Sunday, March 18, 2007

Three Life Stories

Three Life Stories


We are either coming from our greatest day, at our greatest day or on our way to our greatest day … the choice is ours.

This morning we are going to look at three bible characters and their life stories.

Key Scripture: Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

Although I am not quite middle aged yet, I have nonetheless lived enough years to know that beyond life’s ups and downs, stands the will of our Father God drawing us onward and upward to greater planes of truth and service.

I know that if the devil cannot make us bad he will try to make us busy, doing anything he can to keep us from participating in God’s plan for life.

If the devil cannot defeat you then he will attempt to defeat someone whose defeat will defeat you.

It seems relentless as the scripture says:

1 Peter 5 NLT

8 ¶ Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

9 Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The devil is roaming around looking for his next victim and we have to be very careful and watch out for his attacks.

It was so in the days of Esther, Queen of Babylon. She was a young Jewish girl who became queen during the time when her people were captives under King Ahasuerus. No one in the royal palace knew that Esther was a Jew.

The right hand man to the King had a great hatred for the Jewish people. He wanted them all to be destroyed and made a plan which was approved by King Ahasuerus and signed into law. Esther was the only one who could speak to the King on behalf of her people to save them from certain destruction.

Esther’s family sent a secret message to her, describing their fate and asking Esther’s trusted servant to:

Esther 4:8b “ … explain it to her and to urge her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people.”

Esther considered this request but realized just how dangerous it would be and decided against it. She sent the trusted messenger back to her family with a negative reply:

Esther 3: 11 "The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him in more than a month."

Thus concludes the story of Esther, Jewish Queen of Babylon.

· When it came her time to do what was right, she said no.

· No doubt she was a great disappointment to herself and her family.

· She was someone who decided that she had been to her greatest day and was not going to risk losing what she had.

· The end!

What? Not so?

Well for those who know the story of Esther you know that I am telling the truth. She did refuse to help her people … but that is not the end of the story!

Esther’s family made one more appeal giving her some sound advice and encouragement. It can be read in the book of:

Esther 4: 14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

With this additional encouragement Esther reconsidered her role in God’s plan and decided to do her part. She called for a fast from her family and with the plan God gave her, went in to see the King and won a great victory, destroyed all of the enemies of God’s children and went down into the history books as a woman of great faith and courage.

You see, it’s not over until it’s over!

* Esther’s story did not end in the middle of her life.

* Esther’s story did not end in the middle of her challenge.

* Esther’s story did not end with the worst decision she ever made in her life.

* Esther continued to write her life’s story with each and every new decision she made.

We see the same pattern in the life of another bible character named Peter.

This Galilean fisherman was called and chosen to be one of the 12 closest disciples of Jesus. Peter spent more than 3 years in every day service and ministry with the Incarnate Son of the Living God.

Peter heard Jesus’ teachings, received His instructions, ate from the same plate, drank from the same cup, slept in the same house with Jesus. Peter was included in every important moment we read about in the discipleship years. Peter even walked on water, saw the dead raised to life again and witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Moses and Elijah.

Peter was quite a man of God.

However, when Jesus was arrested in a Garden outside Jerusalem, Peter followed the soldiers to the judgment place. Once there he mingled with the crowd to see what would become of his leader.

One of the common girls of the city recognized Peter and began questioning him, accusing Peter of being a follower of this man Jesus. Peter was immediately afraid that he too would be arrested, beaten and condemned to die. He had a choice to make … do I tell the truth or deny my relationship with Jesus? He chose the later. After denying Jesus twice, Peter was once more accused of being a follower of Jesus.

Mark 14: 71 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!"

Afterwards, realizing what he had done, Peter felt so ashamed, so embarrassed, so unworthy and decided to just go back to being a fisherman … evidently he was not cut out to be a follower of Christ.

The end.

What? Is there more? Yes! Sure there is. There is always more!

If it’s bad, God is not finished yet!

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appears to Peter, forgives him, reaches out to him and restores him to his service and ministry. Peter lives several decades more as a strong Apostle of faith, facing enemies, starting churches, strengthening disciples and participating in God’s will.

Peter’s life and story goes on.

On beyond his challenges

On beyond his bad decisions

On beyond his failures

On beyond his worst days and his worst fears

On and On and On with each new decision he makes.

Peter’s Greatest Days Came After His Worst Failures

1. Jesus re-appeared to Peter John 21:7

2. Jesus recharged Peter’s vision and calling.

3. Peter went on to boldly preach on the day of Pentecost and saw 3000 Jews from all over the world come to accept Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

4. Peter became so identified with Jesus and His healing touch that whole cities would lay their sick out in the streets hoping Peter would pass by and even his shadow might touch them and cause them to be healed, delivered and restored.

* Peter’s story did not end in the middle of his life.

* Peter’s story did not end in the middle of his challenge.

* Peter’s story did not end with the worst decision he ever made in his life.

* Peter continued to write his life’s story with each and every new decision he made.

I told you we would look at three life stories from the bible. Three bible characters:

The first was Esther whose life story did not end with her worst day or worst decision.

The second was Peter whose life story also did not end with his worst day or worst decision.

The third bible character: The third person is You!

You are the target of every scripture in the bible which encourages people to become believers in and servants of Christ.

God has a will and a plan for your life. It will not stop just because you make a bad decision or simply because you disappoint yourself or others at some point in life.

God has a plan for you beyond your worst day and worst decision.

Don’t imagine that your life story ends in the middle of your life, the middle of your challenge or the middle of journey.

There is more to the story than your last success or your last failure.

I can hear Jesus saying now:

Your greatest day is yet ahead!

The journey is your friend.

Turn your life over to Him and His plan. Give it back to Jesus, He is waiting to take you to your greatest day!

Remember our Key Scripture? David said:

Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, (fainted), unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

But what did David know about recovering from bad days, wrong decisions, costly mistakes?

David was: (Not in chronological order)

* Victim of child abuse and neglect (left out with the sheep at night and attacked by bears and lions)

* His adopted parent threw a spear at him

* Was forced to endure demeaning and divisive sibling rivalry

* His motives were continually questioned

* Allowed to fight Goliath & join the military as a minor without parental consent

* He was conspired against to be killed in battle by his own superior

* His Father-In-Law tried to kill him

* His wife was taken from him & granted a divorce without his say

* His wife married one of his war buddies

* David lost his high paying job & credibility

* He became an unemployed homeless bum

* He was wrongly convicted of treason

* His life choices caused his parents to lose everything

* He began an outcast gang and became a gang leader

* Was a fugitive from justice

* Worked as a secret double agent in a foreign country

* Captured and jailed: offered a plea of insanity & was acquitted

* David’s best friend died young

* His wife, children & friends were kidnapped and taken hostage

* He ran a political campaign and was not elected

* He remarried his first wife

* His wife was barren

* He was a polygamist

* His daughter was raped

* He became a peeping Tom

* He committed adultery

* There was incest in his family

* He betrayed and murdered a friend and supporter

* One of his sons murdered another one of his sons

* David’s newborn child died

* He had to judge & banish his first born son from the country

* David’s friends betrayed him

* His father-in-law betrayed

* His children betrayed him

* He lost his kingdom, his throne … his job late in life

* He was publicly ridiculed

* He was pelted with rocks

* His wife was raped

* David was old and homeless

* His son slept with 10 of David’s wives in public

* David battled an employee takeover

* His firstborn dies in a senseless war

* David’s troops rebelled against his leadership

* God passed over David to build His church house

* David lost the circulation in his body

* He aged and became feeble

* He went through a second attempted take over by a son

* David was forced to choose between his children

* David gave up his throne

* David died


Turn your life over to Jesus and His plan. Give it back to Jesus, He is waiting to take you to your greatest day!