Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Living Dangerously In The Hands of God...

Let's let the truth of God's word penetrate your heart this morning- otherwise we can only speak the words of truth to others & there is no transformation. When we are open we can receive truth and through God's grace transfer it to others & they will be changed.

In Luke 20 Jesus said, "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."

Not all teaching, nor teachers are the same. What does Jesus teach immediately following this warning?

Luke 21:1-4
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

He goes on to say, "Watch out that you are not deceived... When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened."

"There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

Strange- He says, 'do not be frightened' and yet there will be 'fearful events'. Could that help us see what it means to 'live dangerously in the hands of God'?

"But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict."(v14-15)

"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life."(v34)

Message- But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping....'

'Parties, drinking and shopping'- That is most defintely not living dangerously in the hands of God!

Let's move to Acts 18 & see what Paul shows us about living dangerously in the hands of God.

"Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."(vv 9-10)

We will hear messages like this from Jesus.

Look what happens when Paul is dragged before the authorities- is he worried about how he will defend himself?

Acts 18:14-16
Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." So he had them ejected from the court.

"Do not be afraid...I am with you..."

Our source of strength is meant to come from the Lord, not oursleves.

Acts 18:21
"I will come back if it is God's will."

Paul continually acknowledges God's leading in his life as the only way to go, as do others:

James 4:13-16
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

Psalm 23:1
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

We are not on a treasure hunt where a distant God leaves clues for us to find; instead God says, 'Do not be afraid I am with you!'

Ask yourself, 'Do I want something to say, or to do more than I want Jesus Himself?'

We get our instructions on a need to know basis because we don't really need to know a lot since God is right there with us!

What matters is that we are open & ready to learn from unlikely sources (a widow with no influence or money), prepared for whatever God has to say to us through the Scriptures, through reliable teachers and the gathering with other followers of Christ sharing the ongoing and always unpredictable common life. Think of how God worked throught the stories from today- Ginger, Marilyn, Bryan & Glen.

1 Thessalonians 5:10
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

We'll close with the message Glen shared this morning that he heard from the Lord through Tree 63,

Walking Home With You
Here is the sun to light your day
Here is an answer when you pray
Here is the dry road through the sea
What more could you ever want from me?

Written directions to my home
A promise you'll never be alone
Here is a lamp unto your feet
What more could you ever want from me?

And when you fall, I'll wait
I am always awake
All of your days I'm walking home with you

My body bruised and broken down
Precious blood spilled on the ground
I paid for your life up on that tree
What more could you ever want from me?

And until that day you stand
Here in my arms, here's my hand
All of your life I'm walking home with you

When we acknowledge that truth with an open heart we begin to live dangerously in the hands of God.


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