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Posts Tagged ‘Pain’

Listening to God

April 4th, 2011

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1

  • This is a practical message. It shouldn’t freak us out – we were made to hear from God
  • The problem is with us, we have resisted God – we grow complacent and ignore God, which leads us to become deaf. God keeps talking however and is creative with how He speaks
  • This book teaches that listening to God is very important
  • 1 Samuel 3:1 – God rarely spoke as the people had become deaf. This is tragic and dangerous
  • 1 Samuel 3:3 – the lamp was nearly out and Eli the priest was almost blind – situation was very bad
  • God starts speaking again to a little boy – He began with the weakest
  • If it seems that God is speaking we must take it seriously
  • Heb 3:7-11 – challenged to take God seriously
  • Matt 13:9
  • Samuel heard an audible voice – is that normal?
  • In the Bible there are some who uniquely hear God’s voice but there is a hint that we all should – Joel 2
  • It is possible to be a Christian and still live in the Old Testament – saved but not hearing God
  • God expects us to talk and listen to Him – our prayer life should be a 2-way conversation
  • How does hearing God actually work? Are there principles?
  • On the surface there doesn’t seem to be!
  • God spoke to Samuel in a unique way – unlike in Exodus when God’s voice was thunderous God spoke to Samuel like Eli
  • God isn’t predictable! He talks in very different ways
  • God’s style changes but His message is consistent
  • 1 Samuel 3:12 – God is building on what He had already said

 

Keep the Bible central

  • Everything God says matches up to the Bible
  • We test what people say is God by the Bible – the Bible doesn’t have to be tested
  • God speaks through the Bible – it is alive
  • If the Bible doesn’t speak to you, you’re reading it wrong!
  • Preaching is meant to be powerful
  • It is disastrous to wander away from the Bible but still be “spiritual”

 

Serve the Church

  • God speaks for the benefit of everyone
  • When Samuel hears God, he goes to Eli for help and to check out what he’d heard
  • A mistake people can make when God speaks: they get puffed up and start to think they don’t need the church. This is pride and God will stop talking. Be careful and be humble.
  • Hebrews 3: 12-13 – there are two choices: a hardened heart or go to church
  • We need to exhort one another
  • There may be some who feel like they’re in a spiritual desert – this is because they have isolated themselves
  • If God told you something, be humble and submit it to someone
  • If God spoke, it will happen.

 

Accept Pain

  • God will tell you to do something that you’ll not want to do – say something or change something about yourself
  • 1 Samuel 3:15 – Samuel had to tell Eli hard things from God
  • Hearing from God is a privilege but it can bring pain
  • As we learn to walk in obedience God gives opportunities to speak
  • Take risks, sometimes we can be unsure – the more risks we take, the more we grow and learn to discern God’s voice

 

Stay humble

  • Listening to God will be painful and sometimes lonely, but Jesus has been there
  • Matthew 26 – Jesus had to bring awful news
  • We are never forsaken by God and we will never be completely alone

Hannah’s Fight

January 31st, 2011

1 Samuel 1:1-20

  • This time we are looking at Hannah herself – we can learn so much from her as a mighty pray-er.
  • In her pain she prays – but she goes further than just a plea for help, which even atheists might do.
  • Barrenness – a symbol in the Bible of national failure and fruitlessness, when God’s people turn away from Him, replacing Him with other gods. All of humanity has done this and in return we reap corruption, pain and suffering in this world.
  • God speaks through this picture of a barren woman. God doesn’t want us to be fruitless.
  • When we get to that point of desperation of barrenness, that’s where God can work. He loves using impossible situations and loves being strong in our weakness. He wants us to turn to Him.
  • God was the one who closed Hannah’s womb – seems final – but He is open to changing the situation. God is sovereign over all and yet people in the Bible have wrestled with God and pushed through and succeeded – e.g. Jacob, Moses, etc.
  • God is not offended by us arguing with Him – rather He listens and seems to like relating to us in this way.
  • Hannah has every reason to just be depressed and give up, but she believed that she could also be a hero in prayer like the great and mighty figures of the past, despite being just an ordinary woman.
  • Instead of being inspired by the great pray-ers, we can sometimes be discouraged. Do what Hannah did – press through to God anyway; come with all your passion and emotion and longings.
  • God wants us to wrestle with Him – still with reverence and submission, but wrestling nonetheless.
  • Mark 7:25-30 – Jesus says what he says to the Gentile woman in order that she might persevere and to see what kind of fight she had; she did indeed argue with Him and succeeded. Oftentimes we get offended by God, but we need to just press through.
  • God wants us to be stubborn in prayer – all Christians are invited to this!
  • It’s so easy to fall into self-pity, but we are to never give up.
  • Sometimes God purposefully makes it hard for us to see what kind of fight we put up.
  • Jesus told us to pray and no give up.
  • We don’t pray to be religious or spiritual.
  • Be careful when looking at Hannah’s example – in order to persevere through all her suffering she must have been filled with the same Spirit as the Great Pray-er, Jesus Christ.
  • Hannah points us to Jesus. She got what she asked for eventually, but when Jesus asked the Father to take away the cross, He didn’t get His request answered (Matt. 26:36-36). He prevailed when no-one else stood by Him.
  • Jesus is our sympathetic High Priest. Because of His unanswered prayer when He asked for the cross to be removed, we are now able to confidently draw near to God’s throne of grace (Heb.4:14-16).

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 Alternative Wisdom

October 5th, 2009

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You could take the entire history of human philosophy and religion – subjects which have filled libraries, and centuries of intense thought and discussion on the part of everyone, from the educated to the simple – and the bible’s summary of the whole is found in these verses.
 
Man may ‘search for truth’ all he likes – but God has appointed a means of revealing himself (and he IS truth), which undermines the proud ideas of flesh – in every culture.

In this passage Paul addresses his Corinthians audience which was made up mostly of Jews and Greeks. For the Jews, the paradigm of cultural fulfillment was power (strength) for the Greeks it was wisdom. The gospel insists that both can only be found in Jesus – whose wisdom looks like foolishness and whose power looks like weakness.

Strength and Weakness
How is the cross is the power of God? It seems so weak… Because it is only through the cross that the power of sin (our most deathly and unconquerable enemy) is defeated. The powers that control us can only be subdued through the cross – the moment of ultimate weakness and shame!

Wisdom and Folly
How is the cross the wisdom of God? It seems so foolish… Because the problem of our sin was beyond anyone’s ability to solve. It needed God’s wisdom to devise a way in which he could be both just and the justifier of the ungodly.

Pleasure and Pain
The cross is a stumbling block to such people. A God who calls us to follow a crucified master cannot desire our pleasure. And yet we know that true pleasure is only found in the God embraced all of our pain (much of which masquerades as pleasure in Brighton) so that we could know the ‘pleasures ever more… at his right hand’ (Psalm 16).

Beauty and Ugliness
Our society wants beauty and yet the Cross is ugly.
in the end all human beauty will fade. The Beauty of the Lord will not.