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Apr6ThuApril 6, 2017Yesterday we looked at being ruined for life. To stay ruined we must never turn our backs on God no matter what is happening in our life both good or bad. When your life flourishes it is often easy to forget God and turn from Him. Deuteronomy 6:10 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” When your life falls apart, God is often the first to be blamed and many turn away and shrink back. Hebrews 10:39 “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” When all this happened to Job he said, Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” David cried out for God throughout the Psalms but never turned from God. He too said Psalm 27:11 “Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”It is important to understand that often when your life falls apart it is because you are being disciplined and God loves you. This might be a time of testing as Job and David and Abraham went through. Paul said 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Psalm 66:8 “Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; 9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. 10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. 11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” You may have done nothing wrong and your heart is being tested.The other side of testing and your life falling apart is to lead you to repentance. We have two choices; repent or don’t. Isaiah 30:9 “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” 12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, 13 this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. 14 It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.” 15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” One way leads to life and the other death. Deuteronomy 30:5 “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.”Everyone who loves the Lord will be persecuted. Many in the church think that when this happens God has forgotten them. Many are so afraid of this they have come up with a false doctrine saying God will rapture them away before tribulation. Tribulation is already here and without out any opposition they have been deceived already. Psalm 118:84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? 85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law. 86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.” John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Persecution is part of the Christian life but so also is discipline and the testing of your heart. For many Christians at the first sign of difficulty they are gone. They say how could a loving God….? John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” The same applies to hardships. Acts 14:21 “They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” We are going to have trials, hardships and persecution. Paul said 2 Corinthians 6:3 “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”Many in the church have a false understanding of grace and worship. Worship for them only takes place when they are singing before God. They are strong when they are praising God with their hands in the air but the first sign of hardship the hands are down. Job worshipped after he lost everything. They also think by God’s grace nothing bad should ever happen to them. As long as they feel good and life is going smoothly, then all is well but at the first sign of trouble, they turn away. This subject is a difficult one as there are many different avenues of how this could take place. You may be undergoing trial to break you so that God can use you in a mighty way as with David. David was anointed King but endured much suffering until that day he took the throne. You may be undergoing suffering so that you will be strong enough to be used by God in trial as it was with Paul. Acts 20:22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” You may be tested like Job was to see if you would curse God. You might be under severe opposition from the enemy to turn you back to God. You are under God’s wrath for your sin or from the generations before you. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.”The bottom line here is to never turn away from God. In all these examples we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Leviticus 20:26 “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”If we are to be used by God according to His plan, we must be broken. We must understand that in trials, suffering, persecution, and hardships, God has His reasons for them and He is soverign. If you are enduring this now be strong and courageous and keep your eyes on Jesus. Do not turn away. Psalm 31:9 “Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. 10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. 11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. 13 For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. 16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. 17 Let me not be put to shame, LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead. 18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.” Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.” Continue to worship God no matter what happens and he will see you though. Psalm 22:23 “You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”