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Finding God When You Need Him Most - Experiencing God in Times of Confusion, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2022 5:00 am

Finding God When You Need Him Most - Experiencing God in Times of Confusion, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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December 8, 2022 5:00 am

Is there chaos in your life? Do you feel overwhelmed by work, life, and relationships? Chip reassures us that God specializes in bringing order out of chaos and explains how He can give you clarity in all the confusion in your life.

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Is there chaos in your life? Confusion?

And I'm not talking about a messy desk or a sock drawer that's unorganized, but do you feel overwhelmed by work and life and relationships and responsibilities that are too much to handle? I want you to know that God specializes in bringing order out of chaos. He can give you clarity, simplicity in all the confusion of your life, and that's what we're going to study today.

Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Thanks for joining us as we near the end of our series, Finding God When You Need Him Most. For these last two programs, Chip's in Psalm 90, revealing to us how no matter where we are in life, we can have indescribable enthusiasm and drive for the journey ahead. Now to learn more about what that means, keep listening after today's message for some additional thoughts from Chip.

Well, that said, let's join him now for his talk, Experiencing God in Times of Confusion. I want to encourage you to think back of when the first time you felt that emotion of confusion. You know, when you got paralyzed, when so many things were coming into your mind and you just didn't know what to do. I prayed this week and thought about the most vivid time I can remember was late elementary school, maybe it was junior high, I'm not sure, but I really was struggling in math and I worked and worked and worked. Remember this? Remember in school? And the teacher back then, they would come and they would give your papers to you and she'd graded them in the, you know, big red letters.

They're right there. And I had worked and worked and worked and I got my paper and I thought, I really nailed it this time. I mean, I really worked hard. And it was placed on my desk and, you know, you don't want anybody to see it, especially mine.

D minus. Have you ever thought for sure I've really got it down? I mean, I thought I got either a high A or a low A.

You been there? And I mean, you know, I know it was old enough that it's not a good time for a boy to cry in school. That's how I felt. You know, and then I covered the grade and I just looked, everything was marked off wrong. And another student or my teacher, I can't remember who it was because I did all the work and I reworked them and I still thought I got them right. And then someone came from the outside with a second set of eyes and said, watch very carefully on all these problems.

You have to invert before you multiply. I was confused because I needed one person to give me one piece of information that would bring perspective to my situation because as I sat, I was convinced I was the dumbest kid in that class. And I was convinced I would never do math again. Little did I know later in high school would be one of my favorite subjects.

Now that's sort of a light way to start off, isn't it? I remember another time I was confused because I love my wife very much and she loved me very much and she was making me crazy and I was making her crazy and we were very confused. And what we needed was another set of eyes. And it was a very humbling thing during seminary to go to a marriage counselor and say, you know what, I don't know what background she came from or what I came from but I know she loves God, I love God, I love her, she loves me, but we do this all the time.

And we spent about $90 a session for 12 sessions for a second set of eyes to help us get clear and to remove the barriers. This week we're talking about facing the future in times of confusion. And what I want to suggest is you need another set of eyes. You need a wise counselor, you need a mentor, you need a teacher, you need a coach to take the confusion that you have in your life. And whether it's spiritual or emotional or financial or the world situation or God's will or a big decision, we're going to get to a counselor who will help you see, maybe like never before, perspective in your situation. You'll notice that the problem with being confused is it immobilizes, it paralyzes and it demotivates.

That's how I felt in both those situations. If you have some of those feelings it might be because you literally are confused. And to be confused means that intellectually or emotionally you feel mixed up, things are jumbled together, they're in a sense of disorder or chaos and you can't think in an orderly, coherent way in the midst of complex problems, relationships or decisions. Now what I've learned is the cure for confusion is two-fold. Whether you go to consultants or great coaches or a counselor, two things you have to do to eliminate confusion.

Number one, you have to reduce complexity. When your life is getting confusing, you got to get your playbook and make it thin. You got to get all the extraneous things and get the old business adage, right?

KISS, keep it simple, stupid. That's what you got to do. The second thing, however, is another acronym that I don't know if I made up but I'll take credit for it. GBTTB.

You won't find that in the business review at Harvard. But you got to reduce complexity and then you've got to increase clarity. You got to get clear. Where am I? What's the situation?

What do I need to do and why? And this acronym stands for get back to the basics. My college coach was a great friend of John Wooten who won the 10 national championships. And John Wooten started every year the same way with the greatest athletes and he would take a white sock into the locker room, bring the UCLA team, take his shoe off, take a white sock and show them how to put on a white sock.

Back to the basics. Vince Lombardi would take a football and say what? Gentlemen, this is a pigskin.

This is a football. And what John Wooten would do, he said, look men, if you put your sock on wrong down to the little things, it might wrinkle. If it wrinkles, you might get a blister. If you get a blister, you might miss a game. If you miss a game, we might lose a game.

If we lose one game, we may not win another national championship. His point was you go back to the basics. One of my heroes is Peter Drucker, read most all of his stuff. The first two questions he asked of any business regardless of what they're in or their problems is what business are you in and who are your customers? His point, get back to the basics. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll get right back to Chip's message, experiencing God in times of confusion. But before we get back to Chip's talk, he's joined me here in studio.

And Chip, just now you were talking about getting back to the basics. And for Christians, God's word is the foundation of our faith. But sadly, the very idea of truth is under constant attack nowadays.

Well, Dave, that's right. The fact of the matter is truth is rare in a world of lies. And people who've been fed a steady diet of lies have no appetite for truth. The generation coming up is being taught that it's offensive to believe that evil is evil and good is good. The notion of absolute truth isn't even on the radar of people who've been brainwashed that all opinions and all viewpoints are equally valid. Yet we know that the truth of God's word is where we find the answers. And Living on the Edge is on a mission to equip people, including our children and our grandchildren, with the unchanging, life transforming truth of God's word.

Here's my question. Will you join us? Right now is a great time to partner with us because every gift you give, now through December 31st, will be matched dollar for dollar. Would you pray and then go to livingontheedge.org?

And would you join us today with a financial gift? Well, if this is something you are passionate about, visit livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003 to make a gift. Your support will help us create tools and resources for parents, grandparents, and pastors to effectively disciple this next generation. And as Chip said, every gift we receive up until midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar. That number again is 888-333-6003. Or go to livingontheedge.org.

App listeners, tap donate. Well, with that, let's get back to today's program. Now turn the page, if you will, because we're going to get back to the basics spiritually. We're going to get one of the greatest counselors, the best teachers, a better consultant than anyone else. He lived 120 years. His name is Moses.

And he comes well qualified to give us all the information that we need. He lived for 40 years in the lap of luxury and the greatest wisdom of Egypt. He lived 40 years in silence and solitude. Ecclesiastes says great wisdom comes from the house of mourning.

That group that he led was not real cooperative. And so I figure, just the math in general, he did about 1.2 to 1.8 million funerals in 40 years. Remember the last time you were in a funeral or you went to the ICU with one of your kids or a close friend? Do you remember how the peripheral stuff didn't make any difference and you got real clear about life?

Imagine doing about 1.2 million funerals. And what you have in your hand, it's in your Bible in Psalm 90, and I put the text there, what you have in your hand is the only Psalm written by Moses. And if we wanted to take the collective wisdom of all that Moses learned in that 120 years, I believe he's giving us the cliff notes right here about how to live, how to get back to the basics.

And as I've studied it, I saw very clearly there are at least six basics when Moses looks at all of life and complexity. If Moses was here and we could do Q&A and give him a microphone, I think Moses would tell us the truth of Psalm 90. And we would say, well, what about one of my kids that's having a struggle? And you know, my marriage, I'm really struggling in that one right now.

And by the way, what about terrorists? And I think Moses would say, you know what? Life can be very complex. So let me put my arm around you. Let's step back together and let me paint the big picture about what life is all about. Let's get back to the basics. And when you see the basics, you'll be able to come out of your confusion and make wise decisions.

Are you ready? Basic number one comes right out of the first verse of Psalm 90. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations before the mountains were born, or you brought forth the earth and the world from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. Basic number one, God is great. We need to remember that God is great. He's greater than the United States. He's greater than military operations. He's greater than economies. God is great. And you say, where do you get that?

Look at the text. Lord, the word is Adonai. It's a title for God. It's his sovereign, creatorship, ruler of the universe. He is above and beyond. He's transcendent. He's great.

But notice also he's eminent. You are our dwelling place. If you have that pen jot down above that, Deuteronomy 33, 26 to 29.

I can't develop it, but the exact same word used for dwelling place here is used when God tells the children of Israel, I will protect you. I will carry you. I will be your refuge. My loving arms will be around you. And in the midst of all the storms, I will take care of you. Moses is saying after 120 years on the planet, after living in the lap of luxury, after seeing all the false gods, after being the instrument that crushed the pagan religions, I want you to know number one, God is creator.

And number two, he is a close, intimate, loving father. And if that's not enough, it's not just for now, it's through all generations. And before the mountain, the word literally before the mountains were birthed, before God brought forth the earth and the world from everlasting to everlasting. That means all eternity. He is, the word is El, he is God. That doesn't mean a lot to us, but there was a huge God in the promised land that people believed in, Beel. And the Canaanite religion believed that there was a God named El somewhere and the son had a coup or rebellion and he was stronger and deposed El. And what he's saying is there is only one God and he's calling God by this name and saying to a people there is one God superior to all other gods because he is creator, sovereign, ruler, holy of the entire universe.

The very first basic in life is remembering who God is. He's big. He's powerful. He's real.

He's personal. And what I'm going to give you is six diagnostic questions to help you work through your confusion. Am I rightly related to God? If God is great, if he is the center or the infinite reference point of all of life in the universe, here's the question stated another way. Does God hold the same place in your heart and your life that he holds in the universe? If so, everything else will come into order. If a person, if money, if a job, if a child, if a future, if anxiety is at the core of your life, then your life will be confused.

It'll be jumbled. Had a chance to hear a fellow and he works in a ministry and so he keeps it kind of down low because he works with a lot of people at MIT and in the military. And he had a chance to be invited by the skipper of one of our big nuclear subs. And he said, we had dinner right there in the control room and all the controls were covered except one little area. And the guy let me ask questions about it.

He was sharing the story. And he said, do you know that this sub can only stay down 90 days? And so the fellow who was sharing this said, oh, could you run out of water? He said, oh no.

Do you run out of food? Oh, we could stay down longer. Why do you have to resurface after 90 days? He said, because on this sub, we have missiles that if they were off even a fraction of a degree, we shoot them out from the sub. They go out and with pinpoint accuracy, they need to land if we ever needed them right where we want them to land. But after 90 days underneath the ocean surface, what we know is the magnetic forces of the earth begin to affect our equipment. So we have to surface, put up an antenna and we lock onto the North Star and then we lock onto the satellite system. And then we recalibrate all of our equipment based on reality. Do you get it?

You need to recalibrate? Is God the center point of your heart? Is he your North Star?

Does your time and energy and money and decisions all go back and revolve around? God is great. He is personal. He is powerful. Is he your reference point to all of life?

If he's not, if you're even off a few degrees, confusion. Second basic Moses is going to pick up is not only God is great, but he's going to say life is short. He says, you turn men back to dust. Quoting Genesis three, return to dust.

Those sons of Adam literally or Adam, men. And then he gives us three quick pictures of why life is short. He says for a thousand years in your sight or like a day that's just gone by or like a watch in the night, which was four hours. You sweep men away in the sleep of death.

And the word sweep there is a picture of a torrential flood that it pours down rain and goes right through a valley and just wipes everything out instantaneously. They're like the new grass of the morning. Though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it's dry and withered. And there's places you can go.

I've been in Israel and it's interesting that it will grow up green in the morning and then these hot winds will come up and by the afternoon at different seasons, brown. But what's his point? His point very simply is the brevity of life. You are mortal.

I am mortal. Life is short. God is great. Life is short. If you wanted to put a key word next to number one where I'm rightly related to God, write the word perspective. When you understand God is great, you'll get perspective instead of perplexity. And if you want to put a key word under number two, because here's the question, am I prepared to die?

Put the word priority. See what Moses is saying? I've done all these funerals, all these funerals, all these funerals. I've done the deal where I had the money. I had the position. I had the power. I was the king of Egypt. But when I look at it all, I understand it all begins with God.

He's great. And then I'm going to live my life, evaluate my relationships, and make my priority decisions based on something that I'm going to remember. Life is short.

It's brief. We are all guilty of what? The great P of procrastination. I'm really going to get close to God later. I'm going to get my priorities in order later. You know, I'm going to really get serious about those important things later.

And what Moses would say produces confusion. You better do what you need to do and you better do it now. Can I ask you one of those kind of provocative questions? Let's see. I've got right about nine, maybe a minute after. Let's just pretend that 903, next week, exactly at this time, exactly in this room, you knew for sure that your heart would have its last beat. Okay? 903 next Sunday morning.

Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. You're done. Is there anything you would do differently this week than you did last week?

You knew for sure. You got seven days. Anybody make any phone calls you need to make? Anybody write a will out? You've been intended to do that?

Anybody think, maybe I ought to go ahead and make that call and apologize to so-and-so? If you had seven days to live, would you watch as much TV this coming week as you did last week? See, once you understand life is short, you think differently about how to live. Moses said it will bring unbelievable clarity to your life. And I'm not trying to be morbid. Here's what I've learned. Until you face death boldly, you will never live life powerfully. Most of us play a game that we're not going to die.

Shh. You're going to die. I'm going to die.

And if some of you are thinking, you know, that made me feel very uncomfortable. I can't believe that guy talked about my heart stopping in seven days. I was being generous. I can't guarantee you seven days. You may only have seven minutes. You might check the mail, get hit by a milk truck.

I don't know. I could too. I don't have seven days.

I've got today. And when I begin to live like God is great and life is short, not only does it give me perspective, but it totally rearranges my priorities. Now ask yourself, well, why is life so short? He tells us in the very next section. It's because sin is serious. Verse seven, we're consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.

Moses writes, you have set our iniquities before us and the secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass under your wrath. We finish our years with a moan.

The length of our days is 70 years or 80 if we have the strength. Yet the span of them is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass and then we fly away. We fly away to what? We fly away to judgment. Do you have that pen handy?

Are you ready? Do a little Bible study with me. Moses is talking. He's saying the world that we live in is not what God intended. It's a fallen world. Sin entered in and he's saying because God is holy, there is going to be judgment.

That's why life is short. If sin would have never happened, we would live forever in the garden with our Father, with every relationship just in perfect sync. Circle these words if you want to get an idea of what it's like to live in a fallen world according to the meekest man on the earth who talked with God face to face. Circle the word consumed, then terrified, then skip down to the end of verse 9, moan, then sorrow, quickly pass, trouble. In three quick verses, terrified, consumed, moan, quickly pass, sorrow.

It doesn't sound like everything is going to go smooth here on this earth, does it? And you want to know why? Put a box around these words. Put a box around the word verse 7, anger.

Put a box around the word indignation. And then finally in verse 9, put a box around the word wrath. The holiness of God demands that he judge our sin. It is a fallen world. I live in a fallen world.

And here's what you can know for sure. One of the basics is take sin seriously. We go into denial on this. We think God is Santa Claus.

We think, oh, he'll understand and, you know, I'm having a bad day and it isn't all that serious and we take all of our cues from other people. Moses says, tell you what, I've done 1.2, 1.8 million funerals. I've watched what happened. I was there when Korah thought it wasn't a big deal. And Korah said, hey, Moses, who do you think you are, man? You think God only speaks through you? And God says, Moses, step aside.

He said, we need to get some things clear. And you know the whole story and they light their sensors and Moses lights his and Moses says, you know, you think it's just an attitude problem? God calls it rebellion. And you'll know who's God speaking through is if the ground opens up and swallows all those people and closes back, you'll know God's speaking through me. And if life goes on as normal, he's speaking through them. And then the cloud comes down and God says, separate those people.

They do. And the ground goes, the people go, then the ground goes. And you can almost hear God saying, other questions? And yet in the church of Jesus Christ today, it's just a little lie. It's just a little immorality. It's just a touch of materialism.

It wasn't a big gossip. And we do things almost now without thinking that break the heart of God, that violate and destroy relationships. And God through Moses is saying, part of the confusion that happens when sin becomes to be habitual in our life, it clouds our minds and clouds our judgment. Scripture is clear in this life, Galatians 6, what's it say? God will not be mocked as a man or a woman sows, so shall you reap.

There are consequences to our behavior that are unrighteous, not only in this world, but in the next world. Hebrews 9, 27. Hope it's a memory verse.

It is appointed unto man or woman once to die and after this the judgment. See, Moses said, man, you better take sin seriously because he's a holy God. He's a loving God, he's a merciful God, and we'll get there, but you've got to start with he's holy. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Experiencing God in Times of Confusion. He'll be right back with his application for this teaching from his series, Finding God When You Need Him Most. Through this eight part study in the book of Psalms, Chip helps us develop a biblically grounded perspective toward our most difficult circumstances and experiences. Hear what God wants us to know when things aren't going well, and why we can totally trust his promise to be there for us again and again and again. To learn more about this series, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Engram app, or call 888-333-6003.

Chip's back with me in studio again, and Chip, for years you've talked about the importance of renewing our minds. One of the ways you did that was by writing on three by five cards specific areas where you needed encouragement. As a result, we've developed a number of what we call discipleship card sets based on the major areas you highlighted for yourself. Now, could you tell us a little bit more about them and why they're so helpful?

I'd be glad to, Dave. You know, just to myself, I just felt so overwhelmed in the Christian life, and so I would write down on specific cards like on spiritual warfare or goals for parenting. And so Living on the Edge, I really appreciate the team said, you know, Chip, yours are pretty sloppy.

They're kind of hard to read. We're going to take the very best of what you've done in these key areas, and we're going to put them on these very nice small cards in a very nice box so that a person could just look at one or two each day and keep that in front of them. And what we've learned, because the Bible teaches as you renew your mind, rather than the try-hard I've got to change today, this is something where people get planted in their mind, their subconscious, and little by little by little, God changes our desires because we're renewing our mind with the truth.

And so it's been just something I still do to this day. I have a stack of 3x5 cards, and now I use our discipleship cards. I'm finding that as people are introduced to the faith or they want to grow, at this stage in the world, we need to make it really easy to get them started. Dave, why don't you tell people how they can get them?

Be glad to, Chip. Well, to get your hands on any of our discipleship cards, go to livingontheedge.org, or call us at 888-333-6003. Whether you're wanting to have better conversations with your kids, understand the spiritual war going on around us, or grasp why we are all precious to God, these resources will encourage you. And right now, we've discounted all of our discipleship cards, just in time for the holiday season. To gift one or a few of these sets to someone in your life, place your order by December 12th to receive them by Christmas. Again, go to livingontheedge.org, or call 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap special offers.

Well, before we wrap up, here's Chip to share his application for today. I have to confess that one of my favorite Psalms in all of the Psalter is Psalm 90. It's the only one that Moses wrote. And it's one of my favorite because it gets me back to the basics. Over and over, I talk with people that are confused. They have big life decisions about relationships, or about a job, or what school to put their kids in, and they can't seem to hear God's voice. So we're going to develop this more fully in our next broadcast, but let me give you the top level, top three things that will bring you clarity. Number one, God is great.

That means you've got to get out of the trivia. You've got to get a high view of God and see Him clearly if you're going to see life clearly. Second is life is short. Unless you get an eternal perspective and embrace your own mortality, you will constantly be pulled into all these little cul-de-sacs and all these different demands that want you to do all kind of things. You have limited time. You are mortal, and you're going to die. That sounds brutal, but you know what? When I look in the mirror and say, Ingram, you're going to die. You have X years left.

Number your days. It brings a sobriety and a clarity, and I think, whoa, wait a second. It kind of snaps me back, and I say, am I really doing what's important?

You know, life gets clear when you realize life is short. And third, we begin to talk about this final one, that sin is serious. And I think we grossly underestimate the power of sin to blind our eyes spiritually and to dull down our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. You know, if you are really struggling with making a big decision and you're not hearing God's voice, let me boldly ask you to pray, Lord, if there's anything in my heart, anything in my life, any sin in my relationships, will you show me? And then you have to pray that saying, and Lord, when you show me, I covenant with you, I will deal with it. And I think that you will be shocked that God will bring something very specific if this is the issue, because his goal is not to condemn, but convict and restore. You know, let's get back to the basics. God is great. Life is short, and sin is serious. Which one of those do you need to focus on right now?

I mean, for the next three minutes right now, focus on it and say, Lord, bring clarity in the midst of my confusion, and God will meet you. Now go do it. As we wrap up today's program, if you've been blessed by Chip's teaching and you'd like to bless others in the same way, let me encourage you to become a financial partner. And right now is a perfect time, because between now and December 31st, every gift we receive will be matched dollar for dollar. So if you'd like to support us, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. Again, that's 888-333-6003, or go to livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. Well, that wraps up this program. Until next time, this is Dave Drouie saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-08 05:57:34 / 2022-12-08 06:09:51 / 12

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