Creflo Dollar — Standing in Faith in a Dry Season
If you have your Bibles go with me to the book of Romans chapter 12 and verse 3. I actually was gonna take one more day before I got started, and I got up this morning, you know, just praising the Lord, and I heard this in my heart. He said, "I want you to teach tonight and begin teaching on, you know, how to stand in faith in the midst of a dry season". And I said, "When is that? This weekend"? He said, "No, tonight". Well, how do you tell the Lord, "Well, I wasn't planning on preaching tonight, Lord"? And so, as I began to look at this, I can recall in sometimes passed I began to talk to you about the problem has not been big faith, little faith, weak faith, strong faith. It's always been understanding how to use your faith and to keep it in a place where it's out on the field, and you continue to use it.
You see, what happens is the enemy wants to present an opportunity for us to faint, to give up, to cave in, and to quit, and I asked the Lord, I said, "Well, what is it actually that's ceasing to operate"? He said it's a person's faith. That when your faith, you know, in the time of adversity he wants the adversity to be used to cause you to take your faith off the field, and, you know, and not realize what he's already done and what he's already made available. And as he was speaking to me, you know, I just grabbed the first thing I can get my hands on to start writing, and he brought these things up to me. He says we become spiritually dry when we stop trusting in God. That's when you become dry. That's when a drought seems like it's coming over your life. We become spiritually dry when we stop trusting in God and immediately I could see that. And, you know, when people get to the point where things don't seem to be happening and, oh, they're wondering where God is and, you know, a whole lot of adversity may be coming on, you know, baby need a pair of shoes, you got a light bill due, you got a gas bill, too, telephone disconnect, and you feel like you're in a dry place, and he said to me be careful.
Faith is not synonymous with feelings. Just 'cause you feel that this isn't working, or you feel like you're in a dry place, we've not been taught to live by our feelings. Now, they are real, but we don't allow them to govern our life. It is our faith that governs our life, and so when everything is going well, that's when you wanna really focus on doing what I'm about to teach you tonight. Don't wait until you feel like you're going through a drought. Don't wait until you feel like you're in the midst of adversity. If you can look at your life and there is nothing going on, that's the time to seek him. That's the time to praise him. It's kinda like a cactus. You wanna be like a cactus. You know that little straight part reserves some water? You wanna be like a cactus, just in case when the dry time come you got a reserve already in place. Turn to your neighbor and say, "Be like a cactus," amen?
Now, for everybody, you know, it will feel like a dry time. You got seed, time, harvest, and one of the roughest time is in the middle, that stalk time. You know, planting the seed and the harvest time is good, but between I believe I receive and there it is there is that stalk time. And if you know what to do in that time when it don't look like something going, when you're being discouraged, when you feel like you wanna quit - now, think about it. People are always talking about quitting, but what is it that actually quits? I mean, when... "Well, I feel like quitting". Well, are you gonna jump off something? And you know what? There are people that are doing that. There are people who are giving up on life and committing suicide, and you would think, "Well, what do they have to, you know, feel sorry about? They're billionaires. They got everything they ever want".
And, see, people think that money is the answer to life. I told you before, life is the sum total of who you spend it with. You can have money and fame and still not have a good life because you ain't got nobody in that life that you love and that care about you, you know? You want to understand what real life is about, so I wanna talk to you and I wanna bring you up to speed, and I probably won't finish all this tonight, but this is where we're going. It's a matter of not giving up, not caving in, not quitting, not fainting in the days of adversity, in the time of a drought, when you feel like it's dry. It's just doing the same old thing. Don't wait until everything breaks through and everything is going well, and you're happy, your bills are paid, and, you know, you got a great relationship, and then all of a sudden you kinda slack off on the things that you do. That's why I say the objective for every Christian is relationship with Jesus Christ. That's the objective, not the things, not what you can get. The objective is relationship with Jesus.
You can accomplish that objective, everything begins to fall in place like it needs to fall in place, so I wanna begin something here in Romans chapter 12 and verse 3. Let's start here as we talk about how to maintain our faith through dry seasons in life, okay? Romans 12:3. He says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith". The measure of faith, not a measure of faith. If it was a measure, then there would be someone got another measure, someone got yet still another measure, but he said that we all got the same measure of faith. Now, you're familiar with that, but here is the point I wanna make with this Scripture. The whole concept of big faith, little faith, more faith, less faith, weak faith, strong faith, it's wrong. What I have seen Christian people do, it's easy to fall back into the law on this, and you'll find yourself trying to perform, you know, to exercise big faith or great faith and that's not the issue.
We've had it wrong here and, you know, somebody says, "Oh, you need more faith". Or when something doesn't come to pass in your life, you say, "Oh, maybe 'cause my faith was too weak, you know? Well, I was believing God for healing and then I didn't get healed because my faith is too weak. Or maybe you got something, and you said, "You know, I had strong faith. That's the reason why I got that". That ain't got nothing to do with that. We've missed the whole thing where that is concerned, and we have to correct it or the devil will use our circumstances and situations to condemn the measure of faith. We all right now you have the same faith that Jesus had when he walked on the planet, praise God? Now, look at this. Go to Matthew chapter 14:22 and let's set this up. Matthew 14:22 and let's see why I say this and started off with the measure of faith. That's awesome, the measure of faith. Praise God.
Now, I know the Bible says in Romans 10:17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". You know, in the middle of a dry season you hear before you see. See, you wanna see some results, you know? And I need you to understand you're gonna hear before you see. A root is very interesting. It grows down first before you see what comes out of it second, okay? And sometimes you don't see what's taking place, but I'm telling you that Word is not void, amen? It's not void of fruit. It's not void of results. I want you to the point where when you think about it it's almost impossible for a promise not to come to pass. That when you get on it, you know, later on I'll teach this, but, you know, when I'm gonna crank that teaching on the covenant back up, but the Abrahamic covenant is a mirror of the new covenant, the grace of God. The power of the Abrahamic covenant was the promise. It was an unconditional covenant and the only thing you had to do to qualify, that covenant was made with Abraham and his seed, so all you had to do is be in the bloodline to be a part of that covenant, but the power of that covenant is the promise.
Glory be to God, the promise that was made, the power of the promise, and you have that power. The power of that promise is secure in those of you. I mean, you're not just reading something and hoping and praying it might come to pass. You have the promise, and we'll talk more specifically the promise of the Holy Spirit, but in the promise of the Holy Spirit it's the promise of the Holy Spirit who's gonna initiate all of the finished works of Jesus Christ, amen? Boy, I love cooking in this kitchen. Dear God, have mercy. Mm, mm, mm. All right, now watch this. "And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into the ship". Now, let's get ahold of what's going on here. He is really insisting for his disciples to get into this ship, and they're not really wanting to get into the ship because they can see this big black cloud coming. It's just not a good time to be sailing, all right? And he said, "Go," to the disciples, "get into the ship. And to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitude away". Verse 23, "And when he had sent the multitude away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone". Next verse. "But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary".
Now, I know sometimes life can feel like you're in the midst of a storm. All kinds of stuff are going on. I mean, the winds of change are blowing. All kinds of drama is taking place, all right? And sometimes you gotta be careful not to let that drama stop you from what's on the other side. Jesus will never fail you where delivering you out of the storm is concerned, okay? So, if you're in the midst of a storm, I can assure you that if you trust him you're not gonna be in that storm always. And besides, storms have an expiration. There are all kinds of stuff going on right now. Somebody says, "Well, what is it"? Look up. Your redemption draws nigh, praise the Lord? Amen. Praise God. He said, "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the water". Verse 26, "And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit". Now, this is where it's translated "phantom," so they literally thought this was a ghost or a phantom. "And they cried out for fear". Somebody shout, "Wrong response". Okay, they cried out for fear. Verse 27, "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, 'Be of good cheer.'"
Somebody shout, "Right response". "It is I; be not afraid". So, we said to respond in fear is the wrong response. To respond in fear is the wrong response. In the day of adversity, the wrong response is fear. In the day of adversity, when things are happening and look like you're getting ready to lose your house, look like somebody is gonna take your car, look like, you know, you're gonna be diagnosed with something, look like the relationship is not gonna work out, he said the wrong response is fear. Turn to your neighbor and say, "No fear". Now, what we've got to do is we gotta really train ourselves not to respond in fear. Why is it the first thing we wanna do is respond in fear? You know, you get a letter from the IRS, "Oh, Jesus". It might be a check. Don't respond in fear. You know, you might wanna shout. So, that's the wrong response. He said be of good cheer. He said that's the right response. That's the faith response. That's the right response.
Now, remember faith is your positive response to what grace has already made available, and so the right, the positive, the right way to respond to what Jesus was telling them to do was going to the other side. To make sure I get the promises, I'm gonna respond like I believe we're going to the other side, all right? Now, watch this. Twenty-eight, "Peter answered him and said, 'Lord, if it be thou'". So, they're not quite sure. I mean, you know, is it you, Jesus? "Bid me to come unto thee on the water". Now, that's a powerful, powerful request. I'll just be honest with you. He ain't got no business walking on the water. I don't even think this would have been in Scripture, but what he asked, it was almost like Jesus had no other way to respond to this. "If it be thou". I mean, what was Jesus supposed to say? "It be thou not me". There is only one way he could respond. "Come, 'cause it's me. It's me. Come". All right, now watch this. "And he said, 'Come.' And when Peter was come down out of the ship, Peter walked on the water".
Peter represents a man. It is a human man walking on the water to go to Jesus. Now, Jesus was a man, but you know folks gonna say that's Jesus. Peter was walking on the water to go to Jesus. All right, now I'm working on something now. He walking on the water to go to Jesus. All right, now look at the next verse. Well, "But when he saw the wind, he was," look at the response, "afraid". Something always gonna show up to try to get your attention so you can respond the wrong way. Now, as long as he was looking at Jesus, turn to your neighbor and say, "It's time to behold Jesus". As long as he was looking at Jesus, he was doing something above his natural ability. Glory be to God, and I'm telling you, you start looking at Jesus and in the time of adversity, he'll keep you above the natural, and you'll find yourself walking in the supernatural, as long as he was looking at Jesus.
And as long as you're looking at Jesus there will be distractions around you to try to interrupt what's the word we used to do? An interference of the mind to try to cause confusion, a distraction. Distractions. This is just a distraction. Some of the stuff you're dealing with is a distraction. Are y'all hearing what I'm saying? It's a distraction. You know, Paul, because of the abundance of revelation that he went through, went through a lot of tribulation. Why? It was a distraction trying to stop your focus. Turn to your neighbor and say, "It's time to focus on Jesus, not on your problems. It's time to focus on Jesus". I mean, in the middle of stuff that's going on, it's time to focus on Jesus. With all the stuff that's going on and in the world today and in our country, I know that was God. He says, "I need you to focus on Jesus. I need you to focus on Jesus. I need you to teach this gospel of grace. I need you to focus on Jesus. I need you to teach this gospel of grace. That's what I need you to do: focus on Jesus. Teach other people to focus on Jesus". He said, "I got those other guys. I'll work with them. You do what you've been graced to do," 'cause it will fit perfectly when God ready to do what he need to do, all right? "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink". Beginning to sink.
Somebody say, "See there. See there. Peter began to sink". Yeah, before he started sinking he was walking. Did you hear me? Before he started sinking he was walking. He was walking on water. That's not an easy thing to do. I've tried it. It's not. It's not an easy thing to do. When I was living in Fayetteville, we had this pool in the back, and, you know, I was by myself, so I figured, well, you know, I had a good little wind blowing, you know? I had a little towel, you know, like, a little boy. We used to use the towel as a little cape to be Batman or something like that, and the wind was blowing in the towel, and I felt like that Moses. Aah-aah-aah-aaaah. Aaaaah. Aaaah. And then come time for the water. I'm finna put a step on it. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. That's not an easy thing to do. That's awesome. That's awesome for him to be walking on the water. Do you get me? That's awesome, but he began to sink. "And he cried, saying, Lord, save me".
A couple of things happening here. Number one, I believe we're learning a lesson about how not to try to walk in this life depending on you, but in case you need some help, the way we're supposed to do it is we're supposed to depend on Jesus, because the Bible says, "Immediately Jesus stretched forth his hands, caught him, said unto him..". Now, look what he said to him. This is what got me. Look what he said to him. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt"? Okay, all right. So, excuse me, Jesus. Little faith? He walked on water. Not only did he walk on water coming to you, Jesus, but then when you pulled him up y'all walked together on water back to the boat, and you call walking on water little faith. And, see, we all read it like that. He knew what he meant, but we don't know what he meant, so we think little faith is measure. And that's not what he's talking about. Little faith? I guarantee you there ain't nobody in here, excuse me, that's done walked on water and if that's little faith, give me some of that.
So, what did he mean when he said, "O ye of little faith"? Because if you read on he tells you after the comma, "Wherefore didst thou doubt"? You did something to stop it. You did something to cut it short. What you did was strong. It just didn't last long, and your doubt shortened its use. Go to Luke 17. Hold your place there. Let me introduce something else before I get this to you. Luke 17, verses 5 through 10. Luke 17:5-10. Now, this is a very interesting situation because they were just talking about, you know, forgiving 7 times 70 and when they heard that, I mean, you think about it. Forgiving somebody that many times a day, that's a lot of forgiveness. That's a joke that done got on your last nerve if you gotta forgive him 70 times 7 a day and here is how the apostles respond. "And the apostles said unto the Lord," watch this, "Increase our faith". "Increase our faith".
There it is again. There it is again, the notion of I need more. I need more or don't have enough. This is where Jesus is gonna come in a little bit later. I need more. Don't have enough. "Increase our faith". And here is how he responded to this. "And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed". Now, if you ever saw a grain of mustard seed, that is so small. "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say unto this sycamine tree". I remember Brother John said, "You sick of yours. I'm sick of mine". "You might say unto this sycamine tree, 'Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.'" Notice he never did address the point of, "Yeah, guys, you need to increase your faith". What he was actually saying is, no, the measure of faith, that's not your problem. You just need to learn how to use what you got.
Look what he said in the next verses. He said, "But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat"? Verse 8, "And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterwards thou shalt eat and drink"? Verse 9, "Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him"? He says no. Ten, "So likewise," so likewise, so now it's gonna have something to do with this parable we just read. "So likewise, when you have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'"
Now remember we started off talking about faith, and they're thinking they need faith. He said, no, the problem is not you needing more faith. The issue is you gotta learn how to use the faith you have and then he says it's kinda like the servant that his job - and here in this time I'm not gonna use that, but for illustration purposes, and this is what he's talking about. A master needs to know how to correctly use a servant, and the servant is supposed to stay on the job until it's done. In fact, the more accurate term here would be "slave". The slave is supposed to stay on the job until everything is done. You don't invite him in to take a break or, you know, "Oh, don't worry about it right now. Chill out. Go on a vacation". No, you're supposed to stay on the job until it's done, so, likewise, your faith is not to be called in off of the field, called in off the job.
Your faith stays at work until it accomplishes what it was sent out to accomplish. What we've been doing is in the time of adversity calling our faith in. "Well, you know". And you wonder why things aren't working, because you're trying to get big faith, when you just need to keep your faith at work. Keep it on the field. "Well, I prayed for my children. It seem like they're acting worse". No, no, until your children are as God promised you, faith stays at work. If your doctor says you have cancer, you got your faith out there. You don't call your faith in 'cause the picture has changed on the x-ray machine. Faith stays at work, which means what you say stays at work, what you believe stays at work. Your focus stays at work. Grace has already made it available. Faith stays at work until it appropriates what grace has already made available, and we keep calling it in. "Hey, brother, you still believing for such-and-so"? "No, I believe God want me to do something else".
Well, God is not as double minded as some people, you know, put him out to be. Our faith won't stay out there. Keep your faith out there. There are some things my faith stayed out there for years, but it got the job done, hallelujah. And distractions are used to try to get you to faint, give up, cave in, call your faith in off the field. Your faith needs to stay on the field. Turn to your neighbor and say, "Keep your faith at work. Keep it on the field". Are y'all listening to what I'm saying? Keep your faith at work. Don't call it in out of the field. Keep it at work. Well, now if you take this in Luke and put it together with what we just read with Peter, that phrase, "O ye of little faith," comma, "wherefore did thou doubt"? You can see very clearly he's talking about the endurance of your faith was short. It was a short burst. You ever had a burst of energy, a short burst of energy?
It felt good when it was there. It just didn't last long enough. I had that today. I had a short burst of energy, and I'm all over the place, and then all of a sudden I was just sitting there, looking at space. Taffi was like, "What's going on"? "Huh"? You know, and then I got another short burst, then came here sturdy. Oh, man, ready to preach. And then came walking in the office back there. He said, "Hey, welcome back". "Hey". But what if you can get it to last long? That's what he was saying. He said, "O ye of a short burst of faith," not that you needed more faith, or not that your faith was small. It was small in how long it last, in its use, small in its use. O ye, see, he was walking on the water focusing on Jesus. Man, his faith was working, but it didn't last long. He began to sink. O ye of a short use of faith, short endurance of faith, and it's not you need bigger faith or more faith or increased faith. He said you just need to keep it at work. Use it tomorrow, the next day, the next week. Keep it on the field.
You respond the same way. Somebody calling you, "What's going on"? And let me help you so you don't have to be so deep. "What's going on"? "Well, the doctor diagnosed me with this, but by his stripes I still believe I'm healed". See, it's how you end the sentence that's faith. Some of y'all, I don't know what's going on with you. I met a lady one time in the lobby of Red Lobster when they had it down here on Old National, and her leg was broke. She had a big old cast on it, and she was on crutches, and I said, "Praise God. Ma'am, I wanna pray for your leg". She said, "Oh, this ain't broke". And I thought, "Oh, Lord". And I looked at her. I said, "It's broke". I said, "I know what you're trying to do, but that's not the right thing. Call those things that be not and what be not is a mended leg". Okay, what be 'cause it's definitely broke. "Oh, you talking doubt and unbelief".
See, that's what I'm saying. So deep. You can't hear what I'm saying, see? Call things that be not. What be not was a healed leg. You're trying to deny. That's no different than the person can't... they got glasses. Take their glasses off talking about, "I can see. I can see. I can see". You can't see your car on a telephone pole. You can't even see. Call things that be not as though they were, so what happens is, is every morning when you put your glasses on, you say, "Father, I believe I receive 20/20 vision in Jesus's name," and you'll be the first one to know, because the medicine or the glasses, you won't be able to see with the glasses on no more. Deep Christians, lord. Well, it's the same thing here: walking on the water, looking at Jesus. Faith working. Faith working, so I'll show you this in a moment.
What, then, qualifies faith to be weak faith or strong faith? In the book of Romans he said Abraham was not weak in faith, but was strong in faith, so what qualifies that? Weak faith is faith that's not being used. Strong faith is faith that's being used. That's the difference. It's not in the measure. It's in the use. It's not in the measure. It's in the use, so there are two types of folks in here tonight: those who have weak faith, or their faith is not being used, and those who have strong faith and their faith is being used, and they won't call it in off the field, amen? Your faith is being used to appropriate what the blood of Jesus has made available for you, and you're gonna take hold of that.
Now, look at Hebrews. Does everybody understand that? Look at Hebrews 6:15. Hebrews 6:15, and this is actually the foundation for seeing God's commitment for those who are in the midst of adversity, and you get weak, and you're challenged, and there are things that happen and thoughts of doubt come over your mind. All those things will happen, but it's how you respond that settles it. Your response signs for the package. Now, see, I know some of you thought, "Well, aren't we under grace? What are you talking all this faith stuff for"? Because the grace of God has made things available, but the faith that God gave us is to appropriate or to take possession of it, and as Christian people it's time for us to take possession of it, amen? It's time I'm gonna show you in this series what do you need to do to become fully persuaded?
You're a Christian, but in some areas of your life you're not fully persuaded, and your mouth has a whole lot with helping you to become fully persuaded, especially in times where everything in you wants to say this wrong thing, you know? And you grab it and say, "I ain't gonna say that," and you say something in line with the Word. I'm telling you that still benefits you. Death and life is still in the power of the tongue. That still benefits you, man. That still benefits you greatly, praise the Lord? You know, you've got to be aware of when you might be giving authority to the enemy to challenge what you're believing for. Your faith is out there appropriating and taking possession of what Jesus has already made available to you, but stay in faith. Don't let it be short. Don't just do it when you come to church. Let your prayer time go from communicating to communion. Spend time in the groanings.
You remember I corrected myself in the book of Romans, when it said praying a prayer that can't be uttered. It literally meant you can't utter it, because groanings - I don't know how many of you were here when I left and I taught that lesson on groanings and the prayer of groanings, and we went and we saw Jesus, and the Bible says Jesus wept, and he was at his friend's grave. And most people, they even thought, oh, Jesus was weeping 'cause he lost his friend, but the Scripture made it clear that when he wept he was praying without being able to say or articulate anything and then he came back and said, "Father, I thank you that you hear my prayer always". Well, when was he praying? He was praying in groanings and tears and the next thing you saw was a miracle. Paul prayed the same way. That before I left here - I'm convinced. I mean, I was on the floor praying and groaning.
And somebody says, "Well, how were you praying"? I wasn't articulating anything with words, but it was coming all out of me. It was just I was actually groaning and just crying my eyeballs out, and I'm like, "What am I releasing"? It was like I was giving birth. I am convinced that that time of prayer that I prayed before I left gave birth to what we saw overseas. It was powerful. It was powerful. Boy, man, your pastor, Taffi Dollar, I'm telling you one thing. My God, that woman. That woman set that thing. It was hilarious because I prayed before she started preaching, and I said, "Lord, let whatever has to happen through her happen this night".
Well, they only gave her 35 minutes to preach. Well, the clock got freaked out, so she didn't know what time it was. Man, she went from Genesis all the way near to Revelation, then had a altar call and had about four, five altar prayers. It was one of them prayers that said, "In Jesus name. And, God," ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra. "In Jesus's name". And I'm over there cracking up, and I'm just like, "Use her, God. Get it all out. Get it all out". So, when she finished, I said - this is hilarious. I said, "You don't have any idea how long you've been up there, do you"? She said, "Thirty-five minutes". I said, "No, about a hour and something". She said, "For real"? I said, "Oh, God got done what he wanted to do tonight, man".
It was so thorough, so thorough. I learned something. We saw people standing up, writing the whole sermon, wouldn't wanna sit down, and I'm like, "Wouldn't it be easier if you sat down"? And they just thought, "Never heard anything like this. Let me write". And I said, "Good Lord". And I thought, "Well, don't y'all have a whole deal over here"? "Yeah, but tonight was the first time we understood". I got a high-five from her, and I said, "See that"? Loud responses are not always an indication of when people are getting it. Sometimes you just have to sit there and just let it go in and just let it in. I'm convinced that that prayer of groaning in the Spirit was part of the miracle that I saw, the miracle of what I saw. The miracle of what I saw was amazing.
Now, I don't know how I got into that. What I'm talking about now? Okay, what was I talking about before I was talking about groaning? Jesus wept. Okay, and then what I was talking about before I said Jesus wept. Appropriating our faith. What about it? Don't give the enemy authority. Weak faith is faith that's not being used and strong faith is faith that's being used. I'll take that. Well, in fact, let me show you a Scripture on that real quick. Well, no, just stay right where you are. Well, we kinda all over the place right now, aren't we? Let's just pick up here in Hebrews 6:15. It will all come together. "And so, after he had patiently endured". What happened after he patiently endured? Let me give you a definition of patience. Patience is simply faith applied over a long period of time, faith applied over a long period of time, enduring faith. "And so, after he had patiently endured," after he had applied faith for a long period of time, "he obtained the promise".
How many of you want to obtain the promise? It's real and during that time there are those thoughts coming in. "Oh, that ain't gonna happen for you. Oh, you don't deserve that. Oh, God don't want you to have that". And before you know it you've worked yourself into a religious excuse, amen? Look at Hebrews 10:35-36. Hebrews 10:35-36. "Cast not away therefore". You already see this, don't you? "Cast not away therefore your confidence". Well, isn't that what you do when doubt comes in and you were in faith and you cast it away? "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has a great recompense of reward". I saw a little book on the way back home, and it was sitting there, and it said, "Confidence: The Missing Substance of Faith". I said, "That sounds familiar". And I picked the book up, and I said, "Oh, yeah, I wrote this years ago". I got to looking at the pages. I'm like, "Dear God, that stuff is still good". "Confidence: The Missing Substance of Faith". Cast not away therefore your confidence, because it has a what?
Well, now what's the another word for "recompense"? Compensation. It has a compensation, a recompense of reward. It has a recompense of reward, so don't cast it down. Don't shut it down. Don't call it in off the field. It has a recompense of reward. He says, "For you have need of patience," consistently, constantly the same. For whatever period, it needs to be the same. It's faith that remains regardless of the time, hallelujah? Faith that remains regardless of the time. Brother Hagin used to say this: "If you're willing to wait forever, you won't be waiting very long," but don't be putting timing on it. That's why I say you go for the relationship. Go for the relationship. You're in this for the relationship with Jesus, praise the Lord. You're not in this - "Well, I'm a Christian 'cause I got a Christmas list and I need him to do this and do that and do this". You don't wanna become self-centered.
Man, the Spirit of God woke me up this morning and, oh, my God. You may know this already, but he said, "Begin to warn people of the dangers of self-centeredness". Self-centeredness will always hurt other people you're in relationship with, and it will hurt you, too. Self-centeredness is the key to bitterness and anybody that gets in bitterness, you're open to do anything, but there is always the enemy trying to push you into the center and make it about you and when you're in the center you're gonna make it about you, and it's gonna hurt somebody else. And when you're in the center, you've hurt somebody else, but being in the center hurts you. Why? Because pride is simply self-centeredness. Are you listening to me? You have need of patience not for self-centered issues, but I got my faith out there to appropriate what Jesus has made available to me and all he's made available to me.
I can get operating in my life, I guarantee you it's God gives me a gift not for me, but for me to use that gift for somebody else. You understand what I'm saying? "That after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise," but again you see the need here. You can't be afraid of the stalk time. You can't be afraid of it hasn't happened yet and then quickly you say, "Well, I'm in a drought. Well, it's dry". Listen, while faith is working you ain't gotta be in no drought. Get in the presence of God. Praise him. Pray. Get around the people that define your life and make your life up and enjoy life and sometimes manifestation will come, and God will have to get your attention to say, "You remember when you were believing for that"? "Yes, sir". "Well, it's done, see"? "Oh, that is". You're in it for the relationship. I said you're in it for the relationship. Stop this thing, "Well, I'm a Christian because I got this Christmas list I want God to give me". You're in it for the relationship. You're gonna fall for Jesus.
If you have your Bibles with you tonight, go with me to the book of Jeremiah chapter 17 and verse 7. Jeremiah chapter 17 and verse 7. Last week we started on this series, and we call it "How to Stand in Faith in a Dry Season". Now, what do most people mean when they use this term "a dry season"? "Oh, you know, I feel like I'm in a dry season". Or maybe some people may take it as far as to say, "I feel like I'm in a drought". Well, when people say that they are spiritually dry, then they usually mean that they feel distanced form God, or that they're struggling to grow spiritually, or that they don't see God working. The burdens of life are pressing in on 'em. They begin to feel discouraged.
And so, when you take those things, you know, feeling distanced from God, struggling to grow spiritually, you know? And these are emotions, you know? You feel this way. It may not necessarily be that way, but you feel this way. And you know, I think most people think emotions are a response, but I think emotions are a choice. I think you can choose whatever emotion is operating in your life". And so when you don't see God working, or somebody said, "I've been praying, and praying, ain't nothing happened yet. I've been giving and giving, ain't nothing happened yet". And you think maybe you're in a spiritually dry season. Burdens of life just seem to be pressing in on ya, you know? Seem like your joy is a challenge. You're just kinda dragging around, and, you know, you get up on Sunday and now you have to consider whether or not you'd come to church when there was never a consideration. That's what most people are thinking about when they use the term "spiritually dry".
And so, I wanna start off because I believe the objective of feeling this way is to try to get you to faint. The New Testament defines this word "faint" as "to give up, cave in, and quit". And most of the time, when this kinda thing comes your way, usually, it's trying to stop something. It's trying to stop you from moving into something. It's trying to stop breakthrough because a lot of times the battle is won or lost between your two ears, and what goes on here in your head and what happens with these emotions. And you can't let those emotions get out of line. Here's what he says in verse 7. He says: "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is". That's a key statement. Verse 8, he says: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the rivers, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit".
So, here's the situation here, and there's a lot of things we see in this verse of Scripture. First of all, he says, "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord". You need to understand that, you know, when you trust in the Lord, you'll be empowered to have success in any area of your life. When people no longer trust in God, when people have a hard time trusting in God, you know, that's gonna be the reason why you're spiritually dry. And so I want you to think about that: "When I stop trusting in God, that's when I become spiritually dry. When I'm no longer trusting in God, I'm no longer trusting in his Word, I'm no longer trusting in what he said, I become spiritually dry". And so, you see the significance of verse 7: "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, whose hope the Lord is".
Something happens when you become hopeless and you don't trust in God anymore. Something happens when you get bad news or you look at situations and circumstances and you're trying to figure out, "How am I gonna get out of this"? And you're not trusting God anymore. That's when the spiritual dryness comes because, you know, our hope has been robbed. Our trust has been put on hold. And then he says here in verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree," the guy that will trust in the Lord, and the guy that will not lose hope in the Lord. Say this out loud: "I will not lose hop in God". Okay, he says, "This guy shall be like a tree planted by the waters". Now, that's awesome 'cause when you're a tree planted by the waters, you're not gonna be dry, okay? He says, "And that spreadeth out her roots by the rivers, he shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit".
See, there's something about when you continue to trust in God and you plant yourself in the Word of God representing the waters of God, regardless of the temptation that the enemy throws at you to try to get you to yield to spiritual dryness, you're still going to bear fruit. Turn to your neighbor and say, "You will still bear fruit". So, this is a very important subject because in the time that we're living in right now, I've never seen, you know, so many people ready to give up, cave in, and quit, even to the point where they're willing to kill themselves and end it all because they're trying to replace that place in their heart with something else other than God.
And I'm telling you, you know, you can try everything the world has to offer, and then you can just keep God on the side, and you won't make it, because that spot in your heart has been developed for God only to occupy. And when you try to substitute for other things in that area, it's not gonna work. It's not gonna work. You can try the doctors. You can try to be medicated. You can try all of that other stuff, but there's just something about Jesus that offers you something that the doctors and the medications cannot give you, amen? And so it's at that place, and we gotta get to that place. We gotta understand. So, I don't wanna take all night to answer, "Okay, what's the answer to spiritual dryness? What do we do to make sure we don't ever enter in to spiritual dryness"?
I think I found the verse right here in the book of Psalms chapter 16, in verse 11. Psalms chapter 16:11, and, ladies and gentlemen, you're gonna hear me go over this over and over and over again. It is your personal relationship with Jesus Christ when you're not at church that's gonna make the difference in everything that you do, okay? But look what he says here, Psalm 16:11, verse 11 says this. He says: "Thou will show me the path of life". This is awesome. This is the path of life. Now, we try to use all of the other paths, but this is the path of life. "Show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore". That's the path of life. To omit this path, ignore this path, refuse to go down this path, and then all of a sudden, you thinking, "Well, I'm gonna choose another path". Or "I believe I have another way". You're not gonna make it. You will follow everybody else. You know, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end of that path is destruction".
And we live in a society right now where, you know, religion as the path? Of course not. You know, God as the path? Of course not. But honey, I'm telling ya something. God, who has always been and will always be, praise God, he is the Way, he is the Truth, he is the Life. "This is the path of life: in thy presence". So, now, the key to avoiding spiritual dryness is to make sure that you're practicing the presence of God, that every day of your life, you're contacting the presence of God, that there's not a day that goes by that you don't contact the presence of God. As water is necessary where our bodies are concerned, the presence of God is necessary where your spirit is concerned, where your soul is concerned. And then, ultimately, even where your body is concerned.
If there's one thing that you need to make daily contact with every day, and that's God, it's the presence of God that you need to make contact with every day. So, it appears to be the solution to overcoming spiritual dryness: Getting in the presence of God. Getting in the presence of God. How? Well, through payer, getting in the presence of God through prayer, through the study of God's Word. Through praise and worship, and through fellowship with believers. Getting in the presence of God, that's the key to overcoming spiritual dryness. You know, look at throughout the day, how many times you pause to think about God, to talk to God, to hear from God. This is what your life is about. Your life is not about wearing a T-shirt that says, "I'm a Christian". Your life is about the presence of Jesus. You're saved because Jesus lives on the inside of you, praise the Lord.
And if you want to avoid that spiritual dryness, you know, number one, spend time in prayer. And prayer is not just you talking to God. It's a dialogue. It's not a monologue. It's him talking to you, you talking to him. And I'm telling you, you talk about something that can jack you up, man, is when you hear a Word from the Lord spoken on the inside of you. I mean, it's like a charge, man. That's the presence of the Lord, amen? And then that begins to affect even your physical body. So, you know, the other day, I was studying the difference between exceptionalism and holiness, and I found out that that's what exceptionalism is, it's holiness. It's anybody that stands apart from everybody else. Exceptional people break out the box and then destroy the box, you know? That's what he's trying to communicate where holiness is concerned. "Holiness" is "to be set apart or to stand apart from the rest of the world".
So, as Christian people, you are born again, and you stand apart from everybody else. And you do that intentionally. You make a decision that "I am gonna set myself apart. I'm gonna be exceptional. I'm gonna stand apart. I'm gonna destroy the box. I'm not gonna allow the box to be used as boundaries to bound my life up". And then I say to myself, 'I can only exist behind these four walls". No, you knock the walls down and look beyond the sky, and realize that that anointing of God is on the inside of you, and you can do anything. And don't let somebody's words from the past keep you stuck in the box. Don't come out of it, destroy it. Destroy the box. Well, exceptionalism and holiness, they are basically the same thing, but you've got to realize, and here's the point I was making. I'm sitting up here looking at holiness, and I'm thinking, "Well, you know, we wanna be holy". And by us being holy, that'll move God. And God says, "That doesn't move me". He says, "Holiness makes you more sensitive to what I've already done and what I wanna do.
So the reason why you wanna live right, and the reason why you wanna stand apart and be exceptional and be holy is so you can be sensitive to what I'm doing and what I've done". See, we the whole time thought, "Well, I'm doing this so God can do that". No, no, no, no, God says, "You're doing that for your benefit. It is to your benefit to be holy. It is to your benefit to make a decision to live right. It's to your benefit to pray. Somebody says, "Well, I'm impressing God by my long hours of prayer". He said, "No, no, no, everything you do, you do for your benefit. It doesn't move me. It's moving you to be in a receiving mode of what I've already done," praise God. So, somebody says, "Oh, I'm being holy so I can please the Lord". No, I'm being holy so that I can be sensitive to what he's doing.
See, when I choose not to live holy, he's doing stuff, but I'm just not sensitive to it. Let me back up. I did not know we were gonna go here. But let me back up here. Hardness of heart comes as a result of the lack of attention you give a thing. For example, if I spend my time and attention in something else and not the Word, my heart is gonna be hardened toward the Word, and it's gonna be pliable to the thing I give my attention to. Whatever you give your attention to the most is what you're gonna be able to do easily, okay? So, imagine a Christian who doesn't give his attention to the Word. What is he doing? Or what has he done? He's created a hard heart where the Word is concerned. Your heart has been hardened to the Word. Your heart has been hardened to the supernatural, to spiritual things, why? You don't spend any time there.
Now, most people don't understand. "Well, why would you rush from work to come to Bible study and to get fed the Word? Why do you go to church every Sunday and not once every two months? Why do you listen to the sermons right after that*? Why do you study your notes"? Because you want to be sensitive to what God is doing. I don't want my heart hardened, so hardened that I can't even be sensitive to what God is doing. You know, you're begging God for things, and he's broadcasting in it, but your sensitivity is dull and hardened. You can't pick up the frequency, okay? And so, everything that the Spirit of grace will teach us to do is to better position us in a place were we can receive from him and receive what he's already done. It's not the rule of the day: "Well, do this, and then I'll do that". That's not what God is trying to do. God is saying, man, that "give attention, give attention to my Word. Give attention to my presence. Give attention to prayer, why?
So you can become sensitive to what I'm doing. I mean, think about it. You get to heaven and you say, "God, what happened? You know, I asked you a hundred times about this thing". He says, "I answered you the very first time you heard me, but you were so cluttered, and your attention was given to all those other things, which hardened your heart where my voice was concerned. You couldn't hear. You couldn't receive it, and you never thought about it. You kept looking at all of the other options, and I always came in last place. You never considered me first. You never considered that I could get you out, that I could heal you, that I could give you the new job, that I could heal your depression, that I can make you happy above anything you never considered me first, why? Your heart was hardened towards me because you gave your attention to something else, and I never got your attention".
Now, is that a punishment from God? He said, "No". He just said, "I just kept trying to pour my love on you, but you were never sensitive to what I was trying to do. I wanna be sensitive to what he's doing. I wanna get myself up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Holy Spirit". I wanna spend time through the day, and then I wanna sing to him, and I wanna praise him". And then, right in the middle of a rough time or bad news, I wanna force my arms to go up just so I can sense his presence still there with me. And then, if I can't do nothing else, if I could just get to church, praise the Lord. And for me, if I can just make it in that pulpit. Put me in that pulpit with 105-degree temperature, and I'mma be all right, praise the Lord, because that's my Jehovah-Jireh. This is more than your church. This is your Jehovah-Jireh. This is the place where God'll turn it all around for you.
So, basically, you know, if you're dry and you feel dry spiritually, again, you are allowing your feelings to try to become synonymous with the Word. And it's not. Your emotions, it's the place where sin can grow. You have to choose the right emotions now 'cause if you allow the wrong emotions to stay there, it begins to fester, the sin does, the temptation of it, you know? And the more you keep that emotion, that wrong emotion stays there, that wrong emotion stays there, that wrong emotion stays there, then within that wrong emotion, you start seeing the temptation and actually the initiation of sin growing right in the middle of those wrong emotions. So, God gave us the emotions. He gave us good emotions, as well, to enjoy it. But what are you giving your attention to?
And when you look and go to God and wanna accuse God of not being real and accuse his Word of not working, you ask yourself, "Am I satisfied with the amount of time that I've been spending in his presence? Am I satisfied with the amount of time that I have been spending in his presence"? Don't be so quick to start, you know, go to God, "Now, I done did this for the last five months. For a year, I've been doing this. For ten years, I've been doing that". And I'm gonna show you in a moment. The whole temptation is... you might be two seconds away from that breakthrough if you don't give up, cave in, and quit. I don't know how long it'll take a thing. I know there are a lot of little things that have to be in place before your thing can happen. But that's why you do things out of sincerity of your heart and you do it from the right motive, that you love God and you don't get frustrated and then wanna quit on God when it didn't come when you want it coming.
So, if it doesn't come, you know, I'm in love with Jesus anyway. If it don't happen, I love Jesus anyway. If they shut down, I love the Lord anyway. If they possess my house, I love the Lord anyway. I'm still in love with him. None of those things, none of those things are gonna cause me to change my mind where his love is concerned. Take it all. I still love him. 'Cause I don't love him 'cause I got that, and I don't love him 'cause he did that or that door opened. If every door shuts, I'm still in love with Jesus. I'll still have something to testify about. 'Cause if everything go away, I still have to testify, "I should've went crazy, but the Lord Jesus had his arms wrapped around me". You've got to examine the motives of why you do what you do, amen. I feel like a little preaching coming on me tonight. I'm just stirred up. You gonna get out your dry spot. God has already done enough for you for you to have some water somewhere in reserve to help you out of this dry situation.
And sometimes, if you just have a flashback, you can get some moisture in the midst of that dry spiritual situation. And you can just let the devil know, "All right, I don't know why this is happening, but I know that the same God that helped me out of the last dry spot is the same God that's helping me out of this dry spot". And I might be a little dry right now, but keep your eyes on me. The moisture's coming, hallelujah. The atmosphere's changing, hallelujah. Turn to your neighbor and say, "Don't quit". So, you get in the presence of the Lord. The most valuable thing that we have afforded to us is the presence of Jesus. We do it through prayer. We do it through the study of his Word. Have you ever been studying the Word and you bump into a Scripture, and it just ministered to you? The power of that. But it can never happen if you never bother to open a Bible up. Praise and worship, put on your best praise and worship song, the one you like. Play it over and over and over again until it just ministers to you, amen.
Fellowshipping with believers, that's important. Sometimes you can feel dry 'cause you've been hanging out with the wrong crowd too much. Now, I'm not telling you who to hang out with, but I'm saying you've got to have you some folks who can make you gotta hang out with some people who can help you not be dry. And sometimes, frankly, some of the folks you have to hang out with, maybe at work or something, it's just their drama, or that stuff that go on in their life, and it's just, like, all the time, hearing the same thing. You need to hear somebody that's gonna speak a word of life, somebody that's praising the Lord. And when you ask 'em, they say, "For no particular reason. 'Cause he good". "Oh, why are you so happy"? "'Cause he woke me up this morning". You know, somebody that's gonna help you to appreciate the small things in your life. You've been around folks who complain all the time. And then you realize how much God's done for you. You realize, complaining to you is a big sin.
How can you complain after what God has done for you? Don't forget about the goodness of the Lord, amen? So, spiritual dryness and hardness of heart, they kinda come the same way. Like I said, a lack of attention given to the right things. And when you give no attention to spiritual things, your heart will become hard and spiritually, you'll become dry. Look at what he said in Proverbs 4:20. You know, sometimes we have to be reminded of some of these Scriptures that we used to read all the time. Proverbs 4:20, verse 20 through 27, Proverbs 4, verse 20 through 27.
Now, he tells you what to give your attention to, what to give your attention - I'll give you a perfect illustration. If you give your attention to the news every day for eight hours, how many of you know you're gonna be dry? Why? Because that's taking you away from the presence of God. You gonna be dry. And you just got to know when to cut off certain things that make you dry. He said, "My son, attend to my," what? "Give attention to my words". You know how powerful God's Word is. The Bible is the only living book in the Library of Congress. It has and possesses life. "Give attention to my words: incline thine ears unto my sayings".
So he's talking about hearing the Word. And we know, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing, the Word of God". Verse 21, he says: "Let them," words, "not depart from thine eyes: keep them," words, keep 'em, keep them words, "in the midst of your heart". That's how you make sure you're not gonna be spiritually dry, keeping the Word in the midst of your heart. Verse 22: "For they," those words, "they are life unto those that find them," and notice, "and is health to all your flesh". You see how powerful the Word is? "Life to those that find them, and," it'll even get on your physical body, "health to all your flesh". Verse 23, he says: "Keep thy Word," or, "Guard thy heart". Guard thy heart, keep thy heart, guard thy heart. So, how do I guard my heart? If I have the Word in my heart and I wanna guard my heart, how do I guard my heart? By guarding the entrances into your heart. What are the entrances into a man's heart? Through his eye gate, through his ear gate, and through what comes out of his mouth. Guard your heart.