← back to list

Sep 04, 2022

Blessings in Disguise

Blessings in Disguise

Passage: James 1:2-3

Speaker: Marty Godfrey

Series: Stand Alone Message

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: pastor, church, worship, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, bible, gospel, hope, theology, believe, james, jesus christ, teaching, blessings, real faith, bible study, blessed, holy bible, verse, faith in god, bible verses, live music, what is faith, true faith, test of faith, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, burnt hickory worship, blessings on blessings, what is faith according to the bible, james 1:23

Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials because the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Sounds great, but why is it that God allows trials in our lives and doesn’t respond or remove them? That’s what Pastor Marty helps us consider today as we look through scripture. Having a right understanding of trials is the beginning of understanding why bad things happen to us. When we are tested, God first shows us His love, faithfulness, and power. Then God tests us to see the genuineness of our faith, and they are always about what we believe about God and how much we believe it. As we are tested and tried, we can understand that trials are necessary and bring grief. But they are also short and in turn, they make our faith genuine. A faith that is worth more than gold and brings glory and honor to God. What trials and tests are you going through? Are you allowing the trial to take your focus away from God? Are you angry with God about your situation? We’d love to connect with you, answer any questions, and pray with you. Reach out today –

Well, good morning. What a, what a powerful song to just kind of wash over us. I just wanted to stop and begin the morning with just a special prayer. Because many of you, whether you're in the room or you are on-line, you're going through some things. And some of the lyrics in that song really spoke to you because that's you. You spent those sleepless nights. And so just want to have a special prayer for you of ask one of our young deacons, Matt Godfrey, who also is my son, who's gone through a few trials himself and been at Emory for a month earlier this year and just finished six weeks of radiation and chemo to lead in that prayer. Matt, would you pray?

Well, I'm excited to share with you guys that after six weeks this summer, God has rid my body of Cancer, which is exciting, 18, 18 years, half my life. I've dealt with a chronic illness. And, you know, I don't know where you're at, but each of us goes through trials and whether it's a, you know, a health thing or some other kind of trial, each of us are in a place that we need God we can't do without him. And so, I'm just going to lead us in a time of prayer this morning. Mark Batterson wrote a book called Draw the Circle, and he's got a tremendous quote in there, says, Praying hard is not the path of least resistance. It's usually the path of most resistance because we engage in spiritual warfare there. Our most powerful prayers are hyperlinked in God's promises. When we know we are praying the promise of God, we can pray with holy confidence, and we can remember this. God is never early. He's never late. He's always right on time. And so, as we go to him in prayer this morning, it's nothing magical, in my words, because it's coming straight from God's word. And so, if you wouldn't mind bowing with me in prayer now, and we're just going to take our needs to the Lord this morning.

Heavenly Father, it is only by the blood of Christ that we can come into your presence today, and we just praise you, Lord. Oh, Lord, my God, how great you are. You are robed with honor and majesty. You stretch out the starry curtains of the heavens and you lay out the rafters of your homes in the rain clouds. God, search us and know our heart and test us and know our anxious thoughts. Father, whenever we're faced with calamities such as war, plague or famine, we can come to stand in your presence. We can cry out for you to save us. And you will hear us and rescue us. Holy Spirit, help us not to despise these small beginnings, For you rejoice to see the work begin. Jesus. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for, we know that they help us develop endurance and that endurance develop strength of character. And that character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And it's this that we have hope. And it's not going to disappoint. For we know how dearly you love us. And because you have given us the Holy Spirit to fulfill our hearts with your love. Father, may we remember this? That despite all the things that we're going through, the overwhelming victory is ours, through Christ who loves us. Yes, Lord, you will conquer our enemies when they attack. They will attack from one direction. But you're going to scatter them in seven. Restore our fortunes, Lord. As streams. Renew the desert. Those who plant in tears let them harvest with shouts of joy. And then teach us to realize how short life is so that we may grow in wisdom, satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love. So, we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery. Replace the evil years with good Let us, your servants, see your work again and let our children see your glory. And may the Lord of Lord our God show us His approval and make our effort successful. Yes, Lord, make our effort successful. And we make this plea not because we deserve it, but because you are merciful. Oh, Lord, hear us. Oh, Lord, forgive us. Oh, Lord, listen and act for your own sake. Do not delay. Oh, my God. Your people in your city bear your name, Lord, as I look in your word, in testimonies of other believers, I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today, nor our worries about tomorrow. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love and Father. We pray all of this in your powerful sons' name, Jesus. Amen.

Amen. Amen. Thank you. Thank you.

Love you, Dad.

Love you, too, brother. Well, let's see. We are going to look at one of the most difficult verses in the Bible this morning. And that's James one, two and three. And I have this love hate relationship with that particular verse because it says, Consider it all joy. My brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith will produce endurance. So, you know, I hate that verse because that's the last thing I feel like doing when I'm in the middle of a trial. Is, is joy like? But then I reflect back, and this is God's word, which means that joy is possible in the middle of whatever we are going through. And this morning, what I want us to do is to many times we look at trials from an earthly perspective or what we'll do is we do the super Christian perspective, which I've been guilty of many times, which is, Lord, if I have the faith of a mustard seed, I can move the mountain. So, I am speaking to this circumstance. I'm in the middle of that I hate, and I pray in Jesus’ name to remove that thing. Like I said, remove that thing. Okay, God, maybe you didn't hear me. Maybe there's sin in my life. Repent of that. And now, Lord, please remove the circumstance. It's still there. We know from Paul. Paul prayed for the thorn in flesh three times to be taken away because he knew that his ministry could be so much greater. Or at least that's his worldly perspective. And God said, I don't think so. I think that's actually one of the best things that can happen to you, Paul. And so, Paul, later in Philippians, he says, I have learned to be content. Whatever the circumstance. I've learned what it is to have a lot. I've learned what it is to have a little. And one of the things that I take away from that passage is that contentment is a learned behavior. It's not like, okay, God help me be content. That's like, How many of you have prayed? Give me patience, Lord. You all know that one. Right? It's like nah uh. I'm not praying for that one, because I know what that means. It's like, okay, I'm going to pray for flowers and God sends rain. Okay. I don't. I know if I prayed for patience, he's going to send somebody or something in my life that is going to string me out and I'm going to have to wait. And I don't want to do that.

I just want to have patience. Now.

It's kind of a Western thing. It's kind of an American thing. But, you know, trials by nature or unwanted or unexpected circumstances that the scriptures say cause distress. Yes. Okay. So, this morning, what I want us to do is I want us to dive into scriptures. I want us to get God's perspective of what trials are all about, because obviously ours don't work very well. His does. Let's choose His. First thing is that I always get a kick out of, you know, you come to know Christ and then all of a sudden you have this expectation like this is what life is going to be like. Yes, it's uphill. Yes, I have to have faith. I've got to do all the right things. But eventually we will get there. Right? But on the other hand, our life doesn't look like this. The reality is it looks like this. You know, it reminds me of Paul. Paul always prayed that he would get to Rome to take the gospel there. Oh, he got there. Okay, this trip look like this, if you track it in Acts. And by the way, when he got there, he is chained to a Roman officer in prison. Okay? It doesn't always look the way that we expect it to. But Warren Wiersbe, some of you are familiar with his commentaries, great theologian, author. He says this Most of us respond in a predictable way to the rocks in our path. We complain about them, we kick against them and only hurt ourselves. We try to pick them up, get rid of them, only discover that there are too heavy for us. We can't always get around them and we wonder if we can ever if we can get over them. Some people just stop, go. No further, others give up, turn around and go back.

But the child of God doesn't have to stop or go back. He can use the rocky places in life as steppingstones to climb higher. You see, God doesn't promise to remove the stones from the path Christians, but he does promise to make them steppingstones and not stumbling blocks. He promises to help us climb higher because of the difficulties of life. So, one of the things that we have to understand is in this life we will always have trials. That is because we are broken people in a broken world. We are broken people in a broken world equals trials. Equals difficult situations. However, the good news is Jesus came to offer hope to the broken. Amen. But what he did before He ascended back to heaven, he looked you and me, those of us who had offered this hope found in Jesus. And He said, I want you now to take the hope into the brokenness. Now, one of the things I know about God is He is not going to call us to do something that we are unprepared to do. Now, get this. All right. Some of you may have heard this saying before, but God does not call the prepared. God prepares the called. This is what that means, is that he has called us to something. He has something special in your life for you to do for His glory. But you're not ready to do it yet. He's not going to put you out there if you're not ready. He is going to prepare each one of us one step at a time.

Well, that's what he does, because he wants us to succeed. God is for us and not against us. So, what he does is because Romans 8:28 says that he takes all things and works them together for good for those who are called according to his purposes. So, a key principle is that God will use trials to grow our faith and prepare us for something special. So those trials that go on, those circumstances that we wouldn't wish on anybody, much less ourselves, and they caused us distress. God will use those as a test of our faith. You know, anytime that He calls us to a special mission, there is preparation. One of the elite teams in the world will be the Navy Seals. Right? And they came to the forefront when Osama Bin Laden, when they went in on that mission. And we heard a lot about him after that Navy team, Seal Team Six. Well, less than 1% of those in the Navy are Navy Seals. To become a Navy Seal, you have to pass rigorous, rigorous requirements that most of us, if not all of us, probably would not pass. And then out of those 80% during the two and a half year training plus, wash out, they can't even make it through that because of the rigors of the training that it takes. Seals means sea and land. Did I miss one? Air, it's air. Okay sea air and land. But they're also trained to operate in urban, desert, and jungle terrains.

Did you know that I found this marvelous? Amazing. The brain of a Navy Seal is trained to alter the way the amygdala, if you knew you got one in there, processes fear. And even though we hear about like the team that went to Osama bin Laden, most Seal missions are unreported and unknown to the general public. Most deaths of Navy Seals have come from the training, not actually from the missions themselves. This is their mantra. I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. And if knocked down, I'll get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. Their motto is The only easy day was yesterday. How about that? So, you know, if it takes that kind of rigorous training for Navy Seals to accomplish their mission, our missions have eternal results, eternal consequences, much more important than temporal ones, although those are important to our world in our culture currently. Which means that we need to find out how God uses trials as tests of our faith.

We learned that in large part from the Israelites. So, the Israelites were God's chosen people. They were chosen to take the message of redemption to the world, just as we are. So here you go. And in Psalm 66:10-12, we're told, for you, God, you tested us, you tested us. You refined this like silver. You brought us into prison, laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads. We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. All right, so here, let's take a look at the Israelites. Here they were. They God preserved them by bringing them into Egypt during the famine. Now it's time to free them from bondage. God prepares Moses through several tests. He brings him back in. And now there are the plagues on Egypt, climaxing with the firstborn child. God comes in and he explains to the Israelites about the Passover. The Passover lamb taking that blood and putting it on the door post, which was a sign of a cross. You see the whole old Testament is about redemption through the atoning blood of the lamb. Jesus Christ. So that was enough. They let them go. They even gave them their gold. They gave them things that God knew that they would need for tomorrow. So, they go. They face the Red Sea. Oh no. They see the Egyptian army coming behind them. God parts the water, dry land to go through. And then the water closes on the soldiers. God has them build a monument. So, I want you to remember this. In fact, Passover. He at that point said, I need you to remember this every year. I want you to do this. observe Passover. It's still observed today in Jewish homes, Passover. I want you to always remember my faithfulness, my power, my presence on you, my people. Now I want us to look in Exodus Chapter 15, because here's what God does.

A test of faith works like this. First, God shows He shows us his love, his faithfulness, his power, his presence in our lives. He shows up in a big way, just like he did with the Israelites. And then the next thing he does in our preparation is he tests us. What does he test this for? To see if we trust him. So, God tests this after showing us how big he is to see if we trust him. You see tests in our lives, and I want you to make a note of this. Write it down. Tests in our lives are always about what we believe about God and how much we believe it. It's not about how much we believe we can get rid of that circumstance. It is how much do we believe in God and how much do we believe it? So here God delivered them in a miraculous way. There's no doubt that God is is is is a champion for those Israelites. He is so faithful, so powerful. And then in Exodus 15 versus 22 through 24, it says that Moses led Israel from the Red Sea. They went into the desert of Shur. For three days, they traveled in the desert without finding water. And when they came to Marah, they couldn't drink its water because it was bitter. And that's why the place is called Mara. So, the people grumbled against Moses saying, what are we going to drink? So here you go. God showed how big he was. There was nothing too big for him. Then they come up, they're thirsty. The water didn't taste right to them. Do they look back and say, Oh, for God's brought us this far, it's a little thing for him? No. They automatically forgot everything that got it done for them. They took their eyes off of him. They placed it on the situation. I'm thirsty, the water's bitter and they complained to Moses about it. Now to every test. There's a pass or fail, right? Don't you like that part? I remember one of my motivating factors. My freshman year of college was in my political science class. The first quiz I got, I can't remember, is a 29 or a 49 on it. It's really stellar. And so, coming. So, I remember taking that test and taping it to my wall as a motivating factor for me that this was not going to define that class or anything else in college so that I could come back and to accomplish an A. But sometimes I had to be reminded of my failures. So, here's the deal.

God tests our faith through trials. He tested the Israelites at Marah here. Did they pass or fail? Obviously, they failed. So, what did God do? God said Moses, take that limb, throw it in the water. When he did that, man, the water was just as sweet as could be. Tasted great to them. Everything was good. God's like, Yeah, guys, just remember I am your God. I got you. You don't have to worry. Trust me, regardless of what you run into. Next test, we're hungry. We're hungry. Moses And so they started complaining. Oh, things were so good in Egypt, man. I remember those leeks and the garlic we had there. Oh, it was so nice, so good back then. Why did we even come out here to begin with? So, God gave them manna, he gave them quail. In fact, the quail you need to go back and read the account on how God brought them in from every direction, because Moses was like, God, God, if you're going to give them quail. There's not enough quail to feed these 3 million people. And so, they started flying in three feet off the ground every direction they were going out and just catching them left and right. They had more than enough. So once again, God took their failed test. He came back, he said, guys, let me just remind you I got you. I don't care what the circumstance looks like. I am here for you. I'm faithful to you. I have a power. I love you. Fast forward. They get thirsty again. What do you think they did? Whah, we're thirsty, Moses. Really, we're tired of this stuff. And so, it's like. And God at that point had enough. He there were consequences to their lack of faith at that point. But here's what we learn. And these are these are questions that you can ask. And if you're not in the trial right now, well, then you probably just came out of one or you're getting ready to go in another one. Or actually they overlap anymore, don't they? It's like as Americans, we think, you know, well, I can handle a trial once every four or five years. Well, yeah, I'd be cool, wouldn't it? I mean, just the last three years God has used he has used death of some of my greatest friends and loved ones in the last three years. We've lost Becky's daddy and her mother. My mother is now in hospice. I've lost other dear friends, including Pastor Mike, Pastor Aaron, that were part of my daily life.

And, you know, when you're in whatever it may be and you know, your trial maybe it may be loneliness, it may be fear, it may be financial, it could be vocation related. It could be that you're looking for an answer from God. You haven't heard anything. It, you know, whatever yours may be, then what happens is that if we're not careful, we go back and we do these particular things. I want us to learn to look at, to ask the questions, because here's how the Israelites. These were signs that they were failing the test. Number one, we forget about God's love, his faithfulness, his power, his presence, if only when they came even to the last one where they were thirsty, they could have said, My goodness, guys, let's not complain about this. Look how far God has brought us out of bondage. He has provided water. He's provided food, whatever it is that we need, he's got us. He has reassured us of that. But no, we forget about his faithfulness in the past. And secondly, we focus, and this is one of the biggest things we do. We focus on the circumstance, on the situation. And when we do that, we automatically start complaining. Complaining. You can see that was the first thing that expressed where the Israelites were going to is complaining because the water didn't taste right.

Whatever it is, when we are in that spot of trials in our lives, we complain. And not only that, we feel sorry for ourselves, which starts taking our emotions down a hole. We feel sorry for ourselves. And one thing that's real interesting is we find somebody to blame. Oh, well, they were blaming Moses for these things, and God was just using Moses in a powerful way. But it was God behind everything. But when, after finding someone else to blame, we will then turn our anger against God. And listen guys. God can handle whatever we throw at Him. When I have been on my face before him seeking him in a matter that I don't know why has it changed it? Or I don't know what to do at that point? Or I have deep hurt. It's okay to get on your face before him and cry out to him. That's what he wants us to do. One of the reasons of trials in our lives is so that we will not trust ourselves. We will put all our trust in him. See, it's a lie that God will not give you any more than you can handle. Yes, he will. Now we get that lie from first Corinthians 10:13, which says No temptation has taken you except for this common to man, and God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able. But we also see in Scriptures that God does not tempt you. He does not tempt you. However, He will test you, and your test will be bigger than what you can handle because he wants you to come to him to surrender the fear, to surrender the hurt, to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the worst things we do as Christians. Get past those hurts, give it to the Lord. He says cast your anxiety, your cares upon me because I care for you. Again and again in scriptures he tells us to come to him with these hurts, with these questions. But don't ever get mad at him. God loves you more than any earthly person could, and he wants to have a relationship with you that is so intimate and close. So, we get angry with God. And finally, we will corrupt other people's faith. See the last tears before taking over the promised land was it got up there and they sent 12 spies in because they weren't sure they trusted God, I guess, and they sent 12 spies in to come back and give a report on whether it's a good time to go in and take the land. They came back and like usually happen in scriptures, which is why you got to be careful. This in God's church, if you take popular votes for everything, every popular vote in the Bible usually went the wrong way. In this point it was 10 to 2. We should never even go close to the Promised Land. Well, I guess the most ridiculous thing. God, I told him that he had given it to them, past tense. It had already been done. So, you have Joshua and Caleb and they said, Well, of course we need to take it. I mean, it's ours. God's already given it to us. But the other ten are like, Oh no, there's no way we could take this. The people were big, and it was just not good. And so all and then you got 3 million people who did they follow the two that believe in God? No, the ten corrupted the faith of the others. So now here they are. They're ready to get a new leader. They don't want Moses anymore, and they want to go back to Egypt at that point. Dismal failure of the final test.

So, let's look at one other passage, which is 1 Peter 1:6-7. because when you're in a test, those are the signs that you're not doing good, you're failing the desert. But let's see what scripture because the truth will set you free. What the scriptures say is true about tests. 1 Peter 1:6-7. In all of this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth and gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. See, there are seven truths in this one passage about trials.

First of all, it says for a little while. When you're in the middle of a test, it feels like it will never end. My life is over and all of a sudden you start sounding like a teenager who is experiencing some of life's hardships for the first time. And they envision that the next 80 years are going to be like that. And that's the same thing we do when we're in the middle of a trial. It's like, but remember, it is for a season. It is for a little while. The second truth that it says is it says you may have had to suffer. The Greek word means that as necessary you suffered, which means that you will only go through tears if they are necessary. God knows the best thing right now to be able to grow your faith, so they are necessary. The third thing is that you've had to suffer grief. A test reflects a time of grief brought on by that trial. And then we're told that you've had all kinds of trials, because there's various kinds. I've mentioned just a few, whether they're relational, emotional or spiritual, physical, on and on, various kinds of trials. And it says that they've come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, they're here to make our faith genuine. Do you really trust God, or do you not trust God? That's the question of the test. Do what is it you believe about God and how much do you believe it? Now, I'm not talking about the circumstance. The situation in front of you looks big to you. What about God? What do you think about him? We're told that our faith is of greater worth than gold. That's why it is so important for God to grow our faith. And then we see that it will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. So, our faith is for God's praise, glory and honor. So, these tests result in praise if we keep our eyes on God.

Okay, guys, track with me. I know when you unpack scripture, but that is the absolute truth. You can take it to the bank with you. These are truths of God's word that we must live by. So how do we pass the test? There is this great passage, Psalm 78:7. And in this in this psalm, if you read it, it talks about the future generations of Israel and what needs to be in place for them to move forward and to pass the test, unlike their ancestors who are in the desert. So, it says then they, meaning the future generations of Israelites, then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commandments. There are three things right there to help you pass the test. The number one thing is put our trust in God. Now each one of these elements, this is forward thinking. Put our trust in God. Forward thinking in Hebrews 11. That's the Great Hall of Faith. It lists all those all those wonderful Old Testament folks who had great faith. And then it gets into the martyrs. And then as you get into the first part of Hebrews 12, it says, therefore, since we've been surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses, all of these great these great people of faith, let's throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. And let's run with perseverance. The race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, the author, the perfector of our faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. So, consider him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Because that's how you fail the test. You grow weary and lose heart. How do you move forward? You keep your eyes on the Lord, you focus in on him. Peter hopped out of the boat. Jesus is walking on the water to him. Kudos to Peter. He's the only disciple that had the faith to walk on water. We condemn him sometimes because I really believe that Jesus wasn't scolding him as much as he saw Peter's faith. He's walking on the water and then all of a sudden Peter says, Oh, no, I'm not in the water. Look at these waves. And then he started sinking and he's like, Peter, you're doing so good. But now because of your little faith, I mean, you're sinking. So, it's a. It's a great picture of when we look at the circumstance, you're set to fail if you're going to do that. If you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, that's the key.

The question is how do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? Well, the second point of the scripture says we would not forget his deeds. So, the first one, keep your eyes forward looking on Jesus, but then look back. What would have happened if the Israelites, the very first time they got thirsty, the water didn't taste right? What would have happened if they would have looked back and said, Guys, let's look at just what happened. Thank God he is huge. He's a big God. He loves us. We're his people. He's going to take care of us, and he's promised he's going to use us in a powerful way. So, this is no big deal to him. We do the same things. Why do you think that God had like the Israelites say this Passover, I want you to observe it every year? When they pass through the Red Sea, build a monument so your kids can go back and look at it. One of the things that Jesus that God throughout scriptures, he instituted feasts, festivals, you name it, he was actually you. We think parties are bad, that God is a. He is a party giver for the right reason. We're told when one sinner comes to know Christ, there is a party, a cosmic celebration in the presence of the angels. So sometimes what we need to do can you name right now if I had you write down on paper, can you name ten times that God has come through in a big way in your life? We should be able to.

And you know, I got convicted just preparing to teach and preach this is that we should have been more, and Becky and I have talked about this. We should have been more intentional when the kids were younger in our household, when God gave certain victories as household, as a household. When he called me out of out of corporate world and we moved our whole family from Lawrenceville over here, all the amazing things that he did to make all of that work. We probably should have instituted a big God day in the Godfrey family, to where we just celebrated that every year and figured out a creative way to have done that. And I want to be more about that because what happened is God wants future generations, not just you. He wants future generations to look back and to see the spiritual heritage that he has looked out for them for generations, and not just for now, but for generations. But we are always going to the next thing. We say thank you, Lord, if we think about thanking him and then we keep moving on. Sometimes we need to stop. We need to reflect on how faithful he has been in the past, so faithful in our lives. And the third thing is to keep his commandments. Look forward, keep your eyes on the Lord. Look backwards to remember God's faithfulness. And then today, keep His commandments. Matt preached a great sermon on moving forward in God's Word. But we need to we need to increase our intake of God's word and decrease our intake of the world when we get in difficult times, which is almost all the time. Whose voices are you listening to most in your life? The more you listen to what's going on in the world, the more that that will feed into the fear. That will feed into looking at the situation. We must think of ways to get into the word. We must do what Deuteronomy six says, Post it everywhere we look during the course of the day, we must memorize it. Psalm one, one through three says, Men, we need to meditate on God's Word. How can you meditate on it if it's not in your heart? We need to ruminate on it all day long like a cow does with its curd. For you farmers. That's a great thing. Yeah, it's a lovely picture. Word picture. Just bring it back up during the course of the day and just tune on it some more and letting God just show us more and more truths and encourage us during the course of the day. Because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

So, faith has a direct correlation to the Word of God. So, guys, just kind of wrapping up here, how could we not be encouraged to looking at life and the trials through God's perspective? Romans 8:28 All things work together for those who love him being called according to his purposes. Romans 8:35 Love the passage. Can anyone ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean that he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or persecuted or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened with death, does that mean he no longer loves us? Paul comes back and says, No way. I mean never. Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loves us when we're told in scriptures, I love this part is that we are more than conquerors. You know, the Greek word for that is hyper Nike, hyper Nike. Nike mean victory. Hyper means, you know, like on steroids. Not literally so, but we are like hyper Nike's. All right. It was our word first before athletic apparel got it on theirs. We are more than victors in Christ Jesus. So, hey, a little bit of the businessperson in me, Becky, can tell you that, like graphs and numbers and stuff she doesn't.

So anyway, check this out. This is what happens. Are you going to pass the test? Look at this. That brings glory to God, number one and foremost. Secondly, you get to know God better, more intimately. You grow in your faith, you become more mature and your advancing God's kingdom in the brokenness. And oh, by the way, you don't even realize it. You're storing up treasures in heaven. Amen. Now, somebody who is very astute graph flowchart person in the 8:15 service did share with me that the path "no" leads to nowhere, and it probably should loop back around to another test. And back in the olden days at the University of Georgia, we had like one supercomputer when I was majoring in business there, and we had to do key punch cards that was really antiquated. And if you ever went pick up your program and the program was like this, and it printed out like this, it means you got hung up in what's called a do-loop in Fortran, which means that if you do no back to test and the test comes back and says pass, no, you get hung up in that loop and you don't want to get home for that loop. You want to place your faith in God and leave the victory to him. Amen. Amen. Well, let's stand. We're going to have a closing song. I'm going to be over here. I'll invite the deacons, and if you need prayer. We'll be right over here. But listen to the words the song as you stand and as we close in this would you?

Follow Along with the Message

Blessings in Disguise

September 3, 2022

James 1:2–3
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

“Most of us respond in a predictable way to the rocks in the path. We complain about them; we kick against them and only hurt ourselves. We try to pick them up and get rid of them, only to discover they are too heavy for us. We can’t always get around them, and we wonder if we can get over them. Some people just stop and go no further. Others give up and turn back. But the child of God does not have to stop or go back; he can use the rocky places in life as stepping-stones to climb higher. God doesn’t promise to remove the stones from the path, but He does promise to make them stepping-stones and not stumbling blocks. He promises to help us climb higher because of the difficulties of life.”
— Warren Wiersbe

PRINCIPLE: Trials are unwanted or unexpected circumstances that cause .

PRINCIPLE: God uses trials to grow our and prepare us for something special.

Psalm 66:10–12
10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. 11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

How a Test of Faith Works

1. God shows us His , faithfulness, power, and presence in our lives.

2. God then us to see if we trust Him.

PRINCIPLE: Tests are always about what we believe about and how much we believe it.

Exodus 15:22–24
22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

How We Fail Tests of Faith

1. We God’s love, faithfulness, power, and presence.

2. We focus on the situation and .

3. We feel for ourselves.

4. We find someone to .

5. We get with God.

6. We others’ faith.

1 Peter 1:6–7
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

What Scripture Teaches About Tests of Faith

1. They’re for a little .

2. They’re .

3. They bring .

4. There are various .

5. They’re to make your faith .

6. Your faith is of greater than gold.

7. Your faith is for God’s praise, glory, and .

8. They result in praise if we keep our on God.

Psalm 78:7
Then they would put their trust in God and would ?not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

How Do We Pass the Test

1. Put our trust in (future).

Hebrews 12:1–3
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

2. Don’t forget His (past).

3. Keep His (present).

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good ?of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 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?
Romans 8:37
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory ?is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Additional Notes


Email (To Send Copy of Notes)