Please be seated. Please be seated. Thank you so much. Can you all hear me? (clears throat)
You look really, really good.
Um, good morning. I think it is still morning. Good morning to all of you. To our members of our platform, our distinguished faculty, and administrators, to the royal court, um, students, staff LeMoyne-Owen, students and staff of Hollis F. Price, It’s a pleasure, such a pleasure for me to be here this morning to speak just a few words to you. What I want to do is just speak a few words of encouragement.
And the title of what I want to talk about is called, is called, I’m still standing, we’re still standing.
The scripture says that rain falls on the just and the unjust. No matter how good a person you are there’s going to be some rain in your life. Being a person of faith doesn’t exempt you from difficulties; remember that. That’s important.
Jesus told a parable about wise man who built house on rock. This man honored God. Another man built his house on sand. He did not honor God. Then the rain descended. The floods came and the winds blew and beat on the houses.
What’s interesting is that the same storm came to both people: the just and the unjust. If the story stopped there, you’d think that it doesn’t make a difference whether we honor God or not. The same thing happens to you that happens to everyone else. You built your house on the rock and yet you’re in this storm. I got a bad medical report, my child is off course, and I lost my biggest client, but that’s not the end of the story. If you judge it too soon, it will seem as though faith doesn’t make a difference. Jesus went on to tell that after the storm was over, the house built on the rock was still standing. The house built on sand collapsed and was completely ruined.
The difference is that when you honor God the storms may come but you have a promise that the others may not have. When it’s all said and done you’re still be standing. In tough times, you have to remind yourself, this is not the end. My house is built on the rock. The enemy doesn’t have the final say; God does. And He says that when it’s all over, we’ll still be standing. You may get knocked down, but you won’t get knocked out. You may suffer set back and have to go through some dark stormy times, but don’t get discouraged or bitter. That’s just a part of life. It rains on everybody. If you’ll stay in faith you have God’s promise that when the smoke clears, when the dust settles, you won’t be the victim, you will be the victor. You’ll still be standing.
All of us can look back and see things that should’ve defeated us. You may have gone through a divorce or break up that could have given you a nervous breakdown. But look at you now. You’re still standing. Still happy. Restored and whole. That’s the goodness of God. That addiction you once had. All the drugs and partying you did, should have probably killed you but because of your praying mother and grandmother, you’re still standing. Clean, sober, and free. The medical report said you were done. That sickness would end your life. But God said I have another report. It ain’t over, you’re still standing. Maybe you lost a loved one and didn’t think you could go on, believing your best days were over. But God breathed new life into you. Lifted you out of a pit and put a new song in your heart and here you are still standing. You have been through some difficult dark places but you have also seen the goodness of God. You have seen him lift you, restore you, heal you and protect you.
When you have this history with God and you remember what he’s done, you don’t get discouraged by every difficulty. You don’t get upset when people talk negatively about you and you don’t fall apart when you have disappointments. You know that God brought you through the darkness in the past and he’ll bring you through the darkness in the future.
If you are going through a difficult time, you need to look back and remember what God has done. He made a way when you couldn’t see a way. He opened doors that you could never have opened. He put you at the right place at the right time. He vindicated and restored you. You did it – he did it for you in the past and he will do it for you again. Your house is built on the rock. You have the promise that no matter what comes your way when the storm is over, when the trouble passes, when the opposition ceases, one thing you can count on is that you’ll still be standing. You have the DNA of the almighty God. You may get knocked down, you may have a setback, but you aren’t going to stay down. There is something in your DNA that says, get back up again. That’s not where you belong. You’re a child of the Most High God.
Typically during a hurricane in places like Florida, all kinds of trees are blown down. Huge oak trees that are 4 or 5 feet round and look as sturdy as they can be are no match for winds of about 100 miles per hour. Pine trees over 100 feet tall can often be found lying in yard after yard. Big trees, small trees, oak trees, pine trees, elms, and magnolias. None of them can withstand the hurricane force winds. There’s only one type of tree that you will ever notice that isn’t blown down. The palm tree. It’s because God designed the palm tree to withstand storms.
Unlike most other trees, the palm tree is able to bend so it will not break. A certain kind of palm can bend over until it’s almost touching the ground. During a hurricane, it might stay all bent over for 2 or 3 hours. It looks as though it’s done as though it’s finished. I can imagine a hurricane puffing and huffing thinking I may not be able to blow you down like I can the oak and the pine, but at least I can cause you to be all bent over. At least I can cause you to do that and keep you from ever standing up tall again. That hurricane keeps blowing and blowing thinking that it’s winning the battle and after a few hours, it runs out of strength and the wind subsides. And you know what happens next? The palm tree stands right back up as it did before.
Why is that? God put bounce back in the palm tree. It may get pushed over, but that’s only temporary. It’s just a matter of time before the palm tree rises up again. Psalm 92 says The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. It could have said we flourish like an oak and that we’d have big strong wide branches. It could have said that we will flourish like a pine tree and be so tall and impressive that we’d be seen for miles. The reason God said we’d flourish like a palm tree is that God knew we’d go through difficult times. He knew that things would try to push us down and keep us from our destiny.
So he said, I’m going to make you like a palm tree. I’m going to put bounce back in your spirit. You may go through a dark period of loneliness, of loss, of disappointment. The rain will come, but don’t get discouraged, it’s only temporary. At some point the winds will subside, the storms will pass and just as with that palm tree, the bounce back is put in you by your creator is going to cause you to stand right back up.
Don’t believe that you’ll never get well, never overcome the addiction, or never get out of the legal situation you’re in. No, your house is built upon the rock. You may be bent over right now, you may have some difficulties, but when the storm is over, you’ll still be standing. What’s interesting is that when the palm tree is bent over during the hurricane you would think that’s very damaging to the tree and that it it it makes it weaker. But research shows just the opposite. When it’s being pushed and stretched by the strong winds, that’s strengthening the root system and giving it new opportunities for growth.
God never brings you out the same. He makes the enemy pay for bringing the times of darkness and the trouble. What’s meant for your harm, he’s going to use it for your advantage. It’s not going to break you, it’s going to strengthen you. You’re not only going to be still standing, you’re going to be standing stronger.
Like the palm tree, no matter how hard those winds blow, you cannot be uprooted. You cannot be toppled. You cannot be broken. Other people do not determine your destiny. Remember that, other people do not determine your destiny, God does. He’s the one who breathed life into you. No matter what opposition you may face on your job, in your marriage, with your child, with sickness and disease, or financially, keep the faith.
God has the final say and He says no weapon formed against you shall prosper. He says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us out of them all. He said a good man may fall 7 times but the Lord will raise him up. That’s the bounce back. Now you have to get in agreement with God. Don’t have a weak defeated mentality that says why did this happen to me, I don’t understand it, nothing good ever happens to me. It happened because you are alive. It’s just a part of life. It rains on all of us. The good news is because you’re the righteous, you have something in you that the unrighteous don’t have.
Like the palm tree, you have bounce back on the inside of you. No matter how hard those winds blow, they cannot defeat you. If you’ll stay in faith you’ll be able to say I’m still standing. Sickness knocked me down for a little while, but I came right back up. You’ll be able to say, I went through a slow season at work, had some bad breaks, but it didn’t defeat me. I came out promoted and stronger. I’m still standing. You’ll be able to say, I went through this breakup, somebody walked out on me and caused me heart ache and pain, but look at what the Lord has done. He brought me somebody better into my life.
In the tough dark times, you have to realize that you’re not alone. The Most High God is fighting for you. The enemy doesn’t know it, but he’s not fighting you. He’s fighting God. And if, and God doesn’t like it when the enemy fights his children. How many of you have kids? And when somebody can do somethin’ to you but when they do somethin’ to your kids, that’s a whole ‘nother thing. So, he’s got your back. God’s got your back. He brought you through the past and he’s going to bring you through in the future. Now you have to do your own part and get your fire back. You can’t sit around in self-pity and thing about what you lost and who hurt you and how unfair it was and they talked about me and they didn’t treat me right. You can’t do that. That’s going to keep you down. Shake off the weak defeated why did that happen to me mentality. A warrior doesn’t complain about opposition. A warrior loves a good fight. It fires ’em up.
That is what David did when he went through a big disappointment. While he and his men were out protecting the boarders of his, of Israel (excuse me, clears throat) doing the right thing fulfilling his purpose, bandits came in and attacked his home city. They burned down the houses. They stole the people’s belongings and took captive all the women and children. When David and the 600 men returned and saw the smoke and realized what had happened, they set down among the ashes and wept until they could weep weep no more. It was the worst day of their lives. It was David’s greatest defeat. He was deeply distressed and there was talk among the men of stoning him.
It looked as though it was over. It would have stayed that way if it had not been for David. (clears throat, excuse me) He did something that we all must do if we are going to see the bounce back. Instead of his staying in the ashes, thinking about how badly life had treated him, the warrior spirit rose up on the inside. He said, wait a minute. I may be down and discouraged. I’ve suffered my wort loss, but this is not the end of my story. (thank you) I am the righteous. I have bounce back in my spirit. My house is built on the rock. I have the promise that when it’s all over, I’ll still be standing.
He started encouraging himself in the Lord reminding himself who he was and Whose he was. He told his men get up, dry your tears, and shake off the discouragement. We’re going to get what belongs to us. They went out and not only attacked and defeated their enemies, but they got all of their possessions back as well as their wives and children. The scripture says that they recovered all. David’s greatest defeat turned into his greatest victory.
We all face unfair situations. We may find ourselves in dark places such as David experienced and looks, that looks as though you are going to be buried. But if you’ll have this warrior mentality, if you stir your faith up and go after what belongs to you, the enemy won’t have the last laugh – you will. He may hit you with the best shot he has, but his best will never be enough. You have bounce back in your spirit. The forces for you are greater than the forces against you. Like David, you may be down for a season and it may pour rain and flood. But because you have this warrior mentality, when it’s all said and done, you’ll still be standing.
As I close, remember this: You are not weak or defeated. You are a warrior. You have resurrection power on the inside of you. You may be own right now, those winds are blowing, but like the bent over palm tree, you’re not going to stay down. You’re about to come back up again, better off, stronger, healthier and promoted.
This is a new day for you and a new day for LOC. Things are changing in our favor. God has promoted LOC in the past and he’s promoted you in the past and he’s going to do it in the future. So you’re going to have the bounce back from all the sickness, the bounce back from from depression, bounce back from bad breaks, bounce back from loss. The winds can’t uproot you or topple you. The enemy doesn’t have the final say. God does. He says that because your house is built on the rock, when it’s all said and done, when the dark storm passes and the floods and winds subside, you’ll still be standing – the victim, the victor and not the victim.
God bless each and every one of you.
Thank you so much.