Pastor Ben's Blog
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January 16, 2019, 3:44 PM

God's Glory or Your Relief





January 8, 2019, 4:20 PM

What does God do with our sin?


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January 7, 2019, 11:06 AM

Impossible Situations or Divine Appointments



 

Impossible Situations or Divine Appointments

“Don’t worry.  Be happy.” is an easy thing to say while you are sitting on the beach with a drink in your hand; however, it is much harder to say when your creditors are calling and your financial portfolio is crashing.  Not worrying is difficult to do when your doctor tells you that he found a spot and it looks like cancer.  Not worrying is much harder when your loved one gets deployed.  Not worrying is hard when you lose your job or get an unexpected bill in the mail.  Think about the children of Israel as they made their exodus from Egypt.  How can you not worry when you are pinned up against the Red Sea and the Egyptian soldiers are bearing down on you?  

Think about the seemingly impossible situation they were in.  They had followed God as he revealed himself through the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  God had led them to what seemed like an impossible position.  I think God does this in our lives too.  I think he tests our faith.  I think he allows us into situations that will feel like they are impossible situations.  We need to realize something very important.  The spot you are in is not a surprise to the Lord.  Our responsibility is to always follow God where he takes us because God has prepared the path for you to take.

The Psalmist wrote, “A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and he takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) Realize that the place you are in is only possible because either God has purposefully placed you there or because he has allowed you to be there.  Think about the examples we have in Scripture of people who were in seemingly impossible situations.  Hagar was forced out of Abraham’s household with her son Ishmael in the desert.  Joseph was sold into slavery and later imprisoned in Egypt.  David was wanted for dead by King Saul.  The disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  Peter was imprisoned by King Herod and marked for execution.  

You should not be surprised when you are faced with seemingly impossible situations.  Basically, Jesus promised us that life would be hard and we would be faced with difficulties.  Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)

I don’t know what you are facing in life.  I don’t know all of your challenges and difficulties, but I know what separates joy and peace from despair and depression.  It is about how you look at what you are facing in life.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Does it hurt?  Sure, no doubt about that.  Do you want to have to deal with it?  I am sure you don’t.  Does it feel impossible?  It very well might.  

What if, this year, you approached seemingly impossible situations as divine appointments.  What if you said, “God, what are you trying to teach me through this?”  What if you said, “God, how do I need to grow through this?”  What if you said, “God, glorify yourself through this.”  What if we approached our trials as blessings in disguise.  What if we approached our difficulties as opportunities for God to display his faithful love and grace to us.

God has prepared the path you are to take.  Following God’s path will bring you joy and delight because you know that God is with you.  These are not impossible situations.  These are divine appointments.

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December 17, 2018, 12:08 PM

In the Wilderness


Have you ever been at a point in your life where you say, “I’ve had enough.  I just can’t take any more.”  The holiday season can be a very hard time for many people.  Don’t feel like this experience is unique to you.  Many people have times like this in their lives.  Not even biblical figures were immune to have bouts of depression in their lives.  Elijah is one of these characters.  Elijah had fought a good fight.  He had faith.  He had courage, but he was at the end of his rope.  He had just had enough.  I am sure most of us have been in a place where we just felt like we couldn’t take anymore.  Some of you are in a work situation where finally just the straw breaks the camel’s back.  You are like, “I just can’t take one more day there.”  Financially, you are trying to get a head and you are making progress, but then your car breaks.  Then, your washer breaks and your kid shoves a Lego up his nose.  Now, you are in the emergency room to get it removed.  You feel like you are in the wilderness.  

The wilderness is a dry, barren, and desolate place.  The wilderness tends to isolate us and we feel very alone.  One of the things that you think about when you think of the wilderness is wandering.  You feel like you are wandering in the wilderness.  You are wondering when the situation you are going through is going to be over.  You are stuck in a job and you are wondering, “Should I stay in this job or go back to school.”  You feel stuck in your housing situation and you are wondering, “Should I buy a house?  What if I get transferred?”  You don’t know what to do.  Maybe you are in a relationship and you have been dating for a while.  You are wondering, “Is this the right person for me?  Should I stay in this relationship?”  These times can be very disorienting.  They can make you feel lost.  You may even feel like no one knows what you are going through. You feel overwhelmed.  It was just like that for Elijah.  

Elijah experienced the power of God.  Elijah was brave and courageous.  He had stood up against King Ahab and told him that because of the nation’s sin, there would be no rain for 3 years.  God stopped the rain and Ahab wanted Elijah dead.  God protected Elijah and fed him by the ravens.  God used Elijah to raise a boy from the dead.  He called down fire from heaven.  450 false prophets were killed.  Elijah asked God to make it rain and he did.  Elijah experienced the power, protection, provision, and presence of God.  Then, Jezebel made a threat and he ran for his life.  Do you know what Elijah needed?  Do you know what you need?  What you need is spiritual replenishment.  What you need is an encounter with God.  What you need is to experience the grace, goodness, and presence of God.  You need spiritual replenishment.  

David wrote about this in the 23rd Psalm.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quite waters. 3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)

He renews my life.  He restores my soul.  You need God to renew you and restore you.  Here is the amazing thing about God.  You don’t have to run to him because he is already there.  He is already with you.  He is close.  If you are hurting right now, God is with you.

18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

God is near the brokenhearted.  He is close.  David said in Psalm 139 that there is nowhere you can go where God is not.  He’s close.  We enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know him intimately in the valleys.  When we’re wandering in the wilderness and we feel like nobody understands; God understands and he cares.  He is always good.  

14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

He is God with us.

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December 11, 2018, 2:43 PM

Blessed are those whose strength is found in God.


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