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Summary: What are your expectations and reactions to God’s work in your life?

THE RIGHT KIND OF LAUGHTER

GENESIS 17:17; 21:1-8

There are times in our life when we laugh because of disbelief… “I am going to give you a million dollars….” “Yeah, right, ha ha.” And there are other times when we laugh because of joy. Something happens so good that our response is just a spontaneous laughter.

While the average child laughs 150 times a day, say researchers at the University of Michigan, the average adult laughs only 15 times. Youth Worker Update, Signs of the Times, August, 1993, p. 6

As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: "It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am one of them." Moody Bible Institute’s, Today In The Word, June, 1988, p. 18

I. TRUST GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

A) Notice three phrases that are given in the first two verses of our text.

1) As He had said.

2) As He had spoken.

3) At the set time that the Lord had spoken unto him.

What do these three have in common? They deal with God’s promises.

B) What does it mean to trust God?

1) It means to believe what He says; we must take Him at His Word.

2) It means to rely on Him in a crisis. He doesn’t remove us from every crisis but He will give us strength to go on and face tomorrow—but usually not till tomorrow comes.

3) It means acknowledging God’s authority and control. I don’t have to like God’s will for me or His allowing a crisis in my life but trusting His faithfulness means that I will talk to Him and take His hand.

C) Reasons we find trust difficult.

1) Past disappointments---You have been hurt or disappointed by others…Maybe God didn’t answer a prayer the way we wanted Him to. Ill. People mad at God because parents died—my uncle.

2) Prideful disposition—God I will do it my way

3) Perspective deficiency---Our inability to see the whole picture.

Kim comes up with ideas about decoration and such that I just can’t see in my mind’s eye. I am slowly learning to trust her in this area because I have seen her ideas turn into beauty so many times.

II. FOLLOW GOD’S DIRECTIONS

A) Abraham named his son Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day just as God instructed him to do.

B) To trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.

C) Can a Christian be filled with joy if he/she is not willing to be obedient to God? I don’t believe so. I believe there will be a conviction and unrest that is definitely not the will of God. We need to learn obedience to the one who redeemed or purchased us with his blood.

In Reader’s Digest I heard about a man that had trouble getting his son to clean his room. The son would always agree to tidy up, but then wouldn’t follow through. After high school the young man joined the Marine Corps. When he came home for leave after basic training, his father asked him what he had learned in the service.

“Dad,” he said. “I learned what ‘now’ means.” Contributed by Jan King, Humor in Uniform, Readers Digest, May, 1996, p. 174.

D) Why should we obey God?

1) Some obey to avoid a guilty conscience

2) Some obey in an attempt to bribe God—If I am good will you answer my prayers my way?

At a certain children’s hospital, a boy gained a reputation fore reeking havoc with the nurses and staff. One day a visitor who knew about his terrorizing nature made him a deal: "If you are good for a week," she said, "I’ll give you a dime when I come again." A week later she stood before his bed. "I’ll tell you what," she said, "I won’t ask the nurses if you behaved. You must tell me yourself. Do you deserve the dime?"

After a moment’s pause, a small voice from among the sheets said: "Gimme a penny."

3) Some obey God in an attempt to reach heaven they believe that if they are good enough God will let them in.

4) The Biblical reason for obedience is driven by a motive of love and devotion directed to the creator and savior.

III. RECEIVE HIS JOY

A) In Gen 17:17 Abraham laughs because of disbelief. Some theologians disagree but I believe the language indicates this is source of his laughter. Wait a minute God, that’s impossible. Why don’t you just bless me through Ishmael? I have a better plan.

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