Geography Is Important to God – Part 1 by Pastor Leon Forte
Before Pastor Forte began his talk, he demonstrated what a 30, 60, and 100 fold blessing meant. It is not a multiplication of blessing, but far greater than that. He asked for a piece of paper and folded it in half. Then folded it in half a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth time. After the sixth fold it was too small to fold again. When Pastor Forte opened up the paper he showed us that there were marks on the paper by the folds. A six-fold paper had 72 squares on it. Imagine how many 30 or 60 or 100 fold would have!
I enjoy Pastor Forte’s teaching of the Bible. He mixes humor and examples in the telling of the Scriptures and the teaching of the lessons. I think that humor helps us to learn better because tough messages can get to us through our laughter. If Pastor Forte is ever speaking in your area, I highly recommend that you attend his teaching for you will be abundantly blessed.
Last night’s lesson was on Acts 17, when Paul visited Mar’s Hill. The people at Mar’s Hill were worshipping other gods, yet Paul was not offended. Paul understood that at least they were trying to worship but were looking for God in all the wrong places. Paul played the hand that was dealt.
When we go to minister to others, we have to remember that they too may be worshipping other gods, and we need to play the hand that we are dealt. Don’t forget that when we go to the lost sheep, they are going to be doing lost sheep things. Your dentist is not offended if you come with bad breath or a bad tooth. That is what your dentist is trained to do. Your plumber is not offended if you have a clogged pipe – it is what the plumber makes money from. We aren’t going to find new sinners just staying in church, we need to go where they are and win them to God. Sinners should not offend us for we are called to minister to them.
Acts 17:22-25 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
Then we read the next verse three times. Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Notice ONE BLOOD, TIMES, and BOUNDARIES. We are one blood. And geography is important to God who created places before he created people. When God created the earth, he made people for every place. People are made in the image of God, and filled with the Spirit. We have the potential to get back to where Adam was, all over again.
Demons want to possess people. They know we have a voice, with power, given to us by God. Demons do not have a voice unless they can take over a body. Our bodies are earth suits that house eternal spirits. Pastor Forte told us if a person is demon possessed with a cursing spirit, you cannot imagine what can come out of the person’s mouth with such a spirit. The devil wants to curse the earth and uses human mouths to do so. He also uses witchcraft and new age to curse the earth.
We are here (near Woodstock) for a purpose, to redeem evil. God is the redeemer. We can begin to redeem the earth by blessing everybody. Love people. As we grow in God we begin to see that it is not all about “me.” We can learn to love the unlovable – maybe not like them, but definitely love them. Sometimes we have to hit the wall several times to shake us out from being “me” centered. At some point we go over the wall and begin to reach out to help others, we become Kingdom centered and it isn’t all about us. We want to be about the Father’s Business. Psalm 24:1The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. God is using HIS CHILDREN to get HIS stuff back.
WHERE YOU ARE IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHO YOU ARE! You may be where you are because of who you are.
Many of us are where we are because of who we are, what we’ve been through has equipped us to minister where we are. We may not like the place we are at, we may be at a job where most of the people are ungodly, instead of in a nice Christian job where people are having devotionals at work and fasting two times a week. We may be at the job with the ungodly because people there need to hear the good news. We are not to just stay in church, God wants us (the church) to be out in the world where people need us. God does not always move us to a place by a supernatural revelation, sometimes we are brought to where we are by physical circumstances. An example of this is found in Luke 2, where Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the census.
Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem, and God organized events to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Joseph was, at this point, not led by the Holy Ghost, circumstances made him travel. There was no angel or voice from Heaven with the voice of Charlton Heston’s deep voice saying, “Go to Bethlehem.” The move came because of a DECREE from Caesar Agustus that there was a CENSUS.
Sometimes God uses NATURAL CIRCUMSTANCES to move you into position for His purpose. Maybe there is a reason why you received that pink slip. God may use that to get you to go where He wants you to go. Maybe Tyrone backed out of the marriage so that the right person would come into your life. God may use Jimmy Hendrix to get you to come to Church. He will use natural circumstances to place you in the right position.
Sometimes we are rebuking the devil and the devil is not being “buked.” It may be that the devil was not in the adverse circumstance, but it was God putting you into position. Sometimes when God says, “No,” He is helping you. Sometimes God ignores you when you are acting like a fool, and that is to help you. It may not seem like help at the time, but it is.
Pastor Forte gave us the example of Simon Peter. Jesus told Simon, Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. When God says your name more than once, He is trying to get your attention. And notice that satan had to ask permission to tempt Simon, to sift him. To steal, kill and destroy is what satan desires to do. His first MO is to steal. You don’t steal wheat off of something unless there is wheat to steal. In order to be able to sift wheat, there has to be fruit to sift. The difference between the tares and the wheat in the parable is that the tares don’t produce fruit so they stand proud and tall, but the wheat plants bow down in worship. Peter did not know that he had wheat (fruit) but the devil did.
Luke 33:32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus prayed for Peter. Notice it is WHEN you have returned to me. WHEN you are converted, not IF, but WHEN.
Peter tells him that no way would he betray Jesus; that he will go to prison or die for Jesus. Jesus then tells him. Luke 33:34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Pastor Forte tells us the rest of the story in modern terms. Jesus goes to Jail and before that Peter did some stuff. He cut off the ear of the police officer (guard). Jesus had to heal the ear before being taken to jail. Peter messed up and he was the only one to receive a personal prophecy from Jesus. The prophecy was, “Peter, you are getting ready to mess up.” Jesus is brought to Caiaphas’ house for his first trial.
Peter ends up warming himself at the world’s fire. So often when we backslide we warm ourselves at the fire of the world. While Peter was warming his hands, a serving girl asks him, “Weren’t you with Him?” Peter tells her, “No.” Little girls don’t give up and she asks again, and receives another “no” answer from Peter. She persists and asks a third time, “I know you’re one of His for your voice betrays you.” People will know us because they recognize the change in our voice. The sheep begin to sound like the shepherd. Peter curses Jesus, and as soon as the curse comes out of his mouth the cock crows three times.
Jesus, after being beaten comes out and looks at Peter, but doesn’t say a word. In the flesh we would be tempted to say, “See, I told you so.” Jesus could have said, “Run Peter.” One word from Jesus would have caused Peter to be killed, and Peter would have been crucified even before Jesus. Instead, Jesus kept his mouth shut.
Sometimes when God says nothing He is saving your life. Don’t think God doesn’t see you. Had Peter listened to Jesus, he would have been where he was supposed to be.
We then went back to Luke 2, with Mary and Joseph. God is the one that let natural circumstances guide Joseph to Bethlehem, not an angel or a prophet. There was no vision, no prophecy, just an order from Caesar to go and be counted in the census.
SAUL, the 1st King of Israel was searching for lost donkeys and couldn’t find them. Pastor Forte wondered how you could lose donkeys. God permitted this to get Saul into a position to receive his anointing from Samuel. Saul’s servant suggested seeking a prophet to find the donkeys, but Saul told his servant that he had no gift to give a prophet. You don’t go to a prophet empty handed. His servant had a stash of money, for you never know when you need a prophet. The donkeys, Samuel told Saul, went back home. Then Samuel told Saul to go up on a hill and he would meet a group of prophets, and prophesy with them. God used natural circumstances to get Saul to this point so that Samuel could anoint Saul and transfer the anointing.
God is transferring the anointing and then things in your circumstances will make sense, for they become the key to what you are to do. Our time for bench sitting is over. We will be given supernatural ideas, for we are here for such a time as this. Where you are matters as much as who you are.
Mary and Joseph will have the baby, in a barn. This is not the place where a king would be born, so when Herod sets out to kill Jesus, the last place he would look would be a barn.
The devil does not know who you are. Remember the devil is NOT GOD’S EVIL EQUAL. He is an ex-employee, and disqualified.
Mary was pregnant, her water broke and she was going to have the baby. Herod was searching for this king. The devil wants to kill the deliverer while he is in his infancy, before he can grow up to be a threat.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Joseph isn’t Spirit filled, but God led him through natural circumstances. God places Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in a safe place. Then the kings come bearing gifts for Jesus. We don’t know if they are three, the Bible does not tell us how many. The kings bring frankincense, gold, and myrrh. For being prophets, they are not too good in that area, for they do not know where the baby is. They arrive when he is a young child, and the first place they go is to the enemy to ask for where the child king is. Herod says, “Yes, and let me know where he is I want to ‘worship’ him too.” Lie. Herod wants to know where the baby is to kill him.
Pastor Forte told us how a baby King was honored in those days. The baby would be placed on a scale and then gold placed on the other pan of the scale, a coin at a time. When the two sides of the scale are equal, that is the price paid to honor the baby. A newborn baby would receive fewer gold coins than a young child. Each of the kings brought gold to honor Jesus. This gold was necessary for Joseph and Mary could not go to Egypt empty handed, they would need a lot of gold to support themselves.
GEOGRAPHY is important to God, and God gave Joseph and Mary the means to bring Jesus to safety and hide him until Herod dies.
Sometimes God leaves you in a place and keeps you hidden so that you can grow, gain weight, get fat, and then people will recognize you and give you more, for now you have gained weight, and you will get the provision you need. This is where the saying, “worth his weight in gold,” comes from.
Sometimes God has us hidden in a place that you do not like, waiting until you grow and gain weight, and mature, to the point where you are ready to receive your blessing. Yet, while you are safely hiding, you are moaning and groaning because of where you are at.
God knows the right time to deliver you out of that place and get you ready. God has fashioned our days. God may have placed us in this area to raise us up as intercessors. We can be in a church in the woods at Woodstock for such a time as this. God has set us in a place to bless us and those around our area.
Pastor told us that he loves our church for it is so diverse and multicultural. He told us we are like granola – fruits, nuts, flakes, sweetened with honey.
Pastor Forte told us some examples of how God placed people in Scripture in the right place at the right time to receive their blessing. I will share those examples with you tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
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