Sunday, August 28, 2016

In A Pickle

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

This last Sunday, our church had the privilege of having the CEO of our denomination Willie Nolte preach the Sunday Sermon. It helps that he happens to be one of the Elders at our church. Pastor Willie reminded us that we are a part of a bigger mission within a larger Kingdom mandate of the Christian church in the world, to seek and reach the lost sinners, to lead them to the foot of the Cross for forgiveness, salvation and life eternal in Christ. This does not mean that we will have a trouble-free live along the bumpy, hilly and curvy road to heaven. Trials and trouble are inevitable, but has always been a part of God’s redemptive story-line being played out in history.

In John 16:33, Jesus tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Ever find yourself in a pickle? Ever find yourself up a tree? Ever find yourself in a fix? Ever find yourself up a creek without a paddle? Ever find yourself in a jam? How about ever finding yourself between a rock and a hard place? Yeah, ever find yourself in a tight spot? Well, God delivering His people throughout history is the Bible narrative and Theological example of God’s mercy and grace by the figurative and literal blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. This is the lesson of the “older” Testament, which contains the common thread of the “Gospel” throughout. For example: The Exodus from Egypt and the journey to the Promised land is God’s Redemption story. God allows or guides us into predicaments in order to accomplish His purposes in our life, in the lives of others, or in the world. This is the theme. Make no mistake; God was leading and protecting them and God is leading and protecting us today.
Did the Israelites see or know God’s plans, understand what was going on or what God was doing? No and neither do we know what coming down the turnpike next, but we have the promises of God today and the Promised Land of Heaven on the horizon. Though unseen, God reveals that He is Lord of all with power and clarity. Sometimes, we are not ready yet to handle the alternatives of know the plan, but God want His people to know and trust Him; to believe in God and have a great reverence for Him. Redemptive history changes our “was” to an “is” in what the Christian church is doing today, and yes, God is still leading and protecting His people. This side of glory, God is never done working with us, through us and for us.   

God doesn’t lead His people to destruction. When you find yourself in a pickle, the best response is (1) Don’t fear, (2) Stand firm, (3) Watch, (4) Let God act. Know that God will work things out. He will never leave us or forsake us. God’s Holy Word is consistent throughout. Predicaments and hardships are His way to change things or make them come to pass. It takes Remember who is the higher power. It takes a dilemma to break us free from habits and destructive patterns of life. We have a tendency to look back and go back to where we came from or look around to put the blame on others. When hemmed in on all sides, the best place to look is up. The Lord is fighting for us. If God is going to get the glory, He must do the fighting. Figuratively, “Red Seas” open and close at God’s command and in His timing. God is sovereign over everything and never wavers. Know that God has our “best’ interest in mind as He accomplishes His purposes in our life. But, there is an essential element in order to receive: a personal relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed Sunday, Brian

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