Going Beyond Ministries with Priscilla Shirer – Do You Hear What I Hear?
Lord, I thank you that we can in full expectation and anticipation prepare ourselves right now to hear a word straight from your mouth.
Father recalibrate us, renew us, revive us, rejuvenate us, refocus us Lord and refine us father so that we are more and more uh molded into the image of your son.
Thank you father. We are sitting on the edge of our seat to hear what it is that you will speak to us today in jesus mighty name, I pray the name that is above every name, the name at which demons tremble, the name at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that jesus christ is indeed Lord, it is in that name that I pray amen and amen.
If you have your bible with me, turn your copy of the scriptures to First Kings chapter 18.
These few chapters here in the old testament have become a lifeline for me as I have been studying and looking into the narrative of the prophet Elijah and right after the highlight of his ministry where he stands flat footed and unapologetic on mount Carmel and calls everyone there to a contest to determine who the one true god actually is.
He has called fire to fall down from heaven.
And yeah, galway has responded in a miraculous display of the splendor and the greatness of God.
Fire has shot out of the heavens and has set aflame the sacrifice that he has prepared, proving once and for all that there is only one god.
And on the heels of that display first kings, chapter 18 verse 41 through 45.
Now, Elijah said to King, Ahab, go up and eat and drink. For there is a sound.
You know, if I was with you right now, you know, if we were at the church house right now, I would, I would look at you and I would say turn to your neighbor and say there is a sound.
So wherever you are right now, even if you’re by yourself, go ahead and say out loud that there is a sound, I’m telling you, there is something that is happening in the spiritual realm that most folks can’t see and people with natural vision aren’t able to detect, people with natural hearing aren’t able to determine only those of us who have the Spirit of God indwelling us are able to say with full confidence that there is a sound, a rustle of God’s movement of God’s Spirit of God’s plan of God’s sovereignty of God’s providence.
Moving, we can sit on the edge of our seat and expectation of seeing the hand of the Lord in the land of the living.
Even while others are losing hope. Even while others are discouraged.
And even wallowing in defeat, we get to say, there is a sound and Elijah said to King Ahab, there is a sound and I hear that the seasons are changing.
I can hear that there was a roar of a heavy shower.
So the king believed what the man of God said to him and he went up, he ate and he drank.
But elijah, he went up to the top of Mount Carmel in anticipation of the heavy shower that he could only hear hints of in the atmosphere in the spiritual realm.
He crouched down to the earth.
He put his face between his knees and he prayed and then he said to a servant, go up now and look and he went and he looked and he came back and he said, I don’t I don’t see anything.
Elijah said to him, go back and he told him that seven times and it was about at the 7th time that he said, behold a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.
That’s all Elijah needed to know. He had already been hearing things previously.
But now there was the smallest hint that God was beginning to manifest on what it was that the prophet had already detected spiritually speaking.
And so the servant said, I see something happening and in the atmosphere.
So elijah said, it’s time you go up and you say to Ahab prepare your chariot and go down so that the heavy shower does not stop you and in a little while the sky grew black with clouds and there was heavy wind and there was indeed a heavy shower.
Now I’ve got to admit to you that I am not very good with sermon titles.
I have the hardest time when folks try to get me to put a label on a message or on a sermon that I have prepared and given.
But this time around it was pretty simple for me to think of a title, it began to ring in my ears as I prepared to speak to you today, the title of this message.
If you’re taking notes and you’d like to write things down like that, the title is, do you hear what I hear?
I came to ask you that question. Do you hear what I hear? Are you spiritually discerning?
Are your ears tuned in? Have you taken time to relax and to turn away from everything you see coming across all your social media feeds to tune into the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, to his word, speaking to you to the truth of God that are lifting up still off of the pages of scripture that have not changed, even though so many of our circumstances have changed.
Do you hear what I hear?
I came to encourage you that there is a sound and the seasons are indeed changing and right here in full demonstration of his role as the prophet, the voice and declaration of God’s truth and his hand and his activity among the people?
Elijah helps to tune the king into something that the king is unable to detect in his own natural capacity, I can see something you can’t see.
Elijah was basically saying, I can hear something that you can’t hear and I am anticipating something, I am posturing myself positioning myself for something that you are not yet discerning enough to anticipate rain is coming and with as of yet one cloud to see in the sky as proof without one noticeable gust of wind in the air, without one clap of thunder to build any level of discernible or understandable level of anticipation.
A elijah says to the king, rain is coming, he is the one that causes other people to begin to recalibrate themselves in anticipation of what he can detect in the spiritual realm.
Do you hear what it is that I hear Elijah had already been told by Yeah, way, way up at the beginning of this chapter chapter 18 verse one, God had said to him, you go present yourself to King ahab and I will send rain, that’s all Elijah needed was a word from God and he began and to speak in conjunction with and live in conjunction with and anticipate in conjunction with what it was that God said, this is faith when you don’t have proof, but you believe God anyway and then faith is not just believing God, but it is beginning to walk in alignment with and pray in alignment with and speak in alignment with the truth that God has declared to you.
If God said it, that’s enough, we should be the ones those of us who are going forth into this new year in the Spirit of Elijah, we should be the ones that because we know the truth of God.
We go about proclaiming it, declaring it and living in alignment with it.
Elijah began to declare the truth of Yahweh, even though there was no proof of rain, he began to prepare the people that were in his sphere of influence for that, which he knew they did not have the capacity to discern, but that he could because he was in relationship with God.
So God said it, he began to proclaim it, I want to ask you, what are you proclaiming?
What are you declaring? What are you speaking to the people, the, the interactions that you have the influence that you’ve been given, the sphere that you’ve been placed in the Children that are in your care, the spouse that you have, the ministry that you are leading, the company that you are beginning to develop and foster what are you declaring?
Despite the pandemic and despite the global catastrophe and despite the cultural unrest and despite the political unrest that is around us, this is not denial.
This is not avoidance, but it means that as those of us who are going into this here in the spirit of Elijah, we recognize the issues, we see the crisis, we’re very aware of the concern, but then as soon as we recognize it, we EMEA Immediately do what hebrews.
Chapter 12 says, we pivot our attention and fix our eyes on Jesus.
We know what it is that God says and we begin to proclaim it out of our mouths.
We speak the truth and the promises of God.
This is the, the example that we see set by Elijah here and I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we are living in a day in an age where you and me, brothers and sisters, we’re gonna have to go forth in the spirit of Elijah, where we are unapologetic about the truth of the God that we serve, where we just like the prophet Elijah.
We refuse to side with the majority because everyone else around him would have looked at the cloudless sky and would have told him that he was crazy for believing that there was a sound of a heavy shower that was on the way.
He didn’t side with the majority. He wasn’t trying to be politically correct.
He wasn’t trying to garner the applause of the appreciation of other people.
He wasn’t interested in how many likes, he was gonna get on his instagram feed. This is what God said.
So this is what I’m going to say.
Not only did he not side with the majority, he didn’t even side with his closest companion, the servant who was with him who kept coming back six times.
He kept coming back and saying I don’t see anything. I don’t see anything. I still don’t see anything.
There are still no clouds in the sky.
There is still no meteorological evidence that there was going to be a shower that is going to break through the heavens.
Six times he was told by his closest companion that nothing in the atmosphere was changing.
But Elijah did not speak in conjunction with the majority and he didn’t speak in conjunction with even the evidence that his closest friend was saying to him.
He sided with God’s word, what it was that God said.
He brought that perspective to bear to everyone that was in his sphere of influence.
Even the person that had the most power in the culture at the time, he did not go to the king and water down or sugar coat God’s word.
He went with boldness with clarity and without apology and said to him, let me tell you what God said, let me tell you what it is that I have spiritual ears to hear.
I ask you modern day Elijah, what are you proclaiming, what are you declaring?
I’m asking you, what are you speaking to yourself when you look in the mirror and it looks like life is caving in all around you.
There are dilemmas and discouragement and issues that are not only plaguing our culture but underneath the roof of your own house.
There’s grief and loss and straw and division and hurt and you feel overwhelmed or maybe very underwhelmed by the state of your life right now.
I’m asking you, are you declaring to yourself what it is that God says regardless of what you are contending with, open up your mouth and say what God says.
And then I’m asking you, what are you saying to your spouse?
I’m asking you, What are you saying to your Children? Your sons and your daughters?
Listen, I drive my Children nuts. I think I’ve told you this a couple of years ago.
The last time that I was able to be in person with you.
Uh speaking, I told you that I say to my voice very regularly what it is that God’s word says to be true about them even when I can’t detect it, I can’t see it.
And maybe as a mother, I’m quite discouraged by what I see them doing and saying and the decisions that they’re making in these teenage years.
And I worry and concern myself with whether or not these things that I know God has declared to be true about them as men of God.
Whether or not I’m going to actually see them manifested as they mature even though often I am very concerned about that sometimes I still look them squarely in their eyes and I remind them about what God says about who they are.
I remind them that the spirit of God lives on the inside of them.
I remind them that they have already been given the victory.
I remind them that they are forgiven and that they are free.
I remind them that there is therefore now no condemnation for those of us who are in christ jesus.
I remind them looking at them squarely in their eyes.
I remind them that second Corinthians says that they have been made competent.
They are qualified by the very spirit of God.
I remind them of what God says, I’m asking you, are you making it your business, your priority to proactively remind the people in your sphere of influence about what you spiritually have ears to hear and what God by his spirit has given you spiritual eyes to be able to detect your sphere of influence is waiting on you.
You’re the carrier of the word of God in your house.
You’re the carrier of the word of God in your ministry and to the people that the Lord has entrusted to you.
Pastor bible, study leader, women’s ministry leader as you lead as you continue to influence those people entrepreneur that you have employed.
You’re the one that’s gonna set the atmosphere and set the tone because you walk in with a proclamation of what your God has said and you don’t sugarcoat it.
You don’t water it down. This ain’t a popularity contest. You came to tell folks what your God has said.
I remember taking the boys to a 3D movie. This is several years ago.
I was sitting next to them in the theater. We were there.
I think it was a pretty empty theater on that particular day.
And of course, you know when you go in to see a 3D movie, they give you those little plastic glasses and a plastic wrapper, you open them up, you put them on.
And I remember sitting directly next to jude our youngest son and he’s watching the screen just like we all are and after about 10 minutes or so, you know, we’re in the previews and now they’re coming toward the time when the movie’s about to start and my youngest son reaches over and tap taps me on the shoulder and says, mom, I don’t really like this movie.
And I said, buddy, why don’t you like the movie? What’s wrong with the movie?
I looked down at him just as he looked back at me to say, Mom, the screen is blurry.
I tried to peer through the darkness to get a closer look at my son’s face and realized he did not have the glasses on.
I said, buddy, you realize that the glasses they gave you remember there’s a little package, do you have it?
He looked under a seat, it had dropped on the floor. He picked it up.
I said, buddy, you gotta open up that that plastic wrapper, you gotta put those glasses on those glasses, make it so that this film can be clear if you’re not wearing them.
If you’re not viewing it through the perspective that the filmmakers have given you access to, then all you’re gonna see is blurred vision visually.
Are you gonna be able to see is chaos?
You’re not gonna really be able to lean in and see the true intent of what the filmmakers had in mind.
But my young son didn’t recognize that.
It took someone older and wiser with a little experience who had been around the block just a little while, who had been in three D movies before to show him what it was that he needed to fit himself with in order to have the right perspective to see this clearly.
I came to tell you that you are the one who was supposed to make sure that the visual, that people need to be able to view the happenings in this world through a lens that will help them to not see it in a distorted skewed way that lacks holy perspective that lacks divine perspective so that they can see clearly that God still is on the throne.
He is still sovereign. He’s not surprised. He’s not shocked.
He’s moving and working in the spiritual realm and he is going to manifest his plans and his purposes in this generation.
Somebody sitting next to you discouraged and unable to experience the fullness of God, All they’ve got is blurred vision because of everything that’s happening around them.
It’s you you’re the one the one upon which the spirit of Elijah rest so that you can proclaim God’s truth and help them shift their perspective.
There is a species of bird um it’s a crane, actually a species of crane that has as its natural tendency to squawk as it flies.
It’s just natural for this particular crane as it begins to fly through the air with its enormous wingspan, it naturally begins to make a squawking sound out of its mouth.
The only problem with that is as it squawks loudly predators, enemies are now able to detect where the cranes are because of what’s coming out of its own mouth.
Now, they have allowed enemies to be able to zero in on their location because they’re squawking has basically become a gps that points to where it is.
So now that the cranes very life is in danger because of what’s coming out of his own mouth.
So as these cranes begin to mature and develop, the older and older, they get they learn to actually pick a rock up in their beak.
They keep the rock in their beak and as the rock is in their beak, it actually keeps their mouths closed over the rock so that they don’t make the squawking sound that is actually natural and intrinsic to their makeup.
We gotta grow up, it’s time to put a rock in your mouth.
The rock of Ages. That is to keep our mouths closed to complaining.
To bringing perspective to a scenario that is not based on the truth of God, it’s time for us to mature enough.
That we recognize that it’s the rock of ages, our great God and his truth.
That’s going to keep our mouth closed to complaints so that we are not giving effort and energy into the atmosphere that is antagonistic to the truth of God.
Are you doing more complaining?
Then you are applauding and appreciating and presenting the truth of God into your scenario, whether politically or culturally or in your family, in your marriage, in your parenting, in your finances, in your own health.
Today is the day that you put a rock in it.
That you quiet to the complaining and you and I in the spirit of Elijah, we become bold in declaring the truth of God, But that is not all that Elijah.
Did we see in verse 41 that not only did he declare that heavy shower was coming in accordance with the word of the Lord, but it says.
Then he immediately went up to Mount Carmel. He crouched down to the ground.
He put his face between his knees. He assumed the posture and the implication here is that he prayed.
One of the major characteristics of the prophet Elijah.
That has been a major lesson and encouragement and challenge to me as I have gone throughout his entire narrative is that if there is one thing this man is known for, that continually and consistently marks the entirety of his narrative, it is that he is a man of prayer.
In fact, he is so known for this that even when you reach over into the new testament in the book of James, the author writes in chapter five verse 17 about Elijah and says that he was a man who was known for praying earnestly.
The author says, how do we know he prayed earnestly?
Let me tell you, he prayed for three years that it would not rain and it didn’t what I’m drawn to about that is that Elijah was willing to pray for something that was going to put him in an inconvenient scenario, the drought was going to impact him too, but he believed so fervently in not only the possibility and the privilege that he had to talk to an almighty God, but also the responsibility that he had to make sure his prayers lined up with the truth of God.
Even when those truths were going to make his personal circumstances inconvenient that he was willing to pray, even the hard things.
He prayed inconvenient prayers. He prayed convenient prayers. He prayed comfortable prayers, He prayed uncomfortable prayers.
He prayed when he was in isolation, he prayed when he was in the context of a small group, he prayed in private and he prayed when he was in public, flatfooted on Mount Carmel surrounded by thousands of people, prayer was the overarching theme and discipline of Elijah’s life, no matter the circumstances he was in and no matter the context that he found himself in.
Elijah prayed so he was a man that not only proclaimed the truth of God, but he prayed in alignment with the truth of God.
I want to ask you about your prayer life, I want to ask you that even as you and I know and absorb and intend to speak God’s truth, God’s truth to others.
I want to ask, you are your prayers laced with the promises of God.
Have you gone into the scriptures to determine what it is that God has declared to be true about you and your circumstances?
And then are you lining your prayers up So that literally some of the words that come out of your mouth and prayer are actually exact replicas of that which is written down in the text because you are praying in alignment with the truth of God, pray but don’t pray haphazardly, don’t pray casually and without intentionality, pray in alignment with the truth of God.
This takes attention, this takes forethought, This takes intentionality to make sure you know what the promises of God are.
So that you can line yourself up in prayer with what it is that God has already said, Someone asked why do we pray when God has already promised it, why do we waste our breath in prayer?
When if God has already promised it. If he’s declared it. If he’s going to do it, then why pray?
The reason why is because prayer is the key that begins to unlock the resources of heaven so that they are unleashed onto the landscape of our earth, of reality.
Prayer doesn’t manipulate God, it just gives us access to the things that God already plans to do for us.
Anyway, Prayer is this beautiful opportunity that he gives us to be a partner with him in seeing his kingdom come and his will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Our God has given us the key to work with him to be in conjunction with him as his purposes are unleashed on planet earth.
Why wouldn’t we use a key like that?
So, when we see and hear and understand God’s promises, it shouldn’t dull our prayer life and make us lazy in prayer.
Instead, it should ignite our prayer lives with an extra measure of confidence and assurance that we would otherwise lack.
Now that we know God’s promises instead of floundering in our prayer lives now we’ve got some concrete truths to rest what we’re saying on God’s promises then become a roadmap for us attract to follow.
So that our prayers are actually rooted in something specific.
God’s promises become an arrow that points us in the right direction and in and of themselves.
Those prayers actually then become the destination to you don’t have to know the details of how everything is gonna work out.
But you can base every single prayer directly on the promises of God because he is not a man that he should lie.
Elijah’s example shows us that we got to go forward and proclaim what God has said.
Then we’ve got to pray in alignment with what God has said.
But then verse 33, Elijah gets up out of his prayer closet, so to speak and he says to the servant, go up now and look, go look in this new year, if you and I are gonna move forth in the unapologetic spirit of Elijah, we’re going to have to be people that not only proclaim the truth of God and not only pray in alignment with the truth of God, but you and I are going to have to be people who proactively go look for what it is that God is doing in the atmosphere around us.
We can’t be so cooped up in prayer. Yes, we must must prioritize it.
But we can’t be so cooped up in prayer narrow in pro that we then don’t go look for traces and hints of God’s handiwork around us throughout the regular rhythms of our life.
We have to keep our eyes peeled toward the horizon so that what other people might call coincidence, we can see as the hand of God all over it so that when people are discouraged because it seems like God is not answering, we can see the faintest hints that God is moving that God is still operating that in the spiritual realm he is up to something that is going to be manifested soon.
We have to be proactively engaged, our spiritual senses heightened so that we are able to detect the movement of God all around us, practice watchfulness, pray and then go look, don’t allow prayer to become a lazy cop out to where you just pray.
You’re just in your prayer closet yes, prioritizing that very necessary spiritual discipline.
But then you don’t actually come out of that prayer closet and begin to look around you at what God is doing in your business and what God is doing in the political arena and what God is doing in social activism and how God is moving and operating and still demonstrating his power in your Children’s lives and in your company and in the ministry that he has entrusted to you look for God’s activity around you.
Because the moment you started praying, he had already started answering and you know sometimes another observation sometimes because you are so struggling to contend with the discouragement that you may be feeling.
I mean, I mentioned earlier, there have been two solid years of loss and grief in our family.
We have lost eight family members in the past two years, a year ago, this time my mother slipped away to eternity.
I was holding her, she was laying in my arms literally when she took her last breaths And then this past August just seven or 8 months later my mother in law who was healthy and fine.
She went to go take a nap in our home and never woke up.
So just in the past year, the grief, the loss of course that compounded with what we’ve all experienced this year with the pandemic and over the past months, the racial unrest, the political concerns, everything that has happened globally.
Everything seems like it is just tilted on its axis just a little bit and sometimes life can be so hard.
One thing piled on top of the other that sometimes like Elijah all you can do is find enough energy to muster up some words in prayer, but you need a companion that you send out that has enough faith and enough patience to keep their eyes peeled to the horizon when you are not able to do it.
This servant, this friend of Elijah six times was willing to go keep looking and keep looking and keep looking.
And even when he didn’t see anything, he was willing to walk beside allies in the process of watching God work something out on his behalf.
Do you have people around you that love you enough that our patient enough that are discerning enough that not only will they keep on looking when you are too discouraged to keep your eyes open and peeled to the horizon of what God is doing, but they are also so excited about when God moves that even when what they see just amounts to a cloud the size of a man’s hand.
They don’t discount it, they don’t devalue it.
They come running back to you with the good news of what it is that they have begun to see.
God do you need friends like that For about 10 years, Jerry and I lived in this little small house raising our boys in a little small houses about 1700 sq ft or so.
We had our three boys in that house and we loved it had a huge yard, lots of trees, but those trees were problematic because we would drive down into our driveway and it was on a slope.
So we would drive down and that house was positioned underneath the cove of trees that cove of trees made such a little nest there, such a little enclosed in case little cove that we had trouble getting clear reception clear wifi.
It was problematic for the first six months or so that we lived there jerry was calling out every service provider he could to figure out what antenna we needed to put on what part of the roof to try to get clear reception.
It was problematic for me at the time specifically because I was right in the middle of a writing project.
I needed access to wifi. Of course I need to be able to email large documents back and forth to my publisher and to my editor.
It was, it was real problematic for me but we just didn’t have clear reception.
Good thing then that my neighbor lived across the street.
My neighbor, very close friend of mine still is to this day, I would walk across up that slope out of our driveway across the street to her house.
Her house was in clear view with no trees towering over it. So they had clear reception.
She would let me piggyback on her wifi because my house was positioned in such a way that I couldn’t get clear reception.
You need friends like that where when your life is positioned in such a way that you just feel like you’re covered up shadowed over with discouragement and grief and loss and you just can’t seem to get out of the doldrums of that.
You need friends that you can march over into their life and piggyback on their faith for just a little while and they don’t mind.
They fling the doors of their life wide open like my friend did with her home and invite you to come on in, have a seat and take advantage of what it is that they have access to.
Elijah’s example shows us that we must proclaim it, then we gotta pray in alignment with it and then we’ve got to go look for it.
And finally verse 44 Elijah said to the servant to go say to ahab prepare yourself a heavy shower is coming.
If we’re going to be people who move forward into this year in the spirit of Elijah, we cannot only be people who proclaim the truth of God and not only be people who pray in alignment with it and not only be people who will proactively look for, but we’ve got to be people who are prepared for it.
In other words, we act right now, like God is telling the truth, we take our umbrellas out, preparing ourselves for the rainfall that we know is about to come.
Even when nobody else has their umbrella ready, even when nobody else is in anticipation because the skies are clear, there’s not one cloud in the sky were the ones that make sure they know a shower is coming and we encourage them to prepare for what they cannot see yet you’re the one that sets the temperature in the sphere of influence that God has entrusted to you act like God is telling the truth, live in such a way that you are prepared for the downfall that is on the way, even when it just amounts to a small palm sized wisp of cloud that is up in the sky, Elijah says and we say prepare for the seasons to change, It’s been a drought for a long time, but now the rain is on the way, act like yeah way is getting ready to do exactly what he said.
He would don’t allow what you’ve been through and the drought you’ve experienced and the dryness that you have lived through to determine how you walk into the future.
Rain is on the way and it came about verse 45 that in a little while the sky grew black with clouds, there was a mighty wind and then the sky opened up and there was a heavy shower.
Rain is coming. Do you hear it?
Ask the Lord to open up your spiritual ears so that today you can detect the drops of rain that are already falling from heaven on your behalf Lord, I thank you.
Oh father, I thank you that we can go forth by your spirit in the power and in the character of Elijah.
Help us to walk forward into this year setting the temperature setting the atmosphere for all of the people that are in our sphere of influence.
Help us Lord not to cower or cave to discouragement or fear, but let us be the ones that declare unapologetically that rain is on the way Father, Let it rain in jesus name.
I pray amen