Confusion. I mean that nagging sense that life is out of control. Even the simplest decisions become difficult. So let me ask you, how do you clear up confusion in your soul? Confusion in your mind? Today I'll give you three diagnostic questions straight from God's Word that will help you move from chaos to clarity and to begin to experience God's highest and best for your life.
Stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, Chip's going to wrap up our series, Finding God When You Need Him Most. For the past several programs, he's highlighted specific passages from the book of Psalms that reveal God's deep love and concern for us. If you've been encouraged by this series, would you share it with a friend or a family member so they can benefit from this teaching as well?
You can easily do that through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Okay, if you have a Bible, turn now to Psalm 90 for the second half of his message, Experiencing God in Times of Confusion. I had a guy come up to me after service and sometimes we were saying, oh, God, show me. God, show me.
I got a big decision. With him, it was in a relationship with a big job that was coming up and he said, I prayed, I prayed, I prayed, I prayed. God won't speak to me. And I've learned over the years to very gently and lovingly but without condemnation to probe to find out if there might be a little barrier between a person and maybe there's some spiritual earwax that needs to get cleaned out. And so I said to him, well, how's your time in the scriptures?
I mean, because that's how God speaks to us and how's your time in talking with the Lord? He said, you know, I'm really busy and I really don't have time to do a lot of that. I said, oh. I said, well, tell me a little about any struggles in your life. I mean, I'm having a struggle. I said, well, what's it in? He said, well, I'm sleeping with my girlfriend and I know what's wrong.
I know God doesn't want me to and I'm trying real hard and I'm still sleeping with my girlfriend. Well, how long has this gone on? A couple of years. Oh, okay. Now, you want to know God's will, right? He said, yeah. I said, okay, let me help you out on this, okay? Let me help you with God's will.
And I opened to 1 Thessalonians 4 and it says, for this is the will of God, your sanctification that you abstain from sexual immorality. Now, this says right here it's God's will, right? It says, yeah.
I said, are you keeping this part? He said, no. He said, do you think God is going to show you his will about an area that is a little bit gray and vague when you aren't keeping the parts that's absolutely black and white?
He said, no. I said, do you understand that's why the Bible is so clear? See, it's not just that we sin and we all struggle. That's why Hebrews 3.13 says, encourage one another day after day.
Least any one of us be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. See, he didn't wake up one day and say, you know, I don't want to hear from God anymore. I think I'll just move in with my girlfriend. It started with a little compromise here and then another compromise here and then, well, you know, it probably isn't that bad. We really love each other, another compromise here and pretty soon he can't hear God's voice. He's coming to church, playing the game, doing the deal and he thinks he's okay. I don't think anybody's going to wake up on Tuesday and say, you know something, I've got a great marriage, great kids. Tuesday, good day for an affair. I think I'll just have an affair today. Or, you know, I've been an honest businessman and God's really blessed my life. I bet I can make another 10 or 20,000 a month if I just started lying a little bit.
I'm going to cook the books. That's not how it happens, is it? There's a little bit of pressure and then one day you flirt just a little. And you would never do, I mean, it would never go beyond that. And one day you just think about an expense account and you, well, you put in a lot of extra hours anyway, right?
And you're not really paid what you're worth so you, and five years later you find yourself after getting into the water knee deep and then it goes up to your waist and you didn't see it happening and then pretty soon you are over the falls and you wake up and say, how did this happen to me? Moses said the way it happens is the nature of sin is so deceptive. And until you get clear, then you can't hear God's voice. Am I right with God is the first question because it gives perspective.
Am I ready to die is the next question because it aligns priorities. Am I taking sin seriously is critical because it has to do with purity. And until we're pure with what we do know, God is not going to clear the confusion about what we don't know. Now fourth thing is he tells us why and how this happens.
The fourth basic is that wisdom is essential. Listen to what he says. He's concluding. He says who knows the power of your anger. Now this is a guy that's seeing God do some powerful things. For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. See, Moses has a high view of God.
Moses has seen water from the rock. Moses has seen what happened even when a good man on a bad day speaks, just speaks in a way that violates the honor and the name of God and realizes you don't get to go into the promised land. See, we've lost the sense of reverence in God's holiness and how serious he takes some things. And so Moses understanding this says, teach us to number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom.
God, it's a fallen world. A heart of wisdom by the way here, he's not praying God make me a smarter person. God give me wisdom.
Teach me to number and allot and arrange my days so that I can present before you one day after a day, one day at a time, a life that honors you. Wisdom is, the Hebrew word has to do with skill. Wisdom is the whole world does relationships like this. In fact, most of the church is doing it that way by the statistics. Wisdom is I'm going to do it God's way even though it's counter culture.
Most of the world sees money and finances and position and power this way, including the church. And I want God's wisdom and I want to know how to navigate that in a way that honors you. Lord, in this fallen world will you teach me to number my days, to align my life so that you would look down on me now and one day greet me with great job, great job, you lived well. See, wisdom is essential. God understands it's very, everything I've talked about so far, this is not hard to do, it's impossible.
It's impossible to do on our own. And so the question I think we need to ask ourselves, am I spending or investing my life? Am I numbering my days?
Is my life, am I building relational and spiritual capital where there will be eternal return? Now I actually take this pretty literally. And so I did a little math for you. Are you ready?
Just lean back, relax. Some of you look like you could use it. If you're 25 years old today, you have approximately 16,200 days left to live.
It's not a lot, is it? I mean think about $16,000, you get to spend a dollar a day and when it's gone, you're gone. If you're 35, you have about 12,775 days to live. If you're 45, which I've moved past, you have 9,000, about 175 days to live. If you're in this room and you're 55 years, if God should give you the 70 years, you have about 5,557 days. And if you're 65 years old, you've got about 1,925 days left and anything after that is gravy. When you're confused and you're wondering what's going on, it's an amazingly sober thing that happens when you ask God to teach you to number your days.
Think about how short 2,000 days go. And then ask yourself, am I living the kind of life that 2,000 days from now, I would look back and say, Lord take me home, I'm ready. I have fulfilled the purposes for which you've called me. When you ask whether you're spending or investing your life, you're dealing with the issue of purpose. Purpose is the key word there.
Stewardship. If you're 84 years old, I had some people at the first service go by and one guy said, I'm over 80, is my time up? I said, no, you're in gravy grace time, but make all the benefit that you can.
You probably have more to offer now than you've ever had to offer in your life for the years that you've lived and where he's positioned you. But the question is, do we think with the TGIF, people live with the TGIF mentality, except it's TGIR, thank God I'm retired, as though the whole goal of life is to somehow get to where you don't have to do anything. The purpose and energy and, you know, I don't have any verses that say when you get a certain age, just check out. I have one good friend who happens to be in a situation where he ended up extraordinarily wealthy and so he took early retirement, had all this money and the fellow's not a believer. But in a moment of kind of confession, he said, you know something? He said, if I would have any idea I would be in great health and live from 62 to 84, I would have not spent 22 years or a fourth of my life improving my golf game. What a waste. So how about you?
Spending or investing? Some of you are thinking, did we ask this guy to come here and talk on purpose? I could get depressed at home.
I can do this at home. You know, I don't need this at church. You know, some of you are elbowing yourself, you know, Mr. Happy News, boy, this guy's really fun. Let me tell you that unless you face the hard news and come out of denial and see things clearly, you'll never embrace the happy news and understand what it can really do for your life. There is a complete pivotal change and it is true, God is great and he better be the center of your life. And it's true, life is short and so we better get our priorities in order. And it is true, sin is serious so we need to get pure for our good and for the body's sake. And it's absolutely true that we need wisdom. It's a fallen world and we can't do it.
So we need to ask, am I investing or spending my life? But here's the deal, mercy is available. Moses looks at all that he's learned and then he turns and he prays, he says, Relent, O Lord.
How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love.
Why? That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. That's not negative, is it? Make us glad for as many days as you've afflicted us, for as many years as we've seen trouble. There's three specific verbs and three requests. He tells us mercy is available. God isn't down on you. Some of the things I've said so far have pricked your heart and you realize, man, I've got to address some issues. Address them.
But understand who you're going to come to when you want to address them. He says, Relent, literally, please God have mercy. Please don't give me what I deserve. Don't give me what we deserve. And you far more than Moses know that you don't have to. There is a man that hung on a tree in your place to pay for your sin and lived a perfect life and was put into the earth and was resurrected three days later and walked for over 40 days with 500 eye witnesses to let you know that everything you deserve and everything I deserve was placed on him as a gift and God's wrath, just wrath, was poured upon him and your sins are paid for and mercy is available for every person who would cry out, Save me.
It's for you. But notice he doesn't just ask for mercy. Notice then he says, Have compassion on your servants.
It's the word that means coming out of the bowels. It's the idea of how a mother feels for one of her tiny babies when she has a temperature and she's fearful. This is how God feels about you. He's praying, Have compassion. Oh God, even though you are so holy, what your holiness demanded, your love provided. Have compassion. Have mercy. Be tender.
Restore. Encourage. Why? So that, what's it say? So that you can satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love.
Do you hear the wisdom? He didn't say, Satisfy me with my 401k going back up. He didn't say, Satisfy us with, Oh good, now we don't have a war, everything's okay. He didn't say, Satisfy me with my family, all being exactly like we want it to be.
And all my kids are in good marriages and upwardly mobile and making good money. And we sing Kumbaya around the Thanksgiving table. I hope you get all that. God bless you. Walk with God and be a good steward of all that he gives you.
His third request is, Satisfy us and make us glad by your unfailing love. God, I don't know what's going to happen with the economy. I don't know what's going to happen with my family. But here's what I know. There's an infinite reference point that never changes, that is personal and powerful and loving. And you delight in me. I want you to satisfy me.
And I want to learn where I get weaned off of all the temporal stuff. And I want you to satisfy me with your unfailing love. And the evidence? Make me glad. Cause me to sing.
And cause me to sing when circumstances are terrible because I'm in your presence. Because you're my source, not stuff. You're my source, not my wife, my husband or my kids.
You're my source, not circumstances working out the way I want them to. Jot down if you would Psalm 16-11 in the corner. In thy presence is fullness of joy. And at your right hand are pleasures forever. You know as you spend time with God, and I hope you do it at the beginning of your day, do it any time, but especially then.
I want to encourage you as you talk with Him and ask Him to teach you to number your days. And you begin to walk through what God is doing in your heart. I want to encourage you to spend some time singing to the Lord. Spend some time rejoicing in Him for who He is.
We're in such a consumer oriented society. Basically we've unconsciously gone into our prayer life and in reading the Bible and saying, God, what have you done for me lately? God, how are you going to fix this?
God, when are you going to take care of that? And Moses is saying, God, I'd like to come before you in the midst of a fallen world where you know I've messed up. And I want to ask you first to forgive and to cleanse. And then I want you to have compassion and let me feel and know that you understand. And then I'm asking that you'll satisfy me, not with anything out there, but with your unfailing love. And the evidence of unfailing love in the heart of a believer is joy.
Make me glad. The early church revolutionized the world because they had an amazing marketing plan. You know what their marketing plan was?
Loving one another. And they didn't have any background. They didn't have prayer in school.
They didn't have anything. Their marketing plan was let's love one another so radically that they will testify that the Christ has come, has risen from the dead, He lives in us, and we're outwardly, lovingly focused only by supernatural empowerment. And then when you got close to a New Testament believer after the marketing plan started working, then they all had business cards. And you know what their business cards said?
Three letters. J-O-Y. They had joy. They had a supernatural sense of well-being in the midst of absolutely terrible circumstances of persecution and rejection and financial loss. And the first 25 or 30 years, the whole church was all Jewish.
And if you came to Christ as a Jewish believer, you got disinherited. You know, and we, what do we do? We're whining to God because everything isn't lined up exactly how we want it.
And Moses says, here's the question to ask. Am I experiencing the joy of the Lord? When there is no joy, my focus has gotten off of my relationship as a son and I'm into duty as a soldier. When my joy is really down low, then I've gotten into all that I have to do and how important I am and my job and my work and all these new challenges and what, instead of understanding, it's God's deal and I'm his son and he delights in me and he's singing over me and if I'll take the time, he'll hold me in his arms every day. And the world may be difficult out there, but he holds the whole world in his hands.
And he cares about one little insignificant guy named Chip. And I either choose to focus on how valuable I am to my Father and rejoice in that or I end up going down the trail of rejoicing in accomplishments and activity and performance. And so my joy or happiness is always dependent on other people coming through or how well I can perform. And when I perform well, I become a self-righteous jerk. And when I perform poorly, I suffer from condemnation and feel like I'm the worst person in the world. Anybody have those continuums in your life? Or I can ask myself, am I experiencing the joy?
And when I do, it takes me back to relationship. Final thing he says, really good news. Basic one, God is great. Basic two, life is short. Basic three, sin is serious. Basic four, wisdom is essential. Basic five, good news, wisdom is available.
And then basic six, success is possible. He says, may your deeds be shown to your servants. Literally, it's a command. Reveal, I'm asking, reveal, make known your deeds to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor or literally the beauty, the magnificent beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us.
And then notice the repetition. Establish the work of our hands. For us, yes, establish the work of our hands.
In today's translation, he's praying, Lord, I want to see you work in a mighty way among us. Lord, I want to leave a legacy for my children to see that you worked in me. And Lord, I want to impact my world every day in every way. And so I think the question to ask is, am I impacting my world for good?
The key word is productivity, not activity, productivity. He says, Lord, I want to know you. I want to make you known and I want you to do something so powerful and dynamic that my kids would see the reality of you in my life because I live your way.
I'm numbering my days. They see how everyone else handles their money and then they see how I handle mine. They see how everyone else spends their time and what they watch or don't watch. They hear what comes out of other people's mouth and then they see what comes out of mine. And they see when it comes out wrongly how I own it and confess and then apologize for the negative modeling. God, I want my kids to see that I'm not a religious person.
God, I want my kids to see that there's a group of people that the Spirit of God pours forth and changes the spiritual climate of this city because Christians live radically and they love radically. And when the market's up, there's joy. And when the market's down, there's joy. And when you're single, there's joy. And when you're engaged, there's, for a while, even more joy. And when you're married, there's joy. And when you're married for a while and it's not going so well, there's joy.
And when you work it through, there's joy. God, would you let my children see this moment? Would you establish the work of my hands?
Do you hear what he's praying? Unlike us, Moses is saying, when a mother cares for a baby, when a trash man is picking up the garbage, or when a pastor is praying before God, if it's done unto the Lord, it's an act of worship. Establish the work of our hands. Take the things that we do day in and day out as I'm putting in software, as I'm cutting a business deal, as I'm coaching some Little League kids.
Take every moment of every day and give it eternal permanence because I'm doing it as an act of worship to you. There are no special people. Francis Schaeffer said there's no little people.
That's right. There is not real smart, special, important spiritual people and then us regular people. There is no clergy and laity, not in God's eyes.
There are regular, ordinary people made of stuff like you and like me. And the ground is level. And as I understand my calling and do what God wants me to do, he establishes the work of my hands. And when a plumber fixes a pipe to the glory of God with an attitude that honors God, he establishes the work of his hands. When a mother has three kids biting at her ankles and she can only get 15 minutes of just saying, kids, be quiet and tries to pray for a while, he establishes the work of her hands. And when you cut the biggest business deal in the world and do it for the right reason and the right way with the right motives and make a lot of money and use it for God's glory, he establishes the work of your hands.
These are the basics. He wants to take an ordinary person, like you and me, and do extraordinary things so that people would scratch their head and say, something happened to him, something happened to her. And we constantly go back and say, well, it's really not about us.
The God who raised Christ from the dead gave his spirit to dwell in us. And the only explanation I have is the grace of God. Before we do anything else today, I want you to pause and think about what I've just shared. You matter.
You don't need to have more education, a different profession, make more money, have more people know you, have more likes on Facebook, have more people follow you on Instagram. Just who you are walking in the power and the presence of Jesus to say, Lord, all I am and all that I have is yours and I want to honor you. It just simplifies life. And if you have never done that, I would invite you right now to get off the, I'm trying to please God, I read the Bible a little bit, I'm trying to be a nice person, and just sort of push all that to the side and say, Lord Jesus, I want you to be the king, I want you to be the CEO of my life, and I want to follow you from this moment on. You know, for many right now listening to my voice, this is a pivotal moment in your life. You need to text the greatest Christian you know or call them and say, I just got really serious with the Lord and I know I need help.
You'll never regret it. Great word, Chip. And by the way, we'd love to help you recommit your life to Jesus. So let me quickly tell you about a great resource that'll deepen your faith. It's Chip's book, True Spirituality, Becoming a Romans 12 Christian. Through this resource, he'll reveal a clear blueprint to become a genuine follower of Christ. To get your copy of True Spirituality, or to order one for you and a friend to go through together, go to specialoffersatlivingontheedge.org or on the Chip Ingram app. Well, before we go, Chip's still with me here in studio to share something that's really been stirring in his heart and mind recently. Chip?
Thanks, Dave. I have a very important word for the Living on the Edge family. Most Christians are still spiritual infants. They haven't grown up.
They're not mature. They don't know how to live out their faith. They've trusted in Jesus.
They've been forgiven, but their lifestyle doesn't really reflect it much. And there's a pretty big gap there. And we at Living on the Edge want to help them close that gap. But to do it out of grace and love and learn the truth, so that when hot buttons politically come up or when people are attacked, that we respond to adversity and difficulty and pain and suffering the way Jesus did, with grace and humility while standing strong for the truth. If you want to see those kind of Christians grow up here in America and around the world, I'm going to ask you right now, would you help us do that?
Would you partner with us this December? Would you give a gift today? Go to LivingOnTheEdge.org and you can make your gift, whatever God leads you to do.
Small or large gifts, they all make a huge difference. LivingOnTheEdge.org. And here's the good news. Whatever you give will be matched dollar for dollar. Thanks for doing that today. Well, as you can hear, our heart is to disciple and teach Christians what it means to authentically walk with God. So if you believe in that mission too, let me encourage you to partner with us financially by going to LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling us at 888-333-6003. And now's a perfect time because every gift we receive 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 just tap donate. Well, as we close, if you're looking for a way to get more out of Chip's teaching, let me encourage you to download his message notes. Now, this helpful tool is available for every program. They include his outline, all of the scripture references, and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you're learning. So before you listen to us again, let me encourage you to download Chip's message notes at LivingOnTheEdge.org under the broadcasts tab. App listeners just tap fill-in notes. Well, for Chip and everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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