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Archive for October, 2011

How to ruin your life: Can you miss destiny?

October 10th, 2011
  • Saul was a tragic figure – he did not fulfil his potential. Let that not be our story.
  • We may ask, how can we shape our destiny when God is sovereign and in control of everything? The simple answer is – don’t try to be too clever. We are responsible for our own decisions. We must hold these two truths together, even though we can’t fully understand it. God comes down to our level and relates to us like a parent does with a child.
  • God is not thrown by our intelligence or cleverness.
  • God is responsive to our actions. Those who honour God, God honours them.
  • Saul’s heart grew farther and farther away from God – he didn’t fulfil God’s plan for his life.
  • Two ways we can ruin the destiny of our lives:
  1. Avoid Jesus
  • Saul did encounter God in great ways – but he gradually turned away.
  • You can resist God all your life. We are all born to resist, reject and avoid God.
  • Luke 7 – the religious leaders avoided the baptism of John – and it said ‘they rejected the purpose of God for themselves’.
  • In being too clever and proud we can be in real danger of missing out on God’s plan for us.
  • The heart is the issue – we make up all kinds of excuses for avoiding God and we think our rejection of Him is all intellectual – but the real issue is our heart that is fundamentally against God.
  • Left to ourselves we don’t truly want God – or even heaven, the place where Jesus lives and rules over absolutely everything.
  • Sin is basically saying God is not important enough for us, is not as important as we are. Therefore we are all sinners.
  1. Drifting
  • Saul gradually lost his priority with God.
  • We can so easily do this – it is incredibly easy. All we have to do is not keep God the focus.
  • We can drift in very subtle ways.
  • Let us fix our minds on Jesus.
  • You can drift by letting distractions carry you away.
  • It’s possible to be saved by to miss what God saved you for.
  • The Saviour of the world who was the great son of David was supposed to be the son of Saul.
  • God has signed you up for custom-made plans.
  • Israel refused to trust God and they put Him to the test several times. Therefore they didn’t reach the destiny God had for them and they died in the desert.
  • Don’t be presumptuous about the promises/plans/calling of God – both individually and us as a church.
  • Desire to do something with your life.
  • 1 Corinthians 11 – Paul talks about the people who were sick and dying as judgement for messing around with communion. God doesn’t want a ludicrous Church. He judges His Church and may bring some home early, like taking them off the pitch.
  • If you’ve messed up for your life and have been resisting God, there is hope. Saul was told off so that he might change and repent.
  • God is more long-suffering and merciful than we think. His ways are not our ways.
  • King David messed up horrendously – but he repented and turned back to God and God took away his sin, and the plan for David’s life continued.

Jesus died on the cross so we could find grace and be able to turn back to Him.

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How to Ruin Your Life: Failing Under Pressure

October 7th, 2011

1 Samuel 13

Challenges to faith:

Opposition

    • No trial is unique but all are common to man.
    • Saul faced terrible opposition from the Philistines.
    • Jesus promised we would have trouble in life – you will face opposition as a Christian because you made a serious enemy when you became one.
    • The devil will find ways to oppose you – the question is: how will we respond?
    • Saul allows the opposition to be the final word on the situation.
    • Our opposition is strong but our God is stronger. Jesus in the boat with his disciples in the storm – Jesus was asleep and it looked like they were all going down, but then Jesus gets up and commands it to stop. The disciples tremble more at the One who controls nature than the power of nature itself.
    • We need to see the Man with the sword drawn (Joshua 5:13-14) when we face opposition. Jesus doesn’t join our side, we’ve joined His.

Betrayal

    • 1 Samuel 13:6-7.
    • A lot of people leave Saul and drop out.
    • Betrayal will happen in some way if you really follow God.
    • This is another reason Saul doesn’t trust God.
    • God doesn’t need for everyone to like us in order to accomplish His work – in fact, we are to be concerned if everyone does like us.
    • 1 Samuel 13:8.

Delay

    • Saul is waiting for Samuel and he doesn’t arrive when he thinks he should.
    • Waiting and finding yourself being delayed is hard to face.
    • God has His own ideas about timing. ‘In a little while’ is a phrase used a lot in the Bible – not definitive. God doesn’t allow for Himself to be contained by our own idea of timing.

Escape

    • Saul takes an escape route rather than waiting – he takes matters into his own hands.
    • Do you still believe – will you still?
    • It’s not easy to keep going faithfully – it’s easier to lunge for the quick and easy solutions and escape from waiting and trusting in God.
    • Prayer is about humbling yourself under God.
    • If you want to be mature, this is what you have to do.
    • Samuel does eventually turn up – but Saul had already gone ahead and done the offering himself, and he has no sense of regret. In fact, he instead blames Samuel and defends his actions.
    • This is right at the heart of the human condition – like Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve and God rather than owning responsibility for his sin and rebellion. We all still do this – we should be careful of our hearts’ natural inclination. It calls for humility.
    • We often take ourselves too seriously and God not enough.
    • You can ruin your life by not listening to anyone or any correction. You need to keep a soft heart.
    • It might be admitting wrong just wasn’t attractive to Saul – he perhaps wasn’t attracted to his idea of what God was like: a hateful, impersonal force who can’t wait to punish those who do wrong.
    • If you see God as revealed in Jesus, your whole perspective will change.
    • Book of Hebrews – written for people going through trials who could think God doesn’t understand or sympathise. He DOES. Turn to Him and give up trying on your own.