Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 8

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This week, we are continuing to look at the lineage of Jesus and identifying specific characters, revealing to us our own greater purposes in the eyes of Heaven. Pastor Paul Jackson, thank you for your humor, your wisdom, and your incredible message on Jacob this Sunday!

Too often, we forget the importance of going through suffering. For Jacob, it was inevitable, like it is for us, too, It is a means for God to grow us; we do not suffer in vain because we know God has everything under control, that He is and constructing our lives lovingly and intimately every step of the way.

James 1:2-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We beg God to grow us, but we do everything we can to insulate ourselves from the hardships that this growth requires. Hardships leads us to maturity; what matters is the way we engage with God, not that we avoid them altogether.

Matthew 1:2: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…

Jacob was a child of promise, an answer to prayer. Even so, he faced trial after trial in his life – many that we out of his control.

Genesis 32:6-8: And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”

Genesis 32:22-31: The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

At this point, Jacob receives both a new identity and the blessing of God. 

In the pinnacle of your problem, how do you relate to God? Do you wrestle with him, or do you turn your back and pretend He doesn’t exist?

What should we do? Petition Him! Wrestle with Him! Fast and pray. He is involved, He is close to you. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to wrestle with Him, for you will see breakthrough. God wants to bless you, His beloved child. Let Him. 

Biblical references: James 1:2-4; Matthew 1:2; Genesis 32:6-8; Genesis 32:22-31

Questions:

  1. In the midst of trial, do you turn back from God or press into Him?
  2. What do you need to wrestle with God about today?
  3. What trail are you entering in, leaving or currently in? What did God do in the midst of it?

Message Recap: Greater Purpose, Pt. 3

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This week, we had the incredible opportunity from Hope Frankian. Thank you, Hope, for sharing with us your wisdom and understanding of our greater purpose as children of God!

Matthew 1:1-17 is a long list of names, easy to overlook in our busyness, but it is actually so pertinent to our growth and greater understanding of our purposes. This week, we are looking particularly at Ruth’s character, one of the few women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Ruth is included in this very exclusive list because of the way she endured her test, and the way she maintained her faithfulness despite hardship.

Ruth 1: 11-14: In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

While Orpah leaves, Ruth clings. This is the first part of her test; she chooses to stay out of love and loyalty.

Ruth 1:19-22: So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth remains loyal to her mother-in-law despite Naomi’s bitterness as an act of obedience and of faithfulness. It’s her standing and her steadfastness that leads her into the family – the lineage – of Jesus. So often, as soon as things get hard, we look for the quickest way out. If something looks unfavorable, we hesitate to stay faithful.

Later in the story, Boaz takes Ruth as his wife; her finds her favorable and desirable because of her steadfast faithfulness, not despite her circumstance. In her testing, Ruth didn’t try to run away. Rather, she joyfully pressed in.

James 1:1-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Our trials produce steadfastness, and steadfastness completes us in fullness and perfection.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

When does the crown come? When he has stood the test. This reward comes from our enduring, our standing. So often, we miss out on the reward because we give up and try to make a way for ourselves. As soon as the test get hard, we look for the nearest escape route. The struggle in the test, however, puts her in the right place to receive God’s blessing. Without the struggle of the test, we wouldn’t appreciate the blessing.

Biblical references: Matthew 1:1-17; Ruth 1:1-22; James 1:1-4; James 1:12

Questions:

  1. What trials and  struggles are currently in?
  2. Where are the places God is calling you to be faithful and stand?
  3. What great purpose does God want to bring through your standing?