Think about it.
What turned your life around?
What was it that so motivated you that you were energized and enlightened when you first believed?
What sustained you?
Where are you today?
What motivates and sustains you today?
Are you still motivated?
As Pastor Jim Ewing has taught us, "God changes hearts."
How does He do it?
A revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ changes hearts.
Today's lesson addresses this and so much more...
As you walk with the Lord, you must be concerned about anything that affects your dedication to do the will of God.
One area that you must consider is the self-deception that will occur if you join the mixed multitude.
The mixed multitude went along with the children of Israel when they left Egypt.
They were the ones who grumbled along the way, the ones who failed.
Perhaps they thought it would be nice to have an excursion through the wilderness.
Maybe they had heard that Canaan was a land of milk and honey, and they felt they might like it; however, they were not really dedicated to the true covenants of Israel.
The same lack of dedication can bring deception to God's people today.
You may feel that many different factors cause your problems, but the truth is that most of your problems occur because of a lack of personal dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Much depends on the way you start out.
Anyone is capable of dedication, because a believer receives from Christ what he believes to receive.
You must come to Christ as the disciples did.
In Luke 5 we read that Jesus said, "Follow Me"; it was final.
The disciples left all and followed Him.
You cannot stop and analyze everything and require a number of reasons why you should continue walking with God.
If you always have to be convinced of the reality of what God is doing in the earth, you might as well look for a lesser level of some humanitarian enterprise which you can believe in and be dedicated to.
But if you are going to be in the end-time army of the Lord, you must be prepared in your heart that no matter what happens, you have set your course to serve God.
You cannot serve God for personal reasons.
Why should others pray for you and minister to you just to get you through your hard times?
Why should you want your problems to be worked out?
Is that the ultimate objective?
Doing the will of God always involves a total work of the cross in your life, and nothing less.
If you live on the level of the flesh and on the soulish level of emotions, being encouraged and discouraged by every wind that blows, this indicates that something is wrong.
Deception can come where there is no revelation.
If God has not revealed His purpose for this end time to you so totally that your dedication is in it, you can be deceived and distracted or diverted from it.
Many people have been blessed by the truths that God is restoring today, but they still do not have a deep revelation.
If you do not know how He is moving in the earth and what He is saying, you absolutely cannot relate to Him.
Then you yourself- your own ambition, your own place, your own concerns- will be the focus of your interest.
You must have a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can relate to Him, so that you can overcome deception by knowing where the truth is.
If you have not had that deep revelation, you will focus on other things.
Invariably, you will walk either in dedication through revelation or in distraction through self-centeredness.
Dedication comes through revelation.
If you know Him, if He is revealed to you, then you can be dedicated to do His will.
If you do not have that revelation, then you will be focused on something else, and you will be in trouble.
An illustration of how dedication comes through revelation is found in the Gospel of Luke.
Simon Peter, James and John had been fishing all night and had caught nothing.
The next morning Jesus told them to return to deep water and let down their nets.
And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their nets were breaking; and they beckoned unto their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them.
And they came, and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for i am a sinful man, O Lord.
For he was amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken; and so were also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed Him.
The dedication was there, and also the revelation of how wonderful the Lord was.
At that particular point there was no question in Peter's mind as to what he should do.
He was ready to do whatever he was told.
He requested that the Lord leave him because he sensed his own unworthiness.
Without revelation there is no understanding of our unworthiness.
It is easy to spot the man who does not have the revelation of the Lord.
He is always looking for his place and for his ministry to be established.
He is always concerned with his own self-interests.
A dedicated believer says, "Lord, I am a sinful man.
I am not worthy to be around Your work."
When the Lord says to such a man, "Follow Me," he will leave everything and follow Him.
There cannot be any consideration of the price of following the Lord.
If you have been counting the cost, then a walk with God is too expensive for you.
You cannot afford it.
Those who walk with God in this end time will not count the cost.
Like the early disciples, they will not stop to think of such things as the nets and the businesses they must leave behind.
When Peter, James, and John brought their nets to land, they did not throw them away; someone else took them and carried on a good fishing business.
The disciples forsook the entire business and followed the Lord without and further question.
Something within you must respond like that.
When Elijah threw his mantle upon Elisha and called him a prophet, Elisha slew the oxen he was plowing with, built a fire with the plows which were made of hardened wood, and cooked the oxen.
Then he called in his family and his neighbors, gave the meat to them, and followed Elijah ( I Kings 19:19-21 ).
His leaving was irrevocable.
He was through plowing.
It was not that he was not a good farmer, but he had to be committed irrevocably to the commission of God.
There is a dedication that must come even when you cannot foresee the price.
If you are starting to count the cost, somewhere down the line the cost will be too much.
You must determine in your heart not to count any cost.
In Luke 5 we also read, And after these things he (Jesus) went forth, and beheld a publican, named Levi, sitting at the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me.
And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him.
The Scriptures classified the publicans ( tax collectors ) with the sinners.
( Matthew 9:10; 11:19 ).
Matthew was one of the tax collectors who had to make decisions that affected people's lives.
The tax collectors had a sense of power and feeling of infallibility, but no humility.
The Lord put it to Matthew very plainly when He said, "Follow Me."
Matthew responded, "Yes," and he forsook all.
He gave a big feast, a going away party ( Luke 5:29), and that was the end of all his political intrigue.
To be commissioned by the Roman government to collect taxes from people resulted in a very lucrative business, but he left it.
Jesus spoke to those at the feast in reference to what Matthew had done.
And he spake also a parable unto them:
No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment; else he will rend the new, and also the piece from the new will not agree with the old.
And no man putteth new wine into old wineskins; else the new wine will burst the skins, and itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
And no man having drunk old wine desireth new; for he saith, the old is good.
Matthew had one attitude; he was ready to change every sense of value and every attitude completely, totally, and irrevocably.
Every response was going to be changed and be absolutely different.
He was going to become a servant.
He was going to serve the Lord.
He broke irrevocably with the old ways of thinking.
In him we see a true picture of dedication.
You may already have a great amount of dedication, but you will be called upon to reevaluate your dedication in the days ahead.
Many things will come against you, and if you have already determined the price you are willing to pay, God will see to it that the cost is always just a little more.
Your dedication must be expanded to the place where you will leave all to follow Him.
If you come into a walk with God with reservations in your heart, you will face one situation after another that will constantly challenge the limit of your dedication.
Instead of having to count the cost in your mind and be constantly challenged by the will of God, you might as well come to an absolute surrender.
You must decide whether there is a limit to how far you will serve the Lord in the place He has put you.
Remember that revelation sets aside the process of reasoning.
Your greatest dedication must be the abandonment of the supreme court of your own carnal mind where you sit in judgment on everything.
just because something pleases you and you agree with it, do you accept it as a Word from the Lord?
In the New Testament churches of today, God has established such a divine order that when two or three prophets speak, it becomes binding on the entire church ( I Corinthians 14:29 ).
This would be true even if all the other members were apostles.
The Church is not a rank-and-file order of people, but a divine order by which God can bypass the supremacy of your own thinking and your own reasoning and can depend upon the dedication of your spirit to do the will of God.
You can reason everything out, you can react to your circumstances, and you can have certain responses and conditioning's in you; but one fact supersedes all of that; if you have a revelation of a Word from God, you must follow that Word.
God reveals Himself to be the Lord, and He sets you in the Body as it pleases Him ( I Corinthians 12:18 ).
When He sets you in the Body, He does not tell you to stay as long as it seems reasonable, as long as the people measure up to your standards, or as long as they accept you.
He simply says, "Stay here."
It is up to you to have the dedication and the love to determine to stay, no matter what happens.
You must be set to serve the Lord and bless the Body without bitterness.
You must have the dedication to do the will of God where He has placed you, regardless of how you feel.
If you have a revelation that you are where God wants you, do not sit around feeling unappreciated, waiting for a Word from the Lord to set you in; God has already set you in the Body.
Events are taking place that are moving the world, and it does not matter whether you have five loaves and two fishes or five thousand loaves and two thousand fishes.
God can feed a multitude with your little effort, but it must first be surrendered into His hands.
It must be blessed.
It must be bRoKeN.
He will do a tremendous work in your spirit to bring you to the total dedication which discipleship in this end time involves.
This is a day of softness, of self-seeking, of self-indulgence.
Because of the blindness that is on most people, they do not care what is happening to the overall economy and financial structures.
Instead, they are more interested in obtaining as many creature comforts as they can.
In the midst of this blindness, God is demanding a total dedication of his people.
Whatever venture He sets before them, they will support it, no matter how impossible or foolish it may appear.
No matter what is set before them to test their obedience, they will obey the Lord.
Obedience to God is what really counts.
Are you waiting for the glory and recognition to come to you and to those who serve God with you?
You may never see that day, though you will see the religious world continuing to battle for it.
You may find, however, that you will be dealing your bread to the poor sooner than you think.
God will push you into it.
In the meantime, when God tells you to do something, be ready to do it without any exaltation of the flesh.
Remember that there cannot be dedication without revelation of the Lordship of Christ over your life.
You must come into the total dedication that God demands of your life.
Do not hold anything back from God.
If you have and reservations in your dedication, pray for revelation, and watch how God brEaks your heart.
He will reveal Himself to you and becomes very real and deep and wonderful to you.
Pray for the kind of revelation that will take the restraints and the limitations off your entire way of thinking.
Pray that god will give you a revelation of the complete picture the way God wants you to see it, so that you will not stumble along from problem to problem.
People with that kind of revelation will be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ( I Corinthians 15:58 ).
If a person does not bother to find help and to seek a deeper revelation of the lordship of Christ, he can be shaken out of a walk with God.
We read in the book of Acts that Paul was sustained , down through the years, by the revelation of the Lord.
Finally he gave this testimony, "I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision" ( Acts 26:19 ).
Once he had seen the Lord, once Christ's Lordship had been made real to him, his responses changed.
He no longer had to search through the writings of the prophets to see if Jesus was the Messiah.
The next Sabbath day he was in the synagogue disputing, "Jesus is the Messiah."
The people were amazed.
The Christians said, "He who persecuted us is now glorifying God in our midst" ( Galatians 1:23 ).
Some probably did not trust him because their relatives had been put in prison or killed during his persecutions.
It must have been very difficult for Paul.
Through the times of suspicion, through the plots to assassinate him, and through all the persecutions, the one thing that sustained him was the fact that he had seen the Lord.
People could argue with him about almost everything else, but he said, "Am I not an apostle? Am I not free?
Have I not seen the Lord Jesus?" ( I Corinthians 9:1 ).
He had seen Him.
He knew Him.
He was sustained by that revelation.
You do not need to worry about your problems so much as you need a sustaining revelation of the lord in your heart to help you with those problems.
Wherever there is discouragement or depression, there is a low level of revelation of the Lord.
This is the whole problem.
Let us not face the negative side of it only; let us face the positive side also.
We could dwell on all the problems forever, but they are not the issue.
The issue is that we must have a Word from the Lord to prophesy changes.
We must have a positive focus in order to change situations.
By the Word of the Lord we can bring changes.
Do not become discouraged about anything.
Just go before the lord and say, "Lord, reveal Yourself to me afresh."
Expose yourself constantly to the Lord.
Do not only be aware of the problems and circumstances; instead, become aware of the Lord.
Your awareness of Him is the first step to revelation.
Then you will receive the strength that comes from the Lord.
As you focus with all your heart on His presence, the eyes of your heart will be enlightened, and you will be transformed from glory to glory.
Because you set the lord always before you, you will not be moved.