Summary: Finding God's hope in places you wouldn't expect.
My son asked, “If Sea World really loves animals, then why do they keep them captive?” What a deep question. Maybe you can relate. If someone loves you, then why are you still held captive? If people in your world love you when why do they keep you captive? Our world offers so called “freedoms” but in the end they are traps. Just think of credit cards! They want your money, or possessions!
God loves you and came to set you free! True freedom doesn’t look like what we have imagined in our life. Think of it this way. (SHOW PICTURE OF GREAT WHITE IN NEMO. Then say, no Stephen the other slide. Show picture of a great white shark) This is a picture I have taken at Disney. This shark is fed, doesn’t have to worry about much, but isn’t free. His natural instincts are dull. His God given abilities aren’t lived out. He isn’t a shark; he is an attraction for people to come and spend money to watch.
Satan offers the same concept to us. Here’s freedom. You don’t have to worry about life; food; etc. Just live in this cage. Don’t get out. Don’t live in faith. And don’t allow God to show you who He is and what He has for you! We become an attraction to watch!
I am truly discovering that life’s obstacles are truly opportunities for God to show just how awesome He really is. Obstacles give us God stories! Do you need a God story today?
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Praise to God for a Living Hope 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Pet. 1
HOPE FILLED LIFE THROUGH ADVERSITIES. Being spirit filled requires change.
In order for this shark to truly become a shark, he would have to leave what he knows. His comfort, his provision, his tank, his friends. He would have to leave and go out into the wild; the unknown. There would be serious adversities.
The early church was much the same. Peter calls them Pilgrims of the dispersion. They had to leave what they knew for the unknown. They had to forego their jobs, friends, family, and enter the wild world of faith. Will God provide?
They had never been here before. They left, were pilgrims, because they were being persecuted.
They were being dispersed by God.
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8;
1 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church, which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1!
The Squeeze. We give Collier options trying to influence him to do the right thing. God gives us options, you can stay where you are and endure the persecution, or you can go where I want you to go!
HOPE FILLED LIFE THROUGH AMBIGUITY. Being spirit filled often doesn’t feel natural.
This shark wouldn’t know what to trust. He has been hand fed so long. Would his instincts come through? Where would he get food? Where would he go? What would he do? Is he really a shark? He doesn’t feel like a shark? This is new territory for him. And yet this environment is what God created him for. But it sure doesn’t feel natural. It doesn’t feel right at all.
When they left, listen to what Peter called them: elect; sanctified; obedient! The irony is they didn’t feel this way. The irony is they were being obedient probably for the first time in their lives! But WOE, it felt way out of wack!
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Prov. 14:12
Isn’t it something how far sin separates us from God? We have become what we were never intended to be. We attempt to do things that we never were intended to do. We fail because we have never experienced the True Spirit Filled Life!
Do people who are spirit led have problems? If so, then why do people who are spirit led have problems? Listen to what Paul, the most spirit led person, said to his apprentice Timothy, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim. 3:12