Jentezen Franklin - Three Success Secrets Of Shamgar
Judges 3:31. "And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 men of the Philistines with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel". It's almost one of those verses that you will just read over. Shamgar is not like a household name, but man, there's a lot that's said in that one verse. Particularly, the latter part: "And he also saved", or delivered his entire nation. All he gets is one verse, but he had massive, massive impact.
And I wanna talk to you for a few minutes today on the subject of, "The Three Success Secrets of Shamgar". He lived 3.000 years ago. He was a farmer, and he saved an entire nation, with an ox goad. An ox goad is a wood pole with a sharp steel point on the end of it that was used to motivate the ox to keep moving when they became stubborn and didn't wanna plow anymore. And he took this thing, this weapon, or really, this farm tool, this weed eater, or whatever you wanna call it.
A farmer, with a farm tool, and he slew 600 Philistines. It would be the equivalent of one man with a stick, with a sharp point on the end, killing 600 ISIS terrorists. And he did it, and saw that his nation was under threat, his family was being overtaken, and something came on him, against incredible odds. 600 to 1 odds, and he won. I don't know what kind of odds are against you today, physically, financially. I don't know what kind of storm has come, or trying to come into your life, and you feel overwhelmed. But can you imagine 600 to one odds, and yet, the Bible declares in Mark 9 that: "With God, all things are possible".
I wanna give you the three success secrets of Shamgar. Number one, he started where he was. He started where he was. He was not in a powerful position. He was not at some big university, where he had prestige and influence. He had no big doors open to him. He was a farmer. He was a blue collar worker. He was not someone who was famous, and wealthy, or powerful, and influential, and popular. He was a farmer, and he had to start where he was. If you wait too long to decide what you're gonna do with your life, you'll find out that you've already done it. You have to learn to start where you are. Big doors swing on little hinges.
The Bible said in Zechariah 4: "Despise not the day of small beginnings", and so many people say, "When I get a big break", "When a big door opens", "When somebody notices me", "When somebody sees my talent, and really invests in me". "When somebody gives me that big break", but that is not the key to success. The key to success is to start where you are. Right where you are. Not when things get better, not if things were different, not if you had what somebody else has, but start where you are. Noah didn't wait to build his boat. Noah didn't wait for his boat to come in; he built it. Big doors swing on little hinges.
And the thing that you need to understand today is simply this: that the man who's too big to do little things, is too little to ever do big things. So, you start where you are. I wish things were different. I wish I'da had this or that goin' for me. I wish I knew that person. I wish I had what they have... But you can sit around and wish, and miss your whole life. Start where you are. I'm gonna say it again, and you're gonna say, "Amen", to that. Start where you are. Not, if I get a big break, not, if somebody will help me. You don't understand, that's not how it goes.
The bible said, "a man's gift makes room for him". When you start where you are, your gift will put you before important people, your gift will open doors for you that no man can shut, but you've gotta start where you are. Not, if things were different, not, if you had this or had that; start where you are. Secondly, use what you've got. Shamgar's resources were very limited. But he said, "I'm not somewhere powerful. I'm not somewhere influential. I'm gonna start where I am. I'm on my farm, in my field, and the enemy's invading. So I'm fighting right here". And then, he said, "I'm gonna use what I've got".
I may have limited resources. All that he had was something called an ox goad. O-X, G-O-A-D. An ox goad. A long stick with a sharp steel point on the end, that's all he had. No M1 tanks. No Black Hawk helicopters. That's what I'd need if God told me to go fight 600 ISIS soldiers. Where's the Black Hawks? No M16s. No Navy Seals. Shamgar's resources were limited. If I had more resources, Pastor. "If I had somebody who would really believe in me". "If I had what somebody else has, I'd really do something for God". But God has given you an ox goad. God has given you a talent. God has given you an ability. God has put something in your hand.
He asked Moses, "What is in your hand"? "Nothing but a stick". God said, "Throw it down". And when he did, the supernatural hit it, and it swallowed up the snakes of Pharaoh. And when he held it up, it parted the Red Sea. The miracle is not in what you don't have, but what do you have in your hand? Use what you've got. An ox goad, something that anybody else would've overlooked and said, "He doesn't have anything that can win against those kind of odds". But he took what he had. He used what he had, and it became a lethal weapon of mass destruction. God has given you an ox goad.
What are your assets? Stop focusing on what you don't have. What do you have? "Well, I'm not good in math", and, "I'm not smart", and I'm not this, and I'm not that. But God has given you something that can win the battle. What's in your hand? I'm gonna tell you what God has given every person under the sound of my voice. He's given you a dream. Dreams motivate us. Dreams energize us. In all of your getting, get a dream in your life. Get it from God. And you become unstoppable.
A dream is the inward picture of the future you desire. And don't underestimate it, and don't act like it's not important, and don't act like it's not spiritual. God is the Giver of dreams. And when God is gonna do something in your life, He'll give you a picture first on the inside of where you're going, before you ever get there. And He says, "Live into that dream". Sometimes, a promise isn't enough. Sometimes, we think all we need from God is a promise, but just because God gives you a promise doesn't mean you're gonna reach, God gave them a picture of the promise land when He brought them out of the wilderness.
Ten spies came back and said, "There are grapes. Look at these grapes. They're the size of melons, and look at that". But a picture wasn't enough. Sometimes, a promise isn't enough. You need a picture. The Bible said that Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him. He had a picture of what was ahead: "For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross". Some of you are in a season right now, where you know where you're going, but you don't understand where you are. Follow the dream that God has put in your heart, to see somebody saved, or somebody, I don't care what it looks like. You know where you're going. Don't get discouraged by where you are.
I like the fact that we can live into that. I like what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, when he was a skinny kid, with no muscles. You know, "The Terminator". Arnold Schwarzenegger, he said, "I got a picture", he had a picture of a body builder, and he said, "I got a picture of what I wanted to become, and I lived into that picture". That's pretty powerful.
I remember when we were building our second building that's down the road, that's now our youth building and administrative offices, and I remember that I went to Charlotte, North Carolina. There's a church there called Calvary Church, that is similar in the look, much bigger and much fancier than that building, and had a lot of glass. But I got a picture, I took a picture of that building. And I brought it back, and I put it in my desk, and everyday for several years, as that building program, you know, we were trying to figure out where we were going.
I saw that picture everyday when I opened that drawer, of that church, and it was like a picture to me of the dream that I was dreaming, that we would one day have a building. We couldn't afford it back then, but we were getting there. But I kept looking at that picture and praying over it, and saying, "One day, there's gonna be a Free Chapel like that". And you can make fun of that kind of stuff, but I'm gonna tell you, you gotta learn to use what you've got. And if you've got a dream, you've got something powerful, because God is the Giver of dreams that will change your life. Come on and give Him a praise if you believe it.
I wanna tell you something else you've got. You've got something called enthusiasm, if you want to. Passion. Shamgar had it. Shamgar had passion and, you don't fight 600 warriors if you don't have some passion. If you don't have some enthusiasm. Use what you've got. Your passion determines God's timing. The woman with the issue of blood, Jesus didn't have her on His agenda. He was going to raise a man's daughter from the dead, and she interrupted the schedule, because your passion determines God's timing.
The Bible said she couldn't get to Jesus for the press, meaning the crowd was so large that she couldn't break through, and talk to Him. All she could do is touch the hem of His garment. She couldn't get to Him for the press. She somehow touched the hem of His garment, in her passion to do that. In her sick condition. It stopped Jesus, and He turned around, and He said, "You are going to be healed today. And it wasn't on My schedule, but your passion, your enthusiasm, is what triggered the miracle".
Blind Bartimaeus didn't, Jesus didn't decide the timing of his miracle, he did. His passion did. His enthusiasm did. Jesus was just gonna walk through that community, and go somewhere, and when he heard Jesus was passing by, blind Bartimaeus cried out, "Son of David, have mercy on me". And when the religious people said, "You need to calm down. You're too passionate. You're too enthusiastic. Be quiet. You're not important". He cried the louder. And it wasn't Jesus' timing that decided the miracle, it was the man's enthusiasm and passion. And Jesus stopped and said, "Be healed, and eyes be opened". And he was healed.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the wedding of Cana, we act like when Jesus went to that wedding, He planned to start His ministry. Read the story. He had no intentions of performing a miracle at the wedding of Cana, which was the first miracle He ever performed. It was His mother, and her passion, and her enthusiasm that decided the timing of the miracle. The Bible said that they had run out of wine, and His mother went to her Son. And she said, "You know, we've been praying, Son". I'm just gonna paraphrase it. "We've been praying that God would really use You, and we've run out of wine, and I think You need to do something. Do something". It's time for a miracle.
And He even began to fuss with His mother a little bit, and said, "Mother, My time has not yet come". And then, I just think she just looked at him. I can't, this isn't in the Bible. I think she, "Boy, do You know what I will do to You? It's time for a miracle, I said, and don't make me say it again". And He said, "Bring the water, bring the water". And the water blushed in the presence of His Creator. And He turned the water into wine, but it wasn't His agenda, it was His mother's passion that triggered the miracle power of God in His life.
Where is your passion? Use what you've got. If you get up and lead, you know, you're the supervisor and you get up and you look like a cover girl from the Book of Lamentations. "Hey, everybody. We're gonna try to get". Who in the world wants to follow you? The word enthusiasm comes from the word theos, from which we get theology, or the study of God. Theos means in God. If God is in you, your life should be turbo-charged. You should be brimming with enthusiasm. And there's just something about an enthusiastic, passionate person who says, "Whatever my hand finds to do, I'm gonna do it with passion, and smile, and energy". You will not stay down. Use what you've got. Use what you've got.
Brahms wrote a famous symphony, and the famous conductor, Eugene Ormandy, was conducting it. And it's written, in one section of that music, as he's conducting the orchestra, it says: "As loud as possible", by the composer. He put that there. He was saying, "I want the musicians that you lead as loud as possible". So he really started emphasizing with enthusiasm, as loud as... come on, he's pulling it out of 'em. And a few bars later, not drinking bars, bars in music.
A few bars later, Brahms wrote on his score piece: "Louder still". "Louder still". So now, he's really throwing his arms, trying to bring out. And when he did, he literally threw, this conductor threw his shoulder out of joint. And the press was laughing at him in the press interview after the concert, and one of the reporters asked, "How does it feel to throw your arm out of joint, leading the orchestra"? And his response was, "I know some people who have reached middle age who have never become enthused enough to dislodge a neck tie, not to mention a shoulder, so I feel pretty good about it".
Come on. Where's your passion? Where's your enthusiasm? Use what you've got. David said, "I've got five stones. It doesn't look like anything, but rocks, but when I use it, God's gonna anoint it, and I'mma use what I got; I wish I had somethin' else, but I'mma use what I've got". David said, "I've a stick". Shamgar said, "I've got an ox goad". And, God said, "Start where you are, and use what you've got, and I'll bless what you've got, and I'll take down your giants, and I'll bring victory to your life".
The miracle is not in what you don't have. The miracle is in what you have. Use what you have got. Clap your hands and praise God. Lastly... Everybody say, "Start where you are". Not if things were different, "Start where you are". And then, "Use what you've got". And lastly, "Do what you can". Shamgar did what he could. God is not wanting you to do what you can't do. He wants you to do what you can do. "Well, what can I do"?
Number one, you can pray. Bill Bright said, "It is impossible to over exaggerate the importance of prayer". Jesus said in John 14: "Whatever you ask the Father in My name, I will do it". Have you prayed about it? Oswald Chambers said, "Men may shun our appeal, reject our message, oppose our arguments, but they are helpless against our prayers". E.M. Bounds said, "Prayers outlive the lives of those who utter them". And then, he challenges us. "Outlive your generation". Outlive an age, outlive a world. Prayers are deathless. Are you praying? Do what you can. What can I do? I can pray. And don't act like it's the weakest and most pitiful thing that you can do. It's the most powerful thing you can do.
Secondly, focus. What can I do? Focus. Focus is the secret to energy. Unclutter your life and keep focused. The enemy's great at trying to discourage us, but the apostle Paul said, this one thing I do, not these 50 things I dabble in. Get focused. All the devil's gotta do to destroy a vision is give you another vision, and then you have division, and your vision dies. Stay focused. The Bible said that He constantly told them, "Don't look to the left. Don't look to the right". Why? He wanted them focused. The Bible said that Jesus said, "Remember Lot's wife". What was it about Lot's wife? She looked back. God doesn't want you looking back in the good old days. He said, "Stay focused".
Joshua chapter 1 is so powerful, if you wanna have good success, if you wanna see God bless you in amazing ways. He said, "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth", everybody say, "Conversation". Your conversation matters. This book of the law, the Bible, shall not depart from your mouth. What are you saying? What are you talking? "But you shall meditate in this book day and night, that", notice the word meditate. Everybody say, "Meditate". Say, "Meditation and conversation are the keys". "That you may observe to do all that is according that is written in this", and the next verse says: "For you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success".
Two things. Meditation, in what? In the Word of God. You have 24 golden box cars everyday of your life. I don't care how rich you are, I don't care how broke you are. You all have the same amount of time everyday. You get 24 golden box cars, and what you fill those golden box cars with determines where your life, and the direction of your life, goes. And if you fill those box cars with the Word of God, with the promises of God, if you put 'em in your spirit, the more you put in 'em, the more your life will begin to go in a prosperous, good, success direction. Everybody's gonna have the same day, today and tomorrow. Everybody's got the same chance, and your input determines your output.
And He said, "You are to meditate on the Word day and night". Put it in, put it in, put it in. "And then, you are", that's meditation, and then, you are to control your conversation. "Don't let this law depart from your", it's interesting wording, "from your mouth". Say what God says. Talk what God talks. Don't listen to the inner-critic that lives inside that tells you you're a failure, and you're nothing, and God's not for you, and you can't do it. That's the lie of the enemy, and you need to say what God says with your mouth. Your mouth can overcome your mind. Confess God's Word. Bible talk helps you focus.
I believe today that God is speaking to people. You have to fight a battle more than once to win. Don't give up. In trying times, don't stop trying. Regret looks back. Worry looks around. But victory looks up. Victory says, "I know God is gonna help me". A man is not finished when he's defeated, he's finished when he quits. Shout, "I will not quit".
The successful trait of all successful people in the Bible, and in life, is they conquered the temptation to give up. Especially when it gets tough, especially when all hell is coming against you. Stand up on your hind feet, stand right there, and say, "You know something? It isn't the final say-so until I say so. And God hasn't told me to say so, so I'm gonna lift my hands, and I'm gonna declare victory. I'm gonna start where I am, I'm gonna use what I've got, and I'm gonna do what I can, and God'll do what I can't". Come on, and give God a praise, somebody.