Curse the Day

Curse the Day

Scripture: Revelation 4:11, Job 3:1-10, John 11:11-14
Date: 10/29/2016  Lesson: 5
"As Christians, we certainly have wonderful promises for the future. At the same time, amid present sufferings, how can we learn to remember the good times we had in the past and to draw comfort and solace from them?"

The Surrender of Self (PB) Joe Crews

The Surrender of Self (PB) Joe Crews
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Good morning, friends, welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world for our Bible study time today. Also, a warm welcome to our members here at the Granite Bay church and those who are visiting us from all over the country. I know we have some international visitors this morning; a very warm welcome to you as well. We have been studying, through our lesson quarterly, dealing with the book of job and today we find ourselves on lesson #5 entitled curse the day - interesting study as we look at the various aspects illustrated in this very important book in the old testament.

Now, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson - that's lesson #5 for our friends who are joining us. You can go to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org - and you can download lesson #5 and study along with us. We'll be glad that you're able to do that and you'll be able to fill in the answers as you study along. We have a free offer that goes along with our study. It's a dvd entitled cosmic conflict and this is our free offer today.

If you'd like to receive it, give us a call on our resource phone number. The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #809. That number again is 866-788-3966. Ask for offer #809 and we'll be happy to send you the cosmic conflict and you'll be able to take a look at that. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we always like to begin by lifting our voices in praise.

I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me and they'll lead us in a few hymns this morning. Thank you, Pastor Ross. We're excited to be here and sing songs with you and those of you who are in the audience with us, you're ready to sing - I know you are. And I know those of you at home definitely are because you love singing your hymns with us here at granite bay and we love singing with you. We're going to start with one of the favorites that I know is all around the world - because he lives - and I think it's because the hopeful message of this song when there's so much depressing news, this is truly a - the perfect song to sing because - because he lives I can face tomorrow.

Join with us - #526 - #526 - both stanzas. God sent his son, they called him Jesus, he came to love, heal, and forgive; he lived and died to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because he lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he holds the future. All life is worth the living just because he lives. How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride, and joy he gives; but greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because he lives.

Because he lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he holds the future. And life is worth the living just because he lives. Amen. In keeping with our faith and trust songs, my faith has found a resting place - #523 - just a couple pages the other direction. We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas - #523.

My faith has found a resting place, not in a man-made creed; I trust the ever living one, that he for me will plead. I need no other evidence, I need no other plea; it is enough that Jesus died and rose again for me. Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt; a sinful soul I come to him, he will not cast me out. I need no other evidence, I need no other plea; it is enough that Jesus died and rose again for me. The great physician heals the sick, the lost he came to save; for me his precious blood he shed, for me his life he gave.

I need no other evidence, I need no other plea; it is enough that Jesus died and rose again for me. Thank you so much for joining with us for our songs. We look forward to joining with you one day on the streets of gold where we can sing more of our favorite songs together as our extended family around the world. At this time, pastor jëan ross will be having our opening prayer for us. Let us bow our heads for prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is for us to be able to lift our voices in praise to you for the many blessings that you have bestowed upon all of us. And now, as we turn our attention to our study this morning, I want to ask the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds - lead us into a clearer and fuller understanding of Your Word and those things that you want us to learn, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by the director of the afcoe program. Afcoe is the Amazing Facts center of evangelism. He's a member right here at the Granite Bay church.

So I'd like to invite chuck to come join me and chuck will be bringing us our lesson at this time. Good morning. Good morning. Happy Sabbath. Happy Sabbath.

I am looking forward to our study this morning. I just want to welcome each one of you here at Granite Bay. And also, I know there are some others who are probably watching and I want to welcome each one of you to our study this morning. Who is the writer of job? Moses. Moses was the writer of job.

So when did Moses write job? In the wilderness. In the wilderness. That's right. What time in the wilderness? Was it after the Exodus or before the Exodus? Before. It's before the Exodus.

Was it - so he would have just fled for his life from Egypt and now he's in the wilderness - interesting. Would he understand what it means to have a - a big reverse in his life? I mean, think about it. He was the darling child of the Egyptian empire. He was the hero of their army. He was the general bar none.

You read about stephen commented on in acts chapter 7, when he gives his defense before the sanhedrin. It's interesting, he was unsurpassed in his wisdom, unsurpassed in his knowledge. He was a brilliant man - top of the ladder. And now he goes from the top of the ladder to now being the top of the most wanted list for the Egyptian empire. What a reverse.

But then God sends his Holy Spirit to impress him to write a book - a book about another man who had a huge reverse in his life. I'm going to come back to this at the end of our lesson, but I wanted to get us started with thinking, 'what are some reverses? What are some Bible characters that have had huge reverses in their lives?' They went from being here to being here. From having everything to maybe having nothing. We're going to be looking at that through the eyes of job and then look at some other Bible characters as we close up our lesson. Now, last week, we looked at the Great Controversy, if I'm remembering correctly.

This week, things have happened. If you don't mind turning with me to job chapter 3. Before we start in job 3, I'd like to look at a few portions just preceding it. The last verse we looked at in our last study was job's response to his wife. It says, "in all this did not job sin with his lips.

" Now look at verse 11, "now when job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place;" - so now he has three friends coming to join him. This is job - excuse me - job chapter 2 and verse 11. You have eliphaz, bildad, zophar - "for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him." It says in verse 12, "and when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven." - A sign of extreme mourning. They see job, they walk up to where job is at, they rend their own garments, they put - throw dust up in the air - lands on top of them. They're just feeling terrible.

Then it says this in verse 13, "so they sat down with him upon the ground" - how long? Seven days. Seven days and seven nights, and none" - did what? - "None spake a word unto him:" - quite frankly, I heard one commentator say it would have been better if they had just kept that position for the rest of their time - quiet. Unfortunately, they didn't. - "None spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great." Do you know, when you see a person who's going through a really difficult time - and I think we've actually discussed this in a Sabbath school lesson not too distant past - sometimes the best thing you can do is just to be there, right? Just to be there. And that's what his friends are doing, they're sitting there just sitting next to him, going through his pain with him.

And then, what our focus is, is chapter 3, chapter 6, and chapter 7. Those are some of the places that we're looking at today. Chapter 3 is job's initial - some people call it - lament. His initial cry of frustration. And then you have eliphaz said some very interesting things to him.

We're not going to look at that. That's going to be looked at next week, but we're going to look at job's response to him in chapter 6 and chapter 7. So let's look at chapter 3. This is the initial response of joab - job: "and job spake, and said," - verse 3 - "let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, 'there is a man child conceived.' Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let is see the dawning of the day: because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes." Wow, what a picture. 'I wish I wasn't born.

' He's a little bit more poetic than I am - more than we would be in our culture today. 'I wish I wasn't born.' Have you ever felt like that? I would guess that probably every person, at some time in their experience, has felt that way - 'I just wish I wasn't born.' Maybe you can help me out. I'm going to do some questions - and I know it's stressful a little bit, so when you say something, I'll repeat it so our worldwide audience can listen to us. But do you know some people in the Bible who questioned whether life was worth living? Can you think of - sorry? Jonah. Jonah - yes, Jonah.

Now, Jonah, he had some interesting reasons for questioning why life was worth living. If you turn to Jonah chapter 4, we're going to do a little bit of a Bible study this morning - Jonah chapter 4 - Jonah has followed God's command and he has gone out and preached at nineveh. Now, I don't understand Jonah. He's not the topic of our study, but he really wished that the ninevites got what they had coming to them. And they didn't.

And he got really frustrated. Look what it says in verse 3 - actually verse 2 - when he prayed unto the Lord and said, "I pray thee, o Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, o Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live." 'You're too gracious, God. Too much mercy.' I don't think I'd be the kind of person to pray that prayer. I don't know if you would be, but I think the kind of prayer we need to be praying is 'God, praise you for your mercy and grace.

' Amen. 'I need every ounce you have.' Jonah gets mad. He goes, 'i'd rather die than see them repent.' Kind of the opposite feeling of what we expect in an evangelist - am I right? Look at verse 8 - he actually - I'll give you the background: a gourd was - God had a gourd grow and it grew so fast that it actually created a shade for Jonah as he was sitting outside the city of nineveh hoping that it's going to get destroyed. Sorry, I'm giving a picture, okay? And all of a sudden he's enjoying the shade, he's enjoying it - all of a sudden a worm comes and kills the gourd. It dies and the shade leaves and here's what he says, "and it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, 'it is better for me to die than to live.

'" Jonah's a kind of emotional guy. Have you sensed that? We could use the word 'moody'. Is that okay if I use the word 'moody'? We see some of that happening. So Jonah is one example of a person who wished they could die. Who's another example of someone who wished they could die? Kind of getting an overview as we're going into Jonah's experience here.

I'll give you one. Is that okay? I have a whole list here. I remember someone by the name of David. When did David wish he could die? When was it? You say, 'well, there's a couple times.' I'm going to go to 2 Samuel 18 - 2 Samuel 18 - and I find this special because, as a father, I can connect, a little bit, with the feelings of David here. 2 Samuel chapter 18.

There's a battle between joab and David's forces and absalom and he rebel forces. Absalom is killed in the process and David has prayed that absalom wouldn't be killed, but he is. David finds out and here is his response in verse 33, "and the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, 'o my son absalom, my son, my son absalom! Would God I had died for thee, o absalom, my son, my son!'" 'I wish I was dead instead of him.' So totally different reasons. Jonah, we kind of have that picture of absolute selfishness, in a way. And David, that lack of selfishness - both of them wishing they had died - for two totally different reasons.

Any other ones? I'm giving you some time to think because there's quite a few. Elijah. Elijah, that's right. You remember Elijah? He's just finished his experience on Mount Carmel. He saw God answer with fire come down from heaven.

It was a tremendous day of victory for God's people. He gets back, he runs before ahab's chariot the whole way to the gates of samaria, lays outside the walls - that morning - or that evening he gets a little note. A messenger comes and says, 'jezebel said she's going to kill you.' - I'm paraphrasing. And he starts running. He gets a day out and this is - if you want to know where this is found, this is 1 Kings 19 - 1 Kings 19 - he gets a day out - God comes to speak to him - 1 Kings 19 and verse 4 - this is the response of Elijah to God, "it is enough; now, o Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

" 'It is enough. I'm not better than my fathers.' I am glad that God does not answer the prayer of Jonah. I'm glad he doesn't answer the prayer of - who were we just talking about? Elijah. Thank you, my brain just left me there. And he doesn't answer the prayer of David.

He doesn't do that. You know, there are sometimes, I believe, in our experience, we wish it was just over and God knows - because he can see the end from the beginning - that this is just momentary - it's just a short time. There was another person - and I'm going to just focus on two more for the sake of time. One was the Philippian jailer. You remember that story in acts chapter 16? He was going to kill himself because he saw all the prisoners escaped and he knew if they all escaped he was going to be killed anyhow, so he might as well commit suicide and have it done with.

That was one person. And Jeremiah was another man who wished that he would die. Jeremiah is interesting. If you don't mind turning to Jeremiah chapter 20, verse 14. We're starting out - we're looking at the story of job and job has said, 'I wish that I was never born.

' And we're looking at that lament and we're looking at any other people in the Bible that felt similarly. Jeremiah chapter 20 and verse , "cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed." Wow - cursed be the day I was born - that's Jeremiah 20:14. What strong feelings. Jeremiah's saying that because he's feeling a lot of reproach. He's been asked to give a message that's not popular.

'Why am I doing this, God?' You're going to see a progression of thought today. The progression's going to start out with this: 'I wish I wasn't born' to 'I wish I had died before now' - 'I wish I had died before the tragedy took place' to - are you ready for the next one? Trying to remember it off the top of my head - the next one is, 'you have no idea what I'm going through.' Have you ever felt that way? We're going to get there. That's what - that's the job feeling - 'you have no idea what I've gone through'. And then, a final one, is the question that most of us ask at some point in our experience, 'why?' So we're going to start out with 'I wish I wasn't born' and we're going to finish with the question of 'why?' Now, I don't think any speaker, any teacher, any human being on this planet could fully answer why. Because we're not God.

You know, there's a verse in Psalms that says, 'you're God in heaven, I'm here on earth.' And so many times, I think that you and i, in our Christian experience, have to do that - put up our hands and say, 'you're God. I'm not.' Amen. In fact, that's how God spends chapter 38, 39, 40, and 41 - responding to job. But let's continue. Job had everything, am I right? Yes.

Yeah, he had the perfect home, he had plenty of money, he had reputation, he had what a guy likes - he had a good reputation, he had a good home, he had plenty of finances - all the toys that you want - you know, the fastest camels, right? He had everything that he desired. So he is - has 'it', but then he loses it in one day - he loses most of it - then he loses his health. Is it amazing a person can go from a perfect life to a terrible existence so quickly? That loss can make you feel that way? My wife warns me, sometimes about getting philosophical. I'm going to get a little philosophical. Is that okay? I think job is a philosophical book and he's pushing some philosophy and I'd like to share a few things with you.

I believe it's losing what we love that makes our lives bitter or hard. Amen. Yeah? Yes. The less we love something, the easier it is to lose it. The more we love something, the harder it is to lose it.

Now, I know that's not too deep philosophy - that's like first grade, but hold on. Is it possible, then, what we love determines how hard our life is? Let me put it this way: if I love my reputation, I may have a hard life if my reputation is destroyed. But if I don't make my reputation the most important thing, then my life may not be hard when it's taken down. Today I came out - I was about to - I have some shirts that have seen better days and my wife has been ironing them for awhile and we need to clean out my closet a little bit. And so, I put on one of those shirts this morning and she said, 'you can't put that on today! You're going to be on tv.

' I said, 'so?' Praise God for a wife who has nice, clean shirts, right? I want to emphasize, this was not my fault. But it doesn't bother me and if someone said something I'd be like, 'okay, so be it.' But if it does bother you, your life could be hard. I have some friends, God bless them, I don't think their wives iron their shirts. They iron their own shirts because it's got to be perfect. And, by the way, I appreciate people like that, but I'm not one of them.

So you have to choose, what is it that's going to be what you love? Do you love money? It's okay to have money, the question is 'do you love it?' Because if you love it and you lose it, will your life be hard? Yes. Yes. You say, 'well, chuck, your life's hard whether you love it or not and you lose it.' That's true, to a certain degree, but it's going to be a whole lot harder if you love it. So what you love determines how hard or bitter your life is when you lose it. Now you can - now, I look at what job lost.

He lost his wealth, he lost his children, and he lost his health - and those are some of the hardest things in the entire world. I know - I think he could have got away without his wealth. If you look at the character of job - as you study through this book over the rest of this quarter, he could have got away without his wealth. There's something about the character of job that's special, but I think the children are what really hit him. We don't talk about it much when we look at the life of job, but it really, really hurt.

In fact, we're going to see that in a few days. I mean, in a few minutes in our lesson - a few days down the lesson - that's what's happening here. In fact, he says, 'my grief is so great you can't weigh my grief.' It wasn't because he lost his sheep, it's because of something else. Had job lost his integrity? Had job lost his integrity at this point? No, remember his wife said, 'why do you still hold onto it?' So he still had his integrity. Had he lost his wife? No.

No. No. Had he lost his friends? Still had 'em. Did he still believe in God? Yes. Yes.

Now there - I should give some parenthetical statements to go with them. For example, his integrity, he started questioning a little bit later whether it was worth having it anyhow. When his wife - what did he call her? 'Speak not thou as the foolish women.' What did he say about his friends? 'A bunch of miserable comforters.' So, yes, he had them, but I wouldn't say they were at the top of his list at that point. And, even thought he did believe in God, he questioned whether God believed in him. You can see that coming out in job.

Alright, I'd like to look at job chapter 3 and, starting in verse , we stopped in verse 10 - I'd like to start out with verse 11. The first part we looked at is job said, 'I wish I wasn't born.' What's he going to say next? We've already looked at it, but let's read it ourselves. Chapter 3, verse 11, "why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did not the knees prevent me? Or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept:" - and then notice this phrase - "then had I been at" - what? Rest. "Rest, with Kings and counselors of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves; or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

There the prisoners" - what's that word again? "Rest together." You're getting this picture - 'I just want to rest.' Life is no longer rest for me. You know, I believe there are times in our experience where we can lay down on our beds and not rest. Have you ever had that happen? You lay down and you're like 'ahhh, ohhh.' In fact, how - this is how job puts it - I think this is the right section. (Young child) mine. Mine.

It is not. Somewhere else he says this: 'I lay down. I can't wait for the nighttime - I lay down and I can't wait for the morning'. You know that experience. He goes, 'I just want rest.

' Rest is something, I think, is the desire of many people. But the rest he's wanting is not physical rest, is it? It's emotional rest. It's rest from these things - this is taking over my life and I want to just simply rest.' If any of you are like that or anyone knows what this feels like, job is your friend. He's been there. I find it interesting that he uses the word 'rest' so much.

He doesn't say, 'I want to die so I can be walking the golden streets.' 'I want to die so I can go play a harp' or 'I just want to get it all over with so I can have the society of angels and not these three miserable comforters.' No, that's not what he's saying. He said, 'I want rest. I want to rest.' Do you mind turning your Bibles with me to James? Will you? James chapter 4 - James chapter 4 and verse 14 - James chapter 4 and verse 14, "whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." You know, job says the same thing, almost - job chapter 7 - job chapter 7 and verse 7. He says, "o remember that my life is wind:" - or some translations would say, 'breath'.

It's here, then it's gone. In fact, verse 9 says, "as a cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He's giving this impression that life is fleeting, and sometimes, people who wish their life would end, also complain that life is fleeting. That's what job's doing, actually. He complains life is fleeting.

It's just like a weaver shuttle - it's there and then it's gone. But, in a way, the fact that life is fleeting is a good thing. Think about it: because life is fleeting, the rough things that you're going through now will not last forever. Amen. That's good news.

The things that you're struggling with now will not be here forever. You know, I tried to think back, as I was putting together this lesson, I was trying to think back to some of the emotions that I felt as a teenager. I know I felt them, but I don't feel them anymore. That's good news. So those of you who are, you know, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 - do you know what the good news is? When you're my age, you probably won't feel it anymore.

And then when I'm the age of some of you in here, I may forget what I'm feeling right now. That's good. There is that. Life is short and trials don't last forever. We see that in the life of job and we see that in a lot of people.

It's not what we feel in the midst of it, but something we must remember in the midst of it. Because, remember, faith isn't feeling, right? There are times that you and I must go beyond our feeling and live faith knowing that God's got something better in the future. Do you mind turning to another text? 2 Corinthians chapter 4 - Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 16? We can start anywhere in 2 Corinthians 4, but we'll start in verse 16, "for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." He was going through some difficult times and, even though life is difficult, we want to remember that the outward things may be hurting us, but inwardly we can be renewed by Christ. I'm paraphrasing this, okay? Now look at verse 17, "for our" - what's that next word? Light. "Light affliction, which is but for" - a moment.

A moment. You know, in the midst of affliction it never feels like a moment, but I'm glad that Paul can take us and point us to this and say, 'it's light and it's a moment. Don't worry.' Because Paul is able to see something that, oftentimes, we forget in the midst of our troubles and that is: we're here just for a short while. Eternity is so much greater than anything you can imagine. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

" We need to start having faith in unseen realities and we need to stop focusing on the scene. It's hard, because in the midst of our circumstances, the scene and what affects our senses is what's most real to us. But Paul is saying, 'that which we cannot see - that which we cannot experience through our senses is even more real - and it's forever.' So it's - a little bit of thinking is good for us to see here. So I - we have job - he said, 'I wish I was never born.' Then he says, 'I wish I could die. Before all this happened - let's get it over with.

' Now let's go to job chapter 6 - job chapter 6 and we're just going to be looking at just the first few verses of this chapter. There is so much more in it, but just for the sake of time. "But job answered" - this is eliphaz, which - what kind of comforters he had. They came - I really do believe that they should have just kept quiet. But here they are speaking, trying to give comfort by saying, 'you deserved it' and here's job's response: "oh that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!" - A scale - then he says this: for now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

" - 'I can't talk - can't talk. Let me just tell you' - then he talks some more, but I think he's speaking metaphorically here, right? Do you understand what job is going through? No. I hope you don't mind me saying that so bluntly. You have no idea what job is going through. You know why? Because only job went through it.

Only job felt what job felt. Some more of this first grade philosophy, is that okay? Only job felt what job felt. And, quite frankly, only you feel what you feel. How many times have you experienced something and you thought, 'no one else knows what I'm feeling'? You know what? You're right. No one else does know - with one exception.

That's amazing. And so that - I think, for you and I to realize that no one else can grasp what we're going through. It's okay to say that, but you have to remember that there is someone who's external of the noone. Who is that? God. Christ can.

Do you mind turning with me to Hebrews chapter 4? Hebrews chapter 4 - Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 14. I can sympathize with you when you're going through a difficult time. I could have gone through something similar, so when I'm seeing your feeling, everything reminds me of my feelings and so I feel my feelings and say, 'I know what you feel.' But, in reality, know what I feel, which is similar to what you feel, right? But it's not that way with Jesus. Hebrews 4:14, "seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the" - excuse me - did i? Yes - "The Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" - not the knowledge of our infirmities, the feeling of our infirmities.

Jesus Christ can feel what you feel. No human being can do it, but he can. He knows what you feel. When you're wondering if someone's listening to you. When you're wondering if someone cares.

When you're wondering how you're going to survive the financial status you're in. When you're wondering if your marriage is going to make it, when you're wondering what's going to happen with your kids - no one else knows, but he knows. It says he is touched with your feelings. That's good news. Amen.

Because there's someone who understands. You know, you and I could talk to friends and I do have friends that will listen to me. I don't have many miserable comforters. I praise God for that. But I have friends who will sit down and listen to me and I'll share a load - what I'm feeling.

Do you have somebody you can unload to? I have someone I can unload to. I unload. And they'll sit there. And I praise God for that. But they can never fully grasp what I'm saying, but we have a high priest who is touched with our feelings.

Amen. That's awesome. We have an incredible God, amen? Amen. You know, there's one more passage before we go on to the closing sections here, Romans chapter 8 - Romans chapter 8, "likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:" - this is Romans chapter 8 - I'm reading from verse 26 - "the spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." How? How can the Holy Spirit speak for me? Because he knows what I feel. Amen.

This is the infinite mind of God who says, 'I know what you're feeling and I can express your feeling even better than you can.' Wow. What a God. What an incredible Savior you and I have. I hope that you - you leave this Sabbath school class with this concept. Now, where am I at? Oh yes, 'I wish is was never' - born.

'Born. I wish that I had died before this. No one understands.' And now, a very feeble attempt by a feeble human being, to answer the question 'why?' - You ready? I like to look at some stories of people in the Bible who faced terrible reverses. In other words, they had everything going well and then everything fell apart. Do you realize how easy it was to find that? Do you realize how easy it is to find examples in the Bible of going through a tough time? I'm glad the Bible was written by God, because he gives us everything.

He shows us the good, the bad, and the ugly - everything - and I'm glad that we can see that as we're going through here. I'm going to give you a description and I'm going to see if you can tell me who it is. He was the coddled favorite son of a wealthy man. Joseph - okay, good. That was pretty easy.

He had everything - he was The Son of the favorite wife - there was a whole problem with that whole scenario, we understand, but he was The Son of the favorite wife. He - he also had a nature that was spiritual. Have you sensed that as you read the story of Joseph? He leaned towards spiritual things. He had a desire for God. He had a desire for spiritual things.

And then everything falls apart. Absolutely falls apart. And where do you find Joseph? Prison. At the bottom of a pit. In a pit - oh, he was in all of these places - let me just go through them.

He went from the pit, right? He's now in the pit surrounded by those who wished he could die, saved only because of their desire for money - am I right? He then is sold as a slave at potiphar's house. From the pit to potiphar's house, right? And that looked like it was good for awhile, then there were some issues at potiphar's house too and then he was put into - prison. Prison. So he went from the pit to potiphar's house to prison. He's not doing too well.

That's his experience. Can you imagine? You have faithfully served your master and, I'm guessing, based upon some of the details we read, he served his master for at least six years in potiphar's house - six years - maybe better than that - and now he's falsely accused and his master believes it? He's thrown into prison, he helps some men out, they forget about him - everything goes wrong with Joseph and Joseph, truly, could say, 'my life is bitter. My life is worthless. Who am i?' Do you ever think of what Joseph could have thought? He is an unknown slave from canaan in Egypt. Why should God do anything for him? He worked for his dad, Jacob, but why would he work for him? This could have been the feeling of Joseph, but you know the story.

We went from the pit to potiphar's house to the prison, now he goes to the palace. What a picture. Then God uses him as the prime minister of Egypt to do some of the most incredible things that have been done - save a whole group of people. So we have Joseph: coddled son, slave and prisoner, prime minister. Don't forget those three columns.

I'm sure you will, but try to remember there's three columns, okay? Let's look at our next one. Here's another person. Can you give me a lady who went through this terrible reverse in her life? Ruth. It's close to Ruth - very close to Ruth. Naomi.

Naomi, that's right, naomi. So naomi leaves her homeland, Bethlehem, judah, right? Bethlehem - the house of bread - she leaves because there's no bread there. She goes to moab, with her loving husband and her two beautiful sons. They go there and soon some terrible reverses happen and she loses her husband. After being there, her sons get married to two beautiful girls, Ruth and orpah.

They are together and then what happens after ten years? Her sons - her sons die - both of them. Can you imagine? All that you have loved, gone. 'I lost my husband. I lost my sons. It's all gone.

' In fact, she says, when she comes back with Ruth, she comes back to Bethlehem, 'don't call me naomi, call me' - what? - 'Myra - I'm bitter. I'm not pleasant anymore. I'm bitter.' What a picture you have. So we have here loving husband and sons - now, empty of all things - widow and childless. What happens next? God moves in a miraculous way, through Ruth and naomi, and she becomes the great, great grandmother of David.

She has a so-loving family surrounding her at all times. What a beautiful picture - she becomes a grandma. And some people told me that grandma's like the best thing in the world. She has that too. So she has everything being pulled together.

Before - terrible reverse - after. Another person I'd like to give is Daniel. He was a son of the Jewish elite, you know? He was one of the princes. I don't know if he's a prince - a royal prince, but he was one of the princes. He had everything going for him - brilliant, intelligent, he was taken off from judah and he became a what? Prisoner.

Prisoner. He was a prisoner, of course. And then he was kind of given a prisoner/scholar/leader status. But he went through that. What if he was laying there - he's laying on the sand as he's crossing that bit of the fertile crescent, heading back to Babylon, his feet are blistered and sore, his clothes are falling off his back, he's remembering that great food his mom used to cook and he says, 'forget it.

God has left me. It's not worth it.' But he didn't. He didn't. He went through a terrible reverse but he determined that 'when I go - wherever I go - I'm going to stay faithful to God. Amen.

What an incredible man. And then there's one last one I'd like to look at. He was a member of the sanhedrin - one of the youngest members of the sanhedrin. Paul. Paul.

He was a jew of the jews - tribe of Benjamin - a pharisee after the strictest court. He was the top of the line in the religious experience of the jews. And then something happened. Corinthians - he met Jesus. This is - this is odd but I like for us to see it.

He met Jesus and his life had a reverse. Someone called it terrible. Would you mind reading with me 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse - 23, excuse me - 11:23 - Paul speaking, he says, "are they ministers of Christ?" - Then he put in parentheses - "(I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft." Well, that sounds like he really made a good deal when he became a Christian, wasn't it? He continues on - "of the jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;" how would you describe his life? You can go ahead and say it: how would you describe Paul's life? Miserable. Miserable.

Dangerous. Would he say it was painful? Yes. Would you say that Paul had a painful life? Forty stripes would kill you. He had received forty, save one - thirty-nine - five times. He was stoned and left for dead - first missionary journey.

It says, "in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." That is Paul's - so Paul went from being this - top of the area with Jewish leadership - intellectually, spiritually - to getting to a place where he's being almost killed constantly. How does he look at that? Corinthians chapter 12 and verse 9. This is falling on the wake of one other thing, which he did not tell you before: he had a thorn in the flesh - something he just wished he could get rid of. Many believe it was a physical ailment, but he called it a minister of satan.

Do you have any ministers of satan in your life? Maybe you can connect with Paul. 'Man, I can feel it. God, you just - there's something happening and I just wish you would stop it.' Well, that's what he had. And here's what he says in verse 9 - "this is what God said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

" Then you're sure that Paul has also lost his mind. He's lost everything else, but he's losing his mind too. Why? He said, 'I'm going to glory in my infirmities.' You got your infirmities? We're not going to have a praise session right now, for your infirmities, but we could. Have you imagined coming to church sometime? I should suggest this to the pastors here at Granite Bay. Let's have a praise session for our infirmities.

'God, thank you so much that I'm hurting right now.' Would we ever do that? But Paul's glorying in his infirmities. Then he says this in verse 10, "therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:" - why? - "For when I am weak, then am I strong." 'When I'm at the lowest physically - when I'm the lowest spiritually - when I'm the lowest intellectually and emotionally, God can do something through me if I stay connected to him. That's awesome. I don't take pleasure in my infirmities. I want to be crystal clear as I'm standing up here.

I am not Paul. But I'm looking at this and saying, 'what is Paul trying to tell us? You see, we have this column of Joseph and naomi and Daniel and Paul - perfect lives, if you will - and then you move to the middle column and everything seems like it's falling apart. I want to tell you, it's how you deal with the middle column in your life that determines what happens next. Amen. How you deal with the middle column of pain - the middle column of things falling apart - the middle column of infirmity - the middle column of persecution - how you deal with that determines whether you leave it - amen.

Or you stay in it. Did Paul get - his physical ailment leave when he left the middle column? No. Did the persecution stop when he left the middle column? No, but his mind had changed. What about naomi? Did she get her husband and sons back? No. But God gave her something else to love, amen? What about Joseph? Did he get back the 20 years he was taken away from his father? Did he get that back? No.

No, but I tell you what, God gave him something else to love. I'm convinced, friends, that our world comes with its fair share of trials. But I'm also convinced that how we deal with the middle column - how we deal with the persecutions and trials determines whether we leave a life of bitterness to a life of love and hope, or whether we stay there. Amen. I believe that God can do that for us.

Amen. But it takes - it takes something that we're not going to finish in this lesson, but I'm going to do it because I can't leave the lesson like this. Is that okay? Amen. Please turn with me to James chapter 1 - no, I realize that the answer to all our problems takes place in lesson 12 or 13 of this lesson quarterly, but I can't wait 'til then for answers. Is that okay? Let's look at James chapter 1, verses 2 and 4 - 2 through 4 - "my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;" - again, he's - James is bringing up the same thing that Paul did - "know 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." He said, 'the things you're going through are molding you and making you perfect.' Interesting. So what I'm going through is actually a shapening process. You can't see it now, but further along I'm going to understand. Amen. Verse 12, "blessed is the man that edureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

" There's a crown of life, my friends, waiting for each one of us. Yes. Let's pray. Father in Heaven, we are resting in faith this morning, knowing that we serve a God who loves us more than we can imagine. And even though our understanding is not now, even though we are seeing through a glass darkly, we do realize that further along we'll know all about it.

Further along we'll understand. Give us joy in you this morning that we may move from the middle column of trial and stress in our life, to the column of faith and love in Christ Jesus. We pray for this and ask in the name of Jesus, amen. Have you ever worried that you don't have enough time in your days? Or you can add another day to your life? Well, perhaps there is a way for you to add another whole day to your existence. Watch how easy it is.

I just stepped into yesterday. No, I'm not talking about going back to the future or back in history; I happen to be standing here in taveuni, fiji, one of the only places in the world where the international meridian dateline runs through a piece of land. People have not always been able to play with time this way. Back in 1878, sir sanford fleming, a canadian, he recommended to the science community of the world that the globe be divided in 24 even segments, each separated by 15 degrees of longitude, that would establish the international time system. In 1884, there was a prime meridian conference held in Washington, d.

c., To standardize time and select a point for the prime meridian, which would be zero degrees on the globe. It ended up being greenwich, england, but that's not where we are. We are on the polar opposite side of the planet right now, but we're going to step into the future - want to come? And look at that, the Lord is still with us, even here. He'll continue to take care of you, friends, wherever you go. Friends, do you sometimes worry about the future? What will you eat? Will you have a home? Are you going to still have your job? What will you wear? Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 6, verses 25 through 34, 'don't take thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought for the things of itself.

' He tells us that he feeds the birds and he clothes the flowers - he'll take care of us. We know that God'll watch over us, forgives the past, he promises to be with us in the present, and he will continue to lead us in the future - but you've just got to give yourself to him. I invite you to do that right now.

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