Summary: Unmask the lies that your life is built upon and discover the freedom that only the Truth can bring.

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The Lies We Believe About Our Circumstances

1. Prayer

2. Opening Story

a. In the children’s book by Judith Viorst called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day the young boy at the center of the story is having a bad day.

i. “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

ii. He goes on to tell about his day: “There were lima beans for dinner and I hate limas. There was kissing on tv and I hate kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas, and I hate my railroad train pajamas. When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony and not with me. It has been a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day.”

b. Gee, that sounds like a typical morning to me!

i. I imagine that every one of us has a day every once in a while where we would echo the words of the Psalmist who said, “I said, ‘Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” (Psalm 55:6-8)

ii. If those words describe your experience today, then God has you here for a reason.

iii. Our church is named “Here’s Hope” because we desire to be a safe harbor of God’s love where you can escape the storms of life and find shelter.

3. Lie #1: If my circumstances were different, I would be different.

a. Have you ever said, “I wouldn’t have lost my temper if so and so didn’t do such and such?”

b. Or “I would be a happy adult if my parents hadn’t done such and such to me?”

c. If this lie were true, then we would all be VICTIMS of our circumstances.

i. If we are victims, then we are not responsible, someone else is.

ii. If we are victims, then we can’t help being the way we are.

iii. If we are victims, then we cannot be held accountable for our actions.

d. This is a lie that Satan uses to convince you to take the blame game.

i. If only we didn’t have to move

1. I know that moving from Texas to Massachusetts in 1998 was hard on my oldest daughter.

2. I know that moving from Massachusetts to Ohio in 2001 was hard on my wife and family.

3. We all have regrets, we all say, “if only.”

ii. If only we had more money

1. I think this one probably comes up every time you pay the bills.

2. Did you ever notice that the more your income increases, so do the bills?

iii. If only we lived closer (or further) to my parents

iv. If only…

v. Satan wants to deceive you into thinking that your happiness is dependent upon your circumstances.

1. But the truth is that if we are not content with our CURRENT circumstances, we would not be happy in any other circumstance.

2. Martha Washington, wife of our first president wrote, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go.”

vi. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

vii. Just like we learned last week that we may not be able to control our emotions, but we can prevent them from controlling us, so it is with our circumstances. We may not be able to control them, but we keep our circumstances from controlling us!

1. This passage in Philippians tells us that for Paul, he LEARNED TO BE CONTENT. It didn’t just happen overnight.

2. It was the result of a struggle.

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