Do you trust God?
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:18-28 (NIV)
Pastor Eli centered his message this week on building a firm foundation in Christ and what we learn through the suffering that shakes our foundation. He uses Paul as an example when he writes to the Philippians (chapters 1-2).
Just because you're in it, doesn't mean God's not over it. He is still in control.
There are times where the church has misled you in saying that your life is going to be “perfect," “good things happen to good people," and “good things are coming your way.” The truth is there is suffering that comes with Christianity, especially with us living in a sinful, imperfect world. God will shake everything in your life so that you will put all your trust and faith in Him. Bad things may happen, but God is still good. That is something you can build your life on!
"The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Hebrews 12:27-28 (NIV)
Paul does not create a narrative of deliverance, but a narrative of his suffering and how God is going to use it. We should have a kingdom perspective like Paul – think of how God will use our suffering and turn it for good, no matter if we are delivered out of our suffering or not - we should still glorify God through it. Remind yourself that God is doing something in you, in the midst of suffering, and it will become your testimony. God is after your full development. He will complete the work He started in you.
"He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.'” Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
You don't need to know how when you know who.
You cannot wait to know before you sow. Keep sowing even when you don't see the fruit. Even when you can't see the harvest. Even when it doesn't make sense. Our faith is not in how it's going to happen. Our faith is in Him. It is not about the momentary circumstance, but the foundation on which you stand - You are planted, not buried. If you have been called, nothing can snatch you out of His hand. You have been called according to His purpose.
His purpose is the promise.
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