Years have passed, but it doesn’t take much for me to remember how their house looked: it was thrown together with pieces of unused particle board, old shingles, scraps of barn wood, and any other haphazard materials her father could find, held together with a nail here and there. How they kept from being evicted from such a dwelling is (even now) beyond my understanding. It was, in effect, a third-world shack in modern America.
My mom tried her best not to complain when I wanted to spend the night, but, looking back, I know she must have cried many tears for my safety. For some reason, it didn’t bother me: my friend lived here, and she was not responsible for what her folks provided for them to live in. My mom was looking at the situation with eyes trained to see what she thought a family should have, while the dad probably figured he had a roof (such as it was) over his family’s head, and food (such as it was) on their table. The difference between desirable wants and basic needs. I don’t even recall if there was indoor plumbing!
I’ve often wondered what happened to the family. You possibly have friends in your background like that as well. You can’t imagine that they turned out well, but more than likely they did! It’s part of God’s mercy to bless both the honorable and dishonorable; those who deserve blessings, but also those who do not. Goodness knows, most days I don’t deserve half of the blessings He gives me, beginning with calling me His child.
Maybe you have it all together! I surely don’t. I can purpose in my heart to do a thousand things right this day, and one step out of line and I’ve blown it. You would think the Christian life would get easier with each passing year. Okay, maybe the knowledge increases, but sin gets more rampant, persecution gets stronger, profanity seems to cut deeper, and it’s easier to get discouraged! Add all that together and we can see why there’s so much in our lives that needs to be removed.
Have you been with us during this sermon series as we seek to eliminate the undesirable hangups in our lifestyle, freeing us to become the children God would have us be? We began by getting our finances in a position where we control them, and not the incorrect, upside-down, them-controlling-us way! We looked at the ravages anger leaves in our lives, especially when we don’t seek to forgive the person who has caused us mental harm, especially if it’s done intentionally; and as the weeks have gone by, hopefully you have felt release from burdens that have caused you pain! I know I have! Just making a budget was one of the most freeing things I have done in eons.
Get your notebook, something to drink, perhaps a friend, and click on the link for the sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Sunday, February 26, 2017, and enjoy the entire service if you have time. Then go below and study the topic, taking the action points at the end to better internalize the sermon! If you have someone to discuss the answers with, you’ll be blessed. In any case, enjoy going deeper into God’s word! Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons, and select February 26, 2017!
Overflow: He Is All You Need February 26, 2017 Pastor Jonathan Falwell
If you could eliminate one item from your life that you think would lower your stress level, what would it be?
For several weeks, we have been looking at Hebrews 12 and 13, trying to identify the “weights” or sins that keep us tied to this world, and which take our focus away from living an abundant Christian life. This week we want to dwell on the wonder that the God who created the universe still stoops to give sinners His grace for redemption and a wonderful life by being all we need.
Focal Passage: Hebrews 13:20, 21; Romans 12:2
Think About or Discuss:
He Is Our Peace
- Read Hebrews 13:20a. God is called the God of “peace.” What is the greatest peace God offers? What really comes to your mind when you think of the word “peace”? If you are with someone who can discuss your answers, that is great; otherwise, keep a notebook handy to write in.
- These early believers were being persecuted for their faith, and were questioning their commitment to Christ. Can you think of a time when your faith was challenged to the extent you wanted to quit?
- Read Jas 1:2, 3 (NAS, if possible). James also was encouraging believers who were having their faith tested. What other types of peace (besides salvation) does God give?
He Is Our Shepherd
- Read verse 20b and Matthew 9:36. How are people like sheep?
- What are some qualities of a shepherd? Why is God called your Shepherd (Psa. 23)?
He Is Our Deliverer
- Read verse 20c. It is hard for us to identify with a religion of daily sacrifices; for this reason, the NT provides many verses that lay background for the amazing sacrifice of the crucifixion. Why did Christ want to shed His blood for you?
- Read Col. 2:13-15 (NAS, if possible). What has He delivered you from?
He Is Our Provider
- Read verse 21a. What are some of your daily needs? What does God assure you in this section of the verse?
- What is He equipping you for? Why is that such an important point to grasp?
He Is Our Hope
- Read verse 21b. What does God wish to produce in you? How will He do this? Read Heb. 6:18, 19. What are some of the areas listed as provisions of God’s hope?
- Take the first steps: identify any thing, person, or activity in your life that is replacing God;
- Be committed to walking away from whatever or whomever you listed in #1;
- Pray over your commitment every day;
- Share your burdens with Christians who have your best interests at heart; don’t walk this journey alone!
We have learned so many things over the past several weeks—things that, when put into practice, will begin to relieve the daily levels of stress that we seem to carry on our backs. Taking those first small steps toward getting freedom from debt, forgiving those against whom we have held grudges, discarding habits or companions that pull us down: all these and more begin to give us freedom to live as Christ would have us live, and to do so in His power, with His presence, and with our hand in His! Hopefully you have made the action points for the past several sermons into daily prayer practices, so that you keep making progress. Be sure you pray for those who are fighting battles just as you are, and if possible, meet with them for a time of encouragement, even if it is not long. And soon you will be able to say with Paul, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39). Amen!
Memory Verse: Hebrews 13:21: “(May God) make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Quote: “The only place you cannot fail is when you are in God’s will!”