September 14, 2014 – Pastor Tim – “Upside Down”
Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
There are some things that if I was God, in my wisdom, I would do differently. I don’t always understand the Lord’s upside-down teaching about life.
I have some upside-down reference I would like to share:
- To live you must die. Mark 8:35, For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
- To gain you must give. Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Also, Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
- Matthew 5:3-5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…
- Blessed are those who mourn…
- Blessed are the meek…”
- To rule you must serve. Luke 22:26, But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. And, Mark 9:35, And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
- Suffering has a purpose. Matthew 5:10-11, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
- To love the un-loveable, Matthew 5:44, But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
- How about Matthew 5:39, But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
It is statements like these that make people think Christ is strangely out of touch. But we are the ones out of touch. He is not upside down, we are!
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
God will sometimes lead us into a place where we will have no idea what’s going on. It’s in these times when we must have faith in God. It’s in these times when we must trust that God will allow us to understand sometime down the road, but for now…we’re not meant to understand. Clarity often comes after we’ve been through the fire.
John 16:33 tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Even God’s children are not promised a life of ease. Yet we are never alone in our trouble. Isaiah 43:2 reminds us that when we pass through deep waters, God is with us.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Although we don’t always understand God’s purposes in the trials we experience, we can trust His heart because we know Him.
Our God is a God of abundant love and Romans 8:38-39 tells us For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. When trouble comes, His presence is His promise. Faith is believing that God is present when all we hear is silence.
God has told us in Isaiah 55:8,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
So, rather than relying on our mixed-up instincts, let us ask Him to help us reflect His ways. What may seem upside down to us is right side up to God.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
If God said it, you can believe it!!! God will tell us when it’s time for us to know. Until then, have faith. Faith in His Word!!!
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