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Posts from November 2008

Be Thankful For "No"

This has been a crazy week for the Trimble family! We've finished up an unusual move and now it will take a week or two to get settled in. Thanksgiving is here and we have so much to be thankful for. 

Sunday I shared with Harvest the need to be thankful for "No". We generally do pretty well at being thankful for "Yes" but have a much more difficult time with "No". We are so used to getting things our way that we simply don't understand why anyone including God would tell us no. Just as we must say no to our children at times because we love them, God must sometimes tell us no for our benefit.

"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me,

 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 9:7-10

This Thanksgiving I'm working on being thankful for all the things God has said no to me about. I'm also working on being thankful for weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

Gotta Run!

Be Thankful For Troubles

We had a great Sunday today at Harvest. It's great to see the house filling up on Sundays! I am preaching a series of messages on being thankful about some unusual things. Today's text was from James 1:2-4 where we learn to be thankful for our troubles.

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

Our troubles lead us through a process. Trouble produces endurance, endurance gives us character, and character equips us for greater service. This process is what enables us to be thankful for our troubles.

I closed the message with a few illustrations of how troubles are not always bad.

First, there was a time when newborn babes were held by the ankles and slapped by their doctors. This little application of pain would cause the baby to cry and clear it's lungs. 

Then, we know that baby chicks must struggle to break free from the egg shell which protected them in order to develop the strength necessary to survive outside the shell. Well intended interference with this hatching ritual actually harms the chicks chances for survival.

Pearls are formed when an irritant, usually a piece of sand, works it's way into the shell of an oyster, muscle, or clam. The creatures secrete a fluid to cover the irritant and over the course of time what once was a source of irritation becomes a beautiful pearl.

Diamonds are formed 100 miles beneath the surface of the earth. They are formed from carbon placed under extreme pressure and 2000 degree temperatures. Pressure and heat are essential in forming these precious stones.

Isn't it strange that we do all that we can to avoid pain, struggles, irritations, pressure, and heat? Rather than avoiding these things we should be thankful for them. Perhaps God is using our troubles to give us endurance, create character in us, and equip us to serve him more effectively. Be thankful for troubles!

I'm looking forward to next Sunday...

in The Beginning

The first three words in the Bible are so powerful. They are not your typical, "Once upon a time". The first three words of Scripture, "In the beginning", are from a Hebrew word that could be translated as "choice" or "firstfruits". We can gather from this that creation is God's gift to himself - the "choice", the "firstfruits" of his divine activity.

Ken Hemphill, in his book 'Making Change', shares three truths from this opening phrase of God's Word.

"In the begining" means there is more to come. In God's declaration of the beging it is understood that He will direct what the "more" will be.

"In the beginning" also anticipates it's ultimate end. Isaiah 46:9-11

"In the beginning" means that the creator is also the owner. Everything was created by and for him.

Three simple words. They hold such significant truth about how we relate both to God and his created order.

Investment Tip

Compass and Coins Small Wall Street has been crazy for the past several weeks. Record highs, record declines, one day up, the next day down. Unemployment is up. Gas prices are down. Uncertainty and fear are everywhere and are impacting the economy in a big way. There is stability though if you look to the right place.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Invest in heaven! God never changes! He is rock solid! Maybe we need to get off the economic roller coaster and jump back into kingdom investments. Investing your time, talents, and treasures in the kingdom of God always produces great returns.

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38

"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:24-27

There will alway be downturns in our world' economies. There will be difficult times in our careers. Prices will rise and prices will fall. We'll survive. In fact, if our priorities are right we might even thrive.

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:25-33

Don't Forget To Vote...

I don't know who our president will be after tomorrow BUT I do know who our KING will be. I have been watching the news quite often lately and have found myself getting stressed out about politics. We have to step back and realize that God is sovereign and that ultimately God is in control. There is not a politician or a political party on earth that can stand in the way of God accomplishing His will.

What if our next president supports abortion? What if our next president is in favor of changing marriage to include homosexual couples? Will God judge America for moving in this direction, or is America's move in this direction God's judgement? Only God knows. We must vote our conscience and then trust that God is in control. He exalts and He humbles. He loves his children. He provides us with a pathway to revival.

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

I think the church needs to remember that our help comes from the Lord. The answers to our greatest needs will not come from Washington D.C. We need to re-evaluate where we are looking for our answers. 

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— 
       he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel 
       will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)