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March 7, 2022 5:00 am
One space hardship and pain are unavoidable part of life. What you're anxious suffering from a health problem lost your job or lost a friend all struggling through something. The question is how do we endure, how do we get through the dark spirits that stay with welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians, the Bible you know as much as we try to avoid or at least anticipate the difficult parts of our lives Future. What you just said city is. That's why the insights and truths from the series.
The art of survival over the next several programs triple reveal the hope God wants us to hang onto even in the midst of our toughest trials and fears. This is such a relatable topic so let me encourage you after today's message shared with someone in your life you can easily do that through the shipping roadmap or by downloading ensuring the free MP3 at Living on the Edge.that hears Chip with his message and attitude to embrace James chapter 1, you know were living in very historic times right now I mean is historic and that we have a pandemic that's global and pandemics bring very difficult things in the lives of people all across the world for some right now this is a very difficult time, but they see a way through. For others it's a desperate time.
How will we get through this and is more than just the disease is radical and difficult as that is been is created, emotional, relational, economic issues, churches or close businesses are closed been in contact in recent days with people in Egypt and the Middle East issues in Lebanon talk to very directly with what's going on in China as they're dealing with pandemic people in India Pakistan. We been having talks with them about what's going on in that country and how do we make it through this in Latin America another team of pastors and leaders of talk to us about it is really really difficult. The question isn't, sometimes, you know, how do we thrive. Sometimes the question is how do we survive. I mean people don't have food people don't have money there. Their connection the church. The love and encouragement of what people need to make it through times pastors and leaders are asking why Lord as I talked to one leader recently. He said our teams all throughout the Middle East are coming to me in their very young leaders. I'm serving God I'm risking my life for the gospel and in the midst of this, why is all this happening while I want to tell you that there is an art to survival you to sign some time is is very clear. There's a formula right in oh 2+2 = 4. Here's the law of physics, but art means that there is there's an answer there's a way that looks different for different people, different situations and you may not know it, that the early church was birthed at a time, much like our own. It wasn't just difficult.
It was desperate and God gave them the very first words from the half-brother of Jesus's name is James and is found in the book of James.
The book is written about A.D. 46 or 49 so that the church is only 13, 14, 15 years old from the death and resurrection of Jesus and what we find is there's a great persecution that occurred. We learn about in acts chapter 8 now people are struggling that they they left homes. There are scattered abroad. There's economic issues they been disinherited. They been cut off from family there's persecution by the Roman government and there wondering why we do. We've believed in this Jesus who died and rose from the dead.
We have eternal life. But how do we survive this difficulty and what's very interesting and so encouraging is working to get the answers on the icon at the art of survival for those who speak English there is little acronym because I think there's an AA attitude that you must have our there's a resource in the most important resource to get through all of this and the T is for a theology or a way of thinking that will give you perspective in the midst of most difficult times in all the world before we begin let's get a little worldview perspective and say what does the Bible say about a fallen world right. I mean it's a very difficult fallen world. Some of us are surprised and and struggling and wondering why listen carefully to Peter Peterson dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial that you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. First Peter chapter 4 verse 12 Jesus said the very last night on earth.
These things are spoken to you, that in me you may have peace in the world you will have tribulation, be of good cheer. I've overcome the world. The apostle Paul would write in second Timothy chapter 3. Everyone who wants to live a godly life in union with Christ Jesus will be persecuted and evil persons and impostors will keep on going from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves so I want you to know is some observations before we jump into the text and learn the actual art of survival number one trials are inevitable, difficulty in a fallen world is absolutely promised. The second observation is trials either make us or break us. You know it. It's interesting, there's a word for tragedy and opportunity is is put together and that word for tragedy and opportunity that's put together in Chinese is the word crisis.
And when you're in a crisis whether it's personal.
I whether it's a community whether it's a church, whether it's a nation whether it's global, what, what emerges out of this is great, great possibility for tragedy but also great opportunity if you look at the lives of great Bible characters of great people in history you will find it when pressure difficulty and opposition and persecution for some people. They cave-in it destroys their life and for others.
Something happens it makes them. There's something that happens in their character and their faith in their trust.
The greatest stories we have in human history. Christian or not, are people that come through the fire and are purified and that's what God wants for us. The third observation is that victims failed to move beyond asking why, and remain stuck in their pain, see the opposite of the survivor is a victim. We need to be very careful one. We don't want to diminish how difficult this is, but you're only a victim. If you choose to be a victim. Victims begin to ask why, why me Lord, why now why this is and hear me understand there are such pain. Some of you are going through. It's okay to begin with the why question why me Lord I mean I've been through cancer with my wife in an earlier season, Lord, why did this happen. She loves God by God's grace we made it through that I've been through seasons where I've been betrayed by Christian leaders that I couldn't believe would do something to me.
I've had health issues-challenges with my children. I've been in places in the world where I didn't think I was going to live. So I think it's okay to pause and say Lord why is this happening you can't stay there but victims do they get stuck in their pain why this why that here's the thing. It never works.
Pragmatically, people who never stop asking why are stuck in their pain and to become victims and they get bitter, and they get resentful or they give up what I would suggest to you is that God has clear instruction in James chapter 1 verses one through 12 and more than a look at the first section of it. Follow along as Irene James, a bondservant of God, the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes who dispersed abroad greetings so he saying to them there running for their life there going all throughout the Roman Empire and he's writing to them and says greetings Christianity is primarily Jewish right. I mean, there was the day of Pentecost in some different things happen, different places over all this.
First, 10, 15 years. These Jewish Christians their identity is still as their Messiah Jesus has come there following him and their world is falling apart. I mean they aren't in a difficult situation. Their innate desperate situation and so you might want to ask what would God say to them.
I mean if Jesus walked in the room where you are right now and you could look him in the eye, his resurrection body and you can cite Jesus. What do I do what I do with the situation with my family. What do I do with this ministry.
What I do with this health issue. What do I do. I haven't been able to work.
What do I do. I lost my business what do I do, Lord, I don't see my way in the future. Here's what he would say he said there's an attitude that you must begin with verse two.
Consider it all joy, my brother, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. I want you to notice.
First, there's the command it says consider it all joy.
Look at that more carefully, but it's a command. It's not an option. Second, there is a reminder. It says, knowing in this word for knowing will learn is knowing by experience, knowing by how God works in our lives that faith will produce an endurance that will do something and then after that he gives a second command is says and then endure. Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't don't become a victim. You are more than a conqueror in Christ, but it starts with this kind of attitude and always going to say is don't ask why. Ask what is what I can tell you whether it's in the cancer ward, whether it's when a friend of mine's house burned down. Whether it's when I was in Indonesia I mean literally less than a week after the tsunami, and I saw things devastated like never before.
There are people who are survivors and their people who are victims. Victims almost always keep asking why me, why now, why, why, why in it that they get crushed. Survivors ask what questions they asked three very important. What questions and the answer to those what questions are in this text. Here's what I want you to know God can and will give you the power to be a survivor to conquer took to overcome whatever you're facing.
As you begin to obey this passage by the power of the Holy Spirit sourced in the word of God in the context of fellow brothers and sisters that were to go through this together. The first of what question you need to ask in your world right now is this what can I control when my world falls apart. What can you control I can't control the pandemic. I can't control the economy of your country or my country. I can't control what certain leaders decisions they make or what they don't make. Here's what you can control your attitude. Notice he says consider the word means evaluate, calculate, choose choose to consider your current difficult situation is pure literally the word is unmixed joy he say to yourself, highlighting that how in the world could I do that, he says, knowing that you're surrounded by trials. In fact, this word is only used one other time in the New Testament he saying I want you to consider to choose an attitude of pure joy about these external trials. The other place it is used is when it remember that the story of the good Samaritan.
It says he got surrounded literally by robbers. God is saying through Jesus half-brother, James the power of the Holy Spirit that there are times in life where external circumstances come around our life and they threatened to crush and destroy us and he says in the midst of that because you are connected to the all-powerful, all-knowing sovereign God because his spirit lives inside of you and because you can know for sure he's going to work this for your good and bring good out of the worst in a fallen world choose to consider all joy knowing something that the testing of your faith is going to produce something so the first question you need to ask and answer is worth my attitude and by the way, don't confuse attitude with feelings in difficult situations.
I don't feel like counting joy. This is not an emotion.
This is a choice.
I'm then a choose to look into the face of this difficulty and I'm gonna choose to count it all joy as I'm surrounded by overwhelming devastating trials, knowing that this is a test that God wants to take me through.
He's going to do something in my life and is it is something in my life to do something through my life that I can have a pity party at a time like this.
I need to fight the good fight. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. God has not given you or me a spirit of fear right but of power and love and self-discipline.
This is where we put on the full armor of God. This is where we fight. This is where we can grab hold of the anchor of hope and we say I will not give up.
I will not give in.
I'm going to choose, moment by moment, my attitude, I remember reading a quote by one of the survivors of the concentration camps. He later became a world-renowned psychologist Victor Frankel and he wrote this after enduring the concentration camps, of which most people died. He said everything can be taken from a man but one thing the last of all human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way so here's what I want to say to you, don't ask why. Ask what first, what question what can I control. Second, what question is, what must I do to make it through today. Okay, not tomorrow, not what will happen next month.
Not what about my business.what about the church, not what about even our country, not what will happen in the next two years or five years or 10 years. The moment your mind goes out that far and you have no idea what's going to happen and you can't control it.
It will keep sending you downward. The question I need to ask you need to ask what can I do to make it through today. The answer is one word and I don't like it and you don't like it but it's endure its persevere. In other words, it is a choice to say I won't give in. I won't give up. I will become a victim.
There's no short-term fix. I remember reading the story of the prisoner of war, and he was the nine years in a in a prison camp of war, and he had a number of his colleagues were with him and asking, because he made it through.
After nine years in the great majority of them didn't they died they gave in the struggle that either died or were tortured and in the torture they gave up information and then they were killed, and asking how did you make it who made it and who didn't is that I can tell you very quickly those that were optimist died. They didn't make they thought well by Christmas all get out, or by Easter.
I'm going to get out or maybe in nine months or it can only last a year and they kept creating false expectations and then every time expectations failed. You can see them sink deeper and deeper and deeper in despair.
The only thing you can do and the only thing I can do is endure today. What do I do to make it through today. You know what I do I hang tough I don't give up. I don't give in and here's the reason. Knowing by way of experience that test produce endurance that what God is going to do this word as it it it does something inside of you.
The word Greek word is Kubo Manno it's two Kubota be under Manno pressure or stress for some of you right now you're under incredible stress, emotional stress, family stress, financial stress ministry stress. The stress and uncertainty.
There's people looking to you that some of you have friends and and family members with the disease and others of you have seen people that you love and they have died, and I know what I'm saying is challenging and difficult, but you have the spirit of the living God, who as you choose to count real joy, he will give you just what you need, not for tomorrow but for today is grace is sufficient for you, power is perfected in weakness is so the one thing you can do to make it through today is choose. I will endure joy this year and student application submitted the listing to the first part of his message attitude to embrace from his series.
The art of survival.
You know many of the pressing problems were facing today social unrest, religious persecution, moral decay, art, new they've actually been around for a long time. So how are Christians to respond over that answer trip turns to the book of James chapter 1 in the series.
He explains that the uncertainties and fears that discouraged first century believers are similar to the hardships we face today by using the word art as an acronym chip highlights three critical truths on how we can endure challenging times. A stands for an attitude that strengthens our is for a resource God offers NT's for a theology. The guides don't list a single part of this series.
For more information about the art of survival or are many resources go to LivingontheEdge.org or call AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003, or LivingontheEdge.org app listeners to have special offers which of the series came out of a very difficult time in your life as the pandemic was raging on in our world was spinning out of control will take a minute if you wouldn't talk about the jury, the Lord took you want to understand the truth of the series will Dave it's really an interesting story. I mean I just have to tell you I battling discouragement. I was really getting discouraged. I travel was cut off. We were doing the best we could to really ministry to a lot of people but very very confined and for us extroverts.
This is really hard and I found myself then having a couple afternoons for a number of days in a row that I have like these two hours of really dark times get discouraged and depressed and I just thought you know ways like I got a battle this my mental health is not going in a good direction and so I up my workouts and you know certain things that I knew practically would help me but then I really got before the Lord, and I thought Dena what's the truth here and I begin to ponder and think any took me to a James chapter 1, and one of the big things. I got out of James chapter 1 just for me. I wasn't trying to prepare a series of sermons. It was just God speaking to me and as I as I went through that it was chip. It's about your attitude. It's about my resources and sub out of theology or a lens to look through these things and and then the big take away was that my focus had gotten so inward and I think it's normal for us. So I just realize I am so thinking about me and literally the Holy Spirit whispered why don't you see, like maybe who has some real needs.
And it just came as I was praying I thought of a good friend who is the head of all the Protestant churches in Egypt and I just thought, okay, I'll do a zoom call and it worked out where we got on this call and ask him how I was doing and he said you know where our pastors are just trying to survive. Right now, and he said we feel like the government doing all they can. They've provided really good leadership but it's really everything's locked down and it's very very challenging for pastors, churches, people, and any Using that word survival and I said you know I'm working on a new series on the art of survival and civil send it to me. I said no you to understand is that I'm working on it.
I have never even taught it out loud anywhere. I'm just thinking and praying God's really speaking to me about that. Any symbol when can you get it done and that was a Thursday and it's really interesting in this. There's a principle here. Before we get started in the series, it's important to hear when I realized there was a need and I heard the specific stories of these pastors in Egypt what they were going through my focus got off of me. I dug in. I figured out the rest of that series.
By the next Tuesday. Wednesday we had a film crew come in. I taught all three parts of the series. I did a webinar for all those pastors. We did Q&A for an hour after I gave an overview and then they translated these three messages into Arabic and they got them into all the churches in Egypt and so we kinda bring this to you when were grappling with how we survive. Where is God. How do you experience him what's the game plan. How do you need to think how do you need to act how you need to pray. How do we get through this and not just easily. How do we get through this and how do we honor God in the process so day. That's the story and I'm excited very excited for listeners to be ministered to by the word of God from James chapter 1 fax chip will I can think of a better reason for you to join us for this entire series. But if you happen to miss a program along the way, you can always listen on the chip and remap or it LivingontheEdge.org know with some final thoughts, peers, chip as we close today's program first and foremost, I want you to know it's not wrong to ask why we all are going to ask why, why is all this happening and and actually what were asking is why is it happening to me or with someone that I love. And behind that is that somehow, life is not fair in God. If you loved me. I mean this is a picture of Martha and her sister Mary member there. Their brother died and they came to Jesus, if you would've been here, he would've lived why Edwards why would you let something so challenging and difficult happen and I just want to remind you and remind me. Actually, that in order to survive.
We got a shift that question because were never going to answer that one fully. Never in this life we do know God is all-knowing.
We know his sovereign window is powerful. More than anything else we know he's good. We know even in that situation with Mary and Martha. He wanted to do a greater good.
The text says he wept. He cares he understands our pain and in a fallen world, there is an agenda and the agenda isn't always that he delivers us out of things and makes everything work out the way we want to when we want him to do it. That's just not how life works and is not what God ever promised Jesus said we would have tribulation, but what he promised was be of good cheer. I've overcome the world. I'm going to be in it with you and as you trust me as you abide.
As you hang tough as you. Hang in there. I'm going to do some things in you. I'm going to do some maturing through you a minute let you experience me in ways that you never could. Apart from difficulty challenge circumstances that all of us would say we want to we want to go away tomorrow but what I will tell you is when you meet people that know God deeply who trust him deeply for the kind of people that you and I want to become like their loving and their patient and their kind, and they have this ability. This steadiness this endurance that came because instead of giving up. They made a willful choice, not an emotional choice. They considered it all joy. Not that it was good but they considered the fact that they were in a process that as they endured as they wouldn't give up as they held up, moment by moment not even day by day, moment by moment in the midst of what feels impossible that they knew that God would be doing a work in them that they would become mature and fulfilled the design he has for them and they wouldn't like anything that's the promise and were going to talk in this whole series about how you can stop asking why start asking what and go through a process that you will come out the other side. Please don't miss these broadcasts share them with the friend. Now is the time for Christians to live like Christians, and that means enduring with the supernatural attitude of considering it all joy as we wrap up I want to thank those of you who make this program possible for your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs purchase airtime and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians know if you've been blessed by the ministry of Living on the Edge you consider sending a gift today. Call us at AAA 333-6003 or go to LivingontheEdge.org app listeners tap donate. Your support is greatly appreciated. Once Alexei this is Dave really saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge