Posts Tagged ‘trials’

Pastor Ron Lewis: Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


This week Pastor Ron continues through the little book of Ruth.  Finally, Boaz and Ruth get married.

Notes:

A.  A Marriage and the Birth of a Baby (V13)          011-ruth-3

1.  The Marriage

2.  The Birth of a Son

B.  The Women in town Respond (V14-15)

1.  Words of Praise to Yahweh

2.  Words of Petition to Yahweh

3.  Words of Commendation for Ruth

Please click below to listen to this sermon.

Boaz & Ruth Get Married

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Ephesians 5:20 “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”

This is an especially good Thanksgiving Day message, as we are reminded that we are always to give thanks, not just on one special day.  Listen as Pastor Ron works through the following questions regarding thankfulness.

Notes:                                                            ephesians5_19-20

CONTEXT…

A.  When are Spirit-filled believers to be thankful?

B.  For what are Spirit-filled believers to be thankful?

C.  How are Spirit-filled believers to be thankful?

D.  To Whom are Spirit-filled believers to be thankful?

You can listen to this thought-provoking message below:

 

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As I listened to a sermon this past week something stuck in my mind.  The speaker talked about how we think, and said, “Today the focus is on self, which is all about relief, instead of victory in spite of their circumstances.”  He also mentioned the fact that we are today a medicated society.

I’ve pondered that for a few days now.  “relief instead of victory.”  At first, I didn’t get it.  I thought relief would be victory.  Then, I thought deeper, and realized what he said is actually true. 

We are a society who want quick fixes.  We take a pill for just about everything that ails us.  And, we don’t want to wait for anything.  We have fast food, instant coffee, microwaveable meals, instant soup, phones on our ears, fast cars, instant news, the Internet, instant messaging, and fast texting. 

Everything is speeded up in our lives today, and when we have problems we want quick fixes.  We don’t think we should suffer at all.  We look for that magic bullet that will fix everything.  We buy the latest self-help books, videos, tapes, CD’s and DVD’s.  We go to the latest guru or therapist.  We simply want quick relief.  We pop whatever pill is in vogue. Have you noticed all the television ads for prescription drugs lately?  It seems there is a pill for every thing imaginable that could happen to us.  But, you’d better not listen to the disclaimers or you will not take anything. 🙂

We have problems with relationships, and we want things to be instantly fixed.  But, it doesn’t work that way.  So many times people turn to the wrong things for relief. 

I know a girl who lost her fiance in an accident.  This girl is in her 30’s I believe.  She took it very hard, and rightly so.  It is not bad to grieve, but how you handle it is another thing.  Two years have gone by.  

She desperately wanted relief from the pain of losing the person she loved and  was about to spend the rest of her life with. So, she began drinking even more and did not get the relief she desired so began medication for depression.  Alcohol and anti-depressants are a bad and dangerous mix.  She still hasn’t found the relief she wanted. 

What this person needs is victory.  But, how can she find that?  First, she needs to become a Christian.  Then, as she studies and learns from the Bible she will find that God will comfort her and give her a supernatural strength to get through the tough times. 

1Co 10:13 NASB  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

This verse is talking about trials and temptations that come into all our lives.  If we are Christians God will be in control of the situation and will not allow it to overwhelm you.  He will provide a way for you to endure.  Isn’t that a wonderful promise?  I loved it when I first found that verse.

Now, that would be victory for this girl!  We are not to eliminate the bad circumstances that come our way in life, but instead learn how to live through them with Christ at our side.  I’m sad to see this poor soul suffer when she could be praising God, and get on with her life.  God has something for her if she would only realize she needs to turn to Him.

Another example of how people want relief instead of victory is of a Christian married couple who have had many problems and they end up with a divorce.  Why does that happen?  They want relief from the misery they live in.   Relief instead of victory is not the answer. 

Victory would be if that couple who are Christians would get into the Word and apply it to their lives.  They could change how they see and treat each other.  They could fall in love all over again.  They could with God’s help have victory if they would only do it God’s way.  The man needed to become the leader in that home and the woman needed to step back and be submissive to her husband instead of trying to run him and bad mouth him all the time.  You see there is a difference between relief and victory.

Eph 5:22-25 NASB  Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.  (24)  But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

God knows everything.  Nothing happens to us that He doesn’t allow.  Everything that comes our way is passed through God’s grid.  Nothing happens by chance.   God is Sovereign, and He can allow bad things to come into our lives.  But, there is always a reason.  He is either teaching us or chastising us.  He wants us to grow more in the likeness of Christ as we mature in the faith. 

Rom 8:28-29 NASB  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  (29)  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Well, I guess it comes down to this.  We have a choice.  Do we want to live our lives our own way, living by emotions and feelings.? If we do we will find ourselves full of stress and anxiety and looking for relief, not victory. We will turn to medication, or something to numb our brains, perhaps alcohol, or illegal drugs.  We will say, “God, please just take these horrible feelings away.  I’m tired of the suffering.”  Instead we should say, “God, you know how I feel.  Please give me the wisdom to learn how to live in a way that I can handle adversity with you at my side. Help me Lord to see the lessons in this that you want me to learn.  Help me to judge my own heart and expose any unconfessed sin so that I may confess it and repent of it.”   

Or, do we want to live our lives God’s way.  Obeying everything He commands us to do in the Bible.  If we choose God’s way we will have victory in all our trials and tribulations.  God truly is good and I’m so thankful that He has given us the Bible as a standard to live by.  We live in an age where people want to say the Bible is out-dated, and that it is too hard for any of us to really understand.  Yes, we hear that. But, that is not true.  God is not a God of confusion, but of logic, and reason.  He is rational. 

The key to not merely find relief but to gain victory is when we choose God’s way and our focus is turned from ourselves and toward Christ.  Do you see that?

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nativity62 

It’s Christmas time again and we focus on the babe in the manger.  Yes, that baby, Jesus, came to die on the old rugged cross. He sacrificed His life so that spiritually dead sinners could have new life.  Jesus was truly God’s gift to us. 

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Sometimes that is about as deep as our thoughts go.  I would like to unwrap some other gifts that are under God’s Christmas tree.

I’ve thought the last few days about the greatness of God.  He is absolutely gigantic, humongous, and so huge that I cannot fully comprehend it.  God is enormous.  Just take a minute right now to stop and think about how big God is.  Doesn’t it boggle your mind?  He is out there and has been out there forever.  He created everything and everyone and is in complete control of it all.  He is Sovereign!

1Ti 6:15a NASB …He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And He can do whatever He wants in any situation.  It certainly does boggle my mind.

Then, think about how huge He is in comparison to us.  That is truly amazing! Dump out a few grains of salt from a salt shaker into your hand.  Then pick out one of those tiny grains and really look at it.  From God’s perspective we must look something like a grain of salt.  We are so teeny tiny compared to Him.  We can simply blow on that little grain of salt in our hand and it will fly away never to be found again.  God could just blow us away in an instant too.  That is sobering!  We are at His complete mercy.  And, he is a merciful God! 

With that in mind, the Bible teaches us how much God loves us. Actually, He is Love.

1Jn 4:16b NASB …God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

We are His own creation and are fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Psa 139:14 NASB I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

How intricate our bodies are.  It’s amazing how all the different parts of our bodies work together to make us stay alive.  That is all God’s doing to this tiny grain of salt.  Amazing!

Now, do you think this huge God can keep us?  Do you think He can take care of us?  There is no question about that.  His Word is full of promises about how he will provide all our needs. 

Php 4:19 NASB And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

He tells us not to worry or be anxious about anything. 

Php 4:6 NASB Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Do you think that is harsh of Him to tell us to not be anxious about anything?  I say no, because when we are believers He has promised to carry the load for us.  We do not have to worry or fret about anything.  He is truly in control, even when we feel out of control.  You see He is never out of control.  Our problem is that we go according to our feelings, and forget He is there.  That is our downfall!  We have to rise about our feelings and look at the facts.

When we were saved along with the promise of forgiveness of sins and a future home in Heaven came many other gifts that we can unwrap.  In fact, I’ve written about a few of them in the past few months.  Just as a reminder I’ll list some of them here.

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1.  We are forgiven all of our sins.

2.  We are a new creation.  (inside)

3.  We are adopted into God’s family

4.  We are citizens of Heaven

5.  Our Father will take care of all of our needs.

6.  We are more than conquerors because we now have God’s power of the Holy Spirit living within us.

7.  We will have peace of God, and peace with God.

Those are just a few of the gifts that God has so graciously provided for believers.  They are not for the people of this world, only His special children.  Those who have the family resemblance. 

I believe that we need to take a step back from ourselves.  We need to see ourselves the way God sees us.  When we do we realize all of our problems are really very small even though they don’t seem like it.  If we get our eyes off our circumstances and focus our minds on God, we allow Him to flow through us, and we have the power to make it through our problems.  We will still have trials, but they will not overwhelm us.

We can still be defeated Christians even with all those gifts if we fail to unwrap them use them. We can’t continue to live our lives the way the people of the world do.  Those ways don’t apply to us anymore.  Unbelievers only have themselves to work for them.  I remember before I was a Christian how “I” had to figure everything out, every detail, and I wasn’t always right in my decisions either. I messed things up a lot of the time.  Now, we don’t have to control every situation.  We don’t have to control others. We don’t have to be perfect.  We don’t have to please everyone, only God.  We can relax and know that God is taking care of things for us.  He IS big enough you know! 

I praise God for the wonderful gift of that little baby in the manger.  And I thank Him for all the other gifts under God’s Christmas tree that He has lavished upon us.  Unwrap them for yourself this year.

Eph 1:7-8 NASB In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (8-a) which He lavished on us.

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Do you have problems?  Does fear and worry seem to follow you around all day long?  Does the future seem scary?  Do you face trials that seem overwhelming?  If you answer “yes,” to any of these questions I want to encourage you today that you can overcome!

How do I know that?  Well, I know because of the written Word.  Yes, the Bible clearly states that we will have trials and temptations.  Look at James.

Jas 1:2-4 NASB Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God tests our faith by trials to see if we are genuine. We get through them and as a result we have more endurance and our faith grows which helps us to work toward perfection and completeness.  Of course, we will not be perfect and totally complete until we are in Heaven. 

When anxiety and fear raise their ugly heads in your life, God gives you choices. What do you do?  Do you give in to it? Or do you resist the temptation to sin and set your mind on things of the Lord? 

Col 3:2 NASB Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

When you are worried, stop doing that, and think about Bible verses.  Meditate on them.  Read some of the Psalms.  Get your mind on things above and off from your feelings, and fears.  This needs to become a new habit.

We can take comfort in the fact that God will not allow us to undergo a trail or temptation that is too great for us.  He is still there, Sovereign, and in control.  He is our Heavenly Father, loving and kind.  He only allows anything into our lives that will be good for us in the end.  It may not seem that way now, but someday we will see the purpose.

1Co 10:13 NASB No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

“As a ground of encouragement to those who are in temptation and trial. God knows what they are able to endure; and he will sustain them in their temptations. It matters not how severe the trial; or how long it may be continued; or how much they may feel their own feebleness; yet He who has appointed the trial is abundantly able to uphold them. They may, therefore, repose their all upon Him, and trust to His sustaining grace.”  (Barnes commentary)

Remember, that others have survived the same trials and temptations that you are experiencing.  You are not different.  You are not the only one who feels the way you feel. It might not seem that way, but it is true.

God still loves you no matter how you feel.  We sometimes get caught up in our feelings and forget the facts.

Rom 8:35-39 LITV Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) Even as it has been written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day; we are counted as sheep of slaughter.” Psa. 44:22 (37) But in all these things we more than conquer through Him loving us. (38) For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

No matter what we go through God is there with us and His love sustains us.  That allows us to be “more than conquers through Him loving us.”  That means to over-conquer, to conquer completely without any real threat to personal life or health.  NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.  That is an amazing statement. 

Whatever is going on in our life right now we know that God is totally in control. He is raising us up because we are His own children.  Sometimes He allows bad things to come our way in order to test and train us.  We are slowing becoming more and more like Christ as we journey through this life.  We face our trials and we grow in Him.  We learn many lessons and depend on Christ alone to sustain us.

1Jn 4:4 LITV Little children, you are of God and have overcome them, because He in you is greater than he in the world.

Yes, we can be overcomers!  God is greater than the evil one who is in this world.

Again, I ask, “Are you overcome by the trials in your life?”  Seek God and obey the things you learn in the Word.  You will overcome!  You have God on your side!  What a Wonderful Savior!

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