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August 6, 2020 6:00 am
You know there's a lot of people going hard times. Job losses, loss of health, loss of a friendship loss of a spouse or child you we call face difficult circumstances that are farther gut wrenching there confusing and so the question is what you do. Where is God basin how do you get through these kinds of times. I want to give you a God inspired step-by-step outline for beginning to confront and disarm even the most difficult. Stay with welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge Chip Ingram, Living on the Edge features the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram on the Staley discipleship program were in chip series.
Keep singing this program to assure three simple flight your most difficult circumstance. Starting today, so you some hope come to the right, just before we get started, let me encourage you to try using chips message notes while you listen to God as outlined in all his Scripture references to follow along to get those just go to the broadcast email@example.com or Billing notes on the now for part two of his message facing difficult circumstances. What's true in chip for stock from Nehemiah chapter 7 notice that he asked the right questions and get this big open space, and he basically says to people he is a big meeting writing pulling together patients who are weak were not a ragtag group of people that are in this empty city without a purpose. We are what we the people of God.
Where do we come from, we came from a lineage from all the way back to work wearing David's line were in Solomon's line.
God has a purpose. He made all these promises to this nation. God always keeps his promises he made his promises to David promises about the land to Abraham about why look at the miracles miracles when Zerubbabel went the miracles when Ezra went the miracle we got these foreign kings panel and then by the way, he says what what we have noticed his focus.
He doesn't focus on what he doesn't have the focus is on what he does have an associate wow when what we do we get men of Israel got me to Bethlehem. Let's see we got trees for they do all that's right they do stuff in the temple Levites where they do they help with the temple singers were later they sing in the Temple temple servants.
That's pretty obvious service of Solomon all of a sudden helps the people understand your lineage, your heritage, the promises of God.
The miracle working got there been all these thoughts. Not for hundreds but thousands of years that led you to this point in your circumstances might be this empty city, but the God of the universe has a plan for you. His people in his program and you are the next.and he's gonna provide what you need, was the goal of God, that you would be comfortable and financially secure and everything would go great or does God have a purpose for his people in this time in history, and that's where you're at, why are you here what do you have not. What do you lack see how this questions he asked those right questions and he begins to answer those questions and then he then asked the big one so when we called Melissa game plan.
At times like this you can get so off focus about not only what matters. But what you called to do so you can see is the minuses all you can see is the financial numbers all you can see is the fallout. As you can see is you know the report. The came back from the doctor. I can see is the disappointment it takes great discipline. Our God is all wise he's all-knowing he's gracious he's good and you are the object of his affection and you can either get under the rock of your circumstances and live there and moan and whine and complain and you can there's there's no lack of people that'll do it with you but I will tell you what if you got outside. All that said, you not understand what's going on the world but I do God's in control, but I know I have a purpose. I know God calls me to live by faith.
I know God wants me to make a difference. There's people in your network today. There's people in your neighborhoods and people where you live in people be related to that are scared to death. We've always had this sort of unconscious what were America I mean will come out of this right. Maybe what what what is God's. It was God is actually allowing things to be so unsettled, so people that have never thought seriously about spiritual things about eternal life about forgiveness are more open now than ever before. And what if instead of living under our circumstances, we said were the people of God. This is what we do have. This is our calling.
This is what were going to do you look back in history.
That's how God's often done it notice. Then he does something very counterintuitive.
Look at verse 70 there there's not resources, and so he model something crazy. It says that the heads of the families begin to give.
But it says the governor gave 1000 drachmas of gold 1000 drachmas and you know what happened that was less than the heads of the families and the rest of the people long before Matthew 633, was written.
Nehemiah practiced and when difficult circumstances come, we tend to withdrawal look for security and figure out how to hedge your bets. The Matthew 633 says this seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. His agenda is the idea and all these things will be added into you and so Nehemiah looks at the shortage and doesn't say well you know what he could get a lot worse and I don't have a place either.
I better hoard my stuff. I better really take care of me and mine. Instead, what to do. He models generosity and he takes a step of faith. And here's what we know God honors faith. In fact, without it, it's impossible to please him, he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a what rewarder of those who diligently seek him know when I'll be honest with you what my difficult circumstance circumstance. Number one is what in the world like a sailor. Nehemiah chapter 7 I now you and I done my basic work and I broke up the passages I do that all in advance. And when I get right down to the week. You know how I get to teach this and it's you know super in-depth and it was like God is just a punch list. 17. Are you kidding when I had a sale.
I literally wrote this my journal dear father, what would you like to say your people to this passage because I don't have a clue and you know as I studied it it it's it's how it works. I don't about you, but I think you could write a little pamphlet about how to respond to negative circumstances even in the secular world to say well, improvise, delegate, listen, ask, and model and I will tell you what, that'll pull you out of negative circumstances and create momentum in a positive direction will not in its get right on the Bible. My second difficult time was was kinda crazy Bob the spirit West Coast and it's a it's really a music festival that they have some speakers here and there, and so gives a sort of the big main event and they had this really hot super rock band and people came for them. Okay I when I got there. I realize that came for them and people camp out for most of the week and is all these tents and trailers and apparently about 10,000 people show up. I'm thinking oh man this is great. This really going to want to hear some in my plan had this PowerPoint done and I prayed before I gone and I'm you give them an overview of how to hear God's voice and being a Romans 12 Christian and I'm gonna overview the hollow chapter, and is like this is not work and they've given me 40 minutes and I'm thinking if they listen for 25 I'm just going to be happy as a lark you know and then and I think it's so when I get to do it. 6 o'clock and I've learned all this, and I walked around so I just said okay Lord, all I know is is my circumstance. This will not work. My message will not work.
That's not good because I don't have another one in my back pocket. So I went. I just thought well I'm gonna walk around so I literally walked around all the advancements all the T-shirts and the people and want to find out who is there and then they had little mobile unit and I set my plastic chair and praise God I got such a great wife. She sat in there with me and she didn't say a word for two hours and I could tell she was praying the whole time and I got my pen out and I got five notes I tried to adjust him and that it was like the first hour. That's not work through those away and then I took a sheet of paper and I thought and I came and taken him with.
I took a few paper like this in photo like this and fall like that. I forgot I have that much room that I can write whatever whatever you want me to say and I don't know what to do and as I was doing that, I mean a God idea came. You need to start with a really powerful story and just tell them one thing they can only hear God's voice. If they do, his known will before he reveal his specific will tell them that story just do verse one explain surrender I love these people are all hyped up. They need to surrender and know what that means one verse chip that's it, go for as I did, and apparently hundreds of people took a step of surrender. I couldn't see much.
I was told. This gives us light was in my face the whole time and I got done 10 minutes early, and this is for a pastor. This is a miracle I thought. I'm done.
I'm just saying.
Amen. And I did and then I said now let's welcome my name the group with the pirate texting and I just got out of there. Here's all I want to tell you that's a little circumstance but sometimes we hear God's word like it's always about the big issue with your business, your house, your wife, your singleness, your health circumstances every single day, small and large come in with the spirit of God wants to say to you, you won't improvise. Are you willing to delegate. Are you willing to listen right now instead of plowing through and be in control would be frustrated.
Are you willing to ask the right questions and then if I would show you, would you be willing to model a very counterintuitive step of alignment and commitment with me often evidenced by generosity in your time, your attitude or your money and I will tell you what. That's how God gives wisdom that's how you can consider it all joy and I'm praying that God's going to give you guys some some ideas in a different perspective will what can we learn from Nehemiah because there's two things I want to learn kind about Bible study number one is that sometimes the structure of the passage teaches us as much is the content when the content basically was the first five or six verses in a few verses on the back right, but when you outline the book chapters 1 through six are about rebuilding the wall.
Chapters 8 through 13 are about rebuilding the people right so what we have is this peddler, this hinge and it's in there for a reason. It's the genealogy and so the rebuilding the wall had to do with walls and work in physical and external things. The whole rest of the book is Kennedy about spiritual internal rebuilding the people and so you you look at the structure you say God, why is chapter 7. Here, and then we look at that structure and you see what he did then.
Often what we need to do is realize it. There's probably not a lot of application directly for us. But there's principles so when you study one is you want to look at structure as well as content. Secondly, what are some timeless principles because you know I didn't.
I did some careful research there's 49,000 people, roughly 7000 donkeys. What I realize there was one donkey for every seven people do you have a difficult circumstance in your life. Is it hard is it difficult were buying some donkeys. We have to share. As I learned from Nehemiah that you get one donkey for every seven people. It stinks a little bit but I mean were to make progress coming. It's obvious that is not the application. Correct. But it's obvious from that, what's the principal he itemize what he did have an got his mind his heart off of what he didn't have and so with that.
There's three principles that emerge from a principal number one is the principal perspective, like Nehemiah, we must not confuse our means activities and projects with our goals desired and results Nehemiah's initial job was to rebuild the wall. The end result was to rebuild people so here's the question I want you to write underneath that. Why am I doing what I'm doing CI at some point in time.
Nehemiah the walls are done he could say, I'll see you guys. I'm gonna take one of those donkeys are down to 6899. Whatever it is I'm to go back to Persia, but he understood. I got here job. One was the walls. I didn't come here for walls but had to stop and say in the in the circumstance. Why am I doing what I'm doing, why are you doing what you're doing.
So often the means over time becomes the end mean is true of us right work quick example we work for what we want to provide for ourselves and our families to be able to do what God wants us to do and pretty soon you go to work and you get good working makes money working to get some promotions and working pretty soon you leave early to come home late and work is your life.
The means becomes the end or are you not seen people and been in a couple houses were people are really they really want what's a home for a home is to create an atmosphere isn't where love and relationships can thrive. But things are what we wanted to thrive. So we remodeled this the remodel that we get this piece of furniture them to do that me to get this we get that high in homes where they spent so much time creating this atmosphere you go. I don't touch that they don't do beach with my kids past your sidechains with me. If you touch anything is lady's home. I will kill you in a right but will what what what happened. The means that it started well or you go to school and go to school to what learn and grow and actualize what God gave you in your mind and your heart and to go to school and in your exciting in your learning and then you get an 89 on your first test new look over and so it has an 84 and you feel pretty good and is one of the 97 you feel is a good pretty soon you realize when you get 97 people look at your paper and then pretty soon all you it's great great great great grades and you what you learn anything in the grade the degrees, the number of letters instead of learning. You found me or even spiritually what's what's the goal is to know God is to love God is to love other people. What do I need to read the Bible, yeah.
Do I need to spend time talking with and I need to be in a small group and have community and the need to take some steps of faith, whether it's with my finances or mission straight of course, but have you not my personal confession I got to where the means were so important, I went for like three or four years I never missed a day of praying I pray to the whole list and I would memorize at least 3 to 5 verses every week for five or six years. The only thing was I didn't love God, I didn't love people and I was the biggest jerk that most people know because the means became the end question in your circumstance. God may have brought it. Why are you doing what you're doing, why are you doing that job. Why are you doing that hobby. Why are you doing what you're doing with your family. Why are your kids in the school that they're in. Why are you doing what you're doing, stop difficult circumstances can give you the gift of perspective.
It was Drucker who said there's a big difference between efficiency and effectiveness, efficiency has to do with doing things well effectiveness is doing the right things. It's a classic illustration. They said when the railroads are going through difficult time.
He just asked the question, are you in the train business or the transportation business.
Some thought the train business. They stayed with trains and they went out of business. Other said transportation to begin to diversify as it is trains its trucks. It's what business are you in are you in the make myself happy business, I gotta be in control of and got a workout. Are you in the following Christ business.
Second is the issue in principle of priority like Nehemiah. We must make people our passion. People were really important to Nehemiah say how do you know could look how many list of them. He lists the money to me this is a very boring chapter in the Bible, but if one of these people was my father or grandfather it be exciting to understand this to this guys name that you can't pronounce my grand is a ripple. He hung out with him is like spiritual NFL is MVP my dad right here.
I mean there was a sense of identity and heritage and pride people mattered, not walls, not houses, not interest rates, not jobs, not money, not 401(k)s, not your success, not your career ladder, not what job or school your kids get in or don't get in all of that can be a means and with the right heart. You can make great decisions, but I will tell you what you get your total priorities messed up the world's terrible because our house used to be this big announces big the world's terrible because I had this role. Now I have this rope the world's terrible because you I signed up for this, and now the market changed is one of the world terrible, so people don't love you anymore.relationship start friendships. You don't have purpose you don't have life is the word Talbert was just your world and your expectations. Maybe the greatest gift God gives used to reorient and the question to ask here is what really matters.
What's really important.
I mean we all have the right answers. People mean it. I say this a lot, not just a very Lotta people. And when you barium. No one talks about anything other than the relationship at the end of the day no one says you know what this guy looks good that you should sing his house.
He had 11 classic cars I meet on on-time what she had the best jewelry all Northern California. People say stuff like that.
She was there for me when I needed friend. He was generous he listened to me when no one else cared. He was my dad. Everyone else thought it was a big shop you wish to time for me make people your passion and then the principal evaluation like Nehemiah, we must make faithfulness to our calling the measure of our success and asked the question how am I measuring success. Sometimes God uses difficult circumstances to wean us of our unconscious sense of privilege with regard to success material prosperity or status. Why am I doing what I'm doing what really matters, and how will I measure success. Lord you know how those questions need to be played out in the hearts and minds of the people in this room and I ask you right now. Give them God -sized ideas give them open palms and hands to say I just want to surrender my expectations, my relationships, my home, my business, my finances and I want to listen you will be back with this application.
Just a quick reminder this message facing difficult circumstances is from this series pressing ahead using key chapters from the book of Nehemiah chip explains the truth about adversity where it comes from what to do when it threatens to bring you down and then how to keep pressing ahead no matter what Scripture calls Christians over comers but for many of us that just sounds like religious talk like spin too hard or too painful and we don't see how it's possible to rise above our circumstances which it reminds us with God nothing is impossible whether your adversity comes from circumstances, people, or even yourself with this series you will be encouraged to remember there's always hope to check out your resource options for keep pressing ahead. Just go to LivingontheEdge.org or tap special offers, discounts are available for a limited time will check before you get your application what's on your mind. One of the great joys of my life is the letters, emails, Facebook messages that I get from people literally all around the country and all around the world and they tell me these amazing stories of how Living on the Edge has been a tool used by God to change their life. Maybe you're one of those people that have really been impacted by the ministry. I mean I hear from people from every age, profession background, every person imaginable and what I hear is this same constant drumbeat of God spoke to me. I took a step of faith. Now God's using me and what I want you to know is that that's the heart of our ministry. We want to put teaching and tools in small group materials and downloadable things that we actually give away to help people, not just live like Christians but be ambassadors and agents of change and grace in their homes, their schools and their workplaces. If you're one of those people that God has impacted you and actually you're impacting others because of Living on the Edge have a very specific request. Would you consider becoming a monthly financial partner and of course it helps us practically no doubt about it. It would really help us to know that X amount of dollars are coming in from a monthly partner, but literally, even more than that. It's about a group of people saying we want to be a part of this mission to make a difference in the crazy world that were living in. We want to make impact. We want to make impact with you all. God spoken to us.
God's changed us. We want to help you help others, and so here's my request today.
Would you pray and just simply say, Lord, if this is part of your desire for me to partner with Living on the Edge on the monthly basis we you show me and then show me what that looks like and how much what I will say is what ever amount that is it's perfect. Whatever God shows you but what I long to see is people who partner that are on the team a part of the family and we make a difference together each and every day.
Thank you in advance for doing whatever God chose you to do with that mission resonates with you. We'd love to have you join us to send a gift call us at 1-888-333-6003.
Give online that LivingontheEdge.org or tap the donate button on the app.
Thanks in advance for prayerfully following God's lead. Now, with a final thought. Here's chip as we close today's program but I do wish we could sit down, talk about this one because you or someone you love may be going through some really really difficult time.
I read some emails that were the most encouraging emails I've read in a few years, but they were some of the most tragic and what people went through in terms of cancer, loss of a mate loss of a father economy shuts down loss of the job greatest expectation and hope fizzles at the last moment and and there isn't just some little. Here's three easy steps. Just think this way and everything's gonna be okay. You know, at the end of the day. If we were sitting down having coffee and I've had those times I've had times where he got so dark and I wondered where God was in and I've come to realize that sometimes of asking the wrong question. My circumstances sometimes him asking God why don't you get me out of these were just make it easier or get me through or help me understand all the wise and I'll be honest with you, sometimes I don't know the wise it doesn't seem to get a lot easier getting them through all I can really do is praise God. Look in the rearview mirror, realize going.
I got through some of those in the past and I can now see. Maybe some of the reasons why I don't know all the reasons why, but it really goes back to who is the God that you worship me. What is God really like and is a good meet our his hands tied in heaven and just bad stuff happening and he he really wish she could help you but one either.
He's not good and he doesn't want to wear is not powerful.
So he you really can't pull it off right now or you know this is just the best plan he can come up with. You know it's it's there's a lot of people to take care of and you know you're like number 78 on the list of 1 to 10.
You know that those things are true, but so it goes back to who is God and what I can tell you is the greatest comfort and perspective and the ability to endure for me has gone to God is in control. He sovereign God really is good. He is going to orchestrate even the worst of things for my good and he's all wise if there was a better, easier, kinder way to bring about the best for me. That's what I would be experiencing, but over and over. I hear people say you know I felt like I was always battling through my Christian life in a way of trying to get God to do what I wanted him to do and for my life to work out and I realized how you know it really is about God is not about me. And so what I encourage you to do is maybe step back and really get a higher view of God. Maybe they just open the Psalms are where Isaiah chapter 40 and just get a fresh big picture view of God and recognize that you can trust him and he's good that is wise and that is for you and it will bring things into perspective that Living on the Edge were happy to let you know about an easy way to listen to our extended teaching podcast here chip anytime on Amazon's Alexa echo and echo.just say Alexa enable the Chip Ingram podcast once Alexis enabled with that skill. All you need to say is Alexa played the Chip Ingram podcast you'll hear that there is extended teaching anytime you want will be sure to join us again next time, Mr. continues his series. Keep pressing ahead. Until then, for all of us here. This is the very thing thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge