Kimmer: October 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God Almighty-passion conference Sydney

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James 1:2

What purpose do trials have in our lives?
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
That is not our natural inclination … must have been shocking to people when they first read this letter (we are used to hearing those verses.)
Trials come in all shapes and sizes when it says trials of various kinds – big, little, hard, easier, all kinds of trials,…trials are inevitable. Notice he says consider it all joy when (not if) they come You can have financial trials, physical trials, family trials,trials w/friends, all kinds of different things. Some people have the idea that because they are Christians, doing devotions, tithing, that means – you won’t have problems. But God didn’t not promise us a trial free life- in fact Jesus said in this world you will have troubles..
so the fact that we are faithfully serving God doesn’t mean we won’t have trials. The psalmist says Ps 34:19- Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
So… what’s the advantage of being a christian?
You won’t go thru them alone.
Sometimes we think that because we are doing our part, that when a trial comes God isn’t doing His part (and that’s not true). Sometimes we think that things will always be smooth.
God has a purpose for allowing trials in our lives.

It helps us to navigate trials if we understand that God has a purpose and that trials are important

6 purposes of trials:
1. Trials are a test – to test the strength of our faith. in II Chron 32:31 God wanted Hezakiah to understand what was in his own heart. trials become a spiritual inventory that help us realize where we are at…to know the strength of our faith. if you are going thru a severe trial, God may use it to reveal to you the condition of your faith. If you are having a really hard time and in constant anxiety about a situation, questioning, doubting God… that can be an indicator of weak faith in an area of our life. That is hard for us to hear. We could be very strong in believing God in some areas of our life – a financial issue, but another issue you could easily be on the rocks. Part of it has to do with what we’ve already been thru; when we’ve seen him deliver us in one area of our lives it is easier to believe He will deliver us again in that same area; but when we hit a different area it can be very difficult and test our faith. If this happens, count it joy because this shows us exactly where we can pray Lord please strengthen my faith in this area.

2. Trials come to humble us.
They cause us to depend on God which is really the greatest measure of humility. The more humble a person is, the more they depend on God and realize their need for God. In II Cor 12 God sent a trial into Paul’s life (v.7) to keep him from being too elated …. He’d been doing all kinds of miracles, caught up intot the 3rd heaven – he also must have known God was using him in his letters to the churches; part of the problem is when God is using you to a great degree, that can tend to cause a person to become prideful and less humble. So literally God allowed him to have a trial to keep him humble… Paul said the thorn was very painful- literally a stake that he felt impaled by. It came to keep him from becoming conceited, so that he would keep depending on God. He said I found out through this trial that I’m the strongest when I’m the weakest. Because when I’m weak then God is strong and that is when things are at their best spiritually speaking. So you might feel like you are at the end of your rope, that is when you are at the beginning of Gods power working in your life.

3. Trials come to keep us from relying on worldly things.
Sometimes we put our confidence in what we have, or the people we know, or the things we can do. We put it in the wrong place. God sends a trial to cause us to rely on him rather than the wrong place. In John 6 Jesus is getting ready to feed the 5,000. He had told the disciples earlier to feed the people and so they had been thinking of how to solve this…..then Jesus asked Phillip this question because he wanted him to realize Lord You open blind eyes, You raise the dead, (things Philip had seen) You do all kinds of things so this is no problem for You, I know You can feed them… but instead Philip said 8 months wages would not be enough to feed them…and he doesn’t see how this could be possible v. 6 tells us that Jesus asked him this to test him, because Jesus knew what He was going to do. Jesus already knew.

Isn’t it good to know that in our trial he knows exactly what He’s going to do. You may be going thru a trial and Jesus knows exactly how He is going to solve it …and what He wants you and I to do is exactly what he wanted Philip to do…He wants us to look to him and say Lord there is no earthly human way this thing is going to be resolved… God you are just going to have to work on my behalf and take care of me…. and that is no big deal because I know You can do that. There is a real release in that. Here is Philip saying there is no way it can be done and what Jesus wanted, was for him to say You are the creator God and for You there is nothing that is impossible.

4. Trials come to call us to an eternal hope. Because the worse things get- heaven looks a whole lot better doesn’t it? The more trials, the more we put our hope and focus on eternal things which is exactly where God wants it to be. In Romans 8 Paul talks about … v18 I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in us. So Paul says I’m going thru suffering but it is nothing compared to the glory God has for us. For creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. In v 22 for we ourselves grown inwardly as we walk this earth and encounter suffering along the way…. we find ourselves saying I can’t wait till heaven. Not in an I don’t care, escapism attitude; but in the hope of the Christian. II Cor 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Earlier in this book Paul has described trials that have caused him even to despair of life; he felt tired of living and thought the weight of his trial would crush him. But he gets a hold of himself and he says no, we don’t give up, we don’t lose heart , our inner nature is being renewed day by day – even if your trial lasts all of your life- in the light of eternity it is so small? Even tho it seems like it will never end it will end? We have to remember that. If we think it is going to go on forever, we can lose hope. So those trials can help us focus on eternity. For the slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. For the things that are seen are temporary (transient- on the move) but the things that are unseen are eternal. Trials have a way of causing us to embrace eternal hope.

5. Trials enable us to help others
Who better to help someone going through a trial than someone who has been through it themselves? Anything that has really touched your heart, you will know some things and have compassion to help others. If you have lost a loved one, if you’ve gone bankrupt, divorce, illness, you can relate to that now. God allows everyone of us to go thru situations in our lives so that as we received comfort from God and he met us in that situation, we can share that comfort and encouragement with others
Ii cor 1. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
So God takes us thru seasons of different trials where we need His comfort and encourgement and we receive it… so that when we come out of that time we can help others around us. You might be going thru a very difficult time right now, but you take heart because God is going to use this in your life and in the lives of others and he is going to make you a blessing. He is blessing you – even if it is a difficult blessing to receive, so that you can bless others.

6. Trials produce endurance and strength
James 1.2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(the idea endurance- you keep on going, you don’t quit) Let steadfastness have its full effect that you might be perfect (not talking about perfection as in sinless) but talking about maturity- that you might be full grown… with wisdom, perspective, understanding. Trials come so we are able to encourage people, and able to stand steady ourselves; God uses them to develop us.
As we come and respond in prayer, when we face a trial our initial question is almost always WHY? Why now, why me, why when I did this, why …. we’d be better off to change our question from why to what- God what are you trying to teach me; what are you wanting me to learn? God just show me and help me to make the most of this situation so I can come out of this strong, enduring, and steadfast.
Also realize that in our trials we are never alone. You are never alone. His is the friend that sticks closer than a brother and God is right there with you. He is going to help you, He is going to see you through and he wants to develop you. The wonderful thing about trials is if we go through them and seek God and walk close to Him, then what happens is the next time we go thru something similar we find ourselves at peace trusting in the Lord. When you are in a trial and you have doubt or fear or uncertainty or feel rejected, spend a moment in His presence and He can do a work to strengthen your heart... ask Him to strengthen you and help you understand if there is something He wants you to learn.
Is 26.3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
(a sermon from John Lindell)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Peace for Anxious Days

(by Max Lucado) When my daughters were two, five, and seven—I wowed them with a miracle. I told them the story of Moses and the manna and invited them to follow me on a wilderness trek through the house.“Who knows,” I suggested, “manna may fall from the sky again.”We dressed in sheets and sandals and did our best Bedouin hike through the bedrooms. The girls, on my instruction, complained to me, Moses, of hunger and demanded I take them back to Egypt, or at least to the kitchen. When we entered the den, I urged them to play up their parts: groan, moan, and beg for food.“Look up,” I urged. “Manna might fall any minute.”Two-year-old Sara obliged with no questions, but Jenna and Andrea had their doubts. How can manna fall from a ceiling?Just like the Hebrews. “How can God feed us in the wilderness?”Just like you? You look at tomorrow’s demands, next week’s bills, next month’s silent calendar. Your future looks as barren as the Sinai Desert. “How can I face my future?” God tells you what I told my daughters: “Look up.”When my daughters did, manna fell! Well, not manna, but vanilla wafers dropped from the ceiling and landed on the carpet. Sara squealed with delight and started munching. Jenna and Andrea were old enough to request an explanation.My answer was simple. I knew the itinerary. I knew we would enter this room. Vanilla wafers fit safely on the topside of the ceiling-fan blades. I had placed them there in advance. When they groaned and moaned, I turned on the switch.

God’s answer to the Hebrews was similar.Did he know their itinerary?Did he know they would grow hungry?Yes and yes.And at the right time, he tilted the manna basket toward earth.
And what about you?God knows what you need and where you’ll be.
Any chance he has some vanilla wafers on tomorrow’s ceiling fans?
Trust him.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:33-34).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~blessings :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ephesians 3:16-21

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Promises of Problems

Here is a devotional by Mary Southerland:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Genesis 50:20

If you are like me, you prefer days when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and not a cloud in sight. Problems tend to irritate me because they make me realize just how frail I am as a human. But I have come to realize that every problem points to a promise.

Promise of direction:God uses problems to show us the way. We would walk through the wrong door if He didn’t close it. Years ago, I dated a young man I thought I would marry. We had it all worked out. He was a preacher and I played the piano and sang. What could be more perfect? I began to pray, “Lord, if he is not the one, just close the door!” The very next conversation I had with this young man ended our relationship and resulted in my taking a church staff position that led me to Dan Southerland. I look back and thank God for that closed door.
"Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways." Proverbs 20:30

Promise of correction:God uses problems to correct us. I have come to realize that some lessons can only be learned in the darkness, through pain and failure. When our daughter was a toddler, she was fascinated with electrical outlets. Nothing we said or did seemed to deter her…until the day she stuck a safety pin in the outlet. “Ouch!” she cried, holding up her little red finger for me to kiss. She never played with an outlet again.
"It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws." Psalm 119:71-72

Promise of protection:A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it keeps you from being hurt by something more serious. It was so hard for me to take our children to the doctor to get immunization shots. I would take a healthy child into the doctor’s office and come out with a little one who was fussy, sore and running a low grade temperature. Our pediatrician finally said, “Mary, just think of it like this. You are allowing your babies to experience a little hurt in order to prevent them from experiencing a bigger hurt. A tetanus shot is nothing compared to tetanus itself.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Genesis 50:20

Promise of perfection:Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. I recently spoke for a women’s conference that used the theme of “Problems into Pearls”. Strands of pearls were everywhere – the center of each table, on the podium from which I spoke, draped across tables – and many of the ladies wore pearls that day. When the worship leader welcomed me, she said, “We have to get you some pearls!” Digging in her purse, she produced the most beautiful pearl necklace and placed it around my neck. As the day went on, I spoke several times, counseled and prayed with numerous women and tried to meet as many women as possible. When everyone had left, the woman came to retrieve her pearl necklace. I was embarrassed. I had worked up quite a sweat with all of that hugging, laughing, talking. She brushed my apology aside and said, “Sweat is good for pearls. It helps them keep their luster.”
"We can rejoice when we run into problems... they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." Romans 5:3-4

God is at work in and around you. You may not see His hand, hear His voice or even understand His process, but you can rest assured that you can trust His heart. Remember, every problem points to a promise.