Summary: Trials are a part of our life in this world. They make us stronger, but there are times to ask NOT to be tested.
1. CHIPPIE THE PARAKEET
Chippie THE PARAKEET never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."
It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That's enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart. [Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11. ]
2. There are numerous trials that come our way. Some are easy, some are not. I wish I knew why we are tried in the ways we are.
3. The Bible refers to these as "trials; tests; or even temptations."
4. It would be nice if we were exempt from the tests as A students from the finals; but, we are not
5. Matthew 6.13a
I. The Challenge in the Test
A. Benefits of the Tests -- [auditing vs. credit/ Auditorium vs. Sanctuary
1. To know ourselves
a. [Boot camp -- The Army knows what a man can do. Boot camp teaches the man what he can do. -- Basic Training tasks
Week 3, Endurance:
DAY 01 5 km Foot March
DAY 02 Bayonet Instruction
DAY 03 Bayonet Assault Course and Pugil Stick Training
DAY 04 Nuclear Biological Chemical (Gas Chamber) Training and Obstacle Course
DAY 05 Phase One Tests
DAY 06 Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) Fundamentals Training
b. How else will we know strengths and weaknesses?
2. To grow ourselves
a. Part of the maturation process -- "Be perfect" -- Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5.48
b. Can't grow by auditing -- have to be tested [chicken hatching/butterfly from cocoon -- strengthens for life -- help them and they die
3. To show ourselves -- show our love and faithfulness to God
a. Easy to love God when all is well -- what about in the bad?
Ted Turner, is the founder of CNN, TNT, TBS, etc. He is a very successful businessman and a well-known critic of Christianity. In fact he has publicly stated, "Christianity is for losers."
How did Mr. Turner became so anti-Christian? As a teenager, Mr. Turner aspired to become a missionary but lost his faith when his younger sister, Mary Jane, contracted an immune system disease that eventually killed her. "I was taught that God was love and God was powerful and I couldn't understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to suffer so".
b. Poverty and Prosperity -- Proverbs 30.7-9
7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the LORD?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
B. Challenges Faced by Yeshua (Jesus)
1. Trials in the wilderness
a. Conditions: Blistering heat; danger of dehydration; 40 day fast
b. Tests of challenge: Stones to Bread; Pinnacle of Temple
c. Test with temptation -- kingdoms of world/shortcut
2. Trials of Religious Leaders -- Matthew 16.1
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test [tempt, KJV] him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
3. Cross -- Let this cup pass
C. Do not Test/Challenge God -- Deuteronomy 6.16
You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. (i.e., would he provide water for the nation?)
II. The Trial in the Test
The MOST PHOTOGRAPHED TREE in America stands on a rocky point overlooking the Pacific on the famous Seventeen-Mile Drive near Carmel, California. It is a gnarled, twisted cypress growing out of what appears to be solid rock. The winds have blown its branches backward from the sea until they are permanently shaped like Medusa's hair, though not so deadly.