Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dead End Streets

Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Last Sunday, Pastor Kyle asked: Have you ever been in one of those places where it gets worse before it gets better? Or, in a place where nothing is really going wrong and you are following God’s plan as a person of faith, but everyone else seems to be doing better than you? That can truly get us discouraged when we compare and see a dead end street that can tempt us to question God and our faith. It’s at these times that we tend to focus on what we do not have, with impatience of God’s promises, even though things are going pretty well. With the Bible, we tend to look through rose-colored glasses, expecting for everything to go well, while actually see obstacles and dead ends of life. When not getting what we want, we might find ourselves asking: Did I not get the right message from God? Is this really going to happen? Why isn’t God coming through on His end of the bargain? We can feel that God is not helping us get to the next phase of our life quite fast enough when nothing materializes … yet. Every day our dream dies a little more.

Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Kyle gave us three things to keep in mind when faith feels like a dead end street. (1) There is always (at least) one thing that causes us to doubt the essential goodness of God’s plan. God’s timing is not our timing. We need to remember that God exists outside of “time” and invented “time” for us. Therefore, God speaks His promises as if it will happen today, but in reality it is all in His timing; not ours. (2) God is present in our fear and pain. God deals equally with us all and wants us to place our fears and pains into His hands. With God being outside of time, as we read God’s Word, we can know the end of the story and trust it. In our life, we do not know what tomorrow brings or how our story will end, except for heaven or hell beyond. (3) When God asks us to do something difficult, it is always for a greater reward. We may not know what our future holds, but we know who holds our future in His hand. Great people of faith throughout history still struggle with God and their faith because we are still in the flesh on this side of eternity.  

Romans 4:1-3 “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Faith that pleases God = Trusting God enough to do what He says. Zero doubt and zero fear are on that side of eternity (in Heaven). On this side of eternity, we need to unconditionally trust God in faith. Doubt worries, but sticks with the Lord; not walks away and disobeys. Our faith is a gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” The Holy Spirit fills our heart and helps us to follow God and gives us the strength to live the life that He calls us to live. Believe in the godly things that God has in store for us. There are no dead end streets when you walk with the Lord. When a door closes, another door opens.

God, I believe. Help me to understand what you have for me.

In Christ, Brian

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