THE POWER OF OUR THOUGHTS

PART 2

This morning we began looking at how powerful our thoughts can be and how they can make a difference on how we we behave and what we can accomplish in this life. Tonight, I want to continue this principle of how powerful our thoughts can be.

 

Jesus told His disciples:

 

Matthew 17:20Ö for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

 

Great things can be accomplished for the Lord when we put our faith and trust in the Lord. Tonight we will be looking at a few examples that show us what faith in the Lord can do, which will show us just how much we can accomplish if we have faith as a mustard seed.

 

Our first example comes from 1 Samuel when Saul was the first king of Israel. He had been battling against the Philistines. At this point in the battle, the Philistines had a huge advantage over them. Saul and his men were down to 600 men with only 2 swords in their camp while the Philistines had a huge army with all kinds of weapons.

 

We are going to pick up on our story in 1 Samuel 14.

 

1 Samuel 14:1 Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father.2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men.

 

We are not told why Jonathan decided to sneak off without telling his father but apparently he felt like his father would not have let him go if had know his son's plans. The Philistines he was going after had set themselves up in a strategic position. They could not be attacked with ease because they were located up high and a person would have to climb up to get to them, which is exactly what Jonathan and his armor bearer are going to do. If you will look on the map you will see that all of these events were happening within this circle.

 

1 Samuel 14: 6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few."7 So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart."

 

In Heb. 11 there is a list of men and women who accomplished great things because of their faith in God. Well, from our text, we can see that Jonathan has this same kind of faith in God. Now he wasnít sure if God would help him, but he knew in his heart that if God was on his side, he could defeat this mighty army of the Philistines and his armor bearer was right there with him.

 

This is a classic example of the kind of faith that Jesus said could move mountains. Jonathanís faith in the Lord and His ability to level the playing field despite the odds was all that he needed to push himself forward even though others may have said it is impossible to do.

 

This is the same kind of faith we need to have. We should face all our battles and struggles of our life trusting in God knowing that He will bring about the best results for us. As Paul said in:

 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

It is not always easy to push forward especially when we do not know for sure how God is going to help us, but like Jonathan, we must put our faith in God and realize that He will make things work out for the best.

 

Having this kind of faith will not only help us deal with the struggles in this life, it will help keep us moving closer to God and not being afraid to fight the good fight of faith. When we have committed our thoughts to trusting in God, we will not be afraid to tell others about Jesus or warning others about the consequences of turning their backs on God.

 

Having this kind of faith will motivate you to be like the many Christians who refused to deny their Christianity even when they say their family being eaten by lions or when they were being burned at the stake. If more Christians, would have the faith as a mustard seed think about how much could be accomplished for the Lordís kingdom today.

 

1 Samuel 14:8 Then Jonathan said, "Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them.9 "If they say thus to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them.10 "But if they say thus, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us."

 

During this time, we see that the Lord would show His people signs, and He also spoke to them through His prophets and through visions and dreams. Of course, He does not do this anymore because we have His completed Word. Jonathan would know if God was going to be with Him to defeat these mighty men or if he should stay where he was based on their response.

 

1 Samuel 14:11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden."12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." Jonathan said to his armorbearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel."13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them.14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.

 

Sure enough, when the Philistines see these two men, they ask them to come to them. Can you imagine how scary it would be to be the shoes of Jonathan and his armor bearer? Imagine standing at the bottom of a steep cliff and you only have one other person with you and to top it all off you only have one sword. Think about how small and insignificant you would feel as you tilted your head back and gazed up the steep cliff looking at your enemies high above you telling you to come up and see something.

 

In the back of your mind you would be thinking if I climb up, all they have to do is start throwing things at me and it could easily kill me or you would also have to consider the fact that your arms and legs would be like jelly by the time you scaled the side of the cliff leaving you very little energy to fight your enemy.

 

When we really think about what Jonathan and his armorbearer were about to do, we can really appreciate the amount of faith they had in God. Their faith paid off because between the 2 of them they kill 20 of these Philistines. But now we are going to see how God is going to help them even more.

 

1 Samuel 14:15 And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there.17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, "Now call the roll and see who has gone from us." And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armorbearer were not there.18 And Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God here" (for at that time the ark of God was with the children of Israel).19 Now it happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase; so Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand."20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man's sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion.21 Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.22 Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle.23 So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.

 

As I think about what takes place here, I canít help but think about what Paul wrote:

 

Romans 8:31If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

 

The Philistines army was a like a mountain and because Jonathanís faith was as a mustard seed, that mountain was moving. God caused an earthquake that continued to shake the camp of the Philistines and scared them and confused them so much that they started killing themselves and when Saul and the other children of Israel realized what Jonathan had started, they came out and finished destroying the mountain of Philistines that Jonathan began moving with his faith.

 

This is what faith as a mustard seed can accomplish and shows the power that our thougts can have. You and I can have this same kind of faith, but it takes a great commitment and trust in the Lord. If you and I could learn to have at least half the faith that Jonathan did, we could accomplish a great deal for the Lord.

 

As I said, it is not always easy to remain focused on God because the world and it problems have a way of distracting us as illustrated by Peterís faith that we read about in:

 

Matthew 14:25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."

 

Peter was the kind of man that was always gung-ho at first, but he struggled sometimes at remaining faithful as he should. Peterís example shows what can happen if we allow ourselves to get distracted by the things that are around us. At first, Peter had faith as a mustard seed; otherwise, he would have never stepped out on the water in the first place, but it did not take long for his faith waiver once he noticed the winds and how it pushing things around, he began to sink, but thankfully for him, Jesus was there to lift him up and bring him to safety.

 

In a similar way, when we find our faith wavering and we begin to sink because of the distractions around us, we need to cry out to God in prayer, knowing that He will be there like Jesus was for Peter and will help us to safety so we can regain our faithfulness once again.

 

Of course this was not the only time Peter began to sink because of His faith. We know that he denied Jesus 3 times after Jesus was arrested, and he also was found to be a hypocrite when he started treating the Gentiles different than Jews before Paul corrected him. If someone like Peter can struggle with his faith, we must understand that we will struggle with our faith from time to time, but the important thing to remember is that God is always there to help us back up when reach out to Him and ask for help. As the apostles said to the Lord:

 

Luke 17:5 ††"Increase our faith."

 

There are many other examples I could share with you from the Bible which shows how powerful our thoughts can be when we have faith as a mustard seed, but one of my favorites is one of the most well-known stories in the O.T. Of course, I am talking about David and Goliath. The reason the particular event stands out for me is not because of its popularity, it is because of the courage that David showed because of his faith in God. Let take a look at the text.

 

1 Samuel 17:1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim.2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines.3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, "Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.9 "If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together."11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

 

Saul nor his men had the faith they should have had. They were scared and Goliath was a mountain they could not move.

 

1 Samuel 17:17 Then Jesse said to his son David, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp.18 "And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them."19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.21 For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army.22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers.23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them.24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.25 So the men of Israel said, "Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father's house exemption from taxes in Israel."26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, "So shall it be done for the man who kills him."

 

David was just a young man, but unlike all of Israel, he was not afraid of Goliath, and his faith in God caused him to want to move this mountain out the way for His people.

 

1 Samuel 17:28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle."29 And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"30 Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him.32 Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

 

Sometimes those closest to you will try to deter you from having faith as a mustard seed, and others may think you are not capable of performing your task because they think you're too young, too old, or too weak, but we cannot let others deter our faith. We need to have the confidence of David who was willing to go fight this might Philistine though no one was willing to. Even when Saul, his king, lacked confidence in David, we see Davidís response:

 

1 Samuel 17:34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.36 "Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."37 Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"

 

 

David had complete trust in God. He knew without a doubt that God would allow him to defeat this mighty man. We can have the same confidence in God if we put our trust His ability to help us the giants in our lives. No matter how big that mountain may be faith as a mustard seed will make it move.

 

1 Samuel 17:38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off.40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him.42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking.43 So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.44 And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.46 "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.47 "Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."48 ∂ So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

 

Davidís faith in God gave him the courage to face Goliath and win, and we can be victorious in our life when we have we have that same faith as a mustard seed. Not only will our faith in God benefit us, it will benefit those around us and encourage them to keep the faith. After David defeated this giant we read:

 

1 Samuel 17:52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.

I hope these lessons today have shown you just how powerful our thoughts can be. As Christians, we should do our best to have faith as a mustard seed so we can accomplish great things for the Lord and boost our confidence our salvation. I hope something I have said today will make you stop saying I canít and start saying I can with the Lordís help.