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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joseph Prince » Joseph Prince - Hope For Life's Dark Moments And Tough Seasons - Part 1

Joseph Prince - Hope For Life's Dark Moments And Tough Seasons - Part 1

Joseph Prince - Hope For Life's Dark Moments And Tough Seasons - Part 1
TOPICS: Hope, Hard times, Depression, Encouragement

I want to talk to you, I want to share with you about your night seasons. If you're going through something right now, even though right now you're on a high, you don't feel like you're going through anything. You know, you can tear a lion apart and knock down that bear and stone that Goliath. You feel like you're in that place. There are many who are going through a night season. And you know something? We will all go through it. This is not a prophecy. This is just something that is life, amen, as long as you're on this side of heaven.

One day, the Bible says in Revelations 22, there'll be no more night in heaven. I love that phrase. There will be no more night, no more tears, no more crying. But perhaps you're going through a dark season, perhaps you're going through a depressed time, perhaps you're going through a time that you don't understand God even. Amen? You know, the Lord knows what you're going through. More than anybody else, he knows exactly what you're going through. And I just want to show you that in the Bible, the Bible talks a lot about night sins, night events, night seasons. In Psalms 16, the Bible tells us David says, "I'll bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons".

So David even went through a night season. And during the night season, the Bible says this. Y'all know this. Joy cometh in the morning, right? But before that, what does it say? Weeping may endure for a night. Weeping may endure for a night. It lasts only, it endures only for a night. So in the night season, it's a season of trial, it's a season where you are weeping, where it's not pleasant, you're wondering what's going on, but God says morning is coming. Amen. Morning is coming. And with the morning, you know who comes in that morning? Joy. Here the word joy comes it's like a person. The person of joy is our Lord Jesus. So remember this. Joy comes in the morning.

Now, even for us, word of faith people and we word of grace people, we who are filled up with the Holy Spirit, right now we are excited, we have partaken of the Lord's Supper, we have received from the Lord. Amen? You just took the Lord's Supper, right? Amen? You are people that are tithing like where Abraham was. He received communion. He tithed as love, as thanksgiving to the Lord. And then you should think that he's in a good place, right? The very next chapter it says, "After these things..." And chapter 15, verse 1 comes after Genesis 14, which is where Melchizedek met him. He has partaken of the Lord's Supper. He has responded to the Lord. The Lord has spoken the words that he's blessed. "Blessed be Abraham of the Most High God". He's in a very good place.

The Lord says, "After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Abraham. I am your shield...'" It's at a vision. That means it's a vision of a shield, magen in Hebrew. Magen. Magen is like a shield. And it's not just a shield like a Roman soldier has a shield in front, it's a shield that is all around. It's a shield that's all around. "I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward". This Hebrew word, your exceedingly great reward, is the word, reward here is the word they used for salary. Amen?

Now, we know that he has just tithed, right? So I'm not just saying that it's because of the tithe. I'm not saying that, but what I'm saying is that the Lord, he wants his eyes to be open to two things. Number one, don't be afraid. Now, why would Abraham be afraid after a great mountaintop experience, after a great experience that, you know, like a conference? Why should he be afraid? Well, he just conquered four generals and their armies. Come on. He got back not just lot, a lot of spoils, and the victory was given to him by the Lord. Now, he's thinking maybe, you know, how many of you have moments whereby, you know, you're praying for the sick and great things happen and wonderful things happen, and bang, all of a sudden, you know, in the middle of the night you start thinking to yourself, "Whoa, what if the devil counter attacks? You know, I've served the Lord. What if? What if"?

Come on. Have you been there before? So probably, Abraham was tossing and turning, thinking, "The enemies are coming. The generals are coming. What am I going to do"? And that's why the word, the first word is, "Don't be afraid. Altirah, Abram". Altirah in Hebrew. "Don't be afraid". And the word came to him in a vision form. It's a shield. See yourself surrounded with a shield. At night when you're under attack, you can't sleep, see yourself safe, see yourself surrounded by a shield, surrounded with songs of deliverance. Job says, "Where are the people that would say... where are they? Literally, where are they who would say where is God my maker who gives songs in the night"? Songwriters, it tells you clearly in the Bible God gave songs in the night, also the night seasons.

Now, when I talk about night here, I'm not just referring to the night seasons alone. It can be your night. Literally, the greatest problem you have, the greatest challenges are at night. Maybe you can't sleep well. This message is for you. "What is happening? Why nighttime is so severe for me. Why is it so depressive? Why is it so hard for me to sleep"? That's for you as well, literally your own night. So here Abraham is experiencing this. And I know he was tossing and turning. How do I know that? Because later on God told him, "Abraham, come out and count the stars or see if you can tell the story of the stars". Remember that? Same scene. So I know he was tossing and turning. He can't sleep. Doesn't say that God gave him a dream, it says the word of the Lord came in a vision. He was laying down there, he can't sleep.

So now as Abraham's seed, as sons and daughters of Abraham, remember this when you can't sleep. See the shield. Sheep cannot rest when they are insecure. Amen? And feel secure. Don't be afraid, altirah. Tell yourself don't be afraid; the Lord is a shield unto you. "But I've spent so much". He's your exceedingly great reward. Not just reward, not just great reward, exceedingly great reward. Like the land flowing with milk and honey, one translation says very, very good land. Literally in the Hebrew, exceedingly good land. God doesn't stinge on you. Amen? It's not just a good land, it's not just a good reward, it's exceedingly great reward. Amen? And also this chapter, Genesis 15, the Lord told him after that, "Come out, Abraham. Look at the stars".

So we know it's nighttime. It's nighttime, right? When you can see the stars, it's nighttime. The stars are actually out there even during daytime; you can't see it, but how we see them during our night seasons. Amen? They shine so bright. Hallelujah. So in the night seasons, we got to know that God is, also, the devil is active, but God is even more during that time wanting to turn the whole thing around into your favor. The devil may roar in the night season, and he roars really loud. How many realize that at night you can hear him roar very loud? It seems like all the accusations multiply 100 times at night. Have you... I'm I the only one? The daytime is okay. I mean, you hear the roar, but it's like a cat's meow, you know, but it still irritates you, but at night when everyone is asleep, wow. Meditate.

If the devil wants to keep you awake, let him pay. That's why it says, "You shall meditate on my Word day..." His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate, and he shall be. I will say the next day, "He shall be like a tree planted". I don't know how many times I've meditated and then I fall asleep into a deep sleep. I'm telling God as my witness. There are times I cannot sleep. I'll just meditate. If I can't sleep, meditate. Take advantage of that moment to meditate on things I've been wanting to meditate. It's time to chew the cud like the sheep, you know, like the cow. After they are well fed, they sit down there, they chew. What have I learned? This verse that spoke to me just now, it's time for me to masticate it, meditate on it, chew it. Becomes milk, becomes bones, and become meat and flesh and my strength and health. Amen. Meditate on it.

And how many times I've done that, fall asleep. Next thing you know, it's morning. Amen? Now, don't get up, listen to rock music or rap or watch TV. Meditate. So God speaks to man while he's sleeping, but also he gives us sleep. So if you're having trouble with sleep and all that, number one, you need to realize that there is the provision where God gives sleep. Can I have a good amen? Ask God for it, but you need to understand that God gives his beloved sleep. You must have a sense that you are loved. Establish that first. Don't struggle with sleep. Establish the fact, "I'm God's beloved," until it's so established in your heart. There are night when you sleep you find yourself being cradled in his bosom. Amen? Amen?

Also in John chapter 1, it says Jesus said these words: "The spirit of God says the son of man who is in the bosom of the Father". Present tense, but his feet was on earth, but the son of man who is in the bosom of the Father. The Gospel of John is a story of bosom, of love. John rested on Jesus's bosom. Jesus rested on the Father's bosom, even when he was on earth. He rested on God's love for him. Amen? When he was tempted or tested by the devil in the wilderness, what did he say? "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". Right? There's a first temptation, right, and there was a first response. But what did the Father just tell him? The Father just said to him, "You are my beloved son. In you, I am well pleased". And Jesus lived by... he says man does not live by bread alone, but by every word, "You are my beloved son. In you, I am well pleased". I find my nourishment in every word that just came from my Father's mouth, every word of God. Man does not live but by that word. Oh, come on. Hallelujah. You are God's beloved. You are God's yedidiah.

This is the body of Christ. Amen? We are meant to live together, love one another, forbear one another, bear with each other, minister one to another, serve one another. The body of Christ is never meant to be lived alone, it's meant to be lived interdependently. Amen? So when you are down, somebody else is up, and they'll pray for you. It is truly an expression of God's love for each other when we are praying in the spirit because you're praying for people and situations that you don't even know of. Amen? And I want to encourage you, if you can, pray in the spirit, pray in tongues because when you're praying in tongues you transcend your prayer in the English language or your known language. Because when you pray in your known language, you are limited to what you know, who you know, the situations you know about, but when you pray in the spirit, you transcend all that. You can even pray for your future. Amen. Praise the Lord.

In 1 Peter 5, let's read 1 Peter 5, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour". I like the word seeking and the word may. That means the devil can't just walk out of his house one day, he doesn't have a house, but, you know, I'm just expressing, and just say, "Okay, I will kill this one. Okay, I'll", No. He has to seek whom he may. That's very encouraging. As far as you're concerned, keep him seeking. Amen? And then it says, "Resist the devil, steadfast in the faith..." The word resist in the Greek is the word antihistamine. Isn't it interesting? Antistekomai, resist, is where you get the word antihistamine. The doctors give you antihistamine for your flu or your allergies, right? Antihistamine is withstand. How do you withstand the enemy? "Steadfast in the faith, knowing that same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world".

There's something about brotherhood and sisterhood that God wants you to learn in this warfare business. The devil wants you isolated. He wants you to think that your problem is uniquely your own because you are a strange person. You look at your friend, they're all happy and all that. You are strange. You see the thoughts that go through your mind. That only you have these kind of thoughts, only you wake up in the middle of the night, only you have this depression, only you. So the problem is this. The devil likes to isolate people. And that's why the Gadarene demoniac, he was all by himself, all alone and all forlorn, all set by himself, and he was cutting himself, suicidal, and all that. But notice he was by himself. It's the work of the enemy to cause anti-social behavior and also to isolate you from people.

Now, you'll think that we are more connected. Actually, we are more connected in terms of social media, but we are less in touch. If only we can sit down. And pastors do that a lot. We pastors, we have learned to be vulnerable to each other. I'll tell them, "Do y'all wake up in the middle of the night? Like, for no reason you wake up and then you can't sleep, and then you start having bad thoughts. You know, bad thoughts about your family, bad thoughts about the future, bad thoughts. And you feel like you are, you know, like, dark thoughts come on you. Do you feel that way"? Then someone say, "Hey, pastor, these few days I feel the same way". You know? So in that brotherhood, there is that expression, then you realize, "Hey, I'm normal. I'm normal. I'm also normal". Amen? "Oh, we are all under attack. Let's pray for one another".

You need that brotherhood in a care group. It's the one of the best places. You need to be connected with... God wants the church to be relational. It's not meant to be lone ranger. Even lone ranger is a tonto, all right? But God wants you to be related to each other. Amen? Can I have a good amen? So don't just come to church and go off, you know? Get connected somehow. Get connected in a care group or in a ministry. Get connected. Amen. Get people you can call on when you are down or whatever. And when you share, something happens. Even half the burden is lifted when you start sharing. Amen? The rest, the Lord will take care of. Sisterhood is the same. God wants you to have... so that last part, keep that in mind.

Now, go to steadfast. "Resist him, steadfast in the faith..." Now, what is steadfast in the faith? Steadfast in the faith means... and I'm bringing this to a close. Steadfast in the faith means stand tall and say, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I'm the righteous..." Well, how do I know this is referring to righteousness by faith? Because I'll show you one more passage, and then we'll close. Go to Galatians 3. The what? The faith, not, "Resist him, steadfast in the faith". Definite article. Today, look up here, today when the people ask you, "What is your faith"? You say, "I'm a Christian". But that is not the way Paul used it last time. When he bought the faith, definite article, it's always justification by faith. So here it says, "But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterwards be revealed".

Now, before faith came, there's a definite article there, the faith, but it's missing here in the English, but actually in the Greek there is the faith. Before justification by faith came. "Pastor, how you know is referring to justification by faith"? The next verse, the context. "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith". The whole context is justified by faith. After faith has come again, after the faith has come, justification by faith has come, we are no longer under the law, under the tutor. So you know what you're saying when the devil comes to accuse you? Even when you're sleeping at night, the devil puts bad thoughts on you or bad imaginations.

Say, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ". Something happens because just that when you say, "Yes, I'm guilty," or you accept it, you come under that saying God is a liar or the devil is true, right, and God is not satisfied what Jesus did. Likewise, when you say, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ," you're saying a mouthful. You're saying, "God is satisfied with what Jesus did. Jesus offered a perfect offering on my behalf. His blood has fully met all the claims of justice. Amen? And I am righteous because Jesus did a perfect work. He became my sin. Now, I take my place as righteous". The moment the devil knows that, he flees from you because, listen carefully, if the devil slandered righteousness that took full note of all your sins, not one of them escaped, and exacted a full penalty for all your sins, and yet if the devil slander now that throne of righteousness of God, now righteousness is to declare you justified. It is unrighteousness to declare yourself not justified because of what Jesus did.

So if you take sides with what God has said, amen, about you, you are justified. And the devil comes to attack you with accusation, you say, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ". Whether verbally or inwardly, all right, you know that, something happens to the devil. Now, he becomes guilty. Listen. In the courts of justice if an accuser accused someone falsely, the accuser becomes as guilty as the person he's accusing had the accusation been justified. Let me explain. If accuser is aiming to say someone, he's, like, accusing someone of murder, you think it's just murder? No. He's saying he deserves death. He's aiming for his death. The accuser is aiming for his death because murder carries the death penalty.

Now, if the whole charge is false, now the accuser becomes guilty of the same crime because he's aiming for his death. Now, he's a murderer. So the moment you take your position, saying, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ," the whole thing falls back on the devil. He dare not handle a Christian like that. Do you understand? Because he would have to bear the penalty. Follow what I'm saying? And that's why we close with, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn".

Don't condemn the person saying it. If your husband says something to you... and by the way, please, please don't, after this message and all that, you call your husband every time. He says something to you. "Don't abuse me, you. I bind that in Jesus's name. I bind you in Jesus's name. I tie you up in Jesus's name. I send you to hell". Please don't do that, okay? Don't let your husband curse me. You can't, you know. So there's something about this whole scenario about accepting guilt and falling sick or mentally depressed and having psychological problems and declaring you're the righteousness of God in Christ. By the same token, what comes on the heels of righteousness? Health, wholeness, peace, stability, poise, power, peace of mind. It's powerful. Every tongue that rises against you, whether you read about it, you hear the devil tells you something accusatory or someone, the devil uses people a lot.

When you see all those words coming against you, just say, "I condemn all those words". Don't condemn the people. "I condemn all those words. I reject them because I'm the righteousness of God in Christ". You understand what I'm saying? Now, that doesn't cover people who correct you because they love you, people who improve you because they love you. So discern carefully and don't go on attention on this. But many a times the devil uses people to accuse you, and it's very general. You know, they accuse you of things that you haven't done right or, you know, just accusing.

Just say, "In Jesus's name," in your heart, "I reject that". Or your mother has passed away or your father has passed away, and growing up they said you're useless, you're always this, always that, and now it still haunts you. You say, "In Jesus's name, I resist that". You don't have to condemn your father or mother. Just resist that, those words, shake it off you in Jesus's name, and say, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ," and you start to prosper because the thief will have to stop stealing, killing, and destroy as far as you are concerned because you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Amen, praise the Lord.
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