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

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2020 5:00 am

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

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 4, 2020 5:00 am

Crises are a part of life. Some are global - tsunamis, earthquakes, or terrorism. Others are local - cancer, divorce, bankruptcy, or death. But here’s the question: “Is it possible to experience God in the midst of that kind of catastrophe?” Is it possible to experience God when you’re in deep crisis? Chip explores how you can experience God in your darkest times.

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Crises are a part of life.

Some are global, tsunamis, hurricanes, others are local cancer, divorce, bankruptcy. Here's the question. Is it possible to experience God in the midst of that kind of catastrophe. Is it possible to experience God when you're in deep crisis, and whether it's a hurricane tsunami, a child with cancer or a marriage that is breaking apart how do you experience God in the midst of this crisis.

The answer to that is today stay with welcome to this Wednesday edition of Living on the Edge with your finger tips. Her teacher of his daily discipleship program by February. Today Chip explores a reality of life, none of us signs up for the series called finding God when you need them most. And today's lesson is of special significance since Christ three or another or something all of us experience you have a Bible turned out of Psalm 23. Let's join Chip for his message experiencing God in times of crisis. The question in life is not will we go through difficult times. The question in life is how will we go through difficult times. You are that I have.

I'm going to have some of the men's room you'll have more. Some haven't had any real bad times. Fasten your seatbelt.

No, it's a fallen world. See the question is will we go through them alone will we go with a stiff upper lip.

You know like it's okay will be Christ under their weight will begin in despair will we go into denial, like so many people do want to get stuff will become bitter and resentful toward God. The people or will we just pretend to protect others. Or here's the last option will we experience the peace and the power of God in ways beyond our wildest dreams see that's God's desire in a crisis, he knows it's a fallen world, good things happen to good people, bad things happen to good people working to turn to. Probably the most classic portion most well-known portion of Scripture and all the world. But before we look at it please do me one favor, okay don't get into that all isn't it beautiful what nice poetry doesn't have a cute message and I it's one of the things that is so familiar. If you're not careful. You just gonna nod your head, and so yes, the Lord is my shepherd, teacher, Shepherd, what's it mean and what's it really mean for him to show up when you go through the most difficult time when you need in the most with that in mind, turn the page with me and let's look at the 23rd Psalm and as we do. I want to just read through and ask you to listen with New Year's and factors the way to listen with New Year's. I want you in the whiteboard of your mind to pull out a grease pen and say if I had to jot on the whiteboard.

The biggest thing that can come up as a crisis in my life right now. What would it be in your thinking while I really don't have one. Good for you. Don't make one up. Maybe someone you know that has a crisis put that up there and think through this way.

Or maybe there's a relationship it's crisis or maybe there's something in the future that you see brewing or maybe it's something with 20 or kids or maybe it's financial or maybe the biggest crisis you have is your job. I don't know what it is but I want you to listen to what I'm about to read with that crisis in view rather than as this flowing piece of poetry you've heard, probably for years, says the Lord, Yahweh or Jehovah's great covenant name is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me by quiet waters he restores my soul he guides me in paths of righteousness for his namesake even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod and your staff they comfort me. You God prepare a table before me in the presence of your enemies you anoint my head with oil my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Now this is written in a metaphor a sheet and a ship and that is really great, but limit show of hands on people never shepherd. She we had a major problem here 200 times in the Bible we are referred to as believers, as she what what I want you to know when a Hebrew person heard this for the first time 3000 years ago. It meant things to them, they had pictures comes in their mind there was an understanding about who God was, that we can't grasp unless we get a picture of what a sheep is and who is shepherdess Sonny just do a little background work before we jump in. She has some interesting characteristics.

Don't take this personally, but they're very slow their defenseless they are stupid among the dumbest animals like us.

They don't take it personally. They are easily frightened and then leaving Kraut when they're in danger. They don't crown that they don't have any defense danger. She what the guy what happens they are not very clean, unlike Some of you don't like capitalist or cleaner looking themselves all the time. She just dirty and smelly pickup parasites easily they can't find even one can animals. This guy has a suit they cannot find food or water on their own. Every any dears know where food is confined water. She left to themselves will stay in one place eat until they eat all the roots and ruin the land unless someone guides or liens them, they'll die there so easily frightened if there's a stream with water that has any sound to it they will not go over to a stream and stick their head into get life-giving water because they're afraid of the sound. That's why a good Shepherd will often dam up a stream and create a hole or a quiet place where he can lead and guide the sheet where they can get to drink some parallels here now before you get all defensive and thinking I'm a little offended but the Bible refers to me like that in light of let me give you another contrast here. The shepherd was the lowliest job on the Hebrew totem pole when you are in a Hebrew family. The lowest job was to watch the sheep you had to protect them. You had to leave him you had a a rod. It was an instrument he would stick in your belt and it was to to kill wild animals and they got where they can literally sling and throw that thing were, but I am good, they cannot sheep out running in the attackers the predators of the sheet. Probably not a few sheep out to MN and stacking of the big creek thing that would carry the staff and in the sheet you know being dominant they did in thornbushes. They always they wander away and they use those to lift them up with the crook and pull them out of ravines and now and then give him a little wrap on the rear end essay were not doing that. In fact, if the sheet was a real wanderer, the shepherd would literally go and break its leg on purpose knowing that the sheep was in and up in danger and I take that little sheep put it over his neck and build a relationship with and when the leg healed and would put Lubell around and was called the Bell sheep and then that she would stay next to the shepherd, and as the other sheep would hear that they would follow along with that.

Now, in light of that, notice the very first line before we get any farther. It says the Lord is my shepherd, there's a lot of names for God this is Yahweh or Jehovah.

This is the name he gave Abraham. Literally it is I am that I am is the transcendent one is the biggest picture of God we can get our arms around I and before all else. I am self existent, I'm self-sufficient.

I am holy I am above, I have unlimited resources on outside of time.

I'm eternal Yahweh.

But notice in the contrast that Lord is not the shepherd is my shepherd, it may be for the Hebrew mine the most intimate personal term ever given to God in the Old Testament because they understood the kind of relationship they understood that shepherd provides and protects and cares for and understands and nourishes and loves and it's a lonely job, it's a serving job and so here you have in the first line God's transcendence is businesses greatness is power and is immanence, his tenderness, his personal illness and so what you see is yes.

Sheep are very vulnerable but they're also very valuable. A Hebrew home was sustained by what you eat sheep meat lamb chops. What did you how did you how did you make money, you share the sheep. So what you have is an animal that's very very vulnerable and an animal that's very very valuable and compared to the Almighty transcendence of God.

We are like sheep.

In light of eternity.

In light of making good decisions in living rightly were as dumb as a sheep were as vulnerable as a sheep but to God were valuable, highly esteemed and notice here also the pronoun. My get bored, go home and pull out a pen and circle all the first person personal pronouns. My my my III me me me this is God's way out there.

This is a God intricately intimately cares about you and about me and so for the Hebrew mind. That's what it meant to be the shepherd by way of structure. The last thing before we jump in. Notice that there are three statements here three statements that are in the future tense and everything else is in the present tense. There is, I shall not be in want.

There is, I will fear no evil, and there is I will dwell in the house of the Lord there statements of confidence. David has been through it he understands who God is. He's been in danger.

He's been in a crisis and somewhere along the line the spirit of God is revealed to David the secret of having unshakable confidence even in the midst of the most devastating crisis when you have cancer, you can say I will fear no evil when there's financial problems on the horizon.

You can say I shall not be in want. When you feel insecure and afraid. You can say I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Know what I want to do in the next few minutes together is. Let's look at this Psalm and figure out David secrets. Why could he say that. What did he know about God and it's all right there in Psalm 23 so first statement of absolute confidence. He says I shall not be in want. Why because the shepherd provides all my needs. That's the key word. David said to be of tight.

I know I'm not going to be in want because the shepherd might shepherd the all knowing the all-powerful shepherd he will provide. He's gonna take care of all my needs. You have a pen pull it out only to be three keywords in all development from the text under it right a number one and write the word physical under that right a number to write the word psychological/emotional under that write the word spiritual and what you see in the first three verses is that God the Almighty powerful God is committed to meeting your physical needs. Your psychological or emotional needs and is committed to your spiritual needs. In fact, look at it. He says the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. You see she don't go to the best grass on their own and notice the Lord. He makes me he will take you to places where you get physically nourished and notice it goes on to say he leads me by quiet waters you know anything about sheep as they will not lie down in grass. They will not graze freely and they will not go where there is calmness unless there is no friction between the sheet and less. There's no sense of danger. On the outside and there's no friction or problem with parasites with it and these things blend together. These these metaphors green lush pastures, quiet waters restores our soul leads us in paths of righteousness is not just one is the physical other is psychological and other spiritual things blend together, but you can see, as he gives us this picture.

He says to us, God will meet your needs. Now he doesn't meet your wants and he doesn't necessarily meet your agendas. He restores my soul. The word restore there literally can mean repent, or even to be converted the word for soul. In Greek it's psyche. We are word psychology, and Hebrew often means the whole person of the self, literally the ideas God restores us. He takes our deepest needs. Our deepest hurts and he restores he puts it back together.

He gives grace he hold you up almost would like an invisible hand and then he goes on to say the spiritual issues he guides me he gives direction where in paths of righteousness or literally the right path. What's right what's wrong what's true what this is and should you make.

Who should you marry, what job should you get involved in this or not David saying look, there is a shepherd. He's all-knowing.

He's all-powerful and he loves you and he wants you to know he will meet every need not on your terms, not by your agenda, but he promises to meet your physical, psychological and spiritual needs all the days of your life. Now he can do that if you let him be your shepherd. The other option is you can say you know something, I'm a pretty big sheep. I think I'll go graze were I think I'll be fulfilled. I think I'll go hang out with other sheep or other animals, where I think it'll be fun.

I think I'll go to water and places and make decisions on my terms and what we know if physical. She is that they got big problems see the biggest problems in our lives are not because God is mean God is bad and he doesn't really care about us. The biggest problems in our lives is down deep in my heart I'm a very proud and arrogant person and I want to be both the sheep and I want to be my own shepherd see grace always flows toward humility and humility of some hard for human sheep to swallow, to admit our need and that's what David does here.

He recognizes hey were all sheep and he recognizes every sheet needs a shepherd. But that's not all. The New Testament promise to jot down you say let's good for them. Libyans 419 job that in the corner. The apostle Paul writes for regular people like you and me, but my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. What is true then I just want you know it's true now so I don't know what's on the on the whiteboard of your mind what your crisis is. I don't know what the need is but I want to tell you this. Here's a promise from God. You bring your life underneath the leadership of the shepherd and he'll meet your needs, maybe not your way. Maybe not in your time may do a lot in you before you do something through you, but he promises to meet you. Second thing is he's not afraid of evil statement of confidence that he says I shall not mean what he knows when Damon looks at the future. He says on the future on the can be among but then he makes this radical statement, he says, I will fear no evil, unlike it appeared evil of a fallen world, unlocking feel fear the evil of the enemy unlocking feel the evil of my own flesh I know why look at the text because the shepherd protects me from all evil.

He says when you understand God as a shepherd.

He not only as a provider. He is the Pro detector notice. He goes on to say verse four even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Why, for you are with me your rod and your staff they comfort me this application for today but if you're just joining us, listening to Living on the Edge Chip Ingram and the message you just heard is from chip series finding God when you need him most. Finding God when you need them most gives you a biblical perspective on facing tough times and difficult circumstances. It's a look at what God really wants us to know when things are going well because his promises are a total game changer when it comes to finding the strength and the courage to trust him no matter what's going on listening again may be just what you need to help these promises sink in.

So let me encourage you to check out the resource options and discounts for finding God when you need them most. You'll find everything you're looking or give us a call at 1-888-333-6003. Hey, I'm going to be right back with the specific application for today's message but I want to talk for a minute about a great way to stay with this when you're not near your radio of the Chip Ingram app gives you flexibility and freedom to listen like anywhere, anytime. You know, a lot of times I'll encourage you at the end of the message and I'll say something like, hey, you know, you really should listen to this again really let it soak in and let it go to the next level and you think, well, you know, when I gonna do that or how the app is a great way to listen a couple times, maybe more, especially when God is using a message to really challenge your thinking or maybe move you in a specific direction. The other thing I like about the app is the interactive message notes you so often in the message of encourage you to write something down or take a look. Or here's a passage in Scripture with filling notes. It's all right there for you and when you're done you can send it to yourself or save it printed out for the future.

So let me encourage you check out the Chip Ingram app and maybe even share with a friend the Chip Ingram app is a great alternative for you to be near your radio or you need to catch up on a message or two. You'll find it at the app store or Google play will chip get your application as I close today's program I talked about the danger that comes in a crises you know when a crises comes the enemy is lurking and he will put juicy opportunities to take a shortcut to destroy your life destroy your relationships and pull you away from God and so I want to end today's program with a picture. It's a word picture. So it really stay with me right here.

I want you to think of hovering above your head, a cloud, and inside the cloud is the word crisis in years might be your mate walked out on you.

It could be a job issue could be your retirement is gone it could be a wayward child, it could be whatever by what you think crisis and then from that cloud. There's an arrow coming straight down and inside a box it says the invisible war and on one side of this invisible war is Satan and on the other side is the Holy Spirit, and there is a war that's now beginning in this crises Satan wants to tempt you. He wants to give you a heart. The fear of feeling overwhelmed that life's unfair and the goal of this temptation is to destroy you.

You'll find yourself getting angry. You'll take up of sin, a shortcut, anything that will pull you away from God and in the crisis you're emotionally vulnerable. You are so easily pooled that direction, but out of this cloud, there's this arrow you're in this invisible war and on the right side is Satan and his minions seeking to provide a temptation to pull you away but on the left side is the Holy Spirit and God says he wants to turn the temptation into a trial and a trial as you see it by faith that God has allowed this for your good. He's intended it for your growth. You can by faith choose to consider all joy you endure. And as you endure the crisis. The character of God in the life of Christ that you will experience will be transformational. That little picture comes out of James chapter 1 if you're hurting today and you just need to grab something out of Scripture to give you perspective in your crisis. Read James chapter 1 and you will find in the first paragraph your attitudinal response then you will see where you will be tempted and then you'll see later in the chapter God's promise of reward. Blessed are those who persevere or hold up under trial. Don't give in. Don't give up. Don't let go.

This crisis may make you more and more like Jesus than you've ever known, or could pull you completely away from him. The choice is yours as we wrap up today's program.

I want to say thank you to those who make this broadcast possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs purchase airtime and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. If you been blessed by the ministry of Living on the Edge.

Would you consider sending a gift today. You can call us at 1-888-333-6003, or if you prefer, donate online at Living on the Edge.for tomorrow. Chip continues his series finding God when you need him most hope to make plans to be with us the porch. If everyone here really say thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge

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