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Summary: Live is a mixed bag.

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Intro:

1. One wrote, "Life on planet earth has its ups and downs; its pleasures and pains. This is illustrated clearly in Gen. 21. Sarah giving birth to Isaac was a tremendous high; but then, a cloud settled over the household, as Sarah watched Ishmael mock her son. As a result she insisted that he be removed. Abraham took much joy from Ishamel; thus experienced much grief at Sarah's request."

2. Life is full of ups and downs - and I have learned that when we are Down, we think that we will never be up again; and when were Up, we think we will never again be down. Truth is both the Pessimist, who thinks life is all gloom and doom is just as wrong as the Optimist, who thinks life is just one thrill after another.

"A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;" Ecclesiastes 3:4

3. The Ups and Downs of Life.

Trans: Gen. 21

I. FIRST, WE HAVE THE UP OF FULFILLED PROPHECY. 21:1-

A. God's promises often require our Patience. 1

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken - they had waited some 25 years for this promise to be fulfilled.

"12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:12-15

"35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" Hebrews 10:35-36

Abraham has now reached the Century mark! He is 100 years old and Sarah is 90.

A common sight in America's Southwest desert is the century plant. It's unique. The century plant (Agave Americana) thrives in rocky, mountainous, desert sites. It has dramatic, splayed leaves that grow up to a foot wide. The plant can reach twelve feet in diameter. But what makes the century plant unusual, as its name suggests, is its long reproduction cycle. For twenty or thirty years (no, not a literal one hundred years), the six-foot-tall plant stands the same height and puts out no flowers. Then one year, without warning, a new bud sprouts. The bud, which resembles a tree-trunk-size asparagus spear, shoots into the sky at a fantastic rate of seven inches per day and reaches an eventual height of twenty to forty feet. Then it crowns itself with several clumps of yellowish blossoms that last up to three weeks.

This century old man was been at a stand still for 25 years - the wam! He is bearing the fruit that God had promised him...

B. The Promise required God's Power. 2

For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him - this required supernatural power.

God promises the lost man He can be saved - but only God's power can save him...

God has promises the believer that he will be transformed into the image of Christ - but only God's Spirit can do that...


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