[ILLUS] While in USAF… Led a team to Nevada (Nellis AFB) on a TDY…Las Vegas!
- Several young guys who’d never had $500 dollars in their pocket… (it was their per diem to live on for several weeks)
- Told them to STAY OUT of the casinos….”You’re not going to win”
- I had a knock on my door at 3am… one young guy was crying – LOST ALL MONEY!!! (pulling a handle)
WHY in the world would you RISK all you have on a slot machine when the odds of winning are so against you? [Better chance of being hit by lightning…TWICE]
It is amazing that we will risk like that in hopes of a “better life”!!
- When God has given us ROCK-SOLID promises… For EVERYTHING we need!!!
- I know for many – 2020 has NOT been very “Rock-Solid” … so, we’d rather pull a handle??
So… Today I want us to CHANGE OUR PERSPECTIVE… MY PRAYER TODAY:
“GOD, GIVE US A NEW PERSPECTIVE!!!!!”
LET’S PRAY – Father… thank you now for what you are going to do today…speak to every person father and let Your word give us a new perspective…thank you Father that we don’t have to wonder what tomorrow holds… YOU HOLD TOMORROW… Amen!
OK… Here’s the NEW PERSPECTIVE I desire you to walk out of here with today:
**** TRUE CHRISTIANITY TAKES THE CHANCE OUT OF LIFE!!!
- There is no “Random”… or “Luck” when you become a Christ-Follower!
See… Our problem so often is that we’ve swallowed this belief that the…”grass is greener on the other side” …. Mentality
- And… We will chance everything just to see how “green” it is!
So… Today, I want to take you to a ROCK-SOLID promise that God gives –
[ILLUS] (This has spoken to my heart so many times over the years… Just several weeks ago Tina placed this promise on my steering wheel)
Let’s Face it – We will go thru things in life (2020 has been described as more than difficult):
- Unbelievable loss!
- That has potential to really freak us out… Make us cry out to God in a way…
See… We NEVER know how FREQUENT these things will occur… Nor how INTENSE!!
BUT – IF WE CAN HOLD ON TO GOD’S PROMISE……. This verse, if you will let it, can give you… A NEW PERSPECTIVE!! – This verse is so far reaching… covers everything:
READY FOR IT –
ROMANS 8:28 –
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Ok… I just want to give you a few thoughts on this one promise…. That you will be encouraged – – and walk out of here today with A NEW PERSPECTIVE!!
Because…LISTEN – There is nothing this world can throw at you that will void this verse!!
- This promise is better than winning the jack-pot!! The Jack-pot will vanish one day…
Charles Spurgeon says about this promise: (Devotional… “Morning by Evening”)
- “ It is better that God works all things out for my good than all things should be as I want them to be… All things might work for my pleasure – yet it could be for my ruin”… (He goes on to say) – “All things may not please me… but all things WILL BENEFIT ME BECAUSE GOD IS ON MY SIDE!”
There is not a more COMPREHENSIVE PROMISE IN THE BIBLE:
It will meet every situation…
- Bad medical report
- Relational issues
- Financial difficulties >>“ALL things work together for GOOD….”
- Loss (…Name the situation…I can give you this promise)
[ILLUS] – You may not know her name… But she wrote over 10,000 hymns – “Blessed Assurance”…”Draw Me Nearer“… FANNIE CROSBY
- Fannie was blind from age of 14 months…Why?
- Because the town doctor mis-diagnosed and applied something to her eyes to cause permanent damage…
- She was NEVER bitter… even as she grew older… SHE SAID THESE WORDS:
“The doctor who spoiled my eyes was so hurt, he disappeared from our town to never be seen or heard of since…
…But, she said, If I could just talk to him… I would tell him he did the greatest favor in the world to me!
…Because I’m blind, I started to memorize Scripture. I fell deeper in love with Jesus and as a result… I COULDN’T STOP THE SONGS!!”
She said… “Blindness didn’t stop me. It made me realize I could trust Him more and more”…. Because , “All things work together for Good to those who love God.!!
A NEW PERSPECTIVE!!!!
***** See… when something BAD happens to us, we tend to think… IT’S OVER!
This PROMISE says… IT’S JUST STARTING!!!!
- God is building character…
- God is making you into His image
- God is developing you… (Maybe into a poet or songwriter)
“SHE’S BLIND!!!! AND INSTEAD OF GETTING BITTER – SHE GETS THOUSANDS OF SONGS!!!!
(“All things work together for good!!”).
Because that’s just what God does…. It’s WHO HE IS: Psalm 119:68 says: “You are good and you do good”….
Ok… I just want to FOCUS on a few phrases here in Romans 8:28:
- Look at the FIRST THREE WORDS of V. 28…. “And we know…”
There is a confidence… A certainty!! – Listen, this is important…
- The Holy Spirit could’ve had Paul skip these words and just write… “God works all things together for the good…”
- BUT HE DOESN’T – There is a CONFIDENCE behind the words that Paul writes:
HE’S SAYING = You have to have this ASSURANCE inside of you… That God is always working on your behalf… regardless of how the situation looks!!!
THE KEY IS…. WE KNOW!!!!
- I don’t know HOW
- I don’t know WHEN
- I don’t know WHAT’s GOING TO HAPPEN….
BUT….. I DO KNOW: God….
- YOU WILL
- YOU ARE ABLE
- May not be on MY TIME-TABLE…. But I KNOW you will….
I just have to get out of the way so you can do it!!!
God is working it out in EVERY situation….. How do we know it?
- Because He said He is… AND GOD CAN NOT LIE!!! (Numbers 23:19)
NOW… LISTEN… VERY IMPORTANT……Let me say – God’s GOOD… may not be YOUR GOOD!!!!
- We try and script the situation for God… “Ok God, if you do it this way…” (We try to help God out)
- And… God is saying today… “Listen, I don’t need your help… you’re on ground that doesn’t belong to you.”
See… The MYSTERY is in the HOW! HOW does God do it??? I DON’T KNOW!!!
- How does God take a tragedy and work it out for good?
- How does God take my failure and work it out for good?
- How does God take a year like 2020 – and bring GOOD out of it?
- How does God take a JOSEPH…with no education… never read a leadership book… And MAKE HIM 2nd MOST POWERFUL MAN ON EARTH!!! (Gen. 41)
- He does it by making him a slave… putting him in a prison to be forgotten!!
******* SEE – THE PROBLEM REALLY FOR MOST OF US… WE ARE NOT MAD OR UPSET AT GOD… WE JUST DON’T LIKE HIS CURRICULUM!! (we don’t like the school he sends us to)
We don’t like what He uses to PREPARE us for what He wants to do inside our life!
[ILLUS] COORIE TEN BOOM (The Hiding Place)
- In Ravensbrook Concentration camp
- Her sister Betsy read 1 Thess 5:16-18 “Rejoice always…Give thanks in all circumstances.”
- FLEA infested barracks… She refused!!!
- Allied forces freed – found out why the Nazi guards never took women from that barrack to gas chambers… why they could read Bible so freely…
- The Nazi guards refused to go into the FLEA INFESTED barracks!!!!
LISTEN… God’s School…God’s curriculum will sometimes have nasty fleas in it… TO KEEP YOU ALIVE!!! … A NEW PERSPECTIVE!!!!
OK… LAST thought is in the last part of V. 28 – “…for those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Those two words = “HIS PURPOSE”….. I want to bring attention to
BOTTOM LINE – God’s ultimate desire is for you to be formed into the image of Jesus! … That’s His purpose for you – To become more like Jesus in EVERY situation.
Let me close… with something I heard recently – blessed me!
GOSPEL OF MATTHEW——— TWO STORMS ———– Matt. 8 & Matt. 14
1st Storm = (Matt 8) The disciples screaming in the boat while Jesus is sleeping… “Save us”… “We’re going to drown“
…one version even says they said, “Don’t you care!” (nobody here has ever said that)
2nd Storm = (Matt 14) …more interesting – Jesus was walking on water while the storm blew.
- This time instead of screaming, “we’re going to die”…. Peter said, LORD LET ME COME OUT AND WALK ON THE WATER WITH YOU.”
God spoke to me in this because I’ve been doing a lot of “screaming” at God lately….
- “God, what’s this all about?”
- God, why are you doing this?”
- God, I feel like I’m losing it here!” (…anybody with me on this?)
Here’s what God is saying to me…. “I want to limit the screaming and teach you to walk on the storm!” …Because:
*** THAT LOOKS A LITTLE MORE LIKE JESUS!!!
He wants to give me a NEW PERSPECTIVE of the storm….. INSTEAD OF THE STORM DESTROYING ME – LEARN TO WALK ON TOP OF IT!!!!
Yes… Peter sank – BUT, Jesus was right there!!!!!
What does “walking on top of the storm” look like for you as you enter 2021???
- Maybe re-aligning your priorities…
- Maybe being intentional about deepening my relationship with…..
- Maybe it’s starting this New Year out with a fasting and prayer time for direction…
LORD, HOW DO YOU DO IT? …I don’t know – BUT WHAT I DO KNOW:
- “God will work ALL things for the good to those who love him and called according to His purpose.”