Monday, January 23, 2012

No Expiration Date

Last Saturday, we had the privilege to hear Christine Caine speak again. She traveled to Charlotte to be a part of a Revival series that Elevation Church was doing. She started with a video that showed a young man raiding his parents pantry and fridge to make the point that his parents didn't believe in expiration dates by gathering everything that had expired. A funny introduction to a serious concept.
Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
Notice the words 'past the age'. By our accounts, Sarah was too old...but God doesn't believe in expiration dates. When by our accounts, Sarah was past the age we deemed possible to conceive...God made it possible. He doesn't count anyone out and neither should we.

There are promises that have been spoken over your life. Some of them might seem impossible, incurable, terminal, bankrupt, broken, or even dead. You've pushed them off and buried them in a graveyard of promises that you think can't come true. But they are possible with God. He wants to make the impossible possible in your life. Even if it seems impossible for you, our God is not limited by our strength. He cares about the details. When was the last time you just believed God? For small and personal things as well as for big and global things...no matter what it is, how big or how little, we are able to do what God has called us to do.

He is still the God who parts the sea and tears down the walls of Jericho and makes a way when there is none. So why do we give up on the promises of God over our lives? We don't believe he is faithful...to put it bluntly. Who do you judge to be faithful? Politicians, school, friends...what about Jesus? He who promised is faithful...Jesus is faithful.

One reason we give up is because we confuse our due date with God's chosen time. Think about a pregnancy due date...if the baby comes before or after that date, we say the baby was early or late. In reality, the baby was on time...we just had an incorrect assessment of the due date.
Genesis 18:10-14 The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
God knew that she was "past age". He knew that in our minds, it would be totally impossible...but sometimes God waits until it's totally impossible so that we can't take the credit away from him. Stop. Read that again. Think about it, is anything too hard for God? No. God won't move if we are standing at the tent door like Sarah laughing with doubt, cynicism, or fear. When we do that, we are saying that we won't step out in faith, we won't step out into his promises and we don't trust God.

We have to keep in mind that it's his appointed time and not our due date. We all have 'due dates'...you know when we say something like "If____________ then__________". We are so focused on this thing happening that we cut God out of the picture entirely. If what you see is all you see then you won't see all there is to see. Basically, if we focus on one thing, then we will miss out on all that God has for us.
2 Peter 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God doesn't see things the way we do. Remember this as well. Be faithful to trust that he is faithful. The Bible talks about 'in due season'...due season is not due date. Don't put expiration dates on God's promises.

Another reason we give up is because God doesn't do things our way. We think we are God. Maybe you don't think that word-for-word...but if you're anything like me...we sure act like it. We get mad when things go wrong(just ask me about my day yesterday). We think we are God...the 4th part of the trinity has arrived. This is wrong thinking! His ways are higher! There is a huge gap between our ways and his. We have to learn to trust him in the gap even when we don't understand what he's doing. Even in bad times, do you trust that he is still God? Even when we suffer abuse or tragedy...things that are not good...God is still good. All things(even evil things) are things that God will use for good. Bad things happen but it doesn't change God.

When things don't work out the way we planned, we tend to start trying to do things only God can do on our own.
Genesis 16:1-3 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
Sarah didn't trust that God would fulfill his promise and so she tried to take control. If you try to do it in your own strength, you will give birth to Ishmael's all your life. I, I, I gives you Ishmael. But even if you end up with Ishmael...there is still an Isaac in your life. He will still be faithful. If he said it, he will do it.

There is no promise too hard for him to fulfill, no prayer he can't answer, no bondage he can't break...there is NOTHING that my God cannot do. His glory is our good.

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