March 1, 2015 – Pastor Tim – “Inconveniences”
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Illustration: (My wife and I have been working a part-time job… some people have dogs… we can’t blame the dog…)
Interruptions or inconveniences are nothing new. Rarely does a day go by as planned. Life is filled with inconveniences and interruptions. We can’t just quit because things get inconvenient. Our plans are constantly thwarted by forces beyond our control. The list is long and ever-changing: Sickness. Conflict. Traffic jams. Forgetfulness. Appliance malfunctions. Rudeness. Laziness. Impatience. Incompetence. The list goes on and on.
1 Samuel 17:34-35 (NLT), But David persisted. [If there is one thing we need in ministry and in life, it is persistent.] “ I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death.”
One would not think that a lion or a bear was a special blessing from God. But, every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God’s opportunity. May God open our eyes to see Him, when the lion or bear comes, God help us to recognize it as His opportunity no matter how rough the exterior. We can’t blame the lion or bear for doing what comes natural to them, but we can work to prevent or protect ourselves from the effects of what comes natural to them, so it doesn’t become the norm in our lives. Just because an inconvenience or interruption happens doesn’t mean it needs to become habit forming or we give up and don’t fix the mess. In other word just because you stepped in it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your shoes (that is a smell we never want to get uses to.)
What we have is a hard time seeing past our side of the inconvenience, to the other side of the inconvenience (God’s side). We may think the inconvenience has no purpose other than to discourage us, make life more difficult, and thwart our plans. However, inconvenience could be God’s way of protecting us from some unseen danger, or it could be an opportunity for us to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness. It might be the start of something even better than we had planned. Or it could be a test to see how we respond to adversity. Whatever it is, even though we may not know God’s reason, we can be assured of His motive—to make us more like Jesus and to further His kingdom on earth.
Sometimes we must look past the reasons for the inconvenience and find the purpose. (First, check – attitude… Second, find purpose)
To say that God’s followers throughout history have been “inconvenienced” would be an understatement. [Joseph, Paul…] I just read the book of Acts this February (a chapter a day; 28 days=28 chapters). The beginnings of the Church was anything but convenient. But God had a purpose. Knowing this, we can thank Him, being confident that He is giving us an opportunity to redeem the time.
Ephesians 5:15-21, See then that you walk circumspectly, [Definition of circumspectly: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences] not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (the Bible say in the last days the darkness will get darker but the light will also get brighter. I believe as the day of the Lord gets closer the line between light and dark will become more and more clear, less gray) 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (what is the Lord’s purpose, to make us more like Him and to further His kingdom.) 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; [Nothing has ever been solved by getting drunk. Why? because it dissipates. The feeling gained by alcohol goes away or becomes so strong it incapacitate us. And we wake up the next morning with the same problems—and maybe even a new one! You may feel like alcohol is not that bad, I’m not here today to argue with you about that, but here is what I do know, it’s not the answer.] but be filled with the Spirit, (being filled with the Holy Spirit is the answer to ever question. The Holy Spirit brings the answers of peace and the wisdom of God.) 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. (iron-sharpening-iron)
So often it is the little things in life that get to us, and there seem to be so many of them. Whenever we are tempted to lose our tempers, blame others, of just give up, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to put a melody in our hearts.
What happens to us is not nearly as important as what God does in us and though us.
Hebrews 6:11-12, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
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