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(LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE) SCRIPTURE – Gen 12:1-2                                                                                                                                                          FEBRUARY, 2018

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

The message for this month, has to do with just how dedicated you are to the Lord, and how far you are willing to go to prove it.

It is very easy to profess something, and quite another to take actions that align with it.

I could go around professing that I can get in the ring with Floyd 'Money' Maywhether, and go 10 rounds with him, and may even defeat him. But, until I actually do it, then all I am doing is blowing smoke.

Well in like manner, there are a lot of, or I should say most Christians that, make professions about how much they love the Lord, and are willing to do whatever it takes to please Him. Yet, when something comes up that challenges them to put action behind what they are saying, they tend to back off from it, or make excuses as to why all that, is not necessary.

What we have here, is a case where they, just like most of the ungodly, are in a comfortable place within their families, friends, communities, or even in their churches, and they don't want to step out and make waves, so to speak.

The easiest thing in the world to do, is to become just another face in the crowd, and remain silent, or agree with everyone around you, so that you will not have to become a target of someone's criticism.

Yet, with all things considered, as Christians, that is exactly what we are called to do.

In the story of how God called Abram [Abraham], to His service, He told him to do, what effectively was the same thing.

Here is Abram, a pretty wealthy individual, living in the midst of a country that he had lived in all his life, surrounded by a multitude of family and friends.

His dedication to God, should not be questioned, seeing that God comes to him, and makes him an offer that, in the eyes of many of us, would be cause for us to jump up and say, yes Lord!!

While God promised him great things, it came with the stipulation that he leave his comfort zone, and go in to a land that he knew nothing about.

Aside from his immediate family, he was to leave all others behind. Which, as we learned later, he did.

Why would he do something like this?? It's very simple. It was God that was telling him to do it.

He had so much faith in God, that he didn't think twice about it. His faith in God was so great, that, as we learned later, when God told him to sacrifice his firstborn son, Isaac, as a burnt offering, he didn't even question Him, but, followed His directions.

It was because of His faith in God, followed by action, that he, Abram, became known as the 'father of faith', among Christians.

The reason for this type of faith in God, came from the fact that, Abram knew God, personally!!

There is a difference between knowing about God, and knowing Him.

People can tell me all day long, every day about you, and I can form an opinion about how I think you are. However, it is only after I meet you, sit down and talk to you, one on one, over a long period of time, and observe your actions, can I actually come to know you.

When you know somebody, as the bible uses it, you know how they think and how they feel. You know how they would respond to different situations that they may face, in life. In short, you know them intimately.

Think about your immediate family, talking about brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents, and the like. When your relationships are as close as most family relationships are, then, if someone came to you and said one of them did something bad, you could say, they are lying, because, your family member would not do such a thing.

However, as we humans know, people do change, where that sort of faith in them, may prove to be misled, one thing is sure though, God does not change. Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;

Which brings me to the point of this message.

If someone is going to tell me to do something that will, in effect, make me the object of ridicule, persecution, and possibly danger, in exchange for some exceptionally good thing then, it will have to be someone that is able to deliver on what they said, as well as being trustworthy enough for me to believe they will do it.

When a person professes that Jesus Christ, is Lord, they are in effect saying that He is Master!!

What does the term 'Master' carry with it??

It carries with it the idea that the person professing it, is the servant, or slave of that individual.

Well, if that is the case, then, a person that is in that position must obey the commands, and directions of the Master.

However, as Christians, this terminology is misleading because the relationship we have with Him today, is not one of a Master/servant, but as a Father/child.

And as such, that makes us a lot closer to Him. And, as such, we have a lot better things provided to, and for us, IF, we will do what He asks us to do.

When I say 'He asks us', that is a less offensive way of saying, 'commands us!' However, to a child of God, we are to be so willing to please Him that, whatever He suggests, we take it as a command, and set about to do it.

And what is His response to our actions?? Blessing upon Blessing.

With this as a backdrop, we can begin to see that pleasing Him today, should be paramount to any person who takes their relationship to Christ, seriously.

So, how are we to know what it is that He likes, and dislikes?? Study His Word, the bible! 2Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This is a suggestion, which should be taken as a command, because, in the end, you will either benefit greatly from it, or, you will be destroyed by it!!

If you are, getting ready to, or have ever been married, did you spend time getting to know your spouse before you got together??? I'll bet you did!! So, why not do the same with God/Christ??!!

I would dare say, that over 95 percent of everything that is wrong in this world, and especially this nation, has something to do with our ignorance of God/Christ. Hos 4:6 MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Notice, it is a lack of knowledge, that will eventually destroy you. Now while this could mean anything, it primarily means a lack of knowledge of God/Christ!!

Since God is in control of everything, and nothing good, or bad can happen, unless He allows it, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want something good in your life, then you should get to know what God requires of you, to be in the position to receive it, and take the appropriate actions.

The problem we have however is, if you figure out what you need to do, and start making the necessary changes in your life that will open up the doors of God's blessings to you, those around you that don't know Him as you do will begin to try and shut those doors, by mounting an all out assault on what you are doing, to get you to stop.

This is why, among other things, God calls on us, as He did with Abram, to get away from those that we are comfortable with, so that He can bless, and prosper us.

The other purpose for this separation is, if Abram, or you, stay among those that you should be getting away from, then, they will most likely be in a position to benefit from your blessings, because you will share it with them, or, they may kill you and take it.

God wants a clear line of distinction between what happens to those that obey Him, and those that don't!!

If I were to come in to several million dollars, then, as a Christian, I would be expected to share my good fortune with my entire family, including those that may be at war with Christ!! This means they can remain ungodly, yet benefit from my blessings. This way, they have no incentive to change.

God is about blessing those that are obedient to Him, and cursing those that are not.

This is why we are told to, 2Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

God wants to show all the benefits that are available to those that are willing to be obedient to Him. As well as what happens to those that are not. Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

Isa 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword [or cut off]: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

In order for any of us to be blessed by Him, we have to be willing to go against our nature, and follow Him.

However, the minute you decide to do that, there are those among your friends, and even relatives that will launch in to attacks on your decision by bringing up your past, and trying to shame you in to remaining among them.

The reasons for this are varied, but, they usually rest in the fact that if you can change your ways and prove that serving Christ, puts you in a place of being successful, when everyone is saying it is impossible, then you are making them to have to face the truth about themselves.

Remember, to the ungodly, there is no God, Christ is a myth, or, if they, God and Christ are real, there is no benefit, or loss for serving them, one way or the other.

When God calls us to follow Christ, He wants us to leave associations with our friends, our race, our unions, our gender, our religious affiliations, and any other entity, including family members that, would be a stumbling block in our path of following Him.

The world doesn't like God, and they especially don't like Jesus Christ. Therefore, why would anyone that wants to serve the Lord, want to hang around them anyway??

Because it is hard to leave those that you are comfortable with.

But, you know what is worse??

Leaving the one individual entity behind that you can't live without, and that is your flesh! Your human nature!!

If ever there was something you need to separate yourself from, your flesh is it.

However, unlike friends, acquaintances, and family, that you can get away from, it's the only thing that is going to be with you 24/7 until the day you die. And during that time, it will battle every decision you make, that denies it what it wants, for something that it hates.

Its objective is to wear you down, to the point where you will feel you don't want, or need to endure all the problems you are having to face, when you decide to follow Christ.

God is totally aware of all this, because, He came down here in the flesh, and subjected Himself to all the problems we face. He did it so that we could see that these things are not impossible to overcome. Couple that with the divine assistance that He provides us, that He had when He was here, by way of the Holy Spirit, and there is nothing that you can't do, IF, you are willing to leave that comfort zone you are in. 1Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation/problem taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Only if you will leave your comfort zone, will you experience it!!