Summary: Conflict and struggles are bound to happen but there are benefits to conflict and healthy ways to handle it in a godly and biblical way.
“UP-rooted ~ Healthy Conflict” 9.25.11
There’s nothing like a good wind storm to remind us how fragile life can be: It’s always disheartening to wake up & find a magnificent tree that once stood tall for literally decades, that has been UP-rooted overnight by a storm.
The forest that has left the greatest impression upon me personally to date is Muir Woods in N. California ~ Coastal Redwood Forest.
These gigantic trees are 600 to 800 yrs old & are as tall as a 25 ft story building: Mature Redwoods make full grown oak trees look like saplings
What’s really crazy is that periodically in this National Park you will come across one of these MAMMOTH TREES that has been UP-rooted by a storm.
(PHEW) I don’t even want to imagine how furious that wind storm had to be!
We face storms like these in our own lives ~ times of crisis & conflicts that can unexpectedly UP-root our very lives + families in just a moment of time.
I don’t know about you but I loathe + absolutely detest times of crisis & conflicts & attempt to avoid them like the plague.
Instead of looking to God & what He might be doing in & thru us during these difficult & often embarrassing moments = we embrace the FALSE IDEAS that all conflict is negative-damaging + that times of crisis & conflict are either the result of an attack from the devil OR direct result of unconfessed sin in our lives!
Instead of viewing times of conflict & crisis thru a biblical lens & understanding that God uses pain-filled moments to grow us in our faith ~ help us become more like Jesus.
We often run from it & then MISS God’s blessing for us in the midst of it.
Today we will begin with an OT principle found in the 1st book of the Bible that needs to be memorized & stored away for the next storm that comes your way!
OT Principle is this:
GOD can take bad things that are intended to harm us & redeem them for His glory!
This OT principle is 1st found in Genesis 50 = Joseph’s story:
I. Genesis 37 – 50 = God’s transformation of Joseph
A. As a young man Joseph was full of himself ~ arrogant & self-centered (little snot)
He was his father’s favorite ~ who gave him the coat of many colors which he wore w-great pride every moment of everyday to remind his (11 brothers he = special one).
One-day his brothers had enough ~ wanted to kill him but backed away from this initial plan ~ instead sold him into slavery to some Ishmaelite traders = good riddance!
B. He was shipped off to Egypt as a slave ~ worked in Potiphar’s house until he refused to be seduced Potiphar’s wife = she falsely accused him ~ Joseph thrown in prison!
C. In prison he befriended Pharaoh’s ousted cup-bearer ~ interpreted his dreams ~ cupbearer won back favor with Pharaoh ~ cupbearer forgot his friend Joseph, Joseph was left to rot in that Egyptian prison.
All during this time GOD was shaping Joseph’s character & preparing him to be Israel’s deliverer during a great famine that would last for years!
D. (R) Genesis 50: 14 – 21= KEY VERSE (v. 20) = OT principle
God didn’t put Joseph in Egypt to strengthen Joseph ~ God put Joseph in Egypt to save the nation of Israel & show grace to his biological family!
(1) prime example of the OT principle
God can take bad things that are intended to harm us & redeem them for His glory is found in Acts 8:
II. Persecution begins
A. (R) Acts 8: 1a or p. 836 in pew Bible
B. Troubling = “…agreed completely w-the killing of Stephen”
1. (R) Acts 6: 5
2. Next week ~ we will spend more time w-Saul who is pre-Paul
C. (R) Acts 8: 1b – 4 = (2) prophecies fulfilled in these 1.5 verses
1. 1st prophetic fulfillment = (R) Matthew 24: 9 or p. 754 in pew Bible
2. 2nd prophetic fulfillment = (R) Acts 1: 8
IF Stephen’s martyrdom led to persecution ++ and the persecution led to the dispersion of the Christians from Jerusalem ++ the dispersion now resulted in wide-spread evangelism.
“Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church = Greek = brutal cruelty
What the devil intended for evil = the scattering of the Christians resulted in God using this tragic conflict into scattering the good seed of the gospel
The devil’s best attempt to destroy the church ~ brutal cruelty worked against his evil desires, “Blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Personal problems & conflicts & trials can be productive if we respond to them positively & not to it w-anger or bitterness.