header LIFE GATE CHURCH - REACHING UP REACHING OUT

Welcome to Life Gate Church Sermons Pages









Judy's Simple Truths



Custom Search

 

IT'S NOT RIGHT
By Pastor Delbert Young

2. Turn Troubles into Blessings

It's Not Right Turn Troubles into Blessings

(video and audio page)

I was on my way back to Panama City Beach Florida to continue our vacation last October. I was in stop and go traffic in Atlanta when my cell phone rang. I saw it was the number of friend from the second grade, Durell, but I knew it wasn't him calling. I knew it would be his wife Terrie. My friend had malignant brain tumor surgery around a year earlier and hadn't used his phone since then. I called him about once a month, but never spoke with him. Terry always answered or would return my call. Judy and I went to visit with him a few months earlier and he'd seemed to be doing well all things considered. I knew the phone call could not be good as I said, "Hello, is this Terrie?" She said, "Yes. I called to tell you we had to put Durell in Hospice. The cancer has spread and they don't expect him to make it very much longer." I listened as she filled me in on the details telling me they knew this was what would happen unless God did a miracle. I said, "It's not right." We talked several more minutes as I reminisced about how Durell and I had been friends since the second grade. We'd gone through grammar school together, junior high back then, high school, and even went to college together. He was a man of integrity. In all my years of knowing him, he never cussed, he never did anything wrong. I never heard him lie or be deceitful in any way. He was the type person we'd all want to be. Now he's about to die at sixty-six years of age with two sons and three grandchildren. Terrie and I were about to hang up when she said to me, "And, what you said earlier is right?" Not knowing what she meant, I asked, "What did I say?" Terrie said, "It's Not Right." From this statement came this series. Four Sundays ago, I went to his visitation. I've been to many funerals, but I've never seen anything like his. All parking was taken. I stood in line over an hour to speak to Terrie and Durell's family. I went to his funeral the following Monday as we buried one of the best people I've ever known.

What's right about death? What's right about a good man dying so young? We opened this series Thanksgiving with a sermon titled "Thank God for Everything," but how do his wife, children, grandchildren, and friends thank God for Durell's death? How do you thank God in similar situations, or in any time of grief and trouble?

What's right about many things in life such as financial crisis and the loss of savings, loss of employment, loss of health from heart disease or cancer, death of a child, rape or murder of someone you love, and the death of someone in your family? The list is literally endless. There are so many troubles in life. What's right about any of these? We all go through trouble in life. In fact, we are assured we will have many troubles. Are Christians immune to troubles? No, but how we handle troubles is different. If handled correctly, troubles turn into blessings.

James 1:2-12 CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, my brothers, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, BECAUSE you know that the testing of your faith DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE. Perseverance must finish its work SO THAT you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. THAT MAN SHOULD NOT THINK HE WILL RECEIVE ANYTHING FROM THE LORD; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO PERSEVERES UNDER TRIAL, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

Troubles, trials, and testing times are turned into blessed times for those who consider trouble pure joy, persevere and stand the test, and love God. A blessed life is determined by how we handle troubles.

This James is the brother of Jesus – same mother, different father. Though raised with Jesus, James did not believe Jesus was the Christ until after the resurrection. The resurrection from the dead will change any doubter. What is interesting is this is the only writing we have from James, and the very first thing James wants to talk about is trials, testing, and trouble. What an amazing thought! Why? We all face trials, testing, and troubles, so this speaks to every person who ever lived.

James said we would have trials of many kinds. Every person who lives faces constant trials and trouble. No one is exempt not even Jesus. Trouble never goes very far away if it goes away at all.

Job 5:7 Yet man IS BORN TO TROUBLE as surely as sparks fly upward.

Hot sparks from fire naturally go upward. Trouble is natural. You and I are not the only ones experiencing trouble.

Job 14:1 "Man born of woman is of few days and FULL OF TROUBLE.

Obviously, this includes all of us. Your life, my life, and any life is full of trouble.

Psalms 22:11 Do not be far from me, for TROUBLE IS NEAR and there is no one to help.

Trouble is always near. We go from one trouble to the next. Jesus said,

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. EACH DAY HAS ENOUGH TROUBLE OF ITS OWN.

We studied marriage a few weeks ago. We saw 1 Peter 3:7 says marriage is the greatest gift we can experience during the gracious gift of life. However, even in marriage we have troubles.

1 Corinthians 7:28 …But those who MARRY WILL FACE MANY TROUBLES in this life, and I want to spare you this.

Paul was saying you will have enough trouble not married, but when married, you will face many troubles. It's no longer only your troubles. It's now your troubles plus the troubles of your spouse.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Trouble is a guarantee. Paul said trouble was all around him.

(KJV) 2 Corinthians 4:8 WE ARE TROUBLED ON EVERY SIDE, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair

Trouble is to be expected. We should expect trouble in our family. We should expect trouble from criticism, our occupation, from our friends, finances, in school, health, death of loved ones, etc. It's life and if you think you're the only one going through trouble, you're wrong.

You and I are born to have trouble. Trouble is as natural as hot sparks flying upward. None of us are exempt if you had a mother. Trouble is always near. Our days are full of trouble. Jesus said every day has trouble. Marriage has trouble. If you live in this world you will have trouble. Trouble is all around on every side.

James said trials of many kinds. Many kinds is poikilos {poy-kee'-los} meaning various colors, variegated. James is not emphasizing the number of troubles and trials. He's speaking of the various and multi-color troubles we experience. It means all kinds of troubles.

Trials is peirasmos {pi-ras-mos'} meaning an experiment, attempt, trial, proving. The KJV sadly translates it "temptations." It's not talking about temptations as in a solicitation to evil. It's talking about plain every day troubles and difficult times.

James began with a mind boggling statement.

James 1:2-3 CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, BECAUSE you know that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH develops perseverance.

There is a reason to consider it pure joy. Trouble is a test of your faith and through this testing you not only prove your faith. You also develop the ability to handle trouble. Are you kidding me? How does anyone consider trouble pure joy? As difficult as it sounds, this is the first step in turning troubles to blessings. We must maintain a thankful joyful attitude. Sure Delbert! And, just how do you suggest I do this? James said, "Consider…" We must stop and consider what is truly happening, not what is obviously happening. The King James Version says, "Count it all joy…" as in 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Put things in proper order. Think it through. We must consider, reflect, ponder, and deliberate. When we do, we will realize this is a test to see if my faith is real. My faith is on trial to see if I'm an authentic Christian, or an imposter.

Trouble, trials, and testing have an important purpose. This purpose is the testing of your faith. How you handle troubles and trials answer the questions we've all asked from time to time. The questions are, "Am I an authentic believer, or am I only going through religious motions deceiving myself? Am I truly saved? When my body dies will I awake in glory/heaven with eternal life? Or will I awake in the torments of hell?" Those are serious questions we each should not only ask, but know the answers. The answers come from how we handle trouble. How are you doing? Are you passing your tests? Have you ever approached trouble by first considering this is a test of my faith?

Once we realize it's a test, we can smile and work on our pure joy. What does James mean by "pure joy"? It's a joy not defiled by worry, or stress, or anger. It's like pure water. It's not allowing anything to contaminate, or take away your joy. You'll probably need to consider it several times a day as you work through the trouble. If we keep it pure joy, it can never take us away from God.

We've all seen people who said they were Christians. They attended church. At some point they probably prayed the "sinner's prayer," walked down the Roman Road, and may have even tithed, but when a trouble came along, they left. God didn't do what they wanted God to do. They didn't persevere. They gave up on God and walked away. They failed the test. Are they still saved? If you ask them they will say they are, but are they? Would you be if you failed the test? Next time, I want to seriously look at this. What about eternal security when I fail the tests? What about once saved always saved when I fail the tests?

I want to look at verse 12 as we finish for today.

James 1:12 BLESSED IS THE MAN who perseveres under trial, because when he has STOOD THE TEST, he will receive THE CROWN OF LIFE that God has promised to THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

Not everyone will receive the crown of life. Walking away from God, being angry with and cursing God certainly isn't a trait of those who love him. When you stand the test and your faith is proven, trouble is turned into blessing. You will be a blessed person.

So this week when trouble comes, I want you to first consider it, count it, deliberate, reflect and realize this is nothing but a test. Hold onto your pure joy. Know it's proving your authenticity.

 

Custom Search