Summary: Life is full of changes. How do we handle the tide of experiences that threaten to pull us under? Here are some principles that will help us all deal with the inevitable change that God allows.
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Adjusting to Inevitable Change
Pastor Jerry C. Vargo
Christmas night, I had an experience that serves as the seedbed for this message today. We had a great day as a family. We opened our presents (I received a new guitar), had breakfast, a nap, and finally the most incredible dinner together.
Sandy and I know that life is changing—and so like many of you, we are cherishing times when the entire family can be together.
It wasn’t long after dinner that our son Jeffrey (19 years old) decided that he was going to travel to New Hampshire to see his girlfriend—He was leaving in the morning anyway to go back to college. I surely didn’t blame him for wanting to be with his girlfriend—young love makes young men do all kinds of crazy things!
The reality of Jeff leaving hit me (and Sandy) like a ton of bricks. It was just so sudden. Therefore, being the macho man that I am—I sat on the couch and cried like a big baby!
CHANGE ISN’T ALWAYS EASY!
A. In fact—it is inevitable! The sooner we embrace it—the sooner we will be at peace.
B. I didn’t embrace Jeffrey leaving right away. We actually went to see a movie. "Cheaper by the Dozen." Great Movie—But when we left the theater—we talked about adopting a few kids! I must be crazy!
C. Anyway, this whole experience got me thinking about how to deal with change.
D. Knowing it is not easy—but inevitable—we need tools or principles to help us to keep moving forward into God’s plan.
A. I struggle with change—and yet I eventually embrace it. Why? Because I know that God is doing the changing—and I trust Him!
B. Consider this: When Adam and Eve were in the garden—they were fully alive—made in the image of God. Yet, because of sin—they changed for the worse! Sin changes us for the worse!
C. When Jesus came — His plan and desire was and is to conform us back into the same image—just like Him! How many of you know—that takes time?
D. Today’s foundational verse: Philippians 4:4-9:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
1. Rejoice In The Lord Always!
A. When life lets you down—REJOICE! ALWAYS! Life might let you down—but God NEVER lets you down.
B. God is a God of process—and He has it under control—even the unforeseen changes.
C. There is something about rejoicing that adjusts our spirits and gives us new perspective.
D. All of a sudden—we see things differently. We actually are telling God that whatever He allows to pass through His hands is OK with us.
E. Rejoicing sends a message to God that we KNOW He sees—and we are trusting HIM regardless of the changes:
"I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place."
2. Be Patient With All Men!
A. We are to be patient with all men because we KNOW the Lord is near.
B. This is really important too! Why? Because when change takes place—we often blame others for that change.
C. Somebody does something that affects us and we become offended by their actions.
D. Yet, God tells us to be patient with all men because He is near.
E. That can be taken two ways:
1) Be patient because the Lord is near and He is watching!
2) Be patient KNOWING the Lord is near to help you!
F. I choose door number two. In all of life’s changes—as hard as they get—God is there to help you!
3. Do Not Be Anxious!
A. If we are honest—we must admit that change tempts us to become anxious.
B. The trigger of Anxiousness should be the engine that drives us into His presence: