Down and Out OR Coming Up!

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This morning, I felt the Lord directing me to encourage you in your struggles. It was like He said to tell you that you may be down, but take heart . . . encourage yourself in His Word.

Are you feeling down or out? Well… get ready cause You’re Coming Up.

My fine wife, Bev, and I understand being down. We’ve been there several times. Working together like we do, we’ve both lost our jobs at the same time . . . more than once! We could have been down for the count . . . BUT God.

That’s right, no matter how far you’ve been down or what evil has come against you . . .God is well able to bring you up and out.

Proverbs 24: 15,16 in the Message Bible warns anyone who comes against His own:

“Don't interfere with good people's lives; don't try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don't stay down long; Soon they're up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.”

When it seems there is no hope. . .He is your hope.

Fortunately, that’s all you need.

Psalm 31:24 in the King James Version says:

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

When others have given up on you. . .He never will.

Psalm 27:10 in the New Living Translation says:

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close..”

When it seems time is running out. . .God redeems the time.

Psalm 69:18 in the King James Version says:

“Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.”

When it seems all is lost. . .God always finds a way. . .because He is the way.

John 14:6 in the King James Version says:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

Do you remember the story of Naaman, the Commander of the Syrian Army? He had leprosy and it was a condition that grieved him. He thought he was doomed … but God had other plans.

Let’s read from 2 Kings 5 in the New Living Translation.

1 The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.

 2 At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. 3 One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

 4 So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said.

5 “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing.

6 The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

 8 But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.

10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

 11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!

12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!”

In reading this account about Naaman, God showed us 7 powerful principles for everybody who’s faced difficult, seemingly impossible circumstances, situations and problems. He has revealed what every believer who’s been down. . .should do if they want to come up out the mess they’ve been facing.

  1. 1.Accept what the man of God says….

God wants to use all of us do amazing things to prove Himself real to the unbeliever. In verse 8, Elisha tells the distraught King: “…Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

God wants to show up and show off when we take him at His Word. It should only be the unbeliever who doubts God can work in any situation … not us.

2 Kings 5:11 in the New Living Translation says:

 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. `I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!’ he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!”

There are defining moments in our lives when God uses a man or woman under His influence to speak a Word into our lives. . .we need to listen to what they have to say. . .regardless of how seemingly ridiculous it may seem.

Can you imagine how the singers felt when King Jehoshaphat told them to get out in front of the soldiers going into battle in 2 Chronicles 20:21?

What would have happened if they’d said: “Yeah, King Jehoshaphat, it’s easy for you to tell us to go face the enemy first” . . .but they believed and went rejoicing toward the battle.

“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

There are times when getting out in front of your battle means taking a step of faith. . .when your only hope is in God’s promise to deliver you. The singers accepted what their man of God said. . .and victory came to the nation.

  1. 2.Put pride aside

Remember 2 Kings 5: 11 says:

“But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!”

Naaman was saying, “Doesn’t this prophet know who I am. . .and who is he to treat me this way.”

Verse 12 continues:

12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

It’s always important to remember that pride leads to sin and problems.

In verse 13 it says:

 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

Proverbs 13:10 says:

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”

Proverbs 29:23 in the New Living Translation says:

“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.”

Dwight L. Moody the great evangelist once said:

“Be humble or you’ll stumble."

One of the most painful falls a person can face is when they trip over their own ego.

  1. 3.Forget what everyone else thinks

2 Kings 5:10 says:

“But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

No doubt Naaman was wondering what his servants would think . . .what passersby’s would think. . .what people would think about a man of his stature dunking himself in such a dirty river.

Are we more concerned about looking ridiculous or obeying the man, word or voice of God?

Years ago, I remember Pastor Pat Avanzini saying that if you want to see the miraculous you must be willing to do the ridiculous when God directs you to do so.

I particularly like the New Living Translation of Job 15:2 which says:

"You are supposed to be a wise man, and yet you give us all this foolish talk. You are nothing but a windbag.”

No one else can fight your battles. . .no one else will answer for your obedience to His directions or lack thereof on judgment day. . .no one else can walk in your shoes. . .but you.

Here’s a revelation. . .what someone else ‘thinks’ . . .will do nothing to change your circumstances. . .but you can.

  1. 4.Ignore your circumstances and simply obey

2 Kings 5:14 says:

“Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself once in the River Jordan? He would have had leprosy.

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself twice in the River Jordan? He would still have had leprosy.

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself three times in the River Jordan? He would still have had leprosy.

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself four times in the River Jordan? He would still have had leprosy.

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself five times in the River Jordan? He would still have had leprosy.

What would have happened if Naaman had given up after dipping himself six times in the River Jordan? He would still have had leprosy.

If Naaman had given up before going down the seventh time. . .he would have never been free of leprosy. Neither his reputation, his position in the Syrian government, or his money could deliver him. . .but His complete obedience to the man of God. . .saved him from the stigma of leprosy.

How many times has God told you to sow a specific seed and you did. . .but when you didn’t receive an immediate harvest or financial deliverance you either doubted His direction, questioned your gift or hesitated the next time He directed you to sow?

There are believers who’ve stopped tithing and giving just because of their circumstances . . . that’s the absolute worst time to stop. Why would you ignore the only guaranteed solution to all your financial problems?

God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19.) If God told you to do something. . .you’ve got to hold fast to the confession of your faith.

Psalm 84:11 says:

“No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

One final point. Do you think that Jesus will be interested in hearing about your circumstances on Judgment Day? If not, stop giving your circumstances the time of day.

  1. 5.Wash away your sins and past

Let’s look at 2 Kings 5:14 one more time:

“Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

The stain of leprosy was washed away. . .his skin was a fresh and pure as that of a little child. He was clean from the top of his head to the soles of his feet.

When you and I confess our sins. . .give our hearts to Jesus. . .then the stain of all our sins is washed away.

What’s the old saying? . . . our hearts were black from sin, till they were washed by the blood and now, our heart is white as snow.

I do feel led to say there is a difference between regret and repentance.

Regret means your sins have been exposed and you’re sorry you got caught. You regret that what had once been a private sin has been made public . . . so your remorse over your exposure appears heartfelt. . .when in reality it’s not.

The scripture has a lot to say about true repentance.

Matthew 3:8 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].”

Matthew 9:13 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).

Luke 3:3 in the Amplified Bible says:

“And he went into all the country round about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance (of hearty amending of their ways, with abhorrence of past wrongdoing) unto the forgiveness of sin.”

One final scripture on repentance found in 2 Corinthians 7:9 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Yet I am glad now, not because you were pained, but because you were pained into repentance [and so turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that in nothing you might suffer loss through us or harm for what we did.”

  1. 6.Don’t quit—or give up when it looks like all is lost

Naaman who already had his pride wounded could have quit after going down the first, second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth times. . .but he didn’t. . .and as I said earlier, his obedience to the man of God brought his deliverance.

If Naaman had quit. . .he never would have experienced miracle manifestation.

Psalm 27:13 in the Message Bible says:

“I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with God.”

Have you ever gone through personal adversity. . .something that was publicly embarrassing. . .and looked around to find that those folks you thought were your friends were nowhere to be found? You have one friend who will never quit on you.

Psalm 37:27 in the Message Bible says:

“Turn your back on evil, work for the good and don't quit. God loves this kind of thing, never turns away from his friends.”

As the age-old worship song says, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But more importantly, He is a friend forever. He’s right there with you every step of the way.

Not only does God want you holding firm in the midst of adversity. . .He gives you some specific directions as to what you should be doing.

Romans 12:11 in the Message Bible says:

“Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”

  1. 7.Receive the victory and Give God the glory

Naaman lost more than his leprosy in the River Jordan. . .he lost his need for pride because he found something even more powerful than a clean bill of health.

2 Kings 5:15 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Then Naaman returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and stood before him. He said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. So now accept a gift from your servant.”

Naaman was down . . . but He came up out of the muddy Jordan. . .a new man. . . recognizing Jehovah God as the only true and living God. His heart was turned from one that was self-indulgent and full of pride. . .to one that was ready to give gifts to the man who served such a great and glorious God.

You may be down and out right now . . .due to foreclosure and eviction. . .but you’re coming up.

You may be down and out right now . . .due to an attack on your health. . .but you’re coming up.

You may be down and out . . .due to your car breaking down or being repossessed . . . but you’re coming up.

You may be down and out . . .due to your spouse or children being lost. . .but you’re coming up.

You may be down and out. . .due to an addiction to something other than the Word of God. . .but you’re coming up.

There’s nothing wrong with being down, out and wrong as long as you’re ready to get up, right and in.

But there is something equally as important here beside you… it’s being sure God gets the glory for the great things He does. God wants to show up and show off His mighty power through you.

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