Steps to Victory

School Days  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:13
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Me -
I ran Youth for Christ here in the city for 20 years. During that time, I had to raise money for my salary, and the salaries for staff that eventually came along. That was a fun time, but a scary time. The fun was working with kids and seeing lives changed. The scary part was raising the money to do that.
We had a Board whose primary responsibility was to raise funds, although some of them didn’t seem to realize that fact. One board member who did understand that, and who did a great job, told me before he left on a 3 week vacation to Europe that I probably needed to get another job to help out because New Orleans is a difficult place to raise funds. He was right about NO being a tough place. nearly any area of the country is easier than this area. His words however stung since they were coming from a friend who was heavily invested in our ministry.
I prayed and prayed and worked and worked… but it seemed like we were not advancing. When my board member returned, he told me he had been working through Experiencing God and that the Lord spoke to him. He basically said, God told him that while there was a business side to the ministry, it was a ministry and needed to be treated that way. Then he wrote another $10,000 check which allowed me to catch on pay.
We began to pray this way. We began to ask God to show us where he was at work snd join him in what he was doing. All of a sudden, things began to happen. Ministry exploded with schools asking us to come do clubs, assembly programs and small groups… money also began to flow better.
I had to learn to rely on God’s strength and not my own.
Maybe you have been there. It may not be a ministry that you began, but it’s something.
It may be that you have had to are learning to depend on God instead of yourself. I think that’s maybe a life-long process.
Maybe you have been like me and keep chasing the same 10 pounds around all the time. You try and try, but it just seems like you cannot get the weight off.
Or maybe you have struggled with an addiction like pornography. Porn addiction is every bit as destructive as crack or anything else and it’s just as difficult to stop because it changes your brain chemistry.
At some point, we all have to learn to depend on God’s strength and not our own.
God turned YFC around because I learned to depend on God and cry out to him. And for years, the miracle of YFC reached thousands of teens and preteens in our schools.
We are in 21 Days of prayer and I want to give you seven principles that will acts as steps to prepare our hearts to approach God and to learn to wait on Him to do his miracles.
I believe these 7 steps will help you find breakthrough in your lives.

7 Steps to Lifelong Victory

1. Identify your problem areas

1 Peter 5:7 NLT
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
What problems are you dealing with? If you are like most of us, you are dealing with something. It could be food problems, relationship problems, financial problems, addiction problems.
You can probably identify some areas where you are struggling, or are discouraged about, or frustrated with… things you cannot do anything about.
You may be struggling with an addiction: eating; drinking; shopping; bad relationships; anger; approval’ attractiveness; and power to name just a few. Have I got you yet?
God has plans for your problem areas, but you have to identify them first. He will eventually turn them into victories, but you have to identify them first.
One way to do this is to write them down. Maybe keep a journal. There are even apps you can use… or the notes feature on your phone. This will let you see what you need to give to God and trust him with. When identifying these struggles,
Honesty is the key when identifying your struggle areas.
The bible over and over again tells us to admit or confess our sins. Don’t be afraid to do this with the Lord.
Keep the list to yourself for now.

2. Admit your inadequacy.

James 4:6–7 NLT
6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Once you have identified your struggles and problems areas, admit that you cannot solve the problems… that you are inadequate to deal with it on your own. God promises here to be generous with those who are humble themselves.
A humble person is someone who says to the Lord, “I can’t do this on my own, I am totally in over my head.
James is teaching us to submit ourselves to God in humility. Once we have submitted our-selves to the Lord, we can resist the devil. Just tell God that you need him and he will not let you down.
When you draw hear to God, He will draw near to you.
Confess your sins and weaknesses to God
Agree with him about how you have strayed from his plan for your life. Remember, he already knows anyway. He is waiting for you to come to him with it because Jesus has already paid the price for your sins… all of them.
This is not about condemnation. It’s about regret and sorrow that leads to repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT
10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
You cannot save yourself and you cannot change yourself. Just being sorry won’t change anything. When you cry out to God and admit your dependance on Him, he will lift you up.
James 4:10 NLT
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
Remember this,
Through Jesus you have a totally new identity. (Gen 1:26; 1 CO 1:2; Eph 2:10; Rom 5:17; Eph 1:6
You are made in God’s image
Genesis 1:26 NLT
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
You are His own Holy People
1 Corinthians 1:2 NLT
2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
You are God’s masterpiece
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
You are righteous because of what Jesus did for you
Romans 5:17 NLT
17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
You are completely accepted by God
Ephesians 1:6 LBP
6 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.
We Identify your problems and admit our inadequacy to do anything about them and then

3. Cry out to God

Psalm 50:15 NLT
15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
When you have identified your problem areas… the areas you are struggling with and humbled yourself enough to know you can’t fix it, you are ready now to approach God.
Take your troubles to the Lord. You see this all through the Bible. When people cry out to the Lord, He answers.
story of Linda ???
Maybe you need to forgive someone. You can’t do that on your own. When someone hurts you, you can’t forgive them on your own and it will make you miserable until you turn to the Lord.
Ask God to help you remember the hurtful words or actions or situations. Then speak these words.
(Name), I forgive you for (the offense). Then ask God to take away the hurt.
You will find that God will do that. It might not happen right then, but it will happen if you pray this sincerely. Gary Smalley - if God did it for Gary, he will do it for you.

4. Believe that God will rescue you.

You don’t just have to believe God can rescue people, you need to believe he will rescue you. Buford knew God could heal, he just didn’t know if God would heal him?
Ephesians 2:4–5 NIV84
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Paul is telling us in this passage that we don’t have to try to fix ourselves. We are saved, and made alive by God’s mercy, grace and strength. We just have to believe it and act upon it. We have to apply it in our lives. We will have to do this daily.
Pick an area you are struggling with and begin to use the process we are discussing and when God gives you victory, you can use it with another struggle. over eating… impure thoughts… anger… Maybe you have never heard anyone say that God can free you if you cry out to Him and trust Him to release you. if you haven’t, I am telling you now that...
God can & will free you if you cry out to Him and trust Him to release you
All through the Bible, it’s clear that God will give you and I the power to take our stand against the struggles of life.
Ephesians 6:10–14 NLT
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
Philippians 4:13 NLT
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Jesus will give us the power to do anything He is leading us to do. We just have to realize that we are fighting spiritual battles against external powers that we cannot see and that are trying to trip us up. We need to ask god for His supernatural strength to overcome it. Trust Him to rescue from the struggle.
Will you find victory? Yes. Will you struggle again? Probably. Then you do the same thing over again. If he gave you victory once, he will do it again.

5. Be willing to wait as long as it takes

Psalm 130:5–6 NIV84
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
God doesn’t measure time the way we do. Remember, a day is like a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years like a day. It won’t take a thousand years for the Lord to rescue you… it might feel like it because time seems to slow down when we are in a struggle and it may seem like it’s taking forever for the Lord to rescue you.
Waiting is none of our strong points, but we need to learn to wait on the Lord. When we learn that waiting is actually what God wants us to do and that it’s not just “doing nothing” we will learn to enjoy the wait and not be so impatient.
Maybe someone has hurt you. It may take some time of crying out to the Lord before you are finally free of the desire for revenge.
Not forgiving someone is like Boudreaux. He had a lump on his chest. it’s dynomite. Why? Thibidoux keeps thumping him on his chest. this time he will blow his hand off.
Someone siad that holding onto anger and bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
While you are waiting, Wait with expectation that God will free you of your bitterness, your anxiety, your fear of failure, your (fill in the blank). During this time, keep asking him to take it from you.
Luke 18:1–5 NLT
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’ ”
Be like that persistent widow. Keep crying out to God and expecting Him to release you until he does.
The Key is to believe that God will work a miracle in you, giving you His supernatural strength.
Then you have to be willing to wait until it happens. How long should you wait? As long as it takes.
Abraham waited 90 years for his miracle.
Israelites wandered in the desert 40 years before entering the promised land.
There are a lot of stories in the Bible of people who had to wait for their answer. When we wait for God, He gives us his supernatural strength and that’s way better than our best.
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Part of our problem is that while we are waiting, too often we are focused on the problems. The bible says to wait upon the Lord and so that’s where our focus should be because that’s where our deliverance will come from.
Remember, Keep praying for God’s help to defeat your problems. Your breakthrough will almost always involve waiting on God’s timing. Be willing to wait as long as it takes. Keep your focus on the Lord.

6. Expect God to give you a breakthrough

Ephesians 3:20–21 NLT
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
There is an old song titled, “Something Good is going to happen.” That’s a great song and we need to live with that expectation. Whatever we are praying for we know it’s going to happen.
Jill and Jack were married while they were in college. She was certain he was the guy for her. Three years later she was crying out to God for help because she felt like Jack was becoming the enemy.
Her faith created a wall in their marriage because he didn’t want anything to do with it. The conflict was pushing Jill to an emotional and physical breakdown… she gained 20 pounds, developed an ulcer and was miserable. She wasn’t even asking Jack to become a Christian, just to come to church with her and understand her need to take their 2 year old daughter with her. Jill came to an end of herself.
She began to work these steps we are discussing. she identified the problem area, humbly admitted her inadequacy to change her husband, cried out to God, believed God would help her and was willing to wait. She expected God to give her a supernatural breakthrough.
Two years later Jack was driving home and was t-boned sending his car spinning into a power pole. EMS said no one should have lived through that especially since his aribag didn’t work. At this moment, Jack realized all the peace, and love his wife had extended to him over the last two years and went … What if God is real? Suddenly he had a spiritual breakthrough and knew that God was real and that he loved him. That Sunday Jack went to church and he hasn’t stopped growing in his faith since.
Listen, God is God and He will work something amazing and supernatural in your situation just like he did for Jack and Jill.
If you are praying for a breakthrough make sure that you are looking for one
God may bring someone along that will something to you or you may see something while you read the WOG or a devotional.
God will bring the breakthroughs in your life, but …
After breakthroughs, there can be setbacks
Sometimes after a breakthrough in your life, you will experience a setback or setbacks. The problem area may pop back up and we can fail in an area we thought we had defeated. When that happens, we need to do what Paul said to do. Rejoice! When we do that it puts our focus back onto the source of Joy… God.
Say God frees you from food addiction and you are doing great. But then the holidays come and you find yourself at a potluck stuffing your face with all sorts of great food and pies and cakes… alcohol… anger…
The temptation is to go home feeling defeated and full oof shame. Don’t!!!! That’s what you used to do and now you can do as Paul said in 2 CO 12:9-10
2 Corinthians 12:9–10 NLT
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Shame and fear of resuming your bad diet is not productive. Re-focus on God and His ability to to free you from your problems even the ones you are facing again. Remember what the Bible says about trouble in James 1:2-4
James 1:2–4 NLT
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Wait for the Lord to act and expect another breakthrough. Each time this happens, you become stronger and closer to life-long change. You will see yourself going for months then years without the struggle.
Because of God’s power, you will have victory and freedom you have never even dreamed of.

7. Pray faithfully and persistently

Luke 11:9–10 NLT
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
When you are asking God for freedom from your strongholds one of the keys is to he both faithful and persistent. Keep praying until god gives you the answer watching and waiting for Him to act in his timing.
In this passage, Jesus is saying to keep asking, seeking and knocking. He tells us that if our earthly fathers want to give us good things, that our heavenly father wants even more to give us good things.
Luke 11:11–13 NLT
11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Whenever we are praying we need to take care of unfinished business.
Mark 11:25 NLT
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Reconciled relationships improve our physical and mental health as well as making our prayers more effective.
It’s the same principle Malachi stated in the Old Testament.
Malachi 2:13–16 NLT
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. 15 Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
Damaged relationships cause us emotional, physical and spiritual harm. It can also place a barrier between us and God while we are praying for our breakthrough.
What does it mean to pray faithfully? Pray seeing the answer
Faith in the New Testament is defined as the reality of what we hope for.
Hebrews 11:1 NLT
1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Praying faithfully is praying without doubting that God will answer. Remember that Jesus said we could move mountains with our faith in Mark 11:23-24
Mark 11:23–24 NLT
23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Here is what that means in our conversation this morning. God has laid an stronghold in your life that he will deliver you from. That’s your mountain. Jesus is saying that you can speak to that mountain of trouble and it’s going to be thrown into the sea. People may laugh, but God is faithful.
Someone may tell you that you pray once and then leave it… name and claim it. I don’t believe that. Jesus said we are to pray persistently.
The story of the wicked judge shows us that we are to be persistent. he closed the story by saying that God will answer His chosen ones who cry out to him day and night. if even the wicked judge i this story answered the woman’s request, How much more will God, who is holy, just, good and who loves us, answer our requests.
In Luke 11:5-8 When Jesus said, we are to ask and keep on asking, he was saying to be persistent.
Take this promise seriously and personally. It’s for you. Keep on asking, seeking and knocking.
You and I need God’s strength and power to make changes in our lives. We can’t make these changes on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit living in us so he can turn our problems into victory.
It begins with a relationship with Jesus. You have to invite him in.
He will give you both the desire and the power to do what he is leading you to do. Phil 2:13
Philippians 2:13 NLT
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
He is the one who wants you to be healthy. He is the one who wants you to eat healthy… to not be captured by any addiction or strong hold. He is the one who wants you to have great relationships and freedom from cheap substitutes.
Prayer time
Pray for the steps
Identify your problems
Admit your inadequacy
Cry out to God.
Believe that God will rescue you.
Be willing to wait as long as it takes
Expect God to give you a supernatural breakthrough.
Pray faithfully and persistently.
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