In all the old-time stories, the good guy wins: he beats the bad guy, he gets the girl and they live a happy, fulfilled life. But we all know reality is often much different. Movies today are so full of reality, no moral person can stand to watch them. Very few of us have escaped the hardships and troubles that are all too often a part of life.
As believers we search for answers and cling to the cross during troubled times, knowing that God is faithful to bring victory but wondering why this thing had to happen. As a pastor Ive seen many people so obsessed with the why? they become bitter, discouraged, disillusioned and turn away from God when their life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. However, I believe there is a better course of action when trouble and heartache move into your life. When trouble comes, the solution is to tap into the life that is within us, who believe in Jesus.
1) Adjust your expectations by seeking God first.
a) Go straight to the source, vs. 18,19.
b) Expect Gods answer while staying obedient to His call.
- The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (or without
- Once he lays His hands on you it doesnt change because of
trouble or trauma in your life.
- Never doubt in the darkness what God has revealed in the light.
c) Keep growing in your knowledge of God, vs.23.
- Blessed is he who does not take offense at me.
- In other words, blessed are those who accept Jesus for who He
is, not for who we expect Him to be.
- Do you know who Jesus is?
2) No matter what, receive and give life.
a) Jesus shows Johns disciples his credentials, vs. 21.
- At that very hour
- Jesus doesnt answer the question he shows them.
- When you stand next to someone during that kind of ministry
there is no denying the presence and power of God (unless you
are a Pharisee in your heart).
- Jesus answer: Tell John what you have seen and heard
b) In every circumstance, good or bad, we need to receive life from Jesus.
- Its your choice to let circumstances and events trouble your heart or to believe in Jesus and tap into His life within you.
c) Miracles are normal in the kingdom of God.
- What we call miraculous is simply God restoring his creation.
- The Kingdom of God is now, but not yet.
- In the meantime, we are in a battle.
- When trouble comes, it is our choice to surrender or establish the kingdom of God in the midst of that trouble.
d) Give to others what you have received.
- Despite our circumstances, we can always give something to
- Comfort those in any trouble with the comfort you have received (2Co 1:4).
- Lk. 22:32, Peter: when you return to me, strengthen your brothers.
3) When trouble comes, will you bow your head or shake your fist?
a) The emphasis here is on choice, vs. 29,30.
- Lukes summary: some repented and were baptized, vs. 29; others rejected the will of God for their lives, vs. 30.
b) Learning to choose God (bow the head) is a process: it is not natural to our fallen nature.
- Dwight Moody said, pity the man who has to learn Gods principles in the midst of trial.
- In other words, we can learn to turn to God before trouble comes so that in the event, we choose to turn to God.
c) What was the difference between those who responded to Johns message of repentance and those who didnt?
- Jesus illustrates the difference in Luke 18:9-14: The Pharisee and the tax collector.
- The Pharisee was filled with pride at his own accomplishments.
- The other was aware of his sin and humbled himself.
- We have a choice: 1) indulge our fallen nature which allows pride and ego to rule, or 2) recognize our need for God and allow him to lead.
d) Three characteristics of those who bow the head:
- They are humble: acknowledge their need for God and His forgiveness.
- They repent quickly: I need time to be human simply indulges the flesh.
- They embrace Gods will for them: he does have a plan for
abundant life and He will reveal it as we surrender to Him.
e) Embracing Gods will means:
- Enjoy who you are: You are His workmanship
- Fix what He tells you is broken, dont sweat the rest.
- Live within your means (His will): God will provide when you stay obedient to Him.
1) Adjust your expectations by seeking God first in all circumstances. Jesus, I didnt expect this would happen, but I know that you love me and will provide for me.
2) No matter what, receive and give life. Jesus, no matter what happens, you are the only source of life, my only hope in times of trouble.
3) When trouble comes will you bow your head or shake your fist? Its your choice. Jesus, my life is yours and I trust you to accomplish your purpose in my life.