Summary: A sermon that emphasizes the important of being prepared if life changes radically.

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The Challenge of Change

Philippians 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Introduction: I want to use two men this morning as examples of how quickly life can change. The first example is Job and the second is the Apostle Paul. Bible scholars tell us that Job is the oldest book of the Bible and that Moses was most likely the author. That would make this book among the oldest books in history. Job is also one of the most compelling figures in the Bible or anywhere else for that matter. We are introduced to Job in chapter one where we learn that he was a good and godly man with great substance and a large family. Job's troubles start where all trouble starts, with the Devil. Satan is a destroyer, accuser, liar, a murderer and much more. Satan asks for permission to afflict this godly man to challenge the idea that Job only loves and worships God because of the blessings in his life. As the narrative proceeds Job suffers the loss of his wealth, his family, his friends, the support of his wife and then his health. This reminds us of how quickly life can change.

Our friend Bro. Randy Wright who passed away last year after a long, protracted battle with cancer has left an insightful statement in this regard. He writes in his journal, "It's possible to go from healthy to terminal with one phone call. How quickly a person can go from employed to unemployed, from married to widowed or even divorced. The story of Job illustrates this truth. He went from enormous wealth to immense poverty in a matter of a few seconds. His health quickly deteriorated, and in the process, he buried all ten of his precious children."

Job is a perfect example of how quickly things can change.

The Apostle Paul also certainly bore witness to these abrupt changes in circumstances. Listen again to what he says in 2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

I. We Can Enter His Presence

What a fellowship, what a joy divine to be able to into God's presence in prayer. We are exhorted to come boldly before His throne of grace. Prayer insulates us from worry and fretfulness. Prayer gives us access to the throne room of God and all the resources of our heavenly Father.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

That calls me from a world of care

And bids me at my Father's throne

Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief,

My soul has often found relief

And oft escaped the tempter's snare

By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

And oft escaped the tempter's snare

By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

Thy wings shall my petition bear

To him whose truth and faithfulness

Engage the waiting soul to bless.

And since he bids me seek his face,

Believe his word, and trust his grace,

I'll cast on him my ev'ry care

And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

I'll cast on him my ev'ry care

And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Text: Attr. to William W. Walford, 1772-1850, alt. Music: William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868, alt.

2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

ILL - Max Lucado in his book "In the Eye of a Storm" talks about traveling from one speaking engagement to another. He had traveled from San Antonio to Boston and had spoken at a gathering in Boston. Then he was flying on to Edmonton, Canada to fulfill a speaking engagement there.

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