Messes, dirty laundry, and the real Christian life Part 3
We all go through it…times when it seems impossible to believe something good from God
It often happens when God’s timing for something and our timing are not coordinated…God has a plan, and we have a plan, but we want God to fit into our plan
God spoke through the prophet Isaiah explaining this difference
Isaiah 55: 8,9
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
This isn’t about God spanking us for not trusting Him or having false expectations…He is merely challenging us to trust Him that He has an even better plan because he loves us
Disappointment sets in and disillusionment sets in because things didn’t happen our way so out of that can be the beginning of unbelief
Sarah was that way…she had trusted God in so many ways following her husband to a nowhere land was faith on her part then being told she was to be a mother in her old age was too much
Genesis 17: 15-19
Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai, your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” 19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
Sara knew God had spoken that she would have a son, but her belief was not in the completeness of God’s plan but that she would have a son but she thought she had to figure out how she was going to make it happen
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go into my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.”
A son was born, and Sarai despised Hagar and Ishmael because of it
– when we try to make things happen our way they are always a cheap imitation of what God wants
– it always leads to more disappointment and disillusionment
– God’s plans will always be fulfilled even if he has to make an attitude adjustment on us to do it but for them, it took 14 years
But God always shows up
Genesis 18: 10-12
And God said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
Let’s here Sarah’s point of view
Sarah….comes on stage laughing speaking to Abraham off stage
That was a good one Abe…I love to laugh after all laughter is good like a medicine…did anyone ever say anything to you that was so ridiculous that you had to laugh?I overheard God saying something to my husband that just cracked me up….don’t you judge me! Here is the story God showed up at our home, so I rushed to make lunch… at ninety rushing isn’t what it used to be…as I’m throwing lunch together feeling my age with every push of the bread dough…God said I was going to have a baby…I burst out laughing…I didn’t mean to, but it just happened….I’m 90 years old….it has been a very long time since there was any possibility of my becoming pregnant we gave up on that a long time ago…did I mention I was 90 years old…it was impossible, inconceivable and in all ways ridiculous but sure enough less than a year later my laughter turned into a bundle of joy (lovingly fondly remembering that moment…then realizing Ishmael had placed Isaac on a sheep and was getting ready to chase the sheep around the yard) Ishmael get your brother off of that sheep…I don’t care if you think it would be funny…he’s your little brother and you’re supposed to protect him….(to the audience)kids when will they ever stop tormenting each other.. (Sarah leaves stage still yelling at Ismael)
Unbelief steals life from us… God’s promises are always true he cannot fail or lie
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
When God’s word says something or God says something to you directly, he will always come through…but he does it His way.
One of the most significant hindrances to belief is not a lack of faith in God but questioning whether He will fulfill His promise, open the door, heal, deliver, or meet me…we know God can do it but will he do it for me
I know I say many times “God is always faithful” and it can feel trite when you are going through something, but the key to overcoming unbelief happens way before you feel unbelief but even in your unbelief you can apply it
Be in God’s word…all day long every day we are saturated with negativity, pessimism, anti-Christ attitudes, and thoughts…I would challenge you to become aware of how many songs you hear, news broadcast you hear, television programs and movies that all blast you senses with things that attack your faith and belief
Think about it
Here are two verses I want you to apply to your life that will overcome unbelief every time
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Because we are so inundated with unbelief, counter thinking to God’s word we need to be in God’s word daily to stand on His truth every day and that helps to build our faith
1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Paul is encouraging us with the understanding that we can have daily, weekly, and monthly encouragement from men and women of God speaking into our lives…Each week and actually if you are reading the “thought for the day” every weekday God gives me a word of challenge and/or encouragement for you that I don’t say this arrogantly I say it humbly I seek him for and to present to you…it would scare me to present on Facebook or in the pulpit a word that was simply from me under the guise of God. Paul is saying when we receive the teaching from a man or woman of God we can welcome it as the word of God and use it for our growth and to overcome all unbelief.
Hundreds of people from around the world read my blog, directly from the blog every day it is easy for you to think well it is just my Pastors thought for the day, but it is something that could change your attitude and help you overcome every day
The Pastors and other teachers that are here are all called by God to help you become the man or woman of God you are called to be
The key to the enemies’ game of creating unbelief is
– making you feel unvalued or unimportant
– keeping you away from God’s word, and dishonoring the people God has raised up to bring faith to you as well as swamping you with the daily dose of pessimism and negativity
It is a battle to overcome unbelief please understand this, that God loves and believes in you…you are extremely valuable to Him
Knowing this key to your life will help you understand that he will be faithful to you just because he loves you
Ten differences between Faith and Unbelief…they will be an encouragement for you
The Puritan writer John Bunyan listed 25 difference between faith and unbelief here are the ten that are most relevant
- Faith sees more in a promise of God to help than in all other things to hinder. Unbelief sees more in the things that hinder than in God’s promise to help.
- Faith sees love in the heart of Christ when he speaks to reprove us. Unbelief sees anger in God’s heart when he says that he loves us.
- Faith gives comfort in the midst of fear. Unbelief brings fear in the midst of comfort.
- Faith helps the soul to wait when God defers giving. Unbelief takes the huff if God makes us tarry.
- Faith will suck sweetness even out of God’s rod, but unbelief finds no comfort even in his greatest mercies.
- Faith makes great burdens light. Unbelief makes light burdens heavy.
- Faith lifts us up when we are down, but unbelief throws us down when we are up.
- Faith brings us near to God when we are far from him. Unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to him.
- Faith purifies the heart. Unbelief keeps the heart impure.
- Faith finds the ways of God pleasant and admirable. Unbelief makes them heavy and hard.