Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dead-End Places

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well.

What a wonderful time that we had in Destin with our family. There were fifteen family members in a home designed for eight people, and we managed fine! Even though it was very crowded, we made some life long memories. The picture that I have added here is my wife and I with all of our children, grandchildren, son-in-law, and mother and father-in-law. (Not pictured is my wife's sister and her family). I am so thankful for opportunities like this week to spend quality time together. If you haven't planned to take a vacation this year and enjoy family time, please reconsider. It is well worth the time and money. It is an investment that will pay many dividends.

I would like to share some thoughts with you today from 2 Corinthians 1:9, as well as some thoughts from Rick Renner.

Although we don’t like to admit it, we all occasionally run into dead-end places in our lives where we don’t know what to say, what to do, where to turn, or even how to pray. Sometimes it seems like we’ve hit a dead-end — in other words, it seems like everything is finished, over, and done with! If you’ve ever been in a place like this, you know what a hard place this can be! Through these kinds of experiences, you and I discover that in our own strength, we are no match for some of life’s problems. That’s why we must learn to depend on the power and wisdom of God!

The apostle Paul tells us that he, too, went through this kind of learning experience when he found himself face-to-face with life-threatening situations in his own ministry. In Second Corinthians 1:9, he says, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Paul was definitely at one of those dead-end places that we’re talking about today. In fact, the situation he faced was so acute that he compared it to a sentence of death. That’s dramatic language! Notice the word “sentence” in the verse above. It is taken from the Greek word krino. This word krino normally refers to a jury who just handed down their final sentence in a court of law. You could say that the word krino denotes a verdict or a sentence pronounced as the result of a court trial.

After all the evidence is presented and the judge has examined all the facts, a final verdict is issued by the court. This is exactly the word that Paul uses in this dramatic verse. In using such a word, Paul is telling us that so much evidence and so many problems were stacked up against him and his companions, by all appearances it looked like there was no way for them to escape or even to survive. It looked like they had hit a dead-end; everything for them seemed to be finished, over, and done with!

Have you ever had a time in your life when it looked like it was the end of the road for you and your dreams? Did you think there was no way out? Did it look like there were so many problems stacked against you that you’d never survive what you were facing?

In essence, Second Corinthians 1:9 could be translated: “As far as we were concerned, the final verdict was in, and the verdict demanded our deaths....”But in spite of how it looked, Paul didn’t die, nor did he fail at fulfilling the job God had given him. It may have looked like it was the end of the road, but it was really the beginning of a new supernatural flow of divine power into Paul’s life. That’s why he went on to say that through it all, he learned not to trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead. Paul had been under such intense pressure that he felt death was unavoidable. Then right from the midst of this horrible situation, God’s power was released and Paul was rescued! Paul said it was as if he and his companions had been raised from the dead.

When you don’t know what else to do and when you have no one else to turn to, that’s usually when God’s resurrection power begins to operate in you to the greatest measure! You see, there’s no such thing as no hope. As long as there is a loving Heavenly Father you can call on, there is still hope for you! If you learn to rely on Him, that dead-end place in your life that you’re facing right now can become a new beginning! So call out to your Heavenly Father right now. Expect Him to release His resurrection power on your behalf to turn your dead-end situation around! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


LAURIE said...

Beautiful picture of your family. I pray your vacation has refreshed you and given you many great fond memories of family. -Blessings, Laurie