HOW TO HANDLE OUR PROBLEMS

(PART 2)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.       Last Sunday morning, I began a brief series of lessons from the book of Jonah.

 

2.       At this point, we have learned that God wanted Jonah to go and preach against the city of Nineveh, however, Jonah did not want to go, so he headed in the opposite direction to try to run away from God.

 

3.       The first spiritual lesson that we have learned is that we must always have a yielding attitude towards God's will.

 

4.       If we disobey God’s will, then our lives can fall apart like Jonah’s did.  On the other hand, if we obey God’s will, we will live successful and prosperous lives.

 

5.       This morning, we will continue in this series by examining point number two. 

 

II.                         SECOND, IN OUR SPIRITUAL WALK WITH GOD, WE MUST LEARN HOW TO COPE WITH OUR PROBLEMS.

 

1.       Jonah had a problem.

 

2.       God wanted Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh, however, Jonah refused to obey God’s will.  In order to flee from the Lord, Jonah boarded a ship and sailed for Tarshish.

 

3.       But during that journey, the Lord sent a great wind on the sea and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.  In order to save the ship, the crew, after discovering that the storm was Jonah’s fault, threw him into the sea.

 

4.       Since Jonah did not have a life jacket, and he could not call on the coast guard to rescue him, he was in deep, deep trouble.  He had a serious problem.

 

THIS MORNING, I AM GOING TO PRESENT A LESSON ON THE SUBJECT OF PROBLEM SOLVING.

 

HOW DOES GOD WANT US TO RESPOND TO PROBLEMS?

 

A.                 FIRST, GOD WANTS US TO REALIZE THAT PROBLEMS ARE INEVITABLE.

 

 

1.       James does not say if you face trials, but whenever you face them.  He assures us that we will have trials. 

 

2.       In the Bible, many God fearing people experienced problems.

 

a.       King Hezekiah had health problems that threatened his life.

 

b.      Daniel, since he would not pay homage and pray to the Persian King, was thrown into a lion’s den.

 

c.       In the New Testament, Peter was put in jail for preaching the Word of God.

 

3.       Brethren, in our lives we will experience problems.

 

4.       At some point in our lives…

 

a.      We will have family problems.

 

b.     We will have work related problems.

 

c.      We will have financial problems.

 

d.     We will have health problems.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

A woman once called the police station to report a skunk in her cellar.  She was told to make a trail of breadcrumbs from the basement to the yard, and then wait for the skunk to follow it out of the basement to the yard, and then wait for the skunk to follow it out of the basement.  A while later the woman called again and reported that she had done as she was told, and now she had two skunks in her basement. 

 

Not only will we have problems, but many times our problems will multiple in nature.

 

B.                SECOND, WHEN WE FACE PROBLEMS, WE SHOULD TURN TO GOD FOR HIS ASSISTANCE.

 

1.       When Jonah was drowning in the sea, the first thing that he did was pray to God for help.

 

 

2.       After Jonah commissioned for God’s help, God sent a great fish to rescue Jonah.  God took care of Jonah’s problem by sending him a fish, which eventually vomited Jonah onto dry land.

 

3.       When we face a problem, we first need to ask God for His help because He can provide us with assistance.  He can deliver us from our problems.

 

a.      King Hezekiah, after he found out from Isaiah that he was going to die from his illness, pray to God for help, and the Lord heard his prayer and added fifteen years to his life.

 

b.     While Daniel was in the lion’s den, God sent an angel to rescue him.

 

c.      While Peter was in jail for preaching the Word of God, the church prayed earnestly for him, and within hours, God sent an angel to deliver him. 

 

4.       If we have a problem, God has the power to conquer it!

 

 

5.       No matter what problem you may have, God can deliver you from it.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new worship facility on a piece of land willed to them by a church member.  Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the minister that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building.  Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would be unable to use the new building.

 

Unfortunately, the church with its undersized parking lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built.  In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.

 

Undaunted, the minister announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had “mountain moving faith.”  They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the backyard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.

 

At the appointed time, two dozen of the congregation’s 300 members assembled for prayer.  They prayed for nearly three hours.

 

At ten o’clock the minister said the final “Amen.”  “We’ll open next Sunday as scheduled,” he assured everyone.  “God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time, too.”

 

The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door.  When he called “come in,” a rough-looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered. 

 

“Excuse me, Sir.  I’m from Acme Construction Company over in the next county.  We’re building a huge new shopping mall over there and we need some fill dirt.  Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church?  We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away.  We can’t do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.”

 

The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned.

 

6.       Whatever our problems may be, God can help solve them.  There is nothing too small nor too large for God to handle.

 

7.       If we want God to help us, we must have “mountain moving faith.”

 

 

C.                THIRD, WHEN WE FACE PROBLEMS, WE NEED TO WAIT PATIENTLY FOR GOD’S ASSISTANCE.

 

1.       In (Gen. 15), God promised the great Patriarch Abram that he and his wife Sarai would one day have son to be their heir.

 

2.       However, since Abram and Sarai were both well up in years, they decided not to wait for God’s promise, but instead Sarai took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar, her maidservant, to Abram.  Before long, Abram sleep with Hagar, and she conceived.  Soon after the child was born, Sarai became jealous and mistreated Hagar and got angry with Abram.

 

3.       Because Sarai took matters into her own hands, and did not wait for God’s solution to her dilemma, she began to have a series of problems.

 

4.       If we try to step in and solve some of our difficult problems without waiting for God’s assistance, then we can make things worse.

 

5.       When dealing with some problems, we need to have patience in order to give God time to intervene.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

A little while back, my wife and I tried to install a four-prong cord on the back of our range.  We did a decent job following the instructions; until we came to step number four.  We could not figure out what it wanted us to do with a green wire. 

 

Instead of making a mistake and blowing up the house, we realized that we were incapable of making the right decision so we asked Mike to help us.  Within a few minutes, he fixed the problem. 

 

When we have problems that are out of our league, instead of messing it up and making it worse, we need to wait for God’s assistance.

 

D.                FOURTH, WHEN WE FACE PROBLEMS, WE NEED TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND REMAIN FAITHFUL TO OUR LORD.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

According to the Bureau of Standards in Washington, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of less than one glass of water.  That amount of water is divided into about 60 billion tiny droplets.  Yet when those minute particles settle over a city or the countryside, they can almost blot out everything from your sight.

 

1.       Many people today live their lives in a fog.  They allow a cupful of troubles to cloud their vision and dampen their spirit.  They allow the worries of the world to choke their spiritual lives (Lk. 8:14).

 

2.       Brethren, let’s not let the fog get us down!  Instead, let’s live in the Sonshine.

 

3.       Everyday we must rise above our problems and remain devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

4.       We must never allow our problems to consume us and lose our spiritual focus. 

 

5.       Instead, we are to fix our eyes on Jesus and maintain a positive outlook on life.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

There were once two men, both seriously ill, in the same small room of a great hospital.  Quite a small room, it had one window looking out on the world.  One of the men, as part of his treatment, was allowed to sit up in bed for an hour in the afternoon (something to do with draining the fluid from his lungs).  His bed was next to the window.  But the other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

 

Every afternoon when the man next to the window was propped up for his hour, he would pass the time by describing what he could see outside.  The window apparently overlooked a park where there was a lake.  There were ducks and swans in the lake, and children came to throw them bread and sail model boats.  Young lovers walked hand in hand beneath the trees, and there were flowers and stretches of grass, games of softball.  And at the back, behind the fringe of trees, was a fine view of the city skyline.

 

The man on his back would listen to the other man describe all of this, enjoying every minute.  His friend’s descriptions eventually made him feel he could almost see what was happening outside.

 

Then one fine afternoon, the thought struck him: Why should the man next to the window have all the pleasure of seeing what was going on?  Why shouldn’t he get the chance?  He felt ashamed, but the more he tried not to think like that, the worse he wanted a change.  He’d do anything! 

 

One night as he stared at the ceiling, the other man suddenly woke up, coughing and choking, his hands groping for the button that would bring the nurse running.  But the man watched without moving—even when the sound of breathing stopped.  In the morning, the nurse found the other man dead, and quietly took his body away.

 

As soon as it seemed decent, the man asked if he could be switched to the bed next to the window.  So they moved him, tucked him in, and made him quite comfortable.  The minute they left, he propped himself up on one elbow, painfully and laboriously, and looked out the window.

 

It faced a blank wall.

 

6.       Although the man was seriously ill, and had only a blank wall to stare at, he still envisioned beautiful things.  Let us not fix our eyes on the troubles of this world, instead, let us envision the beautiful things around us.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      This morning, we have learned a few principles on how to handle our problems.

 

a.      First, we must realize that problems are inevitable.

 

b.     Second, when we face problems, we should turn to God for His assistance.

 

c.      Third, when we face problems, we need to wait patiently for God's assistance.

 

d.     Fourth, when we face problems, we need to maintain a positive attitude and remain faithful to our Lord.

 

2.      If the problems of this world have been weighing you down, come to God this morning, and ask for His assistance.  He can still send a giant fish to rescue you.  If you are subject to the Lord's invitation, please come now as we stand and sing.