Sunday, July 1, 2012

Believer's Response to Roller Coaster Life

Last week we looked at Joseph:  A study in ups and downs!
ie:  favorite son --- sold --- Potiphar's steward --- prison --- Pharoah's house

This is true of individuals:/ it is true of people groups:
Israel:  famine -- favored in Egypt --- slaves --- Exodus ---- wandering ---- conquest

Point being:  life is not a steady incline (nor decline)
It is a roller coaster.  Up/down, joy/sorrow, loss/gain, etc.

QUESTION:  What should be the believer's response to this?
(partial answer:  simplistic but true and applicable)

In the  GOOD TIMES, we should:  A. Praise God - give recognition/praise/thanksgiving
                                                        B.  Enjoy - take pleasure in the blessings
                                                        C.  Employ - make use of the blessings

In the BAD TIMES, we should:  A.  Praise God
                                                    B.  Endure - hang in there - don't give up because we're down
                                                    C.  Employ - make use of the situation

I.  In the Good Times we should:
A.  Praise God - Deut. 8:10-18 - passage so applicable to America today.  Very easy to forget in the good times.

B.  Enjoy the Blessings - God provides them for us.
1 Tim. 6:17   Eccles. 3:12-13 - gift of God

C.  Employ the Blessings - (make use of)
1 Pet. 4:10 - context - spiritual gifts.
                  - concept - use gifts to serve, bless, build up, encourage, and  ultimately build the kingdom.

II.  In the Bad Times (hard times) we should...
A.  Praise God - 1 Thess. 5:18
Two reasons:  1.  He hasn't changed (was he worthy yesterday?)  Then He's still worthy today.
                        2.  There's always blessings amidst the trial

B.  Endure the situation  (Make good use of it).  Rom. 5:3-4 - "produces"
                                                                              2 Cor. 4:17
                                                                              James 1:2-4

SO................  GOOD TIMES                         BAD TIMES
                       Praise God                                  Praise God
                       Enjoy                                          Endure
                       Employ                                       Employ

Observation:  It's always right to Praise God and Employ.
But, it is also always right to enjoy and endure

In the midst of  good there's always some bad.
In the midst of bad there's always some good.

I.  It's always right to Enjoy - even in the bad times.  (don't have survivor's syndrome where you think life should not be lived and enjoyed because of the bad situation)

II.  it's always right to Endure - even in the good times.  Endurance is not just for the bad times.
Example:  the seven churches of Revelation - mostly they were encouraged to endure.  (trials, persecution, etc.)
Contrast Laodecia - Rev. 3:15-17 - "endure in the face of blessings!!"

Summary:  It's always right to:
                A.  Praise God
                B.  Employ - the situation - make use!  (don't waste sorrows, don't waste blessings)
                C.  Endure - be faithful in the good times and the bad times
                D.  Enjoy  - the many blessings

These past few weeks have been Old Testament oriented, but don't lose your focus on Christ.  John 15:5
This is not a generic religion.  It is focused specifically on Christ, His work, etc.

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