Okay. So, you’ve been there. I’ve been there. When you were a kid and you wanted that new toy and didn’t get it. When you were a teenager and wanted to go to that party but weren’t allowed. When you are an adult and want that position and someone else is promoted.
So, have you? Are you there now?
I have. We will be again.
My youngest son, Timmy, (age 3) loves jumping. Big surprise right?! Jumping on the bed, jumping down the hall, jumping off the couch…you get the idea. We have instructed him numerous times, “don’t jump on the bed! Stop jumping off the couch! Timothy!”
We tell him these things for obvious reasons, all for his good, from our love. He could get hurt. Yet, he doesn’t understand. All he knows is the fun and joy he feels while he is doing it. He, being so little, is not mature enough nor even possesses the cognitive thinking required to think ahead to the various outcomes of his actions. For example, a broken leg, broken arm or a head injury. We as parents see this because we have matured in our understanding. We love him and want to protect him, not take from him.
This became clearer to him just a few days ago. He came into my room and began jumping on my bed. I began to dialogue with him, “Timmy, what has mommy and daddy…” I couldn’t finish my statement before his knees buckled and he began to cry. He had hyper extended his little right knee. After that, he couldn’t walk for a couple of hours. He needed carried or he would simply crawl from one side of the room to the other to play. (He is better now.)
Maybe you are instructing little ones, maybe its teenagers, grandchildren, students. When you say “no” it is for their good, from your love. When you say “wait” it is for their good, from your love. When you say “yes” It is for their good, from your love. Right?
Our Heavenly Father is the same, yet perfect in His love. His Word in Matthew 7:9-11 says; 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
If we have met Jesus and He has saved us, we are His children whom He loves. He wants good things for us. Now, please don’t confuse “our good” with “happiness, perfection, comfort or lack of difficulty and suffering.”
The Bible says,
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:5-11
What I am saying is this: when we want something and God says “no,” it is for our good, from His love. When God says “wait,” it is for our good, from His love. When God says “yes,” it is for our good, from His love. He loves us and wants to protect us, not take from us.
This isn’t an easy thing to accept. We believe we know what is best for our lives based on “our“ understanding and what we think will bring us the feeling of most joy. Based on what we know, what we can see, what we can do, what we feel. How do we navigate this kind of difficulty? Feeling vs. truth. Seen vs. the unseen. Now vs. eternity.
We must trust. Trust the God who is timeless. Trust the God who is eternal. Trust the God who is unchanging. Trust the God who sees all. Trust the Word of God that is inerrant. Trust the God whose ways are not our ways. Trust what you know to be true of Him, not what you feel at the time. Trust the Father that calls us son or daughter. Trust Him because, 28 “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Let us humbly reply as Eli replied to Samuel after he had received a vision. “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”
If He says, no, wait or yes, it is for our good, from His love.
And ALL, for His glory. He is Lord.
Oswald Chambers only lived to be forty-three years old. Born in 1874, his life reflected an intense struggle to know and follow God’s calling on his life. Granted, some of his terminology might be hard to grasp, but his over all message about worrying is a lesson most of us need to adopt into our lives.
One sentence in his article spoke to me profoundly, (I underlined it for you). After giving it some careful thought, I had to admit most of the things I “fret” about are just things I believe I need to have some control over. In retrospect, I realize how foolish that really sounds. The God of this universe really doesn’t need me to figure out tomorrow.
One of God’s Great Don’ts
“Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing.” Psalm 37:8 (R.V.)
“Fretting means getting out at elbows mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say ‘Fret not,’ but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret. It sounds so easy to talk about ‘resting in the Lord’ and ‘waiting patiently for Him’ until the nest is upset – until we live, as so many are doing, in tumult and anguish, is it possible then to rest in the Lord? If this ‘don’t’ does not work there, it will work nowhere. This ‘don’t’ must work in days of perplexity as well as in days of peace, or it never will work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work in anyone else’s case. Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself.
Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not ‘out’ to realize His own ideas; He was ‘out’ to realize God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.
Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all ‘supposing’ on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”
Week 1 of our #Summer series
So, we start a new series this weekend – any guesses??? HASHTAG.
If you’ve spent ANY time on social media, you’ve seen hashtags. Maybe you use them, maybe you don’t. (If the response to the #Nametheband request this week is any indication, you don’t use hashtags at all!! C’mon people!)
My wife asked me this week what hashtags are, and I found myself struggling to explain them to her… “Well, uhhhmmmm, they are ways that you can search for…but…actually, you can group all like-minded stuff…but then you can look at stuff in one place…aw, forget it.”
So after I had my wife completely lost, I finally figured it out. Hashtags are a way to take your social life (pictures, comments, whatever else you post) and connect it to others, like an announcement, as a way of identifying with other people that are interested or like-minded. Make sense?
Are you asleep yet?
Think of it this way – hashtags are a bit like church. A way of connecting yourself to others that identify the same way or search for the same thing. Problem is…for both hashtags and church, it’s primarily about ourselves.
We hashtag for ourselves.
Makes it easy for us to put ourselves out there for others to see. Keeps all your social life tidy and neat. Basically, hashtags are for our benefit more than for the benefit of others.
Church can be a lot the same. Admit it, even at a mission-minded place like The Vine, there are still a big bunch of us for whom church is what we get out of it, not what we put in.
Kind of like hashtags.
So, maybe this sermon series will be more for us than just a cool way to associate social media with our faith. Maybe it will be a way to really, actually make our lives about others and not just about ourselves.