AUDIO Couldn’t God Have Done Something?

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1754: Samson pulling down the Temple of Dagon, god of the Philistines. Bible: Judges XVI. Mid-19th century chromolithograph (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

By Rev Bill Woods

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7  even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
10  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Have you ever been in a hard situation and asked God, “Can’t You do something to help me?”………

I wonder if we understand God’s purpose in our lives.

    – Why do we think God’s obligated to protect us from everything?

God has one purpose in our lives now and only one goal for us in the future.

    – His objective is that Christ be glorified in us.

      – There’s no other purpose for the present.

Christ prayed before He went to the cross that He’d be glorified in that little group of men.

    – That’s still what He wants in the lives of Christians today.

God’s future goal for us is to be glorified in Him.

    – THINK OF IT! Someday we’ll be like Jesus who is now at the right hand of the Father!……

See what the Bible says about God’s objectives for us.

1 Peter 1:6-7
6  So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
7  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Hebrew 12:10-11
10  For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.
11  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Why does God discipline us? – So we’ll have a part in His Holiness.

To be honest, I’d rather forget the discipline part and just have the peaceful harvest of right living.                                                  .   – But it doesn’t work that way!

We’d all prefer “sainthood” before we go through the refining furnace.

We forget nothing happens in our lives that God’s hasn’t allowed.                     

– God wants to mold our lives into something beautiful and useful to His Glory.

Apostle Paul gained wonderful insight.                                                                                     – He’d been going through a trial and felt defeated (“thorn in his flesh”)

2 Corinthians 12:7
7  even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

   – We want to skip those “thorns in the flesh.”

    – We question God’s love and wisdom when they come.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9
8  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Have you been there?

    – Do you know the victory of glorying in your infirmities?

    – It’s not that we like infirmities — that’s not what Paul is saying.

We may never care for the infirmities or the reproaches.

    – What we want is the Power of Christ to rest upon us — WE WANT THAT POWER!

We want to work for the Lord, but we don’t want to endure a “thorn in the flesh.”

We’d like to serve God efficiently and in full health and no opposition.

We want the Power of Christ showing in us, but not through some bodily ailment.

    – That’s not how we really want it!

But that’s how Paul came to accept it.

2 Corinthians 12:10
10  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If we want God’s Strength in our weakness, it may take a “thorn in the flesh.”

    – It’s nice to have God’s Strength supporting us, but we don’t want what usually brings this  experience.

WE WANT THE ROSES WITHOUT THE THORNS!

I’ve heard so many people say, “I shouldn’t have to go through rough places, or give up things I want because GOD WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY!” 

Years ago I knew a pastor who gave up his church, left his wife and kids and moved in with another woman saying he had a right to do this because his wife nagged him and he was unhappy and “God wanted him to be happy!”                                                                                                                         

Let me tell you something: GOD IS MORE INTERESTED IN YOUR OBEDIENCE THAN HE   IS IN YOUR BEING HAPPY!  (Besides, a right relationship with God will bring joy to your life and that is far superior to just happiness, but I think you’ll find greater happiness too.)

The only way our Christian growth is going to happen is through the thorns.

Jesus never promised an easy life!  He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”

Crosses aren’t usually easy, but they are fulfilling and make us stronger.

Remember:  God could’ve kept Daniel out of the lions’ den — instead He kept him in the lions’ den — That was a far more wonderful thing!

Anybody can avoid being bitten by a lion if there are no lions around to bite you……….

What an experience Daniel had that I’ve missed!                                                               – How wonderful to testify about being in a lion’s den with those big shaggy cats wanting to tear him limb from limb, but they couldn’t open their mouths!…….

DANIEL COULDN’T HAVE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE EXCEPT IN THE LIONS’ DEN!

We want to feel God’s nearness — to realize God’s Power — but not it in the lions’ den — MAYBE THAT’S WHY WE DON’T SENSE A NEARNESS TO GOD.

God could’ve kept the 3 Hebrews out of the fiery furnace — instead He let them be in there with it heated 7 times hotter than usual.

But what happened in the furnace?

The fire burned off their fetters!

Do you want your fetters to go?                                                                                           

  – “Oh, yes!  But not inside a fiery furnace!”

“Lord, let my fetters be burned off outside the furnace!  Maybe a little bonfire that’ll burn them off, but not a fiery furnace!”  – “Lord, I don’t want victory that much!”

The Lord came down and walked in the furnace with them and the heathen King, Nebuchadnezzar, saw there was a 4th man in the furnace……………..

WHAT A MIGHTY AND WONDERFUL GOD WE SERVE!

Do you want to know Him better? – Would you like to have an experience like that with God?

THAT EXPERIENCE HAPPENED INSIDE A FIERY FURNACE! WE CAN’T GET IT OUTSIDE OF THE FURNACE!                                                                                                                .  

– That’s why we don’t have more wonderful times with God.

We want to sit in our easy chairs and get to know God better………………..

The only way we’re going to get a message that will help others in their fiery furnaces is to be in there ourselves and come out without having our hair singed…………..

We can have victory in the fiery furnace where we are.  

– Too many of us miss it because we want to feel sorry for ourselves……………

GOD COULD’VE KEPT PAUL AND SILAS OUT OF PRISON.                                                      .  

God could’ve kept them from being beaten and having their feet fastened by stocks.

They couldn’t sleep in that prison, but they could pray, sing and praise God……..                                                             .  

– Describe the miracle when they sang.

Do we want to win souls?  “Yes, Lord, but don’t make us have a prison experience in order to be able to win one!  We don’t want it that way!”

So not many souls are won to Christ because we can’t take the prison experience.

Never ask, “Why?” but, “What?”

Lady from Spokane going to Laymen’s Retreat — had a heart attack and ended in the hospital. – She didn’t say, “Why me?”  She said, “Okay, God, Why am I here and what do you want me to do for You?”

It’s not a matter of “why”, but “what” in whatever circumstance you find yourself.

Sometimes we’re disappointed because things didn’t go as we planned, but again, God knows what He’s doing — our job is to Trust and Obey.

When our girls were little, we were supposed to go to a District Pastors’ Retreat on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.  – Marty and I both looked forward to that ride on the ferry, and the beauty of the islands.                                                                                                                                                      

– We both began to feel apprehensive about going, but we wanted to go!

Finally, we decided that we didn’t understand why, but we’d better stay home this time.

What a disappointment!

As it turned out, the people that were to babysit our daughters had some emergency and completely forgot about them.                                                                                                                   .  

– Our little girls would’ve been alone with nobody to care for them!                                                          .  

– Thank God we listened to Him!

God’s there in every circumstance.

He listens to our prayers and guides us through every situation.

Modern Christians don’t know the power of prayer!

A small town had historically been “dry.”  A local businessman decided to build a tavern.

A group of Christians from a local church were concerned and had an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene.

Not long after they prayed, lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

The owner of the bar sued the church, claiming the prayers of the congregation were responsible, but the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they weren’t responsible.

The judge, after his initial review of the case, said that “no matter how this case comes out, one thing’s clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians don’t.”

Christians grow through chastening, and when we’re exercised or disciplined, through suffering.

Romans 8:35-37
35  Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
36  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
37  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

It’s easy to show an attitude of victory after we’re out of a difficult place.

After it’s over we claim to be “more than conquerors,” but what about while we’re in it?

Do we trust God then?  Or do we whimper and whine and destroy our witness?

We have to trust God while we’re in the trial or we’re not ever going to become strong in the Lord………

We’ll never be “more than conquerors” until we’re “more than conquerors” in that difficult circumstance.

The goal for our future is to be like Jesus.

Paul said, Romans 8:29
29  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:17-19  
17  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
18  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
19  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18  
17  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Do you see the contrast here?

– God speaks of “light affliction” now and the “Eternal weight of Glory” then.

The pain, the trouble, the sorrows and temptations we face now are for a moment compared to the Glory we’ll have for all Eternity.

Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told this story. “A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister.

One of the girls responded, ‘Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’ 

That afternoon a large package arrived from England.

The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ‘If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’

She was right! Our heavenly Father knew in advance that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He’d led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles.” 

During our times of discouragement, God knows exactly how He’s going to answer our need.

 He can see the future and knows the check is in the mail, the answer’s already been given for that particular need.

And here we are worrying and sweating it out wondering, COULDN’T GOD HAVE DONE SOMETHING?”

God wants us to pray, and depend on Him, but since He wants us to learn to trust Him, it must be all He can do not to intervene immediately. – But only in His waiting can we grow.

The truth is, God’s already doing something!

Are you seeing only +]your difficult circumstances today?

 It’s only as you keep your eyes on God that you’ll be able to see your afflictions as God sees them, and have victory!


PODCAST COULDN’T GOD HAVE DONE SOMETHING?

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/8086355


How to Get Back Up When Ministry Knocks You Down

ministry

By Charles Stone -October 19, 2020

If you’re a pastor, a missionary, or serve in a church, you can’t avoid discouragement, disappointment, and hurt from ministry. The Bible even uses the not-so-complimentary metaphor “sheep” to describe those we serve. And sheep get dirty and smelly and often kick and bite. Sometimes those sheep in the church do the same to their shepherds. So when you  get kicked, forgotten, disrespected, ignored, mistreated, gossiped about, or misunderstood, how do you move forward?

The story recorded in 1 Samuel 30 gives great insight. David had just begun his career to fight the bad guys. Early on he faced a huge defeat. While he and his army were in battle far from home, the bad guys, the Amalekites, attacked the city where his family and the families of his army lived. They burned the city and kidnapped their wives and children. When David’s men discovered this, they considered removing him from his position, not by a vote of a board or a congregation, but with big rocks to the head by stoning.

The Scriptures then record one of the most beautiful verses every written. The old King James Version captures it well.

David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  (1 Sam. 30.6)

It worked because his guys didn’t stone him but marshaled their energy and once again pursued the bad guys under his leadership.

As I’ve faced discouragement in ministry, these simple choices have helped me encourage myself in the Lord.

  • Acknowledge your pain and emotion to the Lord but don’t wallow in it. Neuroscientists have discovered that when we name our emotions, it turns down the volume in our brain’s emotional centers.
  • Journal your thoughts. Writing them down helps me stop the tendency to incessantly mull over the hurtful situation. Writing therapy been scientifically proven to help us process pain.
  • Read God’s Word, especially those verses that speak of hope and victory. Every time you read the Bible, you are actually re-configuring the circuits in your brain and reinforcing Biblical values and truth.
  • Do something pro-active. Take action to move forward. In David’s case he took specific action to resolve the problem. He rallied his troops to chase down the Amalekites.
  • Stop condemning yourself and remind yourself that you are a child of God, loved by Him with great intrinsic value regardless of whether your church is growing or whether people treat you with respect.
  • Pray for those who have hurt you. I’m amazed how God defuses looming bitterness in my heart when I pray for the sheep that bite me.

How have you dealt with your ministry pain?

This article originally appeared here.