Summary: Our lives are filled with discouragements. Paul mentions "the encouragement of the Scriptures," Rom. 15:4. Here are seven reasons that every believer should be encouraged and positive about their lives and futures.
SEVEN REASONS TO BE ENCOURAGED
[This is a reworked version of John Shearhart’s message, “20 Reasons to Be Encouraged.”]
A. HUMOR Light Bulb jokes, 133 yrs old. (Reader's Digest)
1. How many divorced men does it take to change a lightbulb? Who cares? They never get the house anyway.
2. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to be willing to change.
3. How many fishermen does it take to change a lightbulb? Five -- and you should have seen the size of that lightbulb! Five of us almost weren’t enough!
4. How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Two: one to screw it almost all the way in and one to give it a surprising twist at the end.
5. How many members of the rock band U2 does it take to change a lightbulb? One: Bono holds the lightbulb, and the world revolves around him.
1. Life has a lot of discouragements. Everyone has felt like giving up at some point or another.
2. God knows how difficult life is and so He has given us many encouragements in his Word. We're going to look at some of those tonight.
3. The title of tonight's message is, "Seven Reasons To Be Encouraged."
I. GOD NEVER CHANGES HIS MIND, PURPOSE, NATURE
“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed” Mal. 3:6.
A. EVERYTHING CHANGING BUT ONE
1. A lot of people change their mind about like they change their clothes; all the time! Husbands and wives change their minds. Umpires change their minds about a call. The Supreme Court changes its mind about a decision. And -- glory be -- even the IRS changes its mind (usually for the worse)!
2. Two of the rules for a Happy Marriage are, “The woman can change her mind at any time” and “The man must never change his mind without the proper consent of the woman!”
3. But the Most High God doesn’t change His mind. He’s like the unalterable laws of the universe; we can calculate when the sun will come up a 1,000 yrs from now!
B. THE VALUE OF GOD’S STABILITY
1. Aren't you glad God doesn't change His mind? He’s one person we can always count on, that will never let us down. We can trust in Him, no matter what else. He’s the same, yesterday, today, and forever!
2. Life is like being in a boat, with constant movement. But God’s Word is like stepping off onto solid ground. It doesn’t change like shifting shadows.
3. “Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” Ps. 119:89. “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” Mt. 5:18. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” Mk. 13:31.
4. What confidence we can have about the future and our status with God! We stand on the unshakable promises of God!
II. GOD IS IN CONTROL OF ALL OUR NEEDS
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phip 4:19.
A. THE SCOPE OF HUMAN NEED
1. It seems like our needs are so great; we need everything -- money for houses, cars, insurance, food and clothing, gas, utilities, and a 1,000 other things. It's like the proverbial rat running wheel; we keep running and running and never seem to get anywhere.
2. But I'm glad that no matter how great human needs are, God has the ability to meet those needs.
3. JOKE. Every woman needs at least four men in her life: a banker, an actor, a minister, and a mortician. One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, four to go!
B. GOD IS SUPER-ABUNDANT TO MEET THEM
1. God didn’t promise to supply all of our "wants," but to supply all of our "needs.” Americans are used to a lavish lifestyle. The apostle Paul said, "if we have food and clothing, let us therewith be content."
2. God is in control. He may use a little widow-woman who only has a handful of flour and a table spoon-full of oil. We may share some little boy’s lunch.
3. We may be fed by a Raven or dine on a fish caught in a miraculous manner, but God will supply our needs! God knows what we need and will supply them “abundantly!”
III. GOD CAUSES EVERY TRIAL TO HAVE MEANING
A. A PURPOSE TO RANDOM TRIALS?
1. Many times it seems impossible to imagine that our trials have any purpose. What significance can there be in our dish washer going out? Or us having insufficient funds in our account? In the nagging pain of arthritis? How can there be a purpose in such things?