can read her testimony that led up to this word coming out from our Heavenly Father on the next page.
Pastor Troy Nichols
BONNIE CHARNESKI’S TESTIMONY
BY: TROY NICHOLS
2 Cor 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Lord, I really want to know you. Please let me see through your eyes, hear with your spirit and feel with your heart. How can I love you unless I know you? That was my prayers 19 years ago. Since then, the Lord has relentlessly served answers to my request. It’s been and still is an adventure of a lifetime. A perpetual wheel of tears. Many of great joy when revelation comes and prayers are answered, but tears of great sorrow when questions go unanswered through divisions, confusion, lack of understanding, to name a few. Through them all, the Lord has been faithful. It’s the very love of God that compels me to come closer, to go deeper, no matter what. One desire is to heal those who are suffering, be it physical, spiritual, or emotional.
So, now let me share one segment of my life. Picture a believer serving the Lord in hope and expectation. The bible is true all of it, all the time, “heal the sick” so off she goes girded with the truth. Amazingly, miracles unfold all around her; nothing she imagines seems impossible (faith growing). Children get sick, have accidents, she prays, they recover, time and time again. Relatives and friends are prayed for and recover; cancer, aids, deaf ears, growths, total strangers get words of knowledge and encouragement because she listens to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pets are prayed for, even a dead fish, and they get well. She even prays that one dog in particular would never bite or hurt a human being. Guess what? He never has, he’s now 8 years old, oh yes, and a 120 lb rottweiller.
Anything you ask in my name shall be given. Her life continues on. Blessings overtake her. Likewise the pains, the sufferings, the sorrows, they come too. She handles, “For greater is He that is in me, than he that is of this world.” And then the unexpected happens. She gets tired, just under the weather or so she thought. She prays but gets worse, goes to the doctor. Tests are taken. The report isn’t good. This disease will be with you the rest of your life …[Denial]…. “By His stripes you were healed.” Problems persists, get worse. Back to the doctor …[Resist] … Take more tests. Still there! Acceptance. Taking prescribed medication daily now.
First grandchild to be born. She’s elated, full of joy. Prays and prays for a healthy child. Things start to go terribly wrong. Daughter on complete bed rest and medicine to stop contractions, baby comes to early; 5 weeks, ICU, covered in a plague of blisters, biopsies taken. Finally, what … incurable disease, one in a million babies get it. Not my grandson! [Non-compliance. No Fear].. Prays really hard, fast, prayer chain going, just believe. Then “Mom, we’re being relocated to Washington D.C., maybe someone there can help.
Note: Abandoned & Rejected.
She keeps the faith, “Still will I praise Him.” Last straw, marriage relationship strained to the max, she’s saved he’s not. No intimate companion to share her burdens with and it appears could be this way for a long time (11 years have slipped through the fingers of time already). WHY GOD? Why have you abandoned me? The loneliness and despair that lurked now take their place over her. God, Father, I’m afraid of the dark, I know you hear me, where are you? I can’t see, it’s so dark. She’s now being consumed by the darkness around her. Wait! Father, I’ll do more at church, I’ll clean, I’ll serve, I’ll teach. Yes, Lord, that will keep my mind from dwelling on the circumstances. What’s that, sister? No? They don’t want me to any longer because I’m not officially a member? Excuse me? Do I understand” Yes, I understand, that’s okay. But in her mind she doesn’t agree with it. “In the last days those that worship me, will worship in spirit and truth”, “Know ye not that we are one body and Christ is the Head? So she turns to go, but see the hurt, confusion and disappointment in the once happy, eager, smiling faces. Her heart sinks along with her hope. Well, there’s still fellowship; church, home study group and worship.
What’s this I hear all around me? Why are we tearing down those that have been appointed over us? Where’s the love? So she shares not a word, but in silence observes and waits. Church again, can’t wait for worship! I need a touch, a word, anything, JUST A CRUMB!! Oh no, no music, again? God have mercy on my soul. Wait… who is she? What’s she saying” “Embrace the Lord.” You can’t be serious, I’m trying, it’s not working. Surrender all, you say? Is there really anything left that matters? So, she breaks one more time. “Stand up, be not afraid “says the strong still voice, that comes after a flood of tears. She does but the stillness of the waters of her soul are threatened by the dark clouds on the horizon. She left service weak that morning but a flame was ignited. She’s numb but steady; pushes pass the business of the day with a restlessness. Then anxiously anticipates home group. Okay it’s been moved, only been there once but God willing she will find it, against all odds; no phone number, no address, no last name and no sense of direction. She rides around in circles briefly, enough is enough! Holy Spirit Drive!! Go slow, a little further, look-up. Voila’, there’s the sign she knows, “Apple,” then there’s the house. Thank you Lord.
When she enters the house the atmosphere is different. Then with no warning she starts to cry and cry and cry. The tears seem to take on a life of their own. No longer submitting to her plea to surrender and obey. The lesson was cutting and simple, “Why are you afraid?” Revolving around the event in the Garden with Adam and Eve. At this point she no longer saw but heard the voice, “Why are you hiding”, because the flow of tears obstructed her vision. Then the visiting guest of honor, who closes out his lesson, asked her the question, “Sister how do you feel?” Flame gets brighter. In disbelief she answers promptly, “Lousy”, silently thinking, surely he’s kidding, she knows he saw her tears. But she see’s something in his eyes that beckons her to go on. Oh, there you are.. Compassion. Sweet Release.. She then unloads the question that has imprisoned her “WHY?” and proceeds to disclose the course of events that have caused her demise. Moments pass, then he responds, “I’m not sure, but I’m going to find out for you, is that alright? “In the meantime, let me see if I can throw you a life preserver, is that alright?”
Truth stood tall that night, Mercy came running and Grace was imparted to carry her through until his answers would come forth. Jesus took the form of man, again. Did he (Pastor) minister to her out of knowledge and absolutes? Quite the opposite, through his own pains and sufferings coupled with testimonies of one after another of others that have likewise realized, I’m out of control. The atmosphere was sheer unadulterated love, poured out in the purest form on all who were present. For the Lord on high once again had visited his people. Where did he find us? In our sickbeds, of our minds, filled with spiritual cancer.
I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt and experienced with a magnitude in my spirit that the Lord stands ready to answer all questions of the heart and we are His highest priority, for He is love. We are never alone, only temporarily disconnected. He comes to us at any cost, once again. FREEDOM!! Thanks again Troy! I’m one soul so glad you gave.
WHY HAST THOU DEALT WITH US?
Text: Luke 2:41-49
41-43 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
Principle: They (parents, elders) were accustomed to doing the same thing. It’s not bad being in a habit of doing things unless that habit prevents or hinders you from change (being conformed to Christ).
41 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
- This speaks in principle in one sense of those that faithfully show up for service and go through the routine but then leave Jesus behind. Simply being, Jesus is not seen in their life away from the church.
- This speaks in principle in another sense of those times that people rush out to get home or out to dinner and not knowing that after they left, Jesus tarried in order to move and meet the needs of someone. I have been in some of the greatest services when those that were not as hungry as others left. Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t leave the building?
- Note that Jesus tarried behind and they knew not of it. This lets us see in yet another principle that these are those that don’t have the slightest idea of what Jesus is doing or where He is moving in the earth today.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
- Note they went a day’s journey before they realized that Jesus was not with them. Many there are in the church today that are beginning to notice that they have went on a journey with their traditions, programs, etc to the point that they are now void of the Life of Christ in their midst.
- They sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance and found him not. Many today have made idols out of their organization or denomination and therefore believe they are the only ones that have the Lord. In fact, I had one member tell me that their denomination believed if you were not a member of their denomination, you would go to hell.
- Many of these places are experiencing a rude awakening today as their assemblies have dried up. The members go from one assembly to another only to find that they are dried up to. I was recently up in the mountains and shared the word with a group of people from local denominations that had walked out because they said there simply was no life in their assemblies. What needs to be clarified here is the fact that these folks are steadfast folks. Simply being, they have given years of their lives to local churches only to come to a place of frustration and disappointment in this hour. These are the type folks any Pastor would love having in their assemblies.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
- I think it interesting to point out here that they had went to many different places to seek the Lord, but there was only one central place that He could be found at that time and that was in Jerusalem. Even so today, you will find Jesus in Jerusalem. Gal 4:26 bears this out, But Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all. Matt 12:47-50 says, “Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” The mother carries the son. We can see a picture of this in Gal 1:15-16 where Paul states, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”
- Matt 5:14 says, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Heb 12:22-23 says, “But ye are come (used only in the present or imperfect tense which means ongoing) unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
- The word Jerusalem in Hebrew is made up of two parts. The first part being “yaw-raw” which means to point the finger as if to teach and “shaw-lam” which means peace. Simply being, when I point to Jerusalem, I do with the intention of teaching you something about the peace, which can be found there.
- With this insight, one can readily discern when they have found the Lord in Jerusalem. Simply being, when they enter into a state of peace of mind, they have found the Lord who is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6).
- Isa 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Another translation reads, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!” The word keep here simply means to guard in order to maintain a certain state of mind.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
- After three days of searching, they found Jesus in the Temple. Do you realize today that there are many going from church to church looking for Jesus and have not the slightest idea that He is in the Temple? 1 Corinthians 3:16 shows you where Jesus is at, it reads, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
- I see a beautiful principle here for leaders. You will note that Jesus listened and then asked. Simply being, it doesn’t say that He listened and then told. We would be much more effective if after hearing, we would ask questions rather than attempt to tell an individual right off why they are going through what they are going through. The truth being, we miss it many times by speaking out of our own mind. I have learned to ask questions from those that are hurting and in pain and in doing, I have found many times patterns in their life. After seeing the pattern, I have been more effective in helping them to see why they are going through what they are going through.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
- I see a principle here for leadership in that Jesus is demonstrating a leader who not only understands what you are saying and going through, but also has the answers you need. The Psalmist said in Ps 119:99-100, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients (elders), because I keep thy precepts.” In the light of these verses, we can see what the problem is in many of our churches today. Simply being, many of the leaders are not meditating upon the Living Word and as a result do not keep the Word. We can see a picture of such leaders in Matt 23:1-3 which reads, “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
- One comes to a place of understanding through an intimate walk with the Lord. We can see a beautiful picture of this in Luke 24. There are three phases we see the disciples go through enroute to understanding. First, you will read in Luke 24:32 these words, “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” The first phase is to experience (come in direct contact) the Lord.
- Second, you will read in Luke 24:28-31 these words, “And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” The second phase is to know the Lord. Please note that one can experience the Lord in a service and yet not know Him.
- Third, you will read in Luke 24:44-46 these words, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” The third phase is to understand the Lord.
- Somebody said, He opened up their understanding of the scriptures. Well, are the scriptures the word? John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In this light, we can see in principle that the Lord opened up their understanding of Himself. Simply put, this is a place where you begin to understand why you are going through the things you are going through. You begin to learn of the dealings and processes the Lord uses to mature us. Jesus had to go through the suffering He did in order for us to be set free.
- Ps 103:7 reads, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” Many are there in local assemblies today that know of His acts, but few there are that understand His ways and dealings in the lives of man.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
- I think it interesting to point out that people are so quick to blame things on God when the truth be known, their problem is due to them walking away from the Lord and His word.
- One English rendering of deal is to distribute or pass out playing cards. Have you ever played cards and been dealt a bad hand? This is in essence what Mary is saying to Jesus, why have you dealt us this hand. What have you been dealt by the Lord?
- I want to point out one thing here in Mary’s words, “Why hast thou dealt with US?” The truth here being, we are your parents, why have you treated us like this. The principle being in one sense, we are your children, why have you treated us like this? How about this, we are your preachers, why have you treated us like this? We are your praise and worship leaders, why have you treated us like this? We move in the gifts, why have you treated us like this? We never miss church, why have you treated us like this. We are faithful in our giving, why have you treated us like this?
- This speaks in principle in another sense of those that think they deserve special attention. The truth is, if you are called to follow Christ, you are going to be a companion to tribulation, “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation (pressure); even as it came to pass, and ye know (1 Thes 3:4). A companion to suffering, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Pet 4:13).”
- Somebody said, why do we have to be dealt with and suffer like we do? The answer can be found in 2 Cor 1:6 where it reads, “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” Another translation reads, “We are in deep trouble for bringing you God’s comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us–and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure.”
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
- The word business here is not in the original text. It therefore reads, “wist ye not that I must be about my Father. The word about here in the Greek simply means IN. Now it would read, “wist ye not that I must be IN my Father? You will note in many other translations that it reads, “wist ye not that I must be in my Father’s House.
John 14:19-20 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Closing: The answer to your problem is in the Father’s House and if you can hear it, you are the Father’s House!
Why hast thou thus dealt with us? My child, I would ask you, why hast thou walked away from my word and me?
WHY HAST THOU FORGOTTEN ME?
Text: Ps 42:1-11
Psa 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
- When a hart is wore out from being on the run from the dogs, his last refuge is to the water. When he finds this water, without any hesitation, he dives in.
- Many there are in this hour that is being chased by dogs. Somebody said, what do you mean? Dogs in the bible speak of false ministers in Philippians 3:2, those outside the Kingdom of God in Revelation 22:15, impure people in Mt 15:26, blind leaders in Isa 56:10. With that insight, have you been chased by any dogs lately?
- The hart will usually descend down the stream and swim in the very midst thereof. Ps 46:4-5 says, “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
- The hart makes every effort it can to touch no vegetation or branches that grow upon the sides of the river, for fear lest the dogs or other devourers should pick up their scent. Jesus said in John 15:5 that those that have received him are likened to branches. With this insight, I could say in principle, that these branches the hart made every effort to avoid were those that were contrary to its nature. Simply put, there are branches out there that you can come in contact with that will put the dogs on your path. They will set out to destroy and discredit your life and ministry.
- Sometimes the hart will lie under the water, all but its nose to keep from being seen. We would be wise to remain undercover at times and just discern what is going on around us.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
- To be thirsty simply means that one is void of something. In this case, the Psalmist is thirsty for the Living God. I am reminded of 2 Chr 15:3-6 which reads, “Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.”
Psa 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
- Tears in the Bible speak of sorrow in the evidence of approaching death in Isa 38:5 which reads, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.”
- Tears speak of oppression in Eccl 4:1 where it reads, “So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.”
- Tears speak of anxiety (worry, tension) in Psa 126:5 which reads, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
- Now, if all these tears aren’t bad enough, now you have to put up with those that see you crying as they ask, “WHERE IS YOUR GOD”?
Psa 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
- When I remember these things, I become weak as I begin to reflect on what I have had, and on what I have lost.
- I once enjoyed all the things of God. I once enjoyed wonderful communion with the saints. Now, it seems to all be gone and just a thing of the past.
- There used to be a multitude that wanted to worship God, now there are only a few who earnestly seek the manifest presence of God.
Psa 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
- Bad as the times may be, desolate as the church may be, insulting as your enemies may be, hopeless in the sight of man your condition may be, yet there is no room for despair (to be overcome by a sense of defeat – to lose all hopet).
- For, all things are possible to God. Can you see the picture here of a man of God really going through a dark season but yet is demonstrating to us how to come through this it? People may think you are crazy, but you need to learn to talk to yourself. Simply being, learn to encourage yourself. You will find that you will feel a lot better. I am reminded here of 1 Sam 30:6 which reads, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
Psa 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
- The word cast down here simply means to sink or to depress. This is a place where you feel that it is impossible to lighten the load. You are full of discouragements, frustrations, etc.
- Note what the Psalmist did to get out of this pit. He begin to remember the Lord from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. I could say it like this, when you get in a place of oppression or depression, take a moment and begin to reflect back on the places the Lord moved for you. Have you ever got a photo album out or old family video and view it and find joy coming up in your hearts? That is because those were precious moments to you.
- Speaking of a pit, I am reminded of a story where a mule fell into a well one day as it wandered away from its owner. After the owner discovered what had happened, he decided the cost to rescue the mule far outweighed what it was worth. He therefore called upon his neighbors to help him bury the mule alive in the well. However, the mule seemed to have more sense than the men. For when the dirt began to hit its back, it just shook it off and stepped up. After repeatedly doing this, it finally found itself at ground level and then walked out of the well. Wow, can you hear it? When the pressures of this world start piling upon your back, just shake them off and step up, shake them off and step up and in time, you too will overcome!
Psa 42:7-8 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves (breakers – See Jonah 2) and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
- Even in the midst of God’s correction upon us, we are assured that He will command loving-kindness in the daytime and give us a song to sing in the darkness. Sing O Barren!
Psa 42:9-10 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
- I want to point out here that the Psalmist is bouncing back and forth which I am sure you can easily relate with. Note what He says; “God is MY Rock.”
- The rock speaks of God as our creator in Deut 32:18 where it reads, “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.”
- The rock speaks of God as our fortress and deliverer in 2 Sam 22:2 where it reads, “And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;”
- The rock speaks of God as our strength in Ps 18:1-2 where it reads, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
- The rock speaks of God as our defense in Ps 94:22 where it reads, “But the LORD is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”
- Now he says, why hast thou forgotten me? Can you relate with his feeling?
As we begin to close this message, I want you to consider these other verses. I am sure you will readily relate with them.
Ps 13:1-6 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
Ps 22:1-3 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Ps 44:23-26 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.
Isa 49:15-16 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
- Now when those around you daily say, “where is your God”, you tell them, He is wherever you are. Selah. Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God (1 Cor 3:16)?
Psa 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Note other translation on the following page for this verse)
Ps 42:11 But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!
- The Psalmist here is encouraging Himself! Sometimes there will be no one around and you are going to have to learn to encourage yourself.
- Why hast thou forgotten me God? I haven’t!
WHY WITHDRAWEST THY HAND?
Text: Ps 74:11 Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom. (See two other translations below for this verse)
1) Why do you delay? Why hold back your power? Unleash your fist and give them a final blow.
2) Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
- The picture here in the Eastern culture is of a garment that had a fold in the front of it where one could put their hands while idle. This fold was also used as a pocket to carry bread, grain as well as other types of food. Shepherds in that culture would use this pocket at times to carry their lambs.
- Consider the following two English renderings of the word withdrawest. 1) To remove oneself from active participation. 2) To retreat from a battlefield. I could take this insight and ask the following two questions. One, “Lord, why don’t you participate in our services like you used to?” Two, “Lord, why do I feel like I am on this battlefield alone?”
- The right hand speaks metaphorically of strength in Isa 41:13 where it reads, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” This word hold here means to fasten upon. We can see a picture of this in Acts 3:6-7 where it reads, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength.”
- How can I tell when the right hand of the Lord comes upon me? In the light of our text in Acts 3, we can give you the following principles according to verse eight. One, you will leap up (move from one condition to another) from the place you have been laying in for years. Two, you will stand and therefore be a witness to those in the midst that the hand of the Lord has come upon you. Three, you will walk in that which you have testified to others about. Four, you will walk in the spirit with those that played a role in your deliverance. Five, You will have a heart to assemble with the brethren and fellowship. Six, you will have the praises of God on your lips for all that He has done in your life.
- The bosom speaks metaphorically of tenderness, intimacy and watchfulness in Isa 40:11 where it reads, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
- If we take the insight from above and understand that the hand speaks of ministry in the scriptures, we could see in principle that the Psalmist is crying out for the ministry of the Lord to come out from obscurity into the open and touch the people.
- Somebody said, how can one tell if they are sitting under the ministry of Christ or the ministry of man? First, note that the Psalmist was asking the Lord to pluck (pull out) His hand (ministry) from His bosom. John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 14:11 says, “Believe me (son) that I am in the Father (spirit), and the Father (spirit) in me (son): or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” With this understanding we can see that Jesus came out from the bosom (heart) of the Father with the purpose of revealing the heart (love) of the Father to man. Simply being, all that the Father is, the Son manifested during His earthly ministry in so much that he told Phillip these words in John 14:9, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” God is LOVE (1 Jn 4:8)! Therefore, I could read John 14:9 like this, “He that hath seen me, hath seen LOVE IN ACTION!”
- Let us reflect back now to the bosom. We learned that it speaks of tenderness, intimacy and watchfulness in Isa 40:11 where it reads, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Let us take this verse and glean some wonderful truths and principles that will help you quickly discern between the ministry of Christ and that of man.
- The ministry of Christ demonstrates tenderness, which speaks in one sense of having a compassionate insight into others feelings. Simply being, these will sense the hearts of those they are sent to and will be very sensitive in ministering to them. I am reminded of Isa 50:4 which reads, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” I see a powerful principle here for leaders. Simply being, you can have a word in season for one that is weary and not know how to deliver it and bring them death instead of life.
- The ministry of Christ demonstrates intimacy which speaks in one sense of one in whom things of the heart can be confided. We can see a picture of this in 1 Peter 5:7 where it reads, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” The word care is the Greek word “mer-im-nah” and it denotes distraction. This word is made up of two parts. Dis, which is a prefix that denotes the absence of, the removal of or to deprive (keep from possessing or enjoying) of and traction, which denotes a drawing or pulling. The principle being, when an individual sees the Lord in another, they will confide with that one and thus tell them what it is on the inside of them that is distracting them from enjoying all that the Lord has for them.
- The ministry of Christ demonstrates watchfulness, which speaks in one sense of to observe closely. We can see this in Prov 15:3 where it reads, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” This verse should help those that have the questions; “Lord don’t you see how I am being treated, don’t you see what I’m going through?”
- The ministry of Christ will feed the flock like a shepherd. The verb translated “feed” in Hebrew denotes more than the word feed in our western culture. In Hebrew, it refers to all the care of a shepherd over his flock; and means to tend (apply ones attention to), to guard, to govern, to provide pasture and to defend from danger.
- The ministry of Christ will gather the lambs with HIS arm. The arm in the scriptures speaks metaphorically of power or strength. If you will, God is going to roll up His shirtsleeve and flex His muscles on behalf of the lambs. We can see a picture of this in Isa 52:10 where it reads, “The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
- I think it interesting to point out here that lambs are babies (newborn, infants). The English Dictionary renders the word lamb as one that has not been weaned or one who can easily be deceived especially in financial matters. And the fact that the Lord is gathering them lets us see that they have become separated from Him. We can see a picture of such separation in Mark 10:13-14 where it reads, “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
- The ministry of Christ will carry the lambs in their bosom (heart of tenderness, intimacy, watchfulness). The backdrop here is one of a shepherd carrying the lambs when they become weary (mentally fatigued) or sick. And, should the lambs suddenly get hurt, the shepherds would then carry them in order to make sure that they are not left behind. There are many people sitting at home today because they were hurt in church and there was no one there to pick them up during that time and carry them. I remember being in a service and afterwards a lady came up to me and said out of frustration that she was going to quit church. I told her, please don’t give up; give the Lord an opportunity to move here. I heard later that the Lord moved for her greatly and that she was very excited. Wow, you never know the importance of your words until they get back to you.
- The ministry of Christ will gently lead those that are with young. The backdrop here is of those that now have nursing lambs. There were times that there were so many sheep that they would quickly eat down the pasture and thus had to move to another place to graze. The danger of this was that the newborn lambs were not yet strong enough to be moving so much and therefore many would die when required to move upon such short notice. We can see a picture of this in Gen 33:13 where it reads, “And he (Jacob) said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.”
As we begin to close this message out, let us again ask the question, “Why withdrawest thy hand?” Perhaps we can find the answer in the scriptures below.
Prov 1:23-24 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
- Note that God stretched out His hand, and no one paid attention. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord always gets the blame for our wrongdoing?
I think it would do us good to repent of all those times knowingly or unknowingly that we failed to pay attention when the Lord wanted to do something in our lives and in our assemblies. And upon repentance, I am persuaded that we will not only once again see the HAND of the LORD, but we will see the results of His HAND as can be seen in the following scriptures!
Ps 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble (tightness – tight places), thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
- How many of you could handle revival right in the midst of your current circumstance? You ought to shout right now, I have got to see the HAND of the LORD!
Mark 1:30-31 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
- The woman in scriptures speaks metaphorically of the church. With that insight, I think it interesting to point out that she could not minister effectively until the HAND of the LORD came upon her?
Mark 5:41-42 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
- Here again we see a woman. In this case, the woman not only arose, but she walked. When the HAND of the LORD comes upon you as an individual or assembly, you will not only be resurrected in the area you were dead in, but you will walk in Resurrection Power in that area and all will know that JESUS is the RESURRECTION (Jn 11:25)!
WHY IS IT WHEN I SPEAK THE WORD – I DON’T SEE RESULTS?
The most likely answer would have to be unbelief. Simply put, you don’t have faith in what you are saying. How about, there could be immaturity in the life of the one speaking? How about, you are not properly trained and equipped? How about, you could be bound up with the traditions of man?
Text: Matt 17:14-21
14-16 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
- The ones that should have had the answer in this scenario were lacking.
- Many folks today have been let down by the church at large simply because when they come with their problems, there is no one there that is able to effectively minister to them.
- I see a beautiful principle here that is good for leadership. Simply being, if an individual comes to your assembly and doesn’t have an experience with Jesus, don’t be dismayed when you see them leave your church in search for another wherein they will find Jesus.
17-18 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
- Note the two things that hindered the results: 1) Faithless: this word is used as a noun and is translated unbelievers in 1 Corinthians 14:23. Where there are unbelievers, there will be few works done. We can see this truth in Matt 13:58 where it reads, “And he (Jesus) did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. 2) Perverse: this word simply speaks of one that is distorted which means in one sense to operate in a disorderly manner or to misrepresent a thing. When studied out in the Greek, it speaks of turning from ones course of conduct.
- You can see a picture of the disciples turning from their course of conduct in Luke 9:51-56 where it reads, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
- These disciples failed to realize the dispensation of mercy and love. They failed to realize that God didn’t come to destroy sinners, but to give them space to repent. I am reminded of being in a service where a lady began to prophesy destruction upon parents who were letting their kids watch certain TV programs. It was evident to me as well as others in the midst that this lady was speaking out of a spirit of anger and therefore misrepresented the heart of the Father. The atmosphere of love suddenly became clouded and then the Pastor invited me to the pulpit. I had brought a word to this particular church titled; “Don’t misrepresent God”. Wow, can you praise the Lord for being on time? After I taught this word in love, this lady came up and asks the Pastors wife if she was out of order and the Pastors wife was then able to help her. What a mighty God we serve!
19-21 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
- Prayer moves mountains while fasting moves flesh. When one pulls away from their surrounding to fast and spend time with the Father, this one will come out of that place of intimacy full of the Holy Ghost and POWER!
- I want to point out in moving on that Jesus was telling them in essence that they were not effective because they lacked faith. How many of you can say you have had these times where you lacked faith?
We are now pressed to ask, how can I get more faith? Well, let us look at a verse that no doubt you are very familiar with.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- We have heard this verse over and over, but the truth be known, many will say they still lack in the area of faith after hearing the word. With that said, let us look at the above verse in depth in hopes of receiving a revelation of what is really being said.
- I want to point out first of all that the word hearing is also translated report in verse 16 where it reads, “Who hath believed our report?”
- The word by is used two times in this verse but yet is two different Greek words. The first word by is the Greek word “ek” which denotes the origin from which something comes. The second word by is the Greek word “dia” which denotes the channel through which a thing comes.
- With the above insight, the verse would read as follows. “So then faith cometh out of the report, and the report comes through the word of God.
- Now for the icing! The report comes through the word which here in this verse is the Greek word “rhema” which is simply that which has been spoken by a living voice.
- Who is the living voice? The word God here in this verse is translated Christ from Matthew to Revelation, which simply means anointed one!
- Heb 1:1-2 shows you who the living voice is, it reads “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.
- If we read Romans 10:17 with this insight, it would read, “So then faith cometh out of the report and the report comes through the living voice of Christ!
- Faith therefore is simply an ingredient in the spoken word of Christ. And, because it is in the word, it is Christ’s faith.
- When the living word comes into your heart, you will believe when you can’t believe you believe! For example, I pulled in a station to get gas outside my hometown and my mom said we could make it on in. I pulled back out on road and sure enough we made it. She knew something I didn’t. I went on her faith and her faith prevailed!
1-2 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
- The nets here speak in principle in one sense of the method one uses in ministry to win souls. What are some methods you have tried? Have you had to clean up some of them? How many have worked? How many have failed? Were they your methods or God’s?
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
- Note that Jesus entered into Simon’s ship. This speaks in principle of the time or times He enters into your vessel.
- He tells Simon to thrust out a little from the land (comfort zone). There is a beautiful principle here for leadership. Simply being, don’t take your followers into deeper things of God until they first can swim in the shallow things. You can see this principle in Ezekiel 47 where the prophet was brought through the water to the ankles, knees, loins and then finally, waters to swim in.
- Note that Jesus sat down. This speaks in principle of the throne of your heart. Simply being, when Jesus comes into your vessel, He wills to control it.
- Now that the Lord has entered your vessel and sat down, He now wants to begin to teach you.
4-5 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
- Note here that Jesus is telling Simon to launch out in the deep and let his nets down for a draught. Simon like so many leaders today has come to a place of reality that their methods are not working. They speak the word, preach the word, sing the word, prophesy the word and still seem to be getting no results.
- Note that Simon says, “We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing. Simply being, we have been doing this for a long time and have not been getting any results. The key to this dilemma lies in verse 5 where Simon says, “nevertheless, at THY WORD! The principle being, we must have a word from the Lord for that which we are facing, for it is only the spoken word that will bring the change we so desire. However, when the change comes, don’t be surprised if there isn’t a powerful lesson that comes out of the change as can be seen in the verses below.
6-7 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
- Many faith teachers have used this text to preach about being blessed. However, if we would look carefully at the text, that which is supplied is going under. I don’t know about you but if the Lord blesses me, I would want possess all that He gives me.
- When they caught all these fish, their net (method) broke (didn’t hold up).
- The lesson in this text concerns leadership and the care of those that come into our assemblies.
- Note that both ships were sinking. Neither ship could standup to the load that suddenly came upon them. The fish here speak of people. The ships speak of local assemblies. The nets speak of the method used to get them. The principle being, the methods that you are using to get people into your local assembly isn’t working. Simply being, you have revolving doors at your assemblies! You can’t keep the people when they come. You then call a leader across town for advice and help only to find out, they have the same problem, for they are using the same methods that you are.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
- There is a beautiful principle here for leadership. Simply being, if you have toiled all the night and caught nothing, take this moment to repent and tell Jesus that you are ready to do it His way.
9-11 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
- I trust you see that this whole ordeal was a lesson to prepare them for ministry. Note that when they came back to shore, they forsook ALL and followed Jesus. This means they left their net behind, which was simply their method of doing things.
1-3 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
- Note that some time has expired now since their calling. After the death of Jesus, their world falls apart and they go back to what they were doing when Jesus found them. They no longer could see Jesus moving, so the temptation was to go back to the old methods. When a leader enters a season where they can’t see the Lord moving, they too will be tempted to try something else to get results.
- I am reminded here of a statement I read years ago. It said, if there is one thing that we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. I can see that statement would surely apply in this case for the very method they used in the beginning that failed, they now go back to it again.
- I can give you another angle here to consider. They didn’t catch anything in the beginning because Jesus wasn’t on the ship and now years later, they are trying to catch fish (men) without Jesus and come up short again. Many today have church without Jesus and catch nothing. In fact, you will see Jesus knocking on the door of the Laodicean church in Rev 3:20. The truth is; many simply don’t have room for Jesus in their programs. When will we learn?
4-6 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
- We are living in a time now where Jesus is appearing to many leaders that have went back with the intention of restoring them and getting them back into order.
- Note that Jesus said, children have ye any meat and they said, no. I could say it like this in principle. Children are you getting results with your methods, your way of doing things? They had to come to reality and be honest with their selves that without Jesus, they could not get the results they so desired
- Jesus now speaks again to them and they follow His instructions and they caught so many fish that THEY COULD NOT DRAW THEM!
7-8 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
- Note here that John let Peter know that it was the Lord. Peter had a revelation of who Jesus was; John had a revelation of His love. I think it interesting therefore that John was the one that led Peter back to the Lord. The principle being, the Lord will always have a John close by in order to get you back on track should you go astray. Love covers a multitude of sins!
9-11 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish, which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
- Note in verse 6 that they were not able to draw the net and here Peter alone drew the net. The principle being, what we couldn’t achieve with many, we shall achieve with one, even one anointed body.
- Note that there were 153 fish. This is interesting if you study numbers. For example, 17 is the number for victory in the scriptures. If you take and write down 1-17 and add them up, you will get 153. There are nine gifts of the spirit and nine fruits of the spirit. If you multiply 9 x 17 you get 153. The principle being, this harvest is going to come in through the gifts and fruit of the spirit being made manifest in the lives of the leaders and members in the body of Christ.
- The number nine speaks of Divine Completeness in the bible. You can take the number 153 and add 1+5+3 and get nine. As mentioned earlier, when you write 1-17 down and add them up, you get 153. While you can add 1+1+7 and get nine. Isn’t God awesome!
- Note that the net didn’t break. This is a beautiful picture of restoration. It isn’t any coincidence that you hear a lot of talk in this hour about discipleship. We have learned from our mistakes that the only way to keep the fish is to disciple them. This is God’s method and it works.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
- The principle here is simple, no one will ask who the person is that is being used, for they will know of a surety that IT IS THE LORD doing the work through them!
WHY IS IT WHEN I SPEAK THE WORD – I DON’T SEE RESULTS?
John 12:49-50 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
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WHY [Troy Nichols] 1