March 31, 2012

The Tiger, The Man and God

I John 2:15-17
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

A man was being chased by a tiger. He ran as hard as he could until he was at the edge of a cliff with the tiger in hot pursuit. The man looked over the edge of the cliff and saw a branch growing out of the side of the cliff a few feet down. He jumped down and grabbed the branch just as the tiger reached the cliff. The tiger growled viciously as the man sighed a great sigh of relief.

Just then a woodpecker lighted on the branch and began pecking furiously. The man looked down to what was a drop of a thousand feet and sure death and looked to the heavens and yelled out, “Dear God, if you are there, please help! I will do anything you ask but please help!”

Suddenly a voice came booming down from heaven, “Will you do anything I ask?”

The man shocked to hear a reply to his plea yelled back, “I will gladly do anything you ask, but please save me!”

The voice from heaven then replied, “There is one way to save you but it will take courage and faith.”

The branch began to weaken and creak from the woodpecker's tapping and the tiger was still growling a few feet above the man, pawing at him, “Please, Lord, tell me what I must do and I will do it! Your will is my will!”

The voice from heaven then said, “All right then, let go of the branch.”

The man looked down to a fall of a thousand feet and certain death. He then looked up at the hungry, growling tiger a few feet away and saw that the woodpecker was still pecking away on the branch.

Then he looked up at the heavens and yelled, “Is there anyone else up there?”

* * * * *

Isn't it something: When there's a crisis or tribulation, we cry out to God. When He answers our prayer in a way we're not expecting then our reaction is typically the same type of reaction we see in the joke you just read.

God is sovereign, which means He's in control, which means He calls the shots, which means that even when things appear out of control (to us) they're all part of God's plan, which means that we may not understand at all what's going on upstairs in heaven.

We may even secretly ask in our hearts, "God, what are you doing?" when things are falling apart.

I don't know about you, Mr. Christian, but I've never gotten an answer from God outside of His word. When the Lord has answered me, it has been through the Holy Bible. In fact, the Scripture that has spoken to my heart and bears worth noting comes from Romans 8:28:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Thus, God's working it all out for me because I love Him and He loves me. But, why should I go through hardships? Romans 8:29 continues by explaining that the purpose to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Also consider James 1:2 "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."

Notice the 3 keywords: "When" and "joy" and "temptations"

Point #1 - Temptations will come and knock on your door. It's not a question of if, but when. And, you'll get a variety of them, kinda like assorted nuts, to keep things interesting.

Point #2 - When temptations arrive, count it, reckon it as joy. Don't sulk, whine, complain or suck your thumb. God hates complainers. At my job, there's a bevy of grumblers. Their litanies drain the lifeblood out of the workday, which is why I avoid them at all costs! So, why be joyful? Hold on and you shall see the dividend and pay off.

Point #3 - There will be temptations that you and I as believers will fall into. Here's the good news: Falling into temptation is NOT the sames as falling into sin. Therefore, rejoice because temptation does not equal yielding to temptation.

In I Corinthians 10:13, it states and promises: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

By the way, in case you're wondering how to fight temptation, prayerfully read over and study Matthew 4:1-11. This is how Jesus fought the Devil and this is how you should do as well.

You might still be wondering: What's all this got to do with joy? Well, James 1:3-4 clarifies:

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Isn't that reason to rejoice!? God is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ and He's perfecting you! An "Amen!" goes right there.

Therefore, do the right thing, obey God, trust Him and take Him at His word. After all, obedience brings blessings (James 1:22-25). Plus, if you've already trusted Him with your soul in eternity, why aren't you trusting Him with your life now?

Continue here: I Want to Trust Jesus!

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