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Finding God's Strength in the Midst of Challenges

Posted by Diversity in Faith on May 12, 2013 at 7:45 PM

This Sunday's sermon was brought to us by Ashley Young, who has volunteered to help begin a youth program at Diversity in Faith.  I hope it blesses you.

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To hear online, check us out at

 

Download: http://diversityinfaith.sermon.net/da/1200024496

 

Playback: http://diversityinfaith.sermon.net/da/1200024496/play

 

 

 

Challenges

 

by Ashley Young

 

Text:

 

· 1 Timothy 3:16 “Great is the mystery of godliness.” (Read in the beginning)

 

· Psalm 120:1 “I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.”

 

· Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. "Selah"

 

 

 

(Sermon)

 

Challenges. We face them everyday. Challenges can be anything from a paper cut, first thing in the morning, to being late to class or work, the printer or fax machine jamming, or losing electricity due to a storm. And when we have days—or weeks—when all of these things and more pile up on us, we may think, “Okay, God. How much more are you going to throw at me?” In situations like these, it’s easy to think of God as a five-year-old kid, with a magnifying glass, beaming sunlight down on us, like we were ants. And when we face even bigger challenges, like the death of a loved one, being diagnosed with cancer, becoming disabled, or trying to create a church community, like Kat talked about on February 24, it’s easy to think that God has forsaken us. Forgotten us. Left us to suffer. And it’s times like these where we may question our faith; question the existence of God, as a higher being, watching over us.

 

It’s with challenges like these where we have to take a step back, in order to see what God is allowing to happen, so that our unification with one another and our faith in Him may be strengthened. In John 17:21, Jesus prays, “that they all may be as one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” God wants us to be a people—united in one, with Him. And the challenges we face, whether they are big or small, serve as a reminder that God is always with us and He is our ultimate answer.

 

God shows us firsthand how we can overcome challenges when He allows Jesus to be challenged in the Bible. In Matthew Chapter Four, Jesus was led out into the wilderness, by the Lord, where he fasted for forty days and for forty nights. After this, Jesus was hungry and thirsty and tired. And the devil came up to Him and challenged Him saying, “Hey, if you’re the son of God and you’re so hungry turn these stones into bread.” To that Jesus responded by saying, “It is written, that Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” So the devil said, “Oh, ho, ho! Well, then,” and he took Jesus into the city and placed Him on the highest point on the chapel, then said, “If you’re the Son of God, then jump, because it’s written that the Angels will save you and prevent you from hitting your foot against a stone.” Jesus said, “It is also written that thou shall not tempt the Lord.” The devil said, “Hmmh!” And he took Jesus to a really high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms in the world, with all of their glory, and the devil said, “Now if you will bow down and worship me all of this can be yours.” And Jesus said, “Go away, Satan. For it is written that, ‘Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and you should only serve Him.’” With this, the devil left and angels came down and ministered Jesus, for Jesus had ignored temptation and had overcome this challenge by keeping His faith strong in the Lord.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to put ourselves into Jesus’ shoes, because we don’t have the same kinds of challenges in our lives that He did. I, personally, faced a number of challenges with my disability advocacy at Methodist University. I don’t know if any of you have ever worked in an advocacy situation, but going into college, I had no idea what advocacy even was. Then my second year, my Academic Advisor and professor, Dr. Colonnese, signed me up for two night classes and worked with the campus police to get me a security escort. Man, was I excited! I thought, (THUMBS UP) “Alright! Going to get ahead in my studies!” So a few days into my first creative writing class, we’re on the second floor of the Trustees Building and Dr. Colonnese says, “Let’s go downstairs.” I’d been up and down the stairs many times during the day, so I didn’t think anything of it. We walk out into the hallway and there is one extremely small light glowing and I looked over the rail at the stairs and they were only being lit by a very dim streetlight outside. I have no depth perception in broad daylight and at this time, I did not know anything about a cane, much less that I was entitled to one!

 

(ACT OUT) So we walk over to the stairs; I reach down and put the death grip on the rail and s-l-o-w-l-y put my foot down on the first stair. Then I brought my other foot onto that stair and cautiously proceeded from there. Getting to the bottom of those stairs, in the dark with my vision, was a serious challenge and that night I decided that some serious changes had to be made to Methodist University’s overall campus. I presented the idea to the student media advisor, then embarked on a three month research article for the school’s newspaper. During those three months, I went to the financial coordinator for the school, with all of the research I’d dug up thus far, and told him that the Trustees Building needed an elevator. (SQUINT & LOOK FROM SIDE TO SIDE) And he started laughing, like I’d told him a really funny joke. When he calmed down, he said that the idea of installing an elevator into a more than fifty-year-old building was preposterous and would most likely cost half a million dollars. (TURN HEAD SIDEWAYS) So I smiled and quietly left his office. But I was hot, let me tell you. As I walked outside, I looked up and thought, “This challenge is going to be the end of me.”……But it wasn’t. God brought me through. After three years of pushing and proposing idea after idea, Methodist finally approved the project and installed the elevator. This challenge taught me that God works on His own timeline and we cannot rush Him…

 

As we go forth into this week, remember, God is our ultimate answer. This week, I want you all to work through challenges you face by keeping your faith in Him strong and by helping others to do the same.

 

 

 


Categories: Sermons, Devotionals, and Bible studies

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