4 THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT FACING LIFE'S CHALLENGES WITH GOD'S LOVE
Romans 8:18-39 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us...”
- THE GLORY WHICH IS TO COME WILL OUTWEIGH THE GROANING OF YOUR HEART. (1 Cor.2:9 Eye hath not seen... neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.) “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus” (Everything you are going through now is “TEMPORARY!”) God will take you through what you're going through. WHY? Because He loves you.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT – GOD’S PRESENCE – IS HELPING YOU. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”(Ja.4:8 Draw near unto God and He will draw near unto you.) WHY? Because He loves you.
- GOD IS WORKING FOR YOUR GOOD. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Phil.4:13 I can do - endure - all things through Christ who stengthens me.) WHY? Because He loves you.
- NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD’S LOVE. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Jn.10:28 You are in Gid's hands and nobody can snatch you away.) WHY? Because He loves you.
PETER: WAS FLAWED BUT ALSO VALUED. Peter made mistakes and needed to be corrected but Jesus saw the good in him, discounted the bad, and went on to use him as a courageous champion for the New Testament church.
ELMER: WAS SOCIALLY HANDICAPPED BUT… Elmer was constantly bothered with self consciousness and social fears. He was 6 feet 2 inches, weighed 118 pounds, athletically awkward and physically weak, but, making matters worse, his school mates poked fun of him and called him names because of the way he looked.
His mother knew of his self-esteem handicap and encouraged him to pursue an education in order to compete in this world. Their family was too poor to afford his schooling so he did what he could to raise money for his education, room, board and clothing.
While in school, he wrote an essay that his mother encouraged him to turn into a speech so he could enter a public speaking contest. With much fear and trenbling, he followed his mother's suggestion and won first place, local fame in the town newspaper and the applause of his former school mates who once ridiculed him.
Thanks to his mother's love, he continued his education, started writing speeches for politicians and even became the editor of a newspaper. His success and the completion his law degree, not only conquered his inferiority complex, Elmer Thomas went on to become a US senator where, ironically, he was voted as the best dressed man in the entire senate.
What can be said of a mother’s love? Yet, God’s love for you is infinitely greater…
JOHN 15:13 "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay's dowwn his life for his friends." WHY? Because He loves you.
SHINE YOUR LIGHT!
THE MOST FAMOUS SERMON OF ALL TIME (Matthew 5, 6 & 7) IS THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT BY JESUS CHRIST...
THIS INCLUDED THINGS LIKE "THE BEATTITUDES" (unselfish attitudes), LOVING OUR ENEMIES, THE LORD’S PRAYER AND ONE OF MY FAVORITE VERSES...
Matt. 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
JESUS TALKED ABOUT DOING GOOD WORKS BUT, IS THIS HOW WE EARN ETERNAL LIFE? NO, JOHN 3:16 REVEALS WE MUST SIMPLY "BELIEVE."
SO, WHY SHOULD WE DO GOOD WORKS?
I READ A BOOK: CONSPIRACY OF KINDNESS (by Steve Sjogren) THAT TELLS ABOUT THE BLESSINGS OF GOOD WORKS AND HE TOLD THE STORY OF A FATHER AND SON WHO WERE DISCUSSING WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A GOD AND THE SON WROTE A LETTER TO GOD, LIKE A PRAYER, ASKING HIM TO LET HIS FATHER KNOW IF HE IS REAL. LATER, THIS FATHER AND SON WENT TO A FREE CAR WASH WITH A CHURCH GROUP WHO DID NOT WANT ANY DONATIONS SO THEY COULD DEMONSTRATE GOD'S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE TO THEIR "CUSTOMERS." WHEN THE SON HEARD THIS, AS IT WAS EXPLAINED TO HIS FATHER, HE PROCLAIMED, "THIS IS THE ANSWER TO MY PRAYER." HE DECIDED, AFTER SEEING THESE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST SHOW THE LOVE OF GOD TO THEM, THAT THERE IS INDEED A GOD.
THERE ARE MANY STORIES LIKE THIS WHERE THE KINDNESS OF A BELIEVER GIVES A LOVING WITNESS TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDED TO SEE GOD'S LOVE IN ACTION.
DID JESUS DO THIS, THAT-IS DEMONSTRATE GOD'S LOVE IN ADDITION TO DISCUSSING IT? YES HE DID. HE TAUGHT ABOUT GOD'S KINGDON AND THEN HE FED 5,000 PEOPLE, HE HEALED A MAN AND THEN TALKED ABOUT FORGIVENESS, AND HE HEALED A CENTURIANS SON RIGHT BEFORE HE TAUGHT ABOUT FAITH.
SHINE YOUR LIGHT BY DOING GOOD WORKS… WHY??? TO SHARE GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AS A WITNESS TO HIS GOODNESS SO OTHER WILL BELIEVE!
IF WE ALL LIVED LIKE THIS WE WOULD CHANGE THE WORLD.
I BELIEVE, THIS IS NOT HOW WE ARE SAVED FOR ETERNAL LIFE (Johhn 3:16-17) BUT IT IS WHY WE ARE SAVED.
*From Matthew 6:9-13
- Your prayers honor God and His greatness. (Psalms 199:3)
- Your heart is yielded to God's will and His way. (Matthew 5:16)
- You see Jesus Christ as your source. (John 15:5)
- You are open to sharing the blessings God gives you. (Luke 6:38-39)
- Your life aims towards doing what's right. (Galatians 6:9)
- Your sins have been forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
- You fully understand that God is your rescuer. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
*OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILT BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUT DEBTORS. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL, FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
PRAYER TO DRAW NEARER TO GOD: Dear Father in Heaven, I know that I need you and I gratefully accept Your help, Your hope and Your love, demonstrated through Your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to be mindful of all You have done for me and guide me towards the good works I can do in Your name. Please forgive those times when I have failed You. I pray You forgive me of any all of my sins so there will be no obstacles between us. Please help me live a good life and guide me with the blessing of Your hope in my heart, both now and every day. -AMEN
John 10:9-11 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
- The word abundant means bountiful, rich, plentiful, infinite and overflowing. (Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38-39) THIS IS BOTH OUTSIDE & IN
- The abundant life is only through Christ. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) BUT IT’S NOT EXCLUSIVE. IT’S ACTUALLY THE MOST INCLUSIVE RELIGION OF ALL FOR EVERYBODY AND ANYBODY. (John 3:16)
- God’s promised abundance goes beyond the natural, the temporal and the physical. From here to eternity God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3-4; 3:20). This includes such invisible qualities as love, holiness through forgiveness, with healing, which are connected in the Scriptures. (Psalms103:3; James 5:14-16).
- The counterfeit life is the way of condemnation and death. (John 8… Jesus removes condemnation and halts death.)
- Abundant living radiates with good works that glorify God. (Matthew 5:14-16)
STORY: The gang leader formerly know as "Son Of Satan" was violent and dangerous until a preacher reached out to him, at the risk of his own life, to show the love of Jesus and a better way to live. The preacher, Dave Wilkerson, led this gang leader, Nicky Cruz, to the Lord and through his commitment to God in Christ he entered into an abundant life with his Heavenly Father. Nicky became an evangelist and now travels around the world leading others to The Savior and eternal life through forgiveness of sin along with a relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ The Lord. Nicky found the promised abundant life out of John 10:10 because of the good works of Dave Wilkerson.
- Forgiveness (not guilty) On the cross (Luke 13) the words of Christ were, "Father forgive them..." HOW MUCH MORE WILL HE FORGIVE YOU
- Adoption (new identity) JOHN 1:12 Families tend to stick together. Our all-knowing God values you. YOU ARE CHOSEN AND VALUED BY GOD
- Following Jesus (pressure’s off) Ja.1:22 encourages you to do what God's word says. Similar to a traffic cop in congested traffic... OBEY AND BE OKAY
- Indwelling (inner power) Mt. 28:20 reminds you Jesus is very near. Keeping that in mind is incentive to good behavior. HE MOTIVATES YOU TOWARDS GOODNESS
- Peace (friend of God) JOHN 15:13 According to the Proverb, a friend can be closer closer than family. Jesus calls you a friend. COUNT ON HIS FRIENDSHIP
- Redemption (no fear of condemnation) Your soul has been bought and paid for. God's receipt for this purchase in the cross of His Son. YOU ARE GOD'S TREASURED POSESSION - PRICELESS
- Assurance of eternity (no death) John 3:16-17 reminds us that God does not want us to be punished. Our sins were justly punished through Jesus Christ our Lord. THROUGH HIM YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
Accept The Lord’s sacrifice = FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS AFTER ADOPTION (John 15:13-15)
Acknowledge your need = DON’T BE SHY - ASK HIM (Hebrews 4:15)
Assume the friendship position = IMAGINE THE PREFECT BEST FRIEND ON EARTH AND MULTIPLY
If a dear friend made you a promise, would you hope to believe them? Could you count on them?? Would you bet your life on them coming through no matter what??? Hopefully, most of the time, you'd do well to count on them but; how much more - infinitely more - can you count on God The Father?
CONSIDER A FEW OF HIS PROMISES, FOR YOU, OUT OF HIS PREFECTION AND GREATNESS. The way He promised Noah in the book of Genesis that there would be a flood and commanded him, for his own good, to prepare the ark. God keeps His promises for both judgment and rescue.
God also promised, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, that you could have a fresh start on life where old things pass away and all things become new. Like a full pardon from judgment for your sins.
Ephesians 2:4-9 promises salvation from sin and death through God's love and grace through faith in Jesus who died - and was punished - in your place. Believe it...
It is logical to ask, after this fantastic plan was fulfilled that allowed God to be both just and forgiving through Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9); WHY DID GOD DO THIS - for what purpose? You are designed by your Creator to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)
Philippians 4:13 promises you that Jesus Christ, your indwelling Friend (John 1:12/John 15:13) will get you through what ever you are going through. God promised!
Psalms 23:1 and Philippians 4:19 promise you that God will provide for you, as long as you let Him lead you to His provisions. If you follow, The Lord provides.
STORY: Peter, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, was fishing without having any luck. He was probably frustrated and tired since he was a professional fisherman by trade. Jesus, a carpenter's son, told him to cast his nets into the deeper water one more time and Peter reluctantly obeyed but was immediately rewarded with a massive catch of fish. He followed instructions and The Lord provided.
POINT: God will get you through what you're going through and, if you follow Him, He will provide for you.
John 15:7 (The word of The Lord) "If you abide in me and My words abide in you, you can ask what you will and it will be done for you."
GOD’S HEART MEDICATION FOR A BETTER LIFE
1. KNOW CHRIST (GOD'S PERFECT EXPRESSION OF LOVE John 3:16)
EVER HEARD KIDS BRAGGING ON THEIR DADS? CAN YOU BRAG ON WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU?
"He loved me when I was unlovable, changed my life, gave me purpose, helped me when I prayed…"
2 . DON’T LIVE IN PAST Philippians 3:13
LIVE IN PRESENT/TRUST GOD FOR YOUR FUTURE (Pr.3:5-6/Mt.6:33-34)
Living in the past can be a pride issue or a lamentation. Either way, your future focus is compromised.
3 . BE FAITHFUL TO GOD WITH YOUR LIFE
SERVE GOD IN ANY WAY YOU CAN (Jer.29:11) AND JOIN A HOUSE OF WORSHIP
Give God time for reflection, inspiration and submission to His greatness.
4 . HAVE A GENEROUS HEART (Luke 6:38-39; Philippians 4:15-19)
BE GENEROUS WITH OTHERS IN FRIENDLNESS, ATTENTION AND CARE
Self-centered people usually have fewer friends.
5. BE HUMBLE BUT NOT FALSE HUMILITY
Philippians 2:3-4 ALLOW YOURSELF SELF TO BE SUBORDINATE TO GOD AND SUBMISSIVE WITH OTHERS.
6. SEE THE GOOD IN OTHERS WITH GOD’S LOVE LIKE HE DID WITH DAVID – AND YOU (1Corinthians 13:5)
NOBODY IS PERFECT SO TRY TO SEE SOMEONE'S GOOD POINTS. IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR HEART.
7. HAVE A GRATEFUL HEART
THE SWEETNESS OF GRATITUDE ATTRACTS OTHERS (LIKE HONEY INSTEAD OF VINEGAR)
THE UNGRATEFUL HEARTS IN ROMANS AND REVELATION WERE CHASTISED BY THE LORD
DO EVERYTHING WITHOUT COMPLAINING PHILIPPIANS 2:14
BE GRATEFUL IN ALL THINGS (ELEVATES YOUR SOUL AND SPIRIT) 1THESSALONIANS 5:13
It is timely to turn our hearts towards God, like David did, and express our gratitude for our relationship with Him, for our country BEING FOUNDED WITH HIM IN FULL VIEW - one nation under God - and for our freedoms that allow us to exercise our faith together with like-minded people.
2 Chron. 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Is there a secret to happiness in The Sermon on The Mount? (Matthew 5)
I believe God wants us to be happy. Psalms 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Acts 2:28)
The Sermon on the Mount begins with a list that Jesus Christ gave us known as The Beatitudes. Each one of these eight or nine items begins with the word Blessed (Gr., Makarios meaning happy or blissful) The best word we have for this word today is “Happy.” We could read each phrase with the words, "Happy are those..."
Matthew 5:3-10 (Words of Christ) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
TO SUMMARIZE, THE PROMISED REWARDS IN THIS SERMON INCLUDE; REUNITING WITH GOD, INNER STRENGTH, A RICH ETERNAL INHERITANCE AND IMMORTALITY!
THIS RICH INHERITANCE RIVALS THE MELVIN DUMMAR STORY. Melvin was a gas station attendant who gave Howard Hughes, the billionaire, a ride in his car when he needed a lift. Later, because of one good deed, Melvin received an inheritance from the Howard Hughes estate in the amount of $156,000,000.
NOW, LET’S SUMMARIZE SOME OF THE THESE WINNING ATTITUDES THAT LEAD US TO GOD'S ENDURING HAPPINESS
The poor in spirit, meek, peacemakers and merciful all deny themselves for others.
Those who mourn (have given themselves to love deeply)
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness lay down their selfish desires.
The pure in heart, serve to please God.
Those persecuted for righteousness stand strong for God & don’t cave in to social pressure)
I SEE SOME COMMON DENOMINATORS IN THESE HAPPY ATTITUDES
I see evidence that our sinful and selfish tendency (where we all struggle) is put down.
Finally, there is love for God and others in these attitudes to which we should aspire.
BOTTOM LINE: BEING UNSELFISH, THAT-IS LIVING A LIFE OF GIVING AND LOVING, IS A PATHWAY TO THE LORD'S HAPPINESS THAT ENDURES. WHAT IF YOU TRULY FEEL UNHAPPY FOR GOOD REASON? THAT'S OKAY FOR A SEASON BUT WITH GOD'S HELP IT WILL BE TEMPORARY. (Ecclesiasties 3)
YOU CAN GIVE WITHOUT LOVING BUT YOU CANNOT LOVE WITHOUT GIVING. BE A GIVER. BE HAPPY.
Have you ever had a problem so challenging that you can barely pray for lack of faith?
Look at Daniel 6 when God could have stopped King Darius from sentencing Daniel or prevented the king’s servants from throwing him into the lions den. God let Daniel go in to the den and then IN THE NICK OF TIME God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions. Daniel trusted The Lord and prayed 3 times every day in spite of dangerous opposition. God was glorified by royal decree to be feared and reverenced in the kingdom. 1 Thess. 5:17
We can look at many others who were saved IN THE NICK OF TIME. The three Hebrew men in Daniel 3 (saved from the flames), Jonah (saved by a fish), Peter (saved by an angel) and the thief on the cross (saved by Jesus); ALL IN THE NICK OF TIME. These accounts really attract our attention because we’ve all been caught, as some point, in a desperate no-win situation that provokes us to pray earnestly.
STORY: My friend, “Big Bill,” was just a little slow but very lovable and had a challenging childhood because of his slight disability. One day he was walking home from school with his sister when some neighborhood thugs began to harass them. Bill immediately ran home, leaving his sister alone with the gang of troublemakers. She just thought, because he was a little socially awkward, he could not help himself from running away in a panic. Actually, Big Bill ran home to open up the doors of his house and released their dogs. They came to his sister’s rescue IN THE NICK OF TIME and the bullies all had to run away. Bill was not being simple minded; he was being smart. These are all great stories that give birth to hope and optimism.
Now, what about Lazarus in John chapter 11? The classic rescue scenario did not go the way everyone expected. Not only did Jesus miss his IN THE NICK OF TIME appointment; He was too late to save His friend whom He loved. He was at least 4 days late; after the death, the funeral and the burial. REMEMBER, JESUS SAID NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD. (Luke 18:27)
IN JOHN 11 JESUS CALLED FOR THE GRAVE STONE TO BE MOVED, HE CALLED LAZARUS BACK TO LIFE AND HAD HIS GRAVE CLOTHS REMOVED. THIS IS POSSIBLY THE GREATEST MIRACLE JESUS EVER PERFORMED BUT WHAT BROUGHT IT ON?
WHERE DID THIS MIRACLE BEGIN? IT BEGAN WAY BACK ON VERSE 3… THEY SENT WORD TO JESUS...
NEVER - FEEL ALONE IN YOUR DIFFICULTY. THERE ARE ALWAYS PEOPLE WORSE OFF AND EVEN MORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SURVIVED THE VERY THING YOU’RE GOING THROUGH.
Jesus said you will have trouble in this world but He has overcome the world. – John 16:33
So, what impossible and overly-intimidating puzzle are you dealing with? Pray faithfully like Daniel, trust like the three Hebrews in the furnace and send word to Jesus like Mary and Martha did. Tell Him what you need. OUR GOD IS ABLE TO DELIVER YOU.
Tired of “bad news” that brings you down, makes you feel conflicted, worried and helpless? It’s considered common knowledge that bad news sells papers and even TV journalists seem to follow that same philosophy. So, instead of hearing about the good Boy Scout who helped the lady across the street, you’ll be more likely to hear of a lawsuit that a lady filed against the city because she sprained her ankle in a pot hole.
DO YOU EVER GET TIRED IF THE DRAMA OF LIFE? SADLY, IT’S UNAVOIDABLE. BUT, THE GOOD NEWS IS, MOST OF LIFE’S DRAMA IS TEMPORARY.
Example: The day I got married we learned that our tuxedos were the wrong color. Talk about drama! Fortunately we ended up with the right colors in the end. The drama came and went. More often than not, our worries don’t unfold they way we fear. In fact, I’ve heard, 90% of what we’re worry about will never come to be. Furthermore, to 10% that does happen is not as bad as we thought.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about good things. Can we do it?
Today, it’s all good news… “God’s Got This!“
Now Jesus said, in John 16:33, that we will have trouble in this world but also; we should not be dismayed because He has overcome the world.
LET’S LOOK AT SOME TROUBLES IN THE BIBLE. A condemned woman was guilty (John 8) and supposed to be executed but Jesus came and rescued her right after He dismissed her accusers. Joseph in Genesis was abused, persecuted, falsely accused and imprisoned but he remained faithful to God. His affliction, however, became affection for God who rescued him. Remember Galatians 6:9 that encourages us to keep doing good things.
(GOD CAN TAKE A GRAVE SITUATION AND TURN IT INTO SALVATION)
Also, remember today’s good news for all your troubles, “God’s got this.“
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
The Lord has all power which is incomprehensible but also available to us.
SUGGESTED PRAYER FOR THE TROUBLED HEART: Father God, I give you all my troubles and ask you to bolster my faith with Your ever-present Spirit. Give me Your power to get through the drama of life and bless me with Your joy to elevate my spirit for hope in a bright future with You by my side. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN