Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Romans 8:28-God is in Control!

No matter what's happening in my life – good, bad, or ugly – God's purpose is working in me. Whenever you have a problem where you can't understand the purpose, it becomes very difficult to handle. You know the most difficult kinds of questions of life are, "Why is this happening to me?" When the problem is there that's kind of a freak accident and it doesn't have any rhyme or reason to it. It just doesn't make sense. Those are the kind of situations that are the most difficult to handle.

On the other hand, when you see a purpose behind your problem it gives you enormous hope. It also gives you enormous power to endure it. And God says, I am working in your life and I have a purpose no matter what's happening.

God is doing good things in my life even when the situation is bad, even when I don't feel it, even when it doesn't make sense, even when I have no understanding. When the situation is bad, He is still doing good things in my life.

I want us to look at a couple of verses that we've looked at many times here at First Assembly of God. But we keep coming back to these verses because they're so profound, they really explain what life is all about. I hope by now if you've been a believer for some time that you've memorized Romans 8:28 "We know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." This is such a significant verse I want us to look at it word by word.

Notice first what it does not say. It doesn't say, "All things work out the way I want them to." We would like that and we'd like to interpret it that way but that's not what it says. It doesn't say, "All things work out the way I want them to."

It does not say, "All things have a happy ending on earth." Because that is not true. All things do not have a happy ending on earth. Reality teaches us that not every patient gets well, that not every couple that gets married lives happily ever after. Reality teaches us that not every business decision makes a million bucks, not every problem is resolved. So we know that's not true. All children don't get straight A's and become captain of the football team. What does it say?

  • First it says, "We know that God causes all things to work together for good." What that means is we don't wish, we don't imagine, we don't desire, we don't have false hope, we don't have positive thinking. It just says, We know. It's not a wish or a desire. It is a certainty. We are confident of whatever comes after this. "Hope is not the same as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well. But hope is the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out."
  • "… that God causes…" There is a grand master designer of the universe. And there is a plan that is in action and history is His story. There is no such thing as fate. There is no such thing as chance. There is no such thing as luck – good luck or bad luck. There is no such thing as karma, or "I just happen to fall into it." That is not true. There is a master designer. We make mistakes for sure. We make many mistakes. But God never makes mistakes.
  • "We know that God causes all things to work together for good."
    What does "all things" include? Does that include illness? Yes. Does that include unemployment? Certainly. Does it include divorce? Some of you have a question about that one, but yes. Does it include a miscarriage? Does it include failure? Does it include freak accidents? Does it include the stupid decisions that I make and the mistakes I bring upon myself? Yes! Absolutely, yes! Everything fits into God's plan. The good, the bad, the indifferent. The things that I do, the things I don't do. The things that I control, the things I don't control. All things work together for good.

Notice: It doesn't say, "all things are good." And it does not say God causes all things. God does not. God does not cause rape. God does not cause war. God does not cause famine and poverty. God does not cause leukemia and cancer. To attribute those things to God is to turn God into a monster. God is not a monster. God is incapable of sin. It doesn't say God causes all things. We bring a lot on ourselves.

  • But it does say that
    "God causes all things to work together for good."
    It's not by accident and it's not separate. They work together. It goes back to that illustration about baking a cake. When you're baking a cake you've got to have some flour and some raw eggs and some Crisco and some sugar and some salt and some vanilla. Any one of those things by itself doesn't really taste too good. Have you ever tasted flour? Crisco? Maybe the sugar some of you might say is ok. But none of those things on their own tastes good.
There are a lot of things in your life that are difficult to swallow. They're bitter going down and you choke on them. "Why is that happening?" Not all things in your life are good but they all work together for good. When those elements are put together – just like the element of the cake are put together it produces a cake and the cake is very good. God wants to bake a cake in your life and He wants to take the elements in your life, even the things that are distasteful, bitter, and He wants to work them together.
  • Notice the qualifier of this great promise. It is not for everybody. It says "… those who love God…" All things do not work together for good for everybody. In fact, if you are thumbing your nose to God, walking out the back door and saying, "Forget You, God!" all things are not working for good in your life. In fact, all things are working for bad in your life. This is not a promise to everybody. It's a promise for those who love God and want to have a relationship with Him and who are trying to live according to His purpose.
This morning if you are reading this blog and you are facing an impossible situation, the next verse is for you. Jeremiah 29:11 God says, "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future."
You may think that what God is doing in your life right now is painful and is to no avail but God says, "My plan is good. You just don't see it. You need to trust Me. You need to have hope because it's a plan to give you a hope and a future."
If you have walked away from God. And you think, "I was close to God at one time but I can't get back to Him," then the next verse is for you. Philippians 1:6 "God began doing a good work in you and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again." God starts something in your life and what He starts He finishes. You may say you're too far beyond hope. You're not. You've walked away from it but when you come back and say, "God, I'm going to give You the mess, give You the pieces. Give me Your peace." Then that which He started, He finishes in your life. And He keeps on keeping on.
I pray that you have a HOPE-FILLED day today! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


Jennifer said...

Hope! There has certainly been a shortage of that in my life. Things are so close to diaster right now and with the slightest nudge...it could go either way. I haven't ever felt this defeated in my life. There was a time over a year ago that I thought was the worst point in my life but the things that are going on right now makes it looks so mild and meek. The hardest part of having hope is when things are completely out of your control and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome of the situation. It seems that the more faithful we have been the worse things keep getting. I know that God is in control but I struggle when I can't see or feel Him working in our lives. I haven't been able to read the blogs in quite awhile but I stopped and read today's. It was just what I needed to stir some hope back into my heart. I have printed all the rest and plan on reading them all in the next few days. Thank you for your dedication to us, your love, your support and your prayers. We couldn't ask for any better Pastor and Pastor's wife than we have and I am honored to call you guys my friends.

Anonymous said...

"There is no such thing as karma, what will be will be, DESTINY or "I just happen to fall into it." Pastor, I periodically surf your blogs. I can't help but ask...if there is no such thing as destiny, why does the term get thrown around so much in American Christianity? Even your own blog in the past few months dedicated an entire entry to the idea of destiny. Are definitions truly in existence to define, or are we taking a worldly term and "christianizing" it; thus, reducing God to a chance?

Pastor Rusty said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles Jennifer. I know that others who read this were certainly be praying with you and what you are going through. Continue to allow God to revive HOPE in your life. He is with you, and has a PLAN for your life and struggles. Regardless how the situation looks, continue to "verbalize your faith" through praise. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty said...

Anonymous, thank you so much for bringing the "destiny" comment to my attention. I deleted it from my blog because I can see how it could cause confusion. I do believe in DESTINY as far as God's plan and purpose for my life, that He has a DESTINY for my life. He changed my destiny when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In my blog today, I was mentioning that God is the Master Designer and things don't just happen by luck, Karma. I didn't do a good job of explaining that DESTINY means nothing outside of the Master Designer. You bring up a good point that often we may try to Christianize a wordly term that can be confusing to some. I believe that could be the case with the word destiny. When I posted a few weeks ago on DESTINY, I was discussing how God changed the FUTURE of my daughter and granddaughter because of my daughters decision to make Jesus her Lord and Savior. He changed her FUTURE or DESTINY. Again, I don't have a problem with the word as long as we understand the concept that it is God, the Master Designer that "designs a Christiand life" and not chance or luck. Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention so that I could make this correction. Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining yourself, Pastor. However, I must politely disagree with your use of the term as it still remains highly ambiguous in meaning. While most dictionaries synonymize it with chance, Christians with good intent choose to link it to God in some form or fashion. Terminology goes a long way in today's world, and the term "destiny" is a dangerous word to utilize in Christian circles. I believe this is a barrel of monkeys that should not be loosely dealt with. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty said...

It is not the first time, nor the last time I'm certain, that someone disagrees with me on my thoughts. Thank you for your opinion. We will have to respectfully disagree with each other. There are many terms that can be ambigious, but IMO, there is nothing wrong with using them as long as you explain, which you gave me the opportunity to do by bringing this to my attention. I would love to discuss this further, but not on a public board, so please email me at rustyblann@yahoo.com and I will continue to discuss this topic with you. Again, thank you for reading my blog!