HOW TO TRIUMPH OVER

LIFE'S PROBLEMS

(PART 2)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.       Last Sunday Morning, I began a series of lessons on how to triumph over life's problems.

 

2.       So far, we have seen to triumph over life's problems, we must maintain a positive attitude and live one day at a time.

 

3.       This morning, we will begin our studies by examining point number three.

 

III.                       THIRD, TO TRIUMPH OVER LIFE'S PROBLEMS, WE NEED TO LOOK FOR THE VALUE IN THEM.

 

1.      Sometimes it is within God's will that we have problems.  I cannot think of a single godly person described in the Bible who didn't have at least some difficulties in life. 

 

IN TODAY'S MESSAGE, I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU FIVE WAYS THAT GOD USES PROBLEMS IN OUR LIVES FOR THE GOOD.

 

A.                 FIRST, PROBLEMS GIVE US DIRECTION.

 

1.      God often uses problems to point us in a new direction.

 

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

When I was ten years old, I felt that I was the world's best rock thrower.

 

One day, while I was playing in my front yard, I picked up a rock and threw it at a moving car.  My aim was so good that the rock floated over the roof and cracked the windshield.  It was a perfect Troy Aikman pass.

 

After I realized that I hit the bull's eye, I did what any red blooded American kid would do.  I ran for cover.  I hid in our barn.

 

Meanwhile the driver of the car, stopped, made a U-turn, pulled into our driveway, and found me hiding in the barn. 

 

He immediately took me to my parents, told them what happened, and I got a spanking.

 

That painful experience that day caused me to change my ways.

After that day, I was no longer the world champion rock thrower.  I retired from that sport at the age of 10.

 

2.      Example of Saul.

 

Saul of Tarsus was a Jew who hated Christians.  His number one mission in life was to crush Christianity.  To make things worse, he thought it was God's will. 

 

One day he headed north, from Jerusalem, toward Damascus, with warrants for the arrests of some Christians who had fled there.  During his journey, suddenly, out of nowhere, a bright light flashed in the sky and blinded him.  He had to be led by the hand into the city of Damascus.  He was blind for three days, perhaps wondering if would ever see again.

 

If you know the story, you know that God restored his sight and he became a champion for the Christian cause, the great Apostle Paul who wrote two-thirds of your New Testament.

 

God had to turn him around and He did it by giving him a serious problem.

 

3.      Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.  Sometimes God has to wake us up because we're cruising down the highway of life headed in the wrong direction.  Sometimes God has to light a fire under us to get our attention.

 

4.      The next time you experience a problem, some good questions to ask yourself is, "Is God trying to tell me something?"  "Does He want me to change the direction I am heading in?" 

 

a.      Problems can give us a new direction to take…

 

B.                SECOND, PROBLEMS PROTECT US.

 

1.      Sometimes a problem is a blessing in disguise.  Like the case of a certain man who had been asked to do some unethical business practice for the company he worked for.  He was a Christian, so he told them he couldn't do it.  He was fired on the spot!  He did the right thing, and now was suffering for it.  Is that fair?  Before you answer that, you need to hear the rest of the story.  Two weeks later all the top management of that company were on the front page of the national newspaper and were sent to prison.

 

2.      Sometimes God uses a problem to protect us from a bigger problem.  If you are one of His, He does that whether you understand it or not.

 

3.      The classic example in the Bible is Joseph.

 

His eleven brothers hated him.  His dad favored him somewhat and that made them hate him even more.  One day they ganged up on him and sold him into slavery.  Then they went home and told their dad that a wild animal had devoured him.  But that wasn't the end of the problem for Joseph.

 

He was resold in Egypt to an owner whose wife tried to seduce him.  When he refused to sleep with the married woman, she accused him of rape.  As a result, he was thrown in jail for two years for a crime he didn't commit.  From his perspective, it must have looked pretty bleak.  Who would have blamed him for giving up on God?

 

Of course, if you know the story, you know that God was positioning him to be raised up as second in command of Egypt.  He would be put in charge of gathering grain for a coming famine that would force his brothers to bring their whole family to Egypt so they could survive. 

 

Listen to what Joseph's perspective was on his problem filled life.

 

Through all of Joseph's problems, God was actually protecting him and his family from destruction.

 

4.      It is possible that when we experience a problem God is protecting us from something we don't see.  Only time will tell.  Problems sometimes protect us. 

 

C.                THIRD, PROBLEMS TEST US.

 

1.      Someone has said, "People are a lot like tea bags, you don't know what's in them until you drop them in hot water."

 

2.      In Deuteronomy 8:2, Moses told Israel:

 

a.      It takes about two weeks to march from Egypt to Israel, yet it took Israel forty years to make that trip.  God was testing them.  Time and time again God tested them to see if they were ready to go into the Promised Land.  Every time they failed the test He turned them back.  They spent forty years in the wilderness because they never passed the test.

 

3.      Has God ever used a problem to test you?  Surely He has!  He may be doing it right now.  God sometimes uses problems to inspect us.

 

4.      If you are having problems right now, what are they revealing about you?  Are you trusting God, that He knows best, or are you complaining and murmuring to God?

 

5.      God will not lead you to where He wants you to go until you start trusting in Him.  Don't wander in the wilderness of life, start trusting God, and move forward to your Promised Land.

 

D.                FOURTH, PROBLEMS HELP US GROW.

 

 

1.      God uses problems to develop character in our lives.  Just like a diamond cutter uses a chisel and hammer to chip away at the rough edges of a diamond, God chisels away on the rough edges of our lives.

 

2.      God has one purpose for our lives - He wants us to be like Jesus Christ.  He's preparing us to be good witnesses here and a good citizen for eternity.  He is far more concerned for our character development than He is about our momentary comfort.

 

3.      The Bible says in Hebrews 2:10 that the author of our salvation (Jesus) was perfected through sufferings.  What makes us think that we're any different?

 

4.      God uses problems to perfect us.

 

5.      So far, if we want to triumph over life's problems, we must:

 

a.      Maintain a positive attitude.

 

b.     Live one day at a time and not worry about yesterdays or tomorrow's concerns.

 

c.      Look for the value in our problems.

 

(1)    Problems give us direction.

 

(2)    They protect us.

 

(3)    The test us.

 

(4)    They help us to grow.

 

IV.                      LASTLY, TO TRIUMPH OVER LIFE'S PROBLEMS, WE MUST HANG IN THERE AND NEVER GIVE UP.

 

1.      Some people get so tired of dealing with life's problems that they give up on life.  In fact, static's show that each year, 25,000 people take their own lives.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

Shannon was a mother of three, the wife of a prominent real estate broker and church elder.  Like her husband, Shannon was very involved in church.

 

Her church friends viewed her as a "supermom" who had it all together.  Only a few of her closest friends from church knew Shannon's secret: she struggled with deep bouts of depression and had unsuccessfully attempted suicide three times, using prescription drug overdoses.

 

One day, Shannon's husband, Lyle, came home early from the office -- as he often did when Shannon was undergoing one of her "blue spells."  Every time she had attempted suicide before, he had gotten a feeling that he should stop by the house and check on her.  Each time, he had arrived in time to get help for her. 

 

This time, however, when Lyle arrived home, there was no cry for help.  The house was eerily silent as he made his way from room to room, finally arriving at the bedroom, where he found his wife.  This time Shannon hung herself from one of the rafters of their vaulted bedroom ceiling.  This church elder's wife killed herself.  Suicide takes many victims, even Christians.

 

2.      There are six suicide cases recorded in the Bible and God approves none of them.  Suicide is murder, and the Bible says, "You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13).  All life belongs to God, and He alone has the right to take it (Dt. 32:39; Job 1:21).

 

3.      Brethren, no matter how bad your problems seem to be you must never give up on life.  Young people, listen to me.  When you get discouraged and Satan tries to convince you it is better to die than to live--don't listen to him.  Instead, hang in there and never give up.  Your problems are only temporary--things will get better -- I promise.

 

4.      When problems strike, we need to be like Job who hung in there and did not give up on living even though his life was in shambles.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      If we want to triumph over life's problems, we must do several things.

 

a.      Maintain a positive attitude.

 

b.     Live one day at a time and not worry about yesterdays or tomorrow's concerns.

 

c.      Look for the value in our problems.

 

(1)    Problems give us direction.

 

(2)    They protect us.

 

(3)    The test us.

 

(4)    They help us to grow.

 

d.     We must hang in there and never give up.

 

2.      I pray that this lesson has helped you effectively deal with life's problems.  When tough times strike, don't give up, instead, triumph over life's problems.