Saturday, July 6, 2013

Suddenly, At Some Point


I have been preaching for some time now that things are getting better.

God wants us to put our trust in Him and have hope. People without hope will make no meaningful investment in their future. The god of this world, that’s the devil if you wonder who I am talking about, and all of his prophets, would love for people to lose hope in their marriage, their children, their finances, their job, their Church, their community, their nation, their generation and ultimately lose all hope in Almighty God and His plan to redeem, recover, restore, and renew.

Fact of the matter, there is no reason to ever lose hope in God or in anything in which God is involved. Without regard as to how it may look right now, if God is in it … it’s getting better! Sometimes however, better does require some things, and even some people, to change. Believe me when I tell you, God has a habit of changing things suddenly!

This morning we are going to take a critical look at the scriptures concerning  two boats, two storms, and two miracles. Today we are going to discover what it will take for things to get better. For the first suddenly let’s turn to:

Jonah 1
11  Then they said to Jonah, "What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?"  — for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12  And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me."
13  Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.
14  Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, "We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You."
15  So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.

It is unfortunate but true nonetheless that: Things get better when we get the bad out of the boat.

God has done this on several occasions in history. There is no way in the world God wanted those people on the boat with Jonah to suffer or perish because of him. The storm was never about them. It affected them … but it was not about them. God was dealing with Jonah and aimed to get Jonah’s attention because God was also unwilling to see the whole city of Nineveh abandoned to their own wickedness.

The trouble we face in this generation is not unlike, and may I add, not as bad in many respects, as the trouble faced by many generations who have gone on before us. From Pharaoh to Nero, and from Hitler to Hussein, in every generation throughout history this world has faced a lot of trouble and seen a lot of troublemakers. They come and they go.

As the Psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” Paul declared, “This light affliction which is but for a moment works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory …” The trouble and the troublemakers in your life are no different. There have always been troublemakers – this generation is no exception. However:

The biggest trouble with this trouble is that it is our trouble.

God has faced bigger and “badder” trouble than this. These are not the worst days God has faced and fixed. And … He will fix the problems we face in our day as well. You see: Things are going to get better … like it or not … Things are going to get better … believe it or not … Things are going to get better, Suddenly, At Some Point In The Future! And remember:

Getting better may mean getting the bad out of the boat!

Now before you start shouting me down because you have identified the troublemaker you need to throw overboard and you want me to quit preaching so you can run out of here believing God to give you your miracle and quiet the storm … hold on … let’s look at different boat in another storm and see what happened. You could be focused on the wrong remedy … --- You don’t want to be the cause of more trouble …

Don’t forget, God wants us to put our trust in Him and let hope provide a place for our faith and patience to grow. Throwing Jonah overboard was not the first thing those men wanted to do.

Matthew 14
22  Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
24  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
26  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
27  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
28  And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
29  So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
30  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
31  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
32  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Jesus, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."

Both here in this passage and in Jonah’s case neither the boat nor those in the boat could take much more. The storm was big and the sailors tired. Both needed a miracle which only God could do and they needed it now!

In Jonah’s instance a sudden miracle took place they got rid of the problem. In the disciple’s situation, they received their sudden miracle when they invited Jesus to get into the problem with them.

In both accounts the storm ceased immediately … Suddenly things got better. God is and always has been prone to the suddenly.

History supports the fact that God is a God of the suddenly:
·        “Let there be light”
o   (even if you believe in the “big bang” theory - you have to believe in suddenly)
·        Noah
·        Sodom & Gomorrah
·        Hitler
·        Berlin Wall
·        Roman Empire

Future sudden changes
·        In a moment, twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15)

Suffice it to say, things are getting better – Suddenly, at some point! Stop doubting, put you hope in God and ask Jesus to get into the boat with you.

Sudden Support Scriptures:

Malachi 3:1  “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple…”

Luke 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  (Peace on earth …)

Acts 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Acts 9:3  As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.

Acts 16:26  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.