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II Cor. 1:8; 4:8-10
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"For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life."--II Cor. 1:8.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."--II Cor. 4:8-10.
This week we’ve been blown away by the images of devastation. We have sat speechless, watching the surreal scenes. Christians were not immune, and they and their churches were hit as well. Like 9/11 years ago, God has America’s attention once again, and we’ve been given another chance as a nation to turn to Him. We feel helpless, but there IS something we can do…we can pray.
The winds of trouble are nothing new to God’s people. The Bible is filled with stories of those in trouble. The Hebrew children had their fiery furnace. Daniel had his den of lions. Joseph was cast into prison.
Paul was shipwrecked and beaten with stripes. Peter was sent to prison. John was exiled at Patmos. James had his head cut off. David fled from Saul. Samson had his eyes put out.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Clyde Gordon, who was completely paralyzed from his neck down, edited a magazine called The Triumph. In it he said:
"Christ is no security against storms,
But He is perfect security in storms.
He does not promise an easy passage,
But He does guarantee a safe landing."
Someone else said, "The road to success is always under construction. It seems that those who seem to have it hard always get more done."
Paul said in I Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation (trouble) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (trouble ) also make a way to escape."
One old preacher said that we ought to be good to everybody because everybody is having a tough time. God is no respecter of persons. He has no pets. In spite of this, we sometimes feel like victims. It
seems that we suffer far more than others. But this is simply not the case. Our hearts go out to those who are “in deep” right now on the gulf. What can we learn about them and thus, about ourselves?
We don’t have many answers this week about this problem, but God promised that we’ll understand it all better by and by. In general, however, we can see...
7 ways God may use a “surge of problems” in our lives:
1. To Direct Us.
Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get our attention?
The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
The world deceives us. But after a serious bout with trouble, we don’t usually care as much about what people think.
Pride is plowed under, the world loses its value, the appetites for sin lose their taste. God could have kept Daniel out of the lions’ den, Paul and Silas out of jail, the Hebrew children
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