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Series: Visiting Speakers
Sun am 17 August 2014 – Netta du Plessis
(Rom. 8:11, 35-39); (2 Cor. 1:8-10); (Prov. 3:5-6); (Rom. 8:11); Heb. 12:5-11;
(James 1:2-4); Gal. 4:19; 2 Cor. 13:9-11; Eph. 4:13-20; Eph. 1:18;
2 Cor. 4:16; Heb. 12:8; Job 23:10; (Job 2:10); (Job 34:10);
(Job 42:7); 2 Chron. 28:22; (Ex. 32:1); 2 Chron. 20:1-19
Every morning we have an opportunity to build our lives and steer our lives in the right direction away from destruction. Nothing can separate me from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39). God’s love is so wide – it covers the grid of our own experience and reaches to the whole world. God’s love is so long it will continue for your whole life, forever God’s love will be there. It is so high that it reaches to the height of all your celebrations and elations. It is so deep that it reaches to the depth of your discouragement and despair, and even into death. No matter what happened to you, no matter what you have done, nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Where is God when it hurts? It is simple; He is where He was yesterday, where He will be tomorrow; nothing changes when you go through difficult experiences. Yes, we feel alone and we think God is silent, but that is not the truth. God cannot change; nothing we do can ever change God or His love for us. You can never get away from God’s love.
We know God by many names but He is also the God of comfort. It is not only when everything is going well that He is my God. When I am going through difficult times He is the God of comfort. Difficult times are a part of everyone’s journey. Sometimes many unexpected things can come our way; that is life. In those seasons we learn, grow and experience God’s comfort and grace – not when it is going well with us. Because things happen to us we experience God is different forms, and it is a good thing. God is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Despite the fact that He is the God of the heavens, that He made the earth and rules over everything, He is also a God that comforts us. He comforts us in our tribulation so that we can comfort others with the same comfort that came from God. When you go through a difficult time Paul says you should not trust in yourselves. Do not lean on your own understanding and on your own strength (2 Cor. 1:8-10; Prov. 3:5-6). Trust in God who raises the dead. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in us (Rom. 8:11). Nothing is impossible. If there are days that you feel down, it is okay, just do not stay there. Sometimes we have to speak to our own souls to go on. Trust the power that is working inside you. As we endure the pain and hardships of life, we draw from His comfort and we share it with others in their own struggles. If we endure we will reign with Him.
I want to demolish the belief that prosperity, healing and blessings are the markers of a faithful Christian. In other words, if you experience hardship and pain you are not a faithful Christian. That is not true. Look at the apostles. This belief is one reason why people are not willing to share their pain. They feel the moment there is pain people wonder what you have done. Hardship is not only for those who do wrong; even those who walk close to God will experience times of adversity, pain and hardship. We tend to define God by our experiences in life. We must not define God by anything that happens in our lives, we must define Him by the Word. God is far bigger and we will experience many surprises.
We should count it all joy when we go through the dealings of God (James 1:2-4). God only deals with His own children and his own sons that way (Heb. 12:5-11). We will only experience that harvest if we endure the discipline we have to go through while God is dealing with us. God is training us, not only for this life but for the age to come.
When everything is going well, we tend not to grow and become complacent. Use the times when things are not going well to grow up until you are no longer children who are tossed by every wind of doctrine. It is important to recognise the connection between Godly discipline and our maturing into sonship. Do not lose heart, do not be discouraged. The pain we are going through now is working an exceeding weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:16). If we go through discipline we become partakers, but if we do not go through discipline, if we avoid discipline we are illegitimate children (Heb. 12:8). So count it all joy; glory in your tribulations. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10). Job did not charge God with wrong but his friends did (Job 34:10). God said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has” (Job 42:7). Be careful what you say when you go through difficult seasons.
When we go through difficult times it is important how we conduct ourselves. Two things can happen to you: difficulties and struggles can devastate you or they can stimulate you to growth and maturity. Life is all about choices. It was difficult for Job’s wife to see him suffer. She lost all her children and possessions just as Job did. She told him to curse God and die. He said she was foolish (Job 2:10). Hold fast to your integrity; hold fast to your God in difficult times. We sometimes do not stop going to church but still go, but with a hard heart. We never forgive God for what happened to us. We speak about forgiveness to one another, but what about forgiving God?
King Ahaz became increasingly unfaithful in the time of his distress (2 Chron. 28:22). His struggles led to spiritual collapse. He started to sacrifice to strange gods. When things happen we must deal with it, we must not search for other gods. We must allow the discipline to make us grow up and be mature. The same happened in Exodus. They worshipped the golden calf (Ex. 32:1). How easily we can build ourselves a “golden calf”, and put our trust in something else. They exchanged the real God for a golden calf because they did not know what happened to Moses. We do the same thing, but just in another way.
When you go through difficult periods and hardships, do not allow feelings and emotions to be controlled by the events happening around you, but allow your emotions and feelings to be controlled by faith in God’s ability to give you strength and carry you through. Emotions sometimes do not support the truth. The truth is that God loves us; when we are weak, then we are strong. Take control of your thoughts and emotions and replace it with the truth; bring them into submission to the Word of God. We can only do that if we have within us a strong knowledge of God’s word. There is a part that we must play in all of this, a part to play in overcoming in times of tribulation, pain and hardships, and we can only do that if we have God’s word inside of us.
When Jehoshaphat went through difficult times, he took a certain position. He did not search for other gods; he was not led by his emotions. When a great multitude was coming against him, he went and sought God, telling God what a wonderful God He is. God then told Jehoshaphat to just position himself, stand still and watch what God was going to do. Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord (2 Chron. 20:1-19).