Summary: God uses trials to strengthen us.
Father God we pray to you, our one and only God. We worship your Holy name. We pray a mercy seat in the middle of the sanctuary, so that you may join us with your presence, and hear our praise. We ask for your cleansing, and a desire to hide your Word in our hearts. Father God, we ask that you take this service over and place upon it, a There is a new wave of feel good churches springing up all over the United States. Some call it the "church of prosperity". Only good things come from God. God is only love, He is too compassionate to let anything bad happen. Well let me tell you right off the bat, this is a lie straight from the mouth of Satan himself. A Gospel without suffering, a Gospel without sacrifice, is counterfeit.
God uses adversity, tribulation, suffering; and sacrifice to make us into what we were created to be.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Paul was plagued by an unknown thorn in his side. I believe it was unknown so that we all may relate to it, but that's another sermon. He asked God to remove it three times, and that was God's response. At first Paul saw this thorn as an obstacle, but through God's revelation saw it for what it truly was; an aid. Now you must be thinking, how can a thorn is someone's side be an aid to them?
Illustration- The came a visitor to a great museum. As he toured the place, he saw a man with a chisel, hammer in his hands and goggles on his face. There sitting in front of him was a huge bolder. The visitor asked the man, rather directly, "What is so special about a big rock"? Without even looking at the visitor, the sculptor said, " It's an eagle, not a big rock". The visitor said, "well looks like a big rock to me, never saw an eagle that liked like that." The sculptor put down his tools, took off his goggles and turned to face the man. He began, "I assure you its and eagle, I just haven't remove all the pieces of that don't belong."
God shapes us, and if we let Him, He will chip away the pieces of us that do not belong, that are contrary to what we are created for. God breaks us in order to get us to a place where we are teachable.
Well what if we do not want to be broken? After all this does not sound very appealing.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. The NIV says "peace to those who have been trained by it.
There must be discipline for there to be a relationship. God brings us to the end of ourselves, so that we are not trusting in ourselves, but in Him. A man will not be used greatly, until he has been broken deeply.
One of my favorite poems is written by Lee Webber
I came to a swift and raging river
And the roar held the echo of fear
"Oh Lord, give me wings to fly over,
If you are as you promised, quite near"
But He said, "Trust the grace I am giving,
All pervasive, sufficient for you.
Take my hand; we will face this together,
For my plan is not over, but THROUGH!"
We are so quick to ask for a way out of our troubles, when sometimes they are put there by God to mold us, to shape us into the true purpose of our creation. God shapes us with trials.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me, ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
What and amazing truth! Jesus does not say, "You may run across some tribulation, here or there." He says "Ye SHALL have tribulation". It will happen, and often. God gives us the tools, and wisdom to overcome the world through Him.
Philippians 4"13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Lets look at an example of Peter's trials.
And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have Prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted; strengthen thy bretheren." And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death, And He said "I tell thee Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.