Talk for 18th Nov
Faith in a time of Crisis ‘The stilling of the storm’
What does it look like to be a disciple in our day?
Confidence in who we are in Christ
Luke 8 22-25 Jesus calms the storm when trusted to do so
Genesis 37 17b-36 and 50 14-20 God uses our suffering for good.
How do you feel when things aren’t going well, when you’re sick, having trouble at work, short of food and heating or watching others struggling?
The question today is where does Jesus and our faith in Him fit into these situations and how can we have faith that He is there for us.
Our readings today look at two examples but there are many others.
Q1 – If you were Joseph how would you be feeling having been thrown into a pit, sold as a slave by your family, accused of Rape and forgotten by those you have helped? You believe you had a message from God in a dream but this isn’t it.
Q2 – If you were one of Jesus’ disciples told by Him to cross the water and then hit by a really bad storm? What did they think he could do anyway?
Q3 – Where do you think God was in this for them?
For me there seems to be some common threads here.
1/ unfair suffering, why has this happened to me
2/ there is no easy obvious easy solution to this situation
Do you find that is also true in your life?
Job suffered badly and his friends told him it was his own fault, He was sure it was not but couldn’t understand why this was happening to him.
*How did Joseph, Job and the disciples react?
*They cried out to God.
Jonah 2 2 – He prayed: “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.” He answered me.
*Job 30 20 – I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer!
Later on he did of course get an answer.
*Luke 8 24 – They woke Jesus:
*Joseph continued to live faithfully and honestly, he continued to put his faith in God.
What does it say to us?
The path is not always easy and we should expect there to be hiccups along the way
The disciples were travelling where Jesus had told them to go but still there was a storm.
We should expect storms along our journey.
*We can not expect an easy path or know where it will lead, even when following the path God has for us.
Genesis 50 – God will take care of you and lead you out of Egypt to the land he promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 Now promise me that you will take my body with you when God leads you to that land.”
God makes promises; we can trust that they will happen although the time scale might be difficult for us to understand.
I have tried to follow the path I believe God has for me but as many of you know that has not been easy or always very clear.
*So how do we cope with this?
We can have faith in God we can cry out for help
Habakkuk 2 4 only those who live by faith are acceptable to me.
God wants us to live by faith in Him and not have everything laid out in black and white.
It is faith in God not the things of life that will help us.
*We can praise God for what we have not curse him for what is wrong.
Romans 8-18 I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us.
Even when we are suffering / struggling there are many things we can thank God for.
In some of the worse times for me in hospital I have been blessed by Christian staff being there for me or at other times the opportunity to pray for others there.
*Job 1 – 20 When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God 21 and said:
“We bring nothing at birth;
we take nothing
with us at death.
The Lord alone gives and takes.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
22 In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.
I have been asked in hospital if I blame God or if it has make me question my faith….
From UCBs Word for Today
Look out! Your fear can distort your perceptions and make you see the answer as just another problem. Often what appears a threat or a disaster is actually a blessing about to manifest itself. For example, you lose your job and God opens up a better one, but your fears make you avoid the opening or it is a few weeks away. Look to Jesus in your time of fear; when He takes away the lesser it’s always to give you the greater.
Trouble doesn’t mean that God has abandoned you. The disciples learned that Jesus may be out of sight, but He’s never out of touch. To ‘…walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7) means sometimes you’ll walk in darkness without visible cues. Psalm 23:4 ‘Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid.’
Someone put it this way: ‘When you can’t trace His hand, you can trust His heart.’ When the disciples were being tossed like a cork on the waves, in another story in Mathew 15 about a storm. Jesus was up on a mountain praying for them! He was aware of the problem and He was working on the solution. He was their mediator and their ‘need meet-er’, just as He has one hand on your need and the other on your answer. ‘…He always lives to intercede for [you]’ (Hebrews 7:25). Can you imagine Jesus praying to the Father for His fear-filled disciples? And can you imagine the Father refusing to answer His prayers? Never! ‘…The Spirit himself intercedes for us…’ (Romans 8:26). With both Jesus and the Holy Spirit talking to the Father on your behalf, your victory is guaranteed.
So how can we have confidence in Jesus?
Because we are told how much God loves us and how much he cares for us we just need faith.
Mathew 28 20
I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side,[e] speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?
What is your answer to that?
Jesus asked the disciples, “Don’t you have any faith?”
So the question has to be do you have faith?
Do you believe in Gods promises?
Do you believe He loves and cares for you?
Do you believe you are His child?
If you do how can you use it to help in times of crises?
Well do you believe He has command over everything?
If he has then there is nothing he can’t help you deal with.
So lets look at a few ideas on how we can do this day by day how can we hold on to that faith?
Any practical ways you have found that work for you in these times?
For me I find that prayer helps me remember Jesus promise. Often I find it hard to do this myself in times of trouble but I can ask others to pray.
Also reading the bible, listening to Christian worship music both help.
When those things are hard to do then having others come to pray with me always helps remind me of Jesus promises.
Holding on to a cross, reminds me of what Jesus went through for me, just how much He cares.
So prayer, reading the bible, objects can all remind us of Gods love for us and His promises.
These root us in Christ & deep roots help us stand against the storms.
So do you trust God, Father Son and Spirit to be there for you in all things?
Do you believe that He is capable of controlling anything for you?
I read this on a web site this week I thought it fitted so well into what we are looking at today.
* Life Is Like A Homemade Cake
A little boy is telling his Grandma how “everything” is going wrong: school, family problems, and severe health problems in the family. Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake. She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which of course he does.
“Here, have some cooking oil,” she says. “Yuck” says the boy.
“Then how about a couple raw eggs?”
“Gross, Grandma!” he replies.
“Would you prefer some flour then? Or maybe some baking soda?” she asks.
“Grandma, those are all yucky!” he replied.
To which Grandma replies: “Yes, all those things seem to taste bad all by themselves. But when they are mixed together in the right amounts and the right manner, they make a delicious cake!”
She continued, “God works the same way. Many times we wonder why he would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!”
Notice God doesn’t cause these things but He can use them to make something much better.
Yes life can be hard and it is not always easy to understand why things are happening to us but we can trust in God, He sent His Son to show just how much.
Psalm 42 just speaks of how hard life can be and how that can make us question God but also how in the end it is our trust in a God that loves us, helps us and cares for us.
So as I read it meditate on the words.
*Psalm 42 
Longing for God
1 As a deer gets thirsty
for streams of water,
I truly am thirsty
for you, my God.
2 In my heart, I am thirsty
for you, the living God.
When will I see your face?
3 Day and night my tears
are my only food,
as everyone keeps asking,
“Where is your God?”
4 Sorrow floods my heart,
when I remember
leading the worshipers
to your house.
I can still hear them shout
their joyful praises.
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
6 and you are my God.
I am deeply discouraged
as I think about you
from where the Jordan begins
at Mount Hermon
and from Mount Mizar.
7 Your vicious waves
have swept over me
like an angry ocean
or a roaring waterfall.
8 Every day, you are kind,
and at night
you give me a song
as my prayer to you,
the living LORD God.
9 You are my mighty rock.
Why have you forgotten me?
Why must enemies mistreat me
and make me sad?
10 Even my bones are in pain,
while all day long
my enemies sneer and ask,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
and you are my God.