Faithlife
Faithlife

2 Cor 4 pm ser 8 2005

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2 Cor 4:8-9

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number 3 of the accident reporting form, I put, "Poor Planning", as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient:

   I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a ten-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them to the ground in a barrel by using a pulley which, fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the tenth floor.

   Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the roof, loaded the 500 pounds of bricks, then went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. (You will note in block 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds). Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forget to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

   In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone.

   I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

   Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain.

   At approximately this same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 30 pounds.

   I refer you again to my weight in block number 11 of the accident reporting form. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

   In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met that barrel coming up again! This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations of my legs and lower body.

   The second encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

   I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks -- in pain and unable to stand -- watching the empty barrel ten stories above me -- I again lost my presence of mind -- I LET GO OF THE ROPE.

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Brown builds a beautiful sand castle, works on it for hours, and stands back to look at it. Just as he’s admiring it, the storm comes up, and the rains come to blow over his sand castle. His beautiful masterpiece is leveled. He says to himself “There must be a lesson in this, but I’m not sure what it is.”

I. Various Causes of Storms

Everyone has had sand castles blown away. When life gives us a blow, we wonder why we are being hit.

·         Some storms are caused by the Devil.

·         Sometimes they’re caused by other people.

·         Sometimes they’re caused by us.

·         Always   they’re allowed by the Lord.

No one is excluded from the storms of life. For many of you, the clouds have already gathered. If you are in the worst storm of your life, I want you to realize that everyone has them.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

We see storms, problems, difficulties, and trials coming to all of us. There are no exclusions. Believers aren’t excluded from the storms of life.

Þ    Jonah deliberately disobeyed God. The Bible says God sent a great wind when Jonah was on the boat.

Þ    Ananias and Sapphira deliberately lied to God and to the church concerning their giving. Acts 5 tells how they lost their lives.

Þ    Some storms come because we willingly, willfully disobey God’s light. The storm you’re encountering could be a storm caused by disobedience.

*****But I want you also to know that some storms come because we are in God’s will… When we are doing God’s will, when we are in the very center of what God wants for us, the storms still come.

*        Just because you’re encountering a storm in your life does not mean you’re out of the will of God.

*        Just because you are having difficulties in your life does not necessarily mean that you are willfully disobeying him.

There are beautiful examples in the story from Luke 8. If you’ll look at verse 22, it says Jesus told his disciples to get into a boat and start back across the lake.

Þ    These guys are out in the middle of the lake in a terrible storm.

Þ    They are fishermen, they’re afraid, so it’s got to be a bad storm.

Þ    They are in the midst of the storm, and Jesus is the one who put them in the boat; he had told them to get out in the middle of the lake.

They’re right in the middle of God’s will, but they are having the storm of their lives.

The story of Job is a perfect example.

We know that when Satan came to God concerning what was happening on earth, God challenged him saying, “I want you to look at Job. He’s a perfect man.”

Had Job’s sin caused the boils from head to toe as Job sat on an ash heap?

No, Job was faithful.

Þ    The apostle Paul is another example.

Þ    Paul suffered shipwreck, beatings, and a martyr’s death. Paul, a man of God, one of the great men in the history of the Christian church, remained in the center of God’s will.

You can never look at people, see what they’re going through, and say one person is doing right and another must be doing wrong because one person is being blessed and another is being cursed.

We need to understand that storms happen to people in the will of God as well as outside of his will.

II. Jesus Prays for Us in Our Storms

What does Jesus do for us in the storm?

First, he prays for us. Romans 8:26-27:  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

How He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

In Hebrews 4:14-16: “Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Þ    Whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God, and there we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.

The Hebrew writer says that Jesus intercedes for us in our times of need. In the Greek, in times of need literally means “in the nick of time.”

As we are here on earth encountering storms in our life, our Lord is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. He ministers to us in the very nick of time.

*        It’s absolutely wonderful to have somebody pray.

The Sequoia trees of California tower as much as 300 feet above the ground. Strangely, these giants have unusually shallow root systems that reach out in all directions to capture the greatest amount of surface moisture. Seldom will you see a redwood standing alone, because high winds would quickly uproot it. That's why they grow in clusters. Their intertwining roots provide support for one another against the storms.

   Suffering comes to all of us, and no one can suffer for us.

Even so, just like those giant Sequoia trees, we can be supported in those difficult times by the prayers and understanding of loved ones and friends.

 But you know what the good news is?

The best news I have for you is this: If you’re walking through the toughest time of your life, Jesus is praying for you.

Þ    He’s interceding for you. He’s caring for you. He’s taken your need to the Father.

III. God Refines Us in the Storms

Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver…”

I heard a silversmith talk about his job of refining silver.

He said, “I must sit with my eyes steadily fixed on the furnace; for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured. I never take my eye off of the silver in the furnace. If I take it out too early, it won’t be purified. If I leave it in too late, it will be injured. When the silver is in the fire I focus. I don’t let anything distract me. I watch that silver, carefully waiting for the right moment to take it out.”

“When is the right moment?” I asked.

He said, “I know the silver is pure when I can see my face reflected there.”

As soon as the storm comes, I’m saying, “Okay, God, bail me out. Find me! Rescue me! Sometimes he doesn’t rescue me. He doesn’t come.

But he is the great silversmith.

While I’m in the furnace, he focuses and watches.

His job isn’t a quick rescue mission. His job is to purify.

 He holds me until the right moment, and then he comes—never too early, never too late—right on time.

IV. Jesus Ministers in the Storms

I want you to note two things about Jesus walking on the water toward the guys in the boat.

First, he comes at the darkest hour. I know that because it says, “a little while before morning.” That’s when Jesus came. We know that the darkest hour of the night is right before the dawn.

I want you to notice that Jesus comes in our darkest hour and that he comes victorious over our greatest fears.

Þ    Jesus came to them in the dark a little while before morning, and he came walking on the water. He came walking on the very thing that frightened the disciples most.

 By walking on the water, Jesus says in his own majestic way, “Guys, the thing that is the greatest storm in your life I keep under my feet.”

Jesus comes walking to you. He walks into your sickness. If you’re afraid of death, remember Easter. Jesus came walking on the waves of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Jesus is able to do “exceeding abundantly” more than we can ever ask or think.

 He can deal with your greatest fears—the things that cause you to tremble, the things that cause you to falter.

******He says, “I come walking on it. I stand on that stuff. I’m victor. I’m the one who reigns!”

There’s a great passage of Scripture in Isaiah 43:1-3:

But now, this is what the Lord says—

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the deep waters,      I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord your God.”

He says he will never leave you or forsake you.

If you’re going through a storm of life, the good news is he is right there with you. He comes to us; he prays for us; he ministers to us.

Another thing Jesus does is minister to us in spite of our misunderstandings.

 Look what happens in Matthew 14, verses 26 and 27. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were terrified. They thought he was a ghost, and they started screaming. Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s me—Jesus.” The disciples didn’t have a grasp of the situation.

Jesus walks in and says, “Don’t worry.”

Some Christians think they should understand everything!!!!!

The Bible does not say believers should understand everything.

I know Christians who feel guilty because they don’t know what’s happening to them. They say, “There must be something wrong with my connection to God; otherwise I could figure this out.”

Let me assure you, there are things in this life you and I will never figure out.!!

I Cor. 13:12  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

 Paul said we look through a dark, smoky glass on this earth. When we’re with God, we’re going to see clearly.

But we’re not going to understand everything now.

 I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t even like pastors who have all the answers. (like John Maxwell)

I don’t like Christians who have all the answers.

I don’t like little formulas to explain everything.

 There are things we cannot understand.

Paul says in Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

Paul said we know this. Why do we know it?

Because we know that God is sovereign.

Our security isn’t what we know in our mind.    Our security is not in what we know but in WHO WE KNOW!!

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