Philippians 4:1-9 (AMP) Therefore, my fellow believers, whom I love and long for, my delight and crown [my wreath of victory], in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, I ask you too, my true companion, to help these women [to keep on cooperating], for they have shared my struggle in the [cause of the] gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. 8 Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. 9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
When you do not properly manage or control your temper and character, you will fail the tests. Not only will you fail your tests, but you will negatively influence others to make them fail their tests. It will grow into a trivial problem of the emotion. People often waste a lot of their time on these matters. Some people get entangled with trivial problems of their emotions and as a result, these people waste their whole lives. Although it may appear that you are speaking and arguing, Satan will make you think that you are the victim. People who have fallen unto their emotions, and when this occurs, even if they use their free will to serve the church, they are not really serving God. Such people are tied by Satan by his snare (trap).
In today’s news, I read there was a new virus spreading throughout the whole continent of Africa. The virus has begun spreading in Asia as well. In the future, there will be a more new plaque and bacteria continuous arising. They are one of the signs of the end times. Today, Korea had an earthquake. Today’s thunder sounded very peculiar. The thunder sounded like a conversation as if it was alive.
Nevertheless, the Lord said in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.”
People are worried about many things. Therefore, we all need to pray about many things. On top of prayer, we need to present a petition to God. If prayer is a general method, then the petition is a little stronger method. When you present a petition to God, it is like you are continuously and persistently speaking to God with strong fervent perseverance. Moreover, you need to pray and present a petition ‘with thanksgiving’. It is like God desires us to specifically ask what we need but with THANKSGIVING. We also need to thank Him by saying, “God! Thank you for disciplining me! God! Thank you for helping me to realize and understand!”
God makes us pray for ourselves, our households, our nation and so forth. God makes us, Christians, to pray. God is telling us, “You and your countries are in such a great danger, will you still not pray?”
We all encounter tests to cope with it. Some tests are small enough for us to overcome with our strength but there many tests in which we are not able to overcome with our own strength. If you cannot overcome certain tests, you need to pray. When it comes to prayer, there are two methods for us to choose. One method we call it “the best option” and the other one you call it “the last option”.
People who come before the throne of God who has been consistently accumulating their prayers before any crisis or before any event occurs have already obtained the victory even before they face anything. As these Christians have already obtained victory, they will continuously move forward. But on the other hand, there are people who begin to pray as they encounter or fall into a particular situation. These Christians have chosen the second method which is “the last option.” These types of
Christians have achieved things without prayer and with their own strength. But as they encounter higher difficult situations in which they are not able to come to a solution or beneficial outcome, they then begin to pray to ask God for help and this type of prayer or choice has become their “last option”. Of course, It is better than not praying at all but I hope you obtain the victory with unceasing prayer even before anything occurs. People who have chosen the “last option” which is to pray at the last minute will go through many difficult times. They will experience many “that was so close” experiences. But if they now choose to pray without ceasing, at the very end, God will restore and reverse their situation.
Samson was born as a Nazarene. The power of God had come upon him but there were no words in the Bible that Samson had prayed. Samson had chosen prayer as his last option. He stood between the pillars of the Dagon temple and prayed. “God please forgive me and restore my strength once more. Let me kill the Philistines and I will die as well.”
We must not choose prayer as our last option like Samson. We should not be praying in such a way. You must always pray beforehand and we need to choose to pray now as our best option. When we do this, our prayers will continuously be accumulated. As a result, your bodies will be accustomed to praying. Whether you encounter big or small events, pray advance in faith.
“God, I have a such and such event coming up and I need a meeting with the important person. Please help me!”
You face the events or people after such prayer. People who are lacking in prayer will try their best (with their own strength), but in the end, they will end up praying like Samson. You must pray from the beginning. It is as though you have already given all your problems to Jesus.
“Lord! I have a problem to resolve. Please grant me wisdom. Please do not allow any negative side effects to follow. I want to resolve it with your approval and at the same time, I want to have a good relationship with the other party.”
When we observe churches, people who serve their church argue and fight. Many good things are not flowing within them. They would speak behind each other’s back. It is like your own fingers and toes are fighting. They are fighting and arguing because there are too many “I”s or “My”s. My problem, I think, my heart, my mind and so on.
You need to pray, “Help me to serve with Your heart.”
When you collide with the other person’s personality, you will fall into your own tests. When this happens, you will create walls between you and the other person. In fact, you will continuously create walls between each other. This is how people create division among each other.
“I have this certain problem, how must I complement it?”
If you worry about it then it will be your problem. But if you bring it to the Lord and give it to Him, He will not rebuke you but He will give you wisdom if you ask and HE will grant you wisdom. If you have a narrow mind and get easily offended as you collide with other people, then you must pray a lot so that you will possess a larger mind rather than narrow.
Some people say, “I have a passive personality, this is the way I am.” These types of Christians wait until others come to serve them and be nice to them. In fact, many people are like that.
In the church, people pray, praise, worship, and worship as they holy dance. But some of them still resent towards one another. Inside their minds say, “You $#@##.” Many times, people have a hard time to be the first to approach. Many people send me texts and emails. But I am not able to reply back to them. Then these people become resentful. People are easily offended and resentful when their expectation or need is not satisfied or met.
The Lord has certain methods to increase our personalities, character, and mind. He makes us into large vessels through certain methods. When a vessel is squashed on one side, then the Lord will not be able to properly fill the vessel. Even if He fills the vessel, the squashed side will not be able to contain to its maximum but obtain as it is. Let us become enlarged vessels. The squashed side (flattened) represents our nature, personality, and character. If we have squashed sides, God will not place sheep under your authority.
People may consider themselves graceful and a person of good faith. If you are a person with many worries, your faith will not be able to work. Then you will become a person like the one who is without faith. Anxiety will hit you. When a person with faith encounters any difficult situation, faith will work without fail. These people will instantly pray. God said, “in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.”
If we properly follow His instruction and obey, the work of God will manifest. But not many are following and obeying as God desires.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
When you serve in any form within the church, there must be edification. We must not be divided into certain groups. We must learn to mingle with the others and learn to harmonize and become a blessing to each other. But many times, Christians act like unbelievers. There are people who actually fall deeper into their problems as they pray, and there are people who pray and completely give all their problems over to God.
“Please resolve my problems for me, God!”
The people who fall deeper into their problems as they pray is from a spiritual problem and this also relates to the type of spirits. Such a person may think, “I continuously pray and I thought I had entrusted it all to God, why am I still falling into worrying?”
Such a person is not freed from the evil spirits that have bonded them. Therefore, we must be freed. When such a situation is occurring, you must perform offensive warfare prayer. Many times, depression is common with Christians who possess passive personalities. When the devil brings depression on a person, he not only brings depression but also manic-depressive illnesses. These people will grieve over their tough lives. For those who believe in Jesus, this is not to be so. We have authority granted by the Lord. I am not talking about the warfare between flesh and blood. It is about the warfare with the evil spirits and their forces. Therefore, in order to overcome and defeat them in this battle, we need to become more spiritually stronger. But many Christians who believe in Jesus and says they pray are also easily offended and resentful over every little thing.
When some kind of slump comes, you must properly perform the offensive prayer. When you are intensively afflicted with certain problems, it is because you are controlled and attacked by the evil spirits. The manifestation of the symptoms is being greatly stressed. When this happens, you must draw a line. Then you must proclaim and shout, “Depart from me Satan! Get away from me! Jesus died for me! Jesus has resurrected and ascended! You have been defeated!! Go!”
If you powerfully perform as you shout, it will depart from you. Don’t try to search which generation to break it. Your proclamation prayers with your own mouth will cast those spirits away. We all have been granted authority by the Lord. But most Christians do not even realize what kind of authority they have been granted! We must properly and effectively utilize our authority. Properly and effectively utilizing authority is to fight the good fight properly. We must perform the good fight.
Matthew 22:14“For many are called (invited, summoned), but few are chosen.”
When we perform the good fight, many will be called but few will be chosen. Many are called by God to receive the power, but in reality, only few will go through all the process and pass them. Only a few will be granted some sort of work to powerfully minister. Even after being granted these works and to powerfully minister, not many will pass through the whole process and make it to the end. Those who pass the test and whole progress are the ones who are considered chosen. I believe we are all going to be the chosen ones. We are all called but I pray that we will all become the chosen ones to the very end. What does “few are chosen” mean? This means very few persevere and endure. This means a small number of people pray persistently and to the end.
“The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.”
I believe that the peace of God will come upon us, and God will protect our thought, heart, and circumstances.
I believe that God will restore us through the opportunities, potential and the power that He grants us. What we have to do is we must pray a lot. We must pray to the point where we now receive the ability to really believe. When we pray a lot, we will cast out anxiety, impatience, feeling of uneasiness and stress. Also, we must guard our thought and heart.
Proverbs 4:23 (EXB) Be careful what you think [Above all that you guard, protect your heart] because your thoughts run your life [ life flows from it].
God works through guarding our thinking and heart. God says, “I desire to grant much power and entrust you with such such ministry work. I am planning to bless you in such such way.”
But in reality, many Christians have their thinking on something else. They are always in anxiety. If you have anxiety in your thoughts and heart, how can God give you a big task?
You must stop thinking naturally, “I do not have enough money. I am in a difficult circumstance. I have nothing. I don’t think it is possible.”
When our thoughts are scattered and our heart possesses anxiety, God will not be able to work with such a person. People who believe in Jesus must improve and progress. If one continuously possess an anxious heart, the situation will become worse. You need to possess faith. The word God gave us is this, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
When God is about to decide something or about to perform something for His people, God will first observe how His people had handled their suffering, difficulty, trial, and pain. He will also observe if His people are praying a lot. He will carefully watch them first. With prayer and their petition, God will begin to create and unfold new circumstance and situation.
When God seizes someone in His hand as His instrument, God will put wisdom and create new knowledge in him/her. The person will have confidence and some type of change will occur within their personality and character. Why don’t some people show a change in their personality or nature that are of God? Is it because there is no power in God? God works within us, but when God works in us we need to also try to change. This is timing as well. When we are seized by the hand of God, some kind of power will manifest from the outside. At the same time, what happens inside is that our inner man will mature through His power. When the power of God comes to contact and connect a person, the person must choose to be determined and fully decided whether through His words or any other method He utilizes. When we are seized by the hand of God, amazing strength will manifest. When the Prophet Elisha was seized by the hand of God, the power of God manifested. He brought down fire from heaven. Although some people appear to maintain the power of God, their humanism and nature will manifest at the same time.
Samson was born into a nice family. But with his nature related to his faith, his faith gradually degraded. We have repetitive slump cycles. For example. If you are a person who blows up with anger, you must then train yourself to get rid of it. When you collided with someone and the other person who you have collided with is hurt or tested because of you, you must completely come before the Lord and properly repent. You may have inherited your parent’s fleshly temper, nature and so on, but you must also know that you can cast and end it. We need the powerful presence of the Lord. If you repeatedly sin and stumble, if you sin with your mouth as you speak bad things about others, if you easily get angry and have the spirit of sexual lust and so on, you must truthfully and sincerely repent and turn from your old ways. Then you must begin to practice and train yourself to control your nature, personality, and character. You must read the bible and pray many times instead of looking for people to fellowship with.
When God has decided to carry something out, God will first hear our prayers. Then He will begin to create some kind of circumstance. This is why it is very important for God’s people to pray. There will be a time of devotion and commitment to God. During that time, you will pay a heavy price. This means, after you have passed, God will approve and acknowledge you. When you are suffering, feel pain and go through the trial in the physical realm. From God’s viewpoint, this is the time that God will utilize to determine whether to approve and/or acknowledge you or not. God does not consider much of your worldly determination, success, or failure. There are people who move from best circumstance toward the most tragic circumstance. There are people who move from worst circumstance towards the best circumstance. We must engrave consciousness of praying into our thought when we are in a difficult situation. When things do not go as you desire, when we fail to maintain a good relationship with others, when your unintentional actions or words create unwanted situations as people utilize it against you, you must come before God and begin praying and repenting. God will restore you.
If you call yourselves the people of God, no matter how difficult and challenging the situation may be, even if you lost your job, even if your household look hopeless, even if you have obtained illness, even if you have piled up debt, even if you are in some kind of crisis, only if you come back to your senses and fully pay attention, then earnestly pray and repent, God will restore you. God is still watching you during your time of suffering.
Many pastors come and ask me how I am bringing the revival of our church. “How do you bring revival? My church does not grow.”
Then I replied, “Pastor, God greatly and preciously watch every moment of your bad circumstances and how you handled and go through those things. Please, you must properly pass those circumstances.”
There is a condition for the people of the Holy Spirit. These people need to possess distinguished faith. Our standard of being a priest and God’s standard of being a priest is much different. In order to be approved and acknowledged by God, our prayer is related. What kind of prayer must we perform? It is the proper prayer of our vows. What is the prayer of vows? It is not to do unclean things, not to drink strong liquor, wine, and moderate drinks. When we cut off anything that can be related to sin in any way, that will become the prayer of our vows. But people think the prayer of our vows is related to as: “I will dedicate myself to your servant!”
But it is not like anyone can just become His servant just because one desires to be His servant. Even if you dedicate your children to God as His servants and even if they become one, you never know how they are going to turn out if you do not properly teach and show them how to cut off things that (or possibly become) related to sin. Prayer of our vows is not just becoming God’s servants. The prayer of our vows is to live our lives with dedication, devotion, and selflessness. A vow is to bear some kind of duty and responsibility before God. We must live for God. Whether we marry or for whatever occurs in our lives, we must live only for Him. No matter what kind of territory we may enter, we must live for God. We must teach and train our children from their young age.
“You are a person of God”
We need to have clear sense of belonging in the church. We all have different nature and personalities. Therefore, we need to clearly understand where we belong to obtain the proper order. Not only our position wise, but we need to have clear understanding of sense of belonging to God. We must not drink any liquor and wine. We need to build a wall between sin and ourselves. Otherwise, the sin of the world will enter and govern us. Those who have a hard time quitting smoking is because they are governed by the spirits of nicotine. Those who drink liquor is under the influence of the spirit of liquor. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us and dwell in us, due to the presence of God within us, we should be following Him. Our flesh desires its own way. Therefore, the thoughts of the flesh and the thoughts of spirit will war against each other for all of our lifetime. But when we are governed by the Holy Spirit, God will hear our prayers and HE will work for us. If you have anything stubbornness in you and if you are having hard time letting go of something, you must strive to put it all down.
There is also another type of people in the church. They have received the Holy Spirit and they do not drink wine or strong liquor. But in reality, they are not governed by the Holy Spirit or through the word of God. People pray in the church but when it comes to the areas of mental state, soul, and flesh, they are not governed by the Holy Spirit. Let us be governed by the word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to pray to fulfill and carry out our calling and mission. We need to pray for our church. We need to pray for our country and we need to pray for the nations. We, the Christians, are responsible for all things.
Sermon by Pastor Kim, Yong Doo
Head pastor of the Lord’s Church, Korea
Author of Baptize by Blazing Fire book series
Translated by Pastor Steve & Yoojin Kim
Pastors of Fire of God Church in San Francisco (Fremont)
Fire of God Church is a branch church of the Lord’s Church, Korea and is under the spiritual covering of head Pastor Kim, Yong Doo