Summary: This is a sermon about the promises of God that are just that - promises He intends to keep. They are as valid today as they were when He made them. They are for those who are His children through thier faith in Jesus Christ.
Power of the Surrendered Life
Intro: Hi! My name is Tim and I like to be in control. I like things to go my way. I like to know what’s coming and what I’m going to do about it.
Deep down inside, all of us like to be in control, to be the boss of our own destiny. We want to take charge of our own circumstances, to get our own way.
One of the areas where this gets played out is in the family, especially between husbands and wives.
1. That’s why automobiles have duel climate controls.
2. Microwaveable foods make it easy to have different things for dinner.
Ill. When we were younger, Debra and I fought over the blankets. This is not exclusive to us. When you look at the blankets on a bed, they appear to be large enough for both to have some. They aren’t. So we got an electric blanket with duel controls, one for each side of the bed. This is really handy when you both like to sleep at different temperatures. I could control my side, and Debra could control hers. One night, though, I woke up blazing hot. I turned my control way down and still was burning up. The next morning, Debra said she was freezing all night. It took me three nights to figure out that we had switched the controls somehow and were each controlling the other’s side of the blanket. I was turning mine way down and freezing her and she was turning hers way up and cooking me. I learned how a roast feels in a crock-pot. For years after that I felt guilty every time we put something in the oven. I could relate to that poor chicken.
This desire to be in control is rooted in us from the time we are young children. We learned that to get what we want all we have to do is yell and scream. As we get older, hopefully we learn more tactful ways of getting what we want. Some never do!
The fact is, the control that we so desperately long for is actually hard to achieve, and even more difficult to keep. It can be a very elusive and frustrating search. Circumstances often prevent us from being in control. Sickness, accidents, even death all arrive to remind us that we are not really in charge.
We find that the stock market and the economy in general are out of control, and we are left at the mercy of something we can’t control. Uncertainty begins to seep into our lives and this uncertainty creates anxiety. If left alone long enough, anxiety leads to desperation, and desperation often leads to hopelessness.
I want to tell you today about a woman who was at this point of hopelessness. In II Kings 17 we read about a widow lady who had completely lost control of her life through no fault of her own. There was a drought in the land and famine had set in. The specter of death was hovering about, and the control that may have once been hers was now eliminated completely.
But before we meet this woman, we run across Elijah, the prophet of God. At the command of God, he is living in the Cherith Ravine, where the ravens are bringing him bread and meat in the morning and evening, and he is drinking from the brook that runs through the ravine. In a drought, this is a pretty good set up. He’s hiding from Jezebel the queen, and just sort of hanging out until further notice. The notice comes when the brook dries up and God tells Elijah to go to the city of Zeraphath, which is in Sidon. Now this would not be the first place that Elijah would choose to go. It’s the hometown of Jezebel, the queen. He’s currently hiding from her husband Ahab, the milquetoast king, so going there probably doesn’t seem like a very good idea. But God assures him that He’s taken care of things, so Elijah goes.
When he gets to the city, he sees a widow lady picking up sticks, to cook some food for her and her son. Elijah asks for some water and some bread. She informs him of her plight. Read verse 12. This demonstrates what circumstances she’s in. She has only enough food for her and her son and then they are going to die.
We cannot fathom being in this kind of a situation. One more meal and that’s it? Just sit and wait for death to take us. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to starve to death?
Ill. Process of severe hunger – First the mind clears; after several days, fantasies of food set in, and one can think of nothing else; Food becomes unimportant again, but depression sets in; the mind then becomes vulnerable to brainwashing and mind control; finally, nothing really matters; the body consumes itself in an attempt to stay alive; death comes. If you’ve seen photographs of starving people, you’ll know it’s a horrific way to die.