Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - No Matter What Happens

In just the past couple of weeks, my wife and I have gone through a major change and another milestone in our lives. As I look back at the past couple of weeks, I realize that it does not matter what we go through. God will always be there to guide our steps and be there even when those steps may sometimes take us through a valley of darkness.

All through our lives, we find ourselves facing situations where things are just too difficult to deal with. It does not matter what the problem or situation is. They all have one thing in common. They all test our faith and push us to the brink of spiritual collapse. We begin to wonder why we are facing, what we think, is the worst possible issue in our lives until the next problem comes along. In short, we face problems all throughout our lives. 

How we get through those moments is most important. We could just give up and let things press us on all sides. I know that there are major problems that can do that to anyone. These are problems that shake us to the core. Those problems could be a diagnosis or a financial issue. For others, it could be losing a job. I have met and talked with individuals who have faced all of those types of problems and even more difficult ones. 

In my career as a deacon, deacon chairperson and pastor, members of my congregation have shared their stories with me. They all have faced insurmountable problems in their lives. Some faced cancer while others faced diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's or dementia. My wife and I have held their hands and, in some cases, closed their eyes. We were there for the moments of fear, uncertainty and doubt. We reassured each of them and reminded them of their faith in God and the promise of life eternal as provided by God through His son, Christ Jesus.

One of the scriptures that we always read to those in hospitals or in hospice is in Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4, “8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

We will always be pressed on all sides, perplexed, hunted or knocked down. Life is just full of those moments that test our faith or try our resolve. But, we have the promise that we will not be crushed, driven to despair, abandoned or destroyed. Because of those moments, we suffer so that the life of Jesus is seen not as a backdrop but, rather, the centerpiece of our lives.

Think about it. Those around us see us going through these dark moments and see our faith in action. Our faith and lives show the world that Jesus died and arose from the grave to give us victory over death. Death has no sting and the grave has no victory over us. Through Christ Jesus, we, as Christians, have overcome the world and those dark moments. Our faith gives us the assurance of God’s promise of life everlasting with Him. 

The real challenge for us is to remain faithful and to know that the ultimate victory in our lives is already there in that sacred promise embodied in the life of Jesus. He suffered at the hands of his enemies. He felt the sting of the whip, the pain of the nails driven into his hands and feet and the moment of death. Some thought to themselves that his life was extinguished and that the Gospel message was finally silenced once and for all. How far from the truth! 

Jesus rose from the dead and provided us that glorious victory over our mortal enemy, death. We may be pressed and driven to despair, but nothing can separate us from our relationship with our Father.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, writes in chapter 8, “35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Look closely at verse 37 and the words used by Paul to describe our victory over death. It is not a “skin of your teeth” victory or a close call win. It is an overwhelming victory that we have received. So, it does not matter what we face or the magnitude of our problem. We have that overwhelming victory over this fallen world. We should not look down in despair, but, rather, look up to Heaven and thank our Heavenly Father for victory given to us by and through His son, Jesus.

In a few more weeks, we will be celebrating Easter. It is one of the most significant days in the life of a Christian. We see the fulfillment of the spiritual prophecies. Jesus comes as the unblemished, perfect atonement sacrifice. He, through his suffering, acts as our sacrifice that is given once and for all time. Our debt of sin is paid in full and we can rest assured in the salvation that we received when we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord of our life. From that moment of acceptance, there is nothing in this world that can separate us from His love or take the gift of salvation from us.

So, when life has you down or when you feel the pressure of a problem become more than you can handle, look to Jesus for comfort and remember the words of Christ Jesus as recorded by John. Jesus, in chapter 16, told his disciples, “33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Yes, we face many trials and troubles in our lives, but we have the ultimate victory and have overcome the grip of this sinful world through the precious blood of the Lamb. As you go through your difficulties, rest assured that you have overcome the world and are not alone or abandoned. No matter what happens in your life, you can, with all certainty, rest upon God’s promise and stand firm His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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