Restless? Unfulfilled? Want to change a few things in your life? If anyone can change things, God can. Because God is in the life-changing business. It’s one of his specialties. So if you need some faith that God can change a few things in your life, watch this. (Recorded November 29, 1998)
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Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Hi! This is Eric Elder and welcome to tonight’s message – live from The Ranch!
Are you needing a change in your life? Well, you are in luck tonight because God is in the life changing business. He has changed a lot of lives in the past and I know I am one of them. My wife is here and she is one of them as well. We have read and heard and talked to many other people who have been changed by the power of God. So if you are needing a change in your life,
Maybe you are struggling with a sin and need to be freed from it. God can free you from that.
Maybe you are struggling with finances and you just need a break through in that. God can change that circumstance.
Maybe you are needing a change in your job. God can change that as well.
Maybe you need a purpose for your life or a meaning. God can give you that.
Maybe you are struggling with what to do with a child, what to do with a parent, what to do with a spouse – God can give you insight and direction to help you overcome those things and to change those things in your life that need changing.
Tonight, I am going to talk about various Bible characters who were changed and myself, my own story, of how I was changed. Just to give you some encouragement that change will come for you too. Sometimes change comes in ways that we don’t expect it. But it is always for the best when it comes from God. So I want to encourage you tonight that God is in the life changing business and He can change what you are facing.
If you will take a look at your Message Notes on the screen there is a passage there that I would like you to read. It is a passage about the woman who was praying and she was eager to get God to answer her prayer. God came through and answered because she prayed and prayed and prayed. I just want you to take a look at that because tonight we are going to focus on how we can get those changes in our life that God wants for us. So take a look at that passage, just read through that, while I play a song on the piano. Just let God speak to your heart tonight.
God is in the Life-Changing Business
Let us pray before we begin.
Lord, I just ask that you would come into our hearts. You would speak to us; you would do a new thing within us. I pray that we would be able to see it. God you say that these changes can come quickly and sometimes it seems like forever when you are waiting. But God I pray that you would bring about change in people’s lives as they watch this and as they hear Your words Lord. I pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Freedom From Sin
Change is possible. God has brought about many changes in my life. He has freed me sin. I was involved in homosexuality for several years and God has freed me from that – almost eleven years ago now. I am now married, have four children and have a joy of life that I never had when I was back in that life. God can really change you and free you from sin.
God has given me purpose and meaning for my life. He has shown me what He wants me to do for my life. That has given me great fulfillment and satisfaction. God brought me a wife. As I was seeking the Lord and praying for that in my life, God delivered and answered that prayer even though it seemed like a long time. God brought me the desire of my heart in a wife. God can do so many things for you. He has done so many for me. It seems like forever sometimes – waiting. Let me take you and give you a look at some people in the Bible who God also changed. This is nothing new. This is God’s reason for being really. He loves to change our lives. He loves to bring about change and redeem us, restore us, refresh us, and renew us. He is in the life changing business.
Look at this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Paul is talking about some people in the church in Corinth. It talks about how they were changed from certain problems that were affecting them. Some were sexually immoral, some were idolaters, others were adulterers, some were male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, some were thieves, and greedy and drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers. But Paul says in verse 11, “And that is what some of you were.” That is a little word “were” but it is a HUGE word to God. God changed those people from drunkards – they are no longer. From homosexuals they are no longer. From adulterers they changed and they are no longer that. That is what some of you WERE and here is the solution, here is how they changed. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
God has a way to wash us, to sanctify us and to justify us in the name of Jesus Christ. By His Holy Spirit He can bring about a new work in your life. I am going to pray at the end of this broadcast for you, that God would change you, that God would by His Holy Spirit do the same thing in your life, give you a life change.
Change in Direction
Let us look at home people who were changed. You may know the famous story of Saul who became Paul on the road to Damascus. This is the famous Damascus Road experience. For there was one day that Saul was trying to kill the Lord’s disciples, he was trying to kill followers of Jesus. In Acts 9:1
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He asked for letters from the High Priest so that if he found any people who belonged to the Way (who followed Christ) whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” he replied, “Now, get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
So here is Saul, he is heading out and trying to kill the followers of Jesus. Jesus shows up and stops him on the road and turns him around and says I am going to send you a new way. Saul was blinded that day and for three days he was blind and he did not eat or drink anything. God told another believer, Ananias, to go and pray for Saul, which he did. And when he prayed for him he said this, in Acts 9:17-20
“Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He got up, was baptized, regained his strength. . . At once began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Here is a man headed this way, trying to kill people who followed Jesus, meets Jesus on the road, gets blinded, restored to his sight, and then starts preaching about Jesus and telling people, immediately it says. At once he started to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. Talk about a life change. Here is a man who was taken from death and moved towards life.
I am also struck in the story that the fact that he had scales falling from his eyes and he could see again. Some of us are simply blinded to the truth. As I was reading that I was thinking that there are some of you out there who are simply blinded to the truth and you have got scales on your eyes. I just want to pray right now.
God would you remove those scales from their eyes, that they would immediately fall off. Just like the power that Ananias had to remove the scales from the eyes of Saul. I pray God that you would remove the scales from anyone’s eyes watching, who needs a clear vision, who needs to be able to see clearly what is ahead of them. In Jesus Name. AMEN.
I pray that God will take you from a road of death, destruction and persecution of people who do not follow Jesus and put you on a path to where you can worship God and tell people about Him.
Here is another guy who received purpose in his life. He was tending sheep out on the backside of the desert. Moses then saw a vision of the Lord that gave him purpose and direction for his whole life. The angel in the burning bush spoke to Moses.
“Moses thought I will go over and see this strange sight, and why it does not burn up,” this is in Exodus 3:1. “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush. And said, “Moses, Moses!” . . . “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face . . . the Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. . . I have come down to rescue them. . . and to bring them out into a land flowing with milk and honey. . . so now go I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
And that was the rest of Moses’ life: spent going to Egypt, getting the people and bringing them out of the desert and into that Promised Land. Eventually they did make it into that Promised Land. It took Moses having that life change, that life-changing encounter with God, where he saw that burning bush, he was curious and he sought further and God spoke to him and showed him, “Moses, here a purpose for your life. Here is what I want you to do. Go and free my people.”
Some of you may be praying for a purpose in your life. I believe God will answer those prayers. He will show you what your purpose is. You are going to get it.
Before I go any further – all of these stories have a common denominator. One of them is that God not only gave Moses a purpose but it also fulfilled God’s purposes. God was trying to free His people in Egypt. He used Moses to do it. So, it not only answered Moses longing for a purpose for his own life but he answered God’s own purposes and desires by saying, “I know you have got other things you want to do God, go ahead and do them through me.” As he yielded to God, God was able to set an entire nation free from persecution and free from slavery. So God may want to do that for you too. He wants to give you purpose in order to fulfill that longing in your heart – but He also to fulfill His will. Maybe to free some people, to set them free, to let them know that God has a purpose for their life too.
Finding A Mate
Here is another Bible character, whose name is Isaac. He was seeking for a wife. He was seeking and praying, this is in Genesis 24. Isaac was looking for a wife and finally he sent his servant to go and find a wife for him from his father’s family. He wanted someone from within his own tribe to marry. His servant went and started praying and asked God to reveal who it would be. He prayed a very specific prayer, “Let it be a woman who brings water, and gives me water and water for my camels as well.” That is exactly what happened. A woman came to draw water her name was Rebekah. She said, “I will draw water for you and your camels too.” The servant said, (Genesis 24:26)
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
It was exactly what Isaac wanted and Rebekah became a mother of descendants to numerous to count. Again, fulfilling a promise that God had made to Abraham before and also gave Isaac a wife and gave Rebekah a husband. Several prayers were answered there and fulfilled each of them. God changed Rebekah’s life that day, just like he changed Isaac’s life that day by giving him a mate.
The final story of a change in life; maybe some of you are needing some physical healing. Here is a woman who came to Jesus and she was bleeding for several years and it says she had suffered a great deal under the care of the doctors and had spent all she had (Mark 5:25-34). Yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak. She thought that if she just touched His clothes she would be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Jesus realized this and later he said to her,
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free from your suffering.”
Here was a woman freed from an ailment that had plagued her for years. The doctors could not cure it and all her money was exhausted – she had no where else to turn, except to the Lord. And at that moment, the Lord healed her. The Lord changed her life.
Are you wanting some changes in your life? Maybe it is something that I have mentioned. Maybe it is something that I have not even touched on yet. I want to assure you that God is in the life changing business. Here are a some practical steps on how to go after seeking this change in your life. It may just come upon you, but more likely it will happen as your are seeking the Lord. Here are a few verses that talk about this.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart.”
So if you will delight yourself in God, He will give you the your desires.
Luke 18, Jesus tells the story that you read earlier. It is a parable in Luke, it says,
“. . . to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
Always pray and not give up. Always pray and not give up. God wants you to always pray and not give up. He wants you to seek Him with your whole heart. He wants you to come after Him and say, “Oh, yes, this is what I want. Please, God, answer this!” This is exactly what happened to this woman in this story. She was saying to a judge grant me justice, grant me justice. The judge would not listen. Finally the judge said, “She will wear me out with her coming. Here I will just go ahead and grant her request.”
Jesus says, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen one, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”
Jesus very much knows that God hears those prayers and that God wants to make those changes in your life sometimes and especially sometimes even more than you want them made. You are calling out to God, “God! Change this in my life! Change this in my life!” Believe me God wants a change in your life too. He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be fulfilled. But it is going to come through HIM. It is going to come through seeking HIM and searching after HIM. “Ask and you shall receive” is what the Bible says. Sometimes we are asking for the wrong thing. In that case we need to follow some advice that Henry Blackaby gives,
“Oh, Lord, if I ever give you a request and you have more to give me than I am asking, cancel my request!”
Sometimes we are asking the wrong things of God and it is simply a matter of saying, “Ok, God, if this isn’t the right thing, I yield it to You, I give it up to You. I know you have something better than even what I am asking. Please cancel my request.” God will answer it.
So if you are needing some changes in your life, I just want to urge you to seek God. Seek Him with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.
Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Read your Bible. Get a good Bible that you can read that you can understand the words. There are so many at the bookstores now. You can buy a Bible and just read it; read it day and night. It says in the morning read it and in the evening read it. Talk about it as you are going and as you are coming. Talk to your children about it. Just look in the Bible because God has so many answers for YOU that are already written down in there.
2. Go to church. Go to a Bible believing church. A church where they believe God is real, that God has power and listen to what they have to say. You will hear other people who have had their lives changed. You will hear about a God who works. That will increase your faith to believe that He can do it in your life.
3. Pray. Not just call out to God but you might want to write down your prayers – Journal. Just write down what you need and that just helps you clarify your thinking. “God help me. God this is the change I want.” You will be amazed as you look back over your journal, over a few weeks, over a few months or even over a few years – you will see that God has answered prayer after prayer. God has brought about change after change. Sometimes quickly, sometimes very slowly. But you will see the change as you write these things down and look at them over the years.
So I just encourage you to read your Bible, go to church, talk to Christian friends, pray and journal. God will give you the desires of your heart. God will fulfill those things. God will free you from your sins.
In a minute after I sing a song here (I just want to take a break just to sing and worship the God of our lives with all our hearts – just for one song). Then I want to come back and talk about the biggest change that you can make. If you have not yet committed your life to Jesus – God can give you a new heart. It says in the Bible,
“That I will give you a new heart and exchange your old heart of stone for a heart of flesh.”
That is the biggest change that anyone can make. If you haven’t made that stick around for after this song so that I can explain how exactly works so that you can have that transformation take place. Until that one is done none of the others will happen either.
I also want to pray for you believers who have already made that decision. When we come back I just want to pray for you and pray for those specific things that are happening in your life. So stick with me here and let us just worship God with all our hearts. This is a song called “Glorify Thy Name”. It is very simple to sing, it just says, “Father, I love you, I praise you, and I adore you. Glorify Your name in all the earth.”
Lord we Do want to glorify You. We just want to serve You. We just want to pour out our hearts to You. God, I know there are people here have been frustrated, who have been concerned that changes haven’t come quick enough. I just want to pray for them right now.
For those that are waiting for a change and have been waiting for a long time, I pray that you would renew their faith right now. Increase their faith God. Increase their faith. Help them in their unbelief. Help them know that you do bring about change sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. But you will bring it about. You say in the Bible,
“Do you not perceive, I am doing a new thing.”
I just pray that you would show them, You would help them perceive that You are doing a new thing. That You are bringing about a change that is good and lasting. Lord, even if it looks like its not good right now, I pray that they would know that IT IS good and that IT IS You. I pray that you would bring them into the place of milk and honey, the place that is flowing with the good things of life. I pray God that you would fulfill your purpose in them as well.
The Best Change: A New Heart
I said that I would tell you about getting a new heart and here is the simple way it happens. You simply come to God and say,
1. “God, I have sinned. I am a sinner. I have made some mistakes that can’t recover from and can’t get out of. I just don’t know what to do. God I am sorry and I just confess it to You.”
2. Then say, “God, I believe in Your Son Jesus. I believe He died for those sins. Only through Him can I have those sins washed away. Then I can be cleaned and sanctified and washed and justified.” Just like those other people in the city of Corinth were who were at one time drunks, adulterers, swindlers, homosexuals, and idolaters. Lord I just want to be like one of those who can be changed by Your power, by Your Holy Spirit because I believe in Jesus.”
3. Just receive Him into your life. Just say, “Lord, I thank you and I invite you to come into my life. Just take over and just take out my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.”
GOD WILL DO IT! That is all you have to do. Let me pray for you right now if that is what you want.
You don’t even need to hesitate – just say, “God I want it!”
Lord, I just confess my sins to you. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I invite Him into my life right now. Take out my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. In Jesus Name, AMEN.
For those of you needing a change in job. A change in marital status (any of you looking for a wife or looking for a husband). You are looking for children. You are looking for purpose, looking for meaning in your life. If you are looking for healing, looking for forgiveness – I am just going to pray right now that God would bring that about in your life. God will heal you and restore you.
Lord, I know there are people who need a job change right now and I just pray for them that You would bring that about. I pray that You would accelerate that and move that forward. I pray that You would open up a job that is just right, that is just what they need for this next season of their life. I pray that You would bring that change about. I pray that You would answer their prayers Lord.
For you who are struggling with sin, I just pray right now that you would be free from that. That you would be able to lay it down and not give into temptation, just leave them at the feet of Jesus.
For people looking for a mate, I just pray right now, that You would answer their prayers – just like You answered Isaac’s, just like You answered mine, just like You have answered people throughout the centuries Lord. You say, “If we delight ourselves in You, You will give us the desires of our heart.” I know some people who are watching that desire a mate Lord more than anything right now. If it is not for them right now I pray that You would give them patience. If there is some spiritual hold up I just pray right now that it would be released and You would give them a peace in their hearts that they would know a spouse is coming.
God for people who just need purpose and meaning in their life, who need a change of direction so they can be fulfilled in what they are doing. I pray right now for those changes. I pray that You would give a purpose to their life and that You would show them a way to fulfill that purpose. I pray that You would give them resources to fulfill that purpose. I pray that You would walk with them every step of the way.
Lord, I just thank You for being here us. Thank You for being in the life changing business. I pray that You would continue to change our lives and mold us image of Your Son Jesus Christ so that we can walk as He walked, talk as He talked, live as He lived, and die and He died – with grace, with dignity, with purpose. In Jesus Name, AMEN.
You need a change? Well, you have come to the right place. This is a place where you hear about God and how He changes lives. You might want to take a look at some of the stories on The Ranch. In the Hall of Faith they are called “Stories of Living Testimonies”. People who are alive today who have had their lives changed by the power of God.
Also, if you want some specific prayer. We will be in the chat room – myself and a few others, who believe in the power of God. We would just like to pray with you or talk with you about any other spiritual matter that has come to your mind so that we can encourage you in your faith. Just to pray with you that God will be there for you. So, if you would join us in the chat room at The Ranch – you can find it under the menu Talk to Someone, then choose the chat room. We will meet you there in just a few minutes and we will be able to pray with you.
If you are watching later in the week, you can always find me on ICQ. There is a way to find that on my chat page as well or you can e-mail me using the contact form.
For my wife and I here in wintry Illinois – Live from The Ranch – this is Eric Elder. Good night.