Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God,

which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love,

and of a sound mind.


We're all aware of the principle running through scrip­ture that only a fraction of those who taste God's grace keep it. A fantastic multitude crossed the Red Sea and ate manna from heaven and drank water from the rock. But how many of them made it to the Promised Land?


The sower who went forth to sow his seed scattered it generously, everywhere. But how much of it ever grew up and bore fruit?


- The seed that fell by the wayside,

- or that fell upon rock,

- or that grew among thorns never amounted to anything.


- Only that which fell on good soil.


When our Lord finished His ministry to Israel there was hardly a man, woman, or child who hadn't seen Him. Tens of thousands had been awed by His words and signs. Yet when it was all over, how many disciples did He have?


Seeing God's grace,

tasting God's mercy,

being touched by God's hand,

hearing God's voice, are mighty things.


Yet the vast majority who experience these things eventually end up right back where they were before.


At the moment we're in the middle of a new thing that God is doing on this earth. By His sovereign power, God is raising up out of the dust,


-     a people who are to cross over the Jordan and take the Land,


-     a people who are to go forth and prepare the earth for the Messiah,


       the great and terrible Day of the Lord.


Suddenly, for reasons that we could never understand in a million years, we find ourselves in the middle of this army formed out of the dry bones of our wasted lives.


God has breathed His Spirit into us and commanded us to come to life.


God has opened our eyes and enabled us to see His glorious Son, to hear the Son's voice.


And this life which God has put into us is spreading like a fire to people around us. Every fellowship in town that has an ounce of devotion to the living God is seeing increase, bearing fruit, experiencing growth.


The invasion army of the Lord is getting bigger and stronger by the hour. But don't ever make the mistake of thinking that this army which God is raising up and of which we are a part, is going to march right into glory without a casualty. Don't ever get the idea that when the war is over and the promised land is ours, we'll all be there.


There's a big difference in size between the army that starts the invasion and the army that finishes. There are casualties and we could be among them. The land is strewn with the wrecks of churches, fellowships, individual lives, families, that were once burning and shining lights. Now,

- they're out of the battle because they've been side-tracked,


- they've allowed themselves to be lured off on a tangent,


- they're rotting in some swamp miles away from the mainstream of God's Spirit.


There are three things we'll have to be on guard against as we move across the Jordan and take the Land because they have ruined many a promising life, poisoned many a fellowship.




You open your mouth and start talking about the Lord and your old friend gives you one look of disgust and your heart turns to water.


You go out into the park and three people threaten you, and you lose courage.


You start handling your money as a man or woman of faith should handle his money, then the transmission on your car goes - $1300.00 - and you panic.


After a few unpleasant experiences the temptation be­comes strong to pull back and play it safe.


- Play it safe with your mouth.


- Play it safe with your money.


- Hold to the path where the danger is minimal.


.....behind it all is fear.


Numberless believers will never even cross the Jordan, they simply will not leave the wilderness that's familiar to them to plunge into the unknown at God's command. And they'll have a thousand logical reasons for staying back. But the real reason in their hearts, and they know it, and God knows it, is fear.


They'll go on playing churchianity and reading their bibles and searching out the hypocrisy in everyone elses soul, but they are a defeated people.


And the only cure for fear is God's power. Not the power of positive thinking, or will power, but the power which God has given us in the Spirit of His Son.


“God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power,”….


- Stir it up.


- Live in it.


- Walk in it.


If we live by that power every moment of the day, then we can keep going. When I walk in that power I can go anywhere God sends me and do anything God tells me to do. God gives it, but it's up to us to keep stirring it up and walking in it.


       2. The next thing we have to watch for as we move in and take the land is Lovelessness. Not other people's lovelessness - our lovelessness.


If we're so taken up with the battle and the work of the Kingdom that we don't have time for the Lazarus who sits at our doorstep, that one person who needs our help,

     our money,

     our food,

time to listen to him, we're in trouble. The enemy will do everything he can to help us get just that busy.


There are fellowships and churches where, when you walk in the door, you can feel the power. They have crowds, and the people exude a spirit of strong confidence. But you look in vain to find one Lazarus.


Where are the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind?


Where are those dirty ones, those nutty ones, those unrefined types that were forever following Jesus around?


It's the atmosphere of an insurance office instead of the gate of Heaven. Sanitary, well organized,

busy. And beneath the smiles and hand­shakes, utterly loveless.


And when love is gone, Jesus Christ is gone. There may be a powerful spirit there, but it's not the Spirit of God.


For God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.


If a man say, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God, whom he has not seen?


- When we start getting so busy that we don't have time for Lazarus,


- when the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind withdraw from our fellowships because they feel unwanted,


- when we're too busy fellowshiping with heavy brothers that we can't be bothered with eccentric old men and disorderly children .... we're in bad shape.


And the only cure for lovelessness is God's love. We have no love. But the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which He has given to us. So, we stir up that gift of love every morning when we get up like our great-grandmother stirred up the fire in the kitchen stove to make breakfast.


You feel loveless? .... of course. But God has put a flame of love in you. Stir it up! So you don't feel like saying hello to Lazarus today. Stir up the love God gave you and do it anyway.


     3. The third thing we have to watch for is what might be lumped together in the category

         of flaky excesses.


I don't want to do some thing that God has called me to do because it's too risky so I compensate by doing or saying some extreme thing inside these safe walls. Then I go home and eat three bags of Fritos and a quart of ice cream. I vegetate in front of the T.V. for six hours. Then tomorrow I climb into my brother's case for his lack of discipline in prayer.


The Evil One will try to throw us off balance and have us wobbling back and forth from one silly extreme to the other.


- One day we talk all the time.


- The next day we don't talk at all.


- Today I'm a worthless servant.


- Tomorrow I'm the only worthwhile servant God has left.


As long as we're bobbing up and down and wobbling back and forth we're of little use in the army of the Lord.


Our minds are unsound.


Our judgment is unreliable.


We're distorting everything we see.


In time, we simply harden into a permanent warp and we get together with all the people who have the same warp we have.


- Here they all wear a missionary smile.


- There every face is three feet long.


- Here all the hands are up.


- There all the hands are down.


- Here it's absolute restraint.


- There it's not worship unless they broke at least three chairs.


And the only cure for these flaky excesses is the sound mind God has given us. God has given us the Spirit of a sound mind, a spirit of wisdom, of wholeness which are not our own.


"Be still and know that I am God."


Lift your eyes to the Cross and behold the Wisdom of the Ages dying for your sins. Let His Spirit constantly wash your mind and refresh your thoughts and the fragments of your mind will come together and you'll have peace.


- If we're going to go in and take the land,


- if we're going to keep going in season and out-of-season

  and still be around when the war is over,


we are going to have to draw on the life God has already given us in these three areas:


Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift

that is within thee through the putting on of my hands.


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


This is one of those verses that should be taped to our refrigerators and dashboards and bathroom mirrors. We're going to need it branded on our hearts in the days ahead. We need it now!


We need to remember that God has given us a Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind and that, if we will, we can live in that Spirit every hour of every day until Jesus comes.