The Price of One Life

This scene should shake us all, as this man looks back on how many people he could’ve saved from the Holocaust. How many people could we save by giving up one dinner, buying used instead of new, giving up a simple want to provide for someone elses need? When we get to heaven and see the full picture, will we look back with this same regret?

The price of one life. I threw away so much money. I didn’t do enough. This car could have saved 10 people. This pen, 2 people.

Consider giving up one meal this month, and donating the cost to water282.org. My friend Jacob started this non-profit in 2011 after a heart-wrenching divorce. He felt the pull of God, and left everything to go build water wells for those in need. He has successfully given clean water to over 38,451 people.

He keeps finding villages in need, who have little water that is polluted, and often also treated as a bathroom. He gives sanitation and well maintenance training to each village. These wells not only cut down on deaths due to waterborne diseases, but also sparks economic growth as people can easily access water, hold a job (due to time saved from traveling to their last water source; often miles away by foot), and water crops.

Water282 continues to take situations like this:

water282 water well africa nonprofit

And transform them into situations like this:

water282 water well africa nonprofit

Consider helping by giving $10 in lieu of one evening on the town. At the end of our lives, we don’t want to feel like we didn’t do enough. Consider the price of one life.

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Faith & Anger

Would God rather us be angry with Him or have a lack of faith in Him? 

– 2 Kings 6 – Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25There was a great famine in the city… 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” 27The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you?… 28Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, … we cooked my son and ate him… 30When the king heard the woman’s words… 31He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”.. 33The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

… 2 Kings 7:1-2,20 – Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” 2The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”… 20And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Cannibalism is a weighty subject, and probably got your attention more so than what I wanted to talk about. I hope to say more about it, and leadership, in the coming days. Today, however let’s touch on the topics of faith and anger in this passage.

The king was waiting for God’s to deliver them from the siege and famine, but when he heard that the people were starting to eat each other, he became angry. He started to lose his faith in God and he lashed out at God by threatening to kill Elisha, whom God often spoke through. Elisha responded 1) with force by barricading the door to protect himself, and 2) by telling the king to wait on the Lord one more day. Perhaps God didn’t respond as fast as the king would like, because the king was not acting the way he should.

  1. He should have been in sackcloth, asking for God’s help, while searching himself for any wrongdoing. Instead, he tried to hide his sackcloth under his royal clothes.
  2. He also could’ve sought God out beforehand, instead of waiting until the last second to see what God had to say about the siege. Seeking God should come first.

Nonetheless, there is an interesting principle in this story:

The king expressed anger by asking Elisha, ‘Why should I wait on the Lord any longer?’  Though he went with the intention to kill Elisha, he still listened to Elisha’s response and waited on the Lord one more day. The officer, however, expressed disbelief in God’s ability, and died because of it.

So anger is better than unbelief? Yes.
It is better to have faith in God, and get mad at Him when it doesn’t look like He is coming through for you, than it is to express disbelief in what God says He is going to do.

The king tried to wait on God, and tried to repent by wearing sackcloth. He didn’t do either of them perfectly, but he tried and God honored that. He intended to sin in his anger, but he ended up changing his mind and doing what was right. The officer, who did not believe God could help them, was not honored.

There is a situation in my life in which I have faith, and am waiting, though I may have times of anger or questioning. It’s nice to know that God is okay with that, and can put people in my life to renew my faith. It’s nice to know that there is grace, and that he honors a slip in faith as long as there is an effort of faith. I hope that encourages you as well. Faith is hard, and faith is necessary, but God gives us grace when we try.

Matt. 21: 28-32 – There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

There is a way to be angry and not sin, but that wasn’t what the king had in mind. Nonetheless, the king turned away from the sin in his heart and chose not to kill Elisha. He came to God in anger, and God helped him because he was willing to listen. It’s better to go to the person you have a problem with, before it turns into wrath, but God has nothing to fear. The correct response for us is to set a boundary, and get help, like Elisha did by gathering elders to barricade the door. God however, just wants you to come to Him for help. If getting to a breaking point, or a rage, is the only way you’ll come to Him for help, then He accepts that. Job expressed his anger to God, and God helped him see how things really were.


Heb. 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


God asks us to have faith in Him, and to even put His words, ways, principles to the test. If we test Him, in our faith, He will reward us:

Mal. 3:10 – … Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

When the Bible says that testing God is wrong, it is referring to testing God in lack of faith. Testing God is nether right, nor wrong in itself; it simply depends on your heart.

Jer. 17:10 – I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Deut. 6:16 – Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Ex. 17:7 – And he called the place Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling) because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

James 1:6-8 – But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Ps. 94:18 – When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

Mark 9:21-24 – Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Help my unbelief. That is a prayer that God honors. He loves truth; even when the truth is that you are angry, He honors it. Seek Him first, ask Him to help your unbelief, and just choose to be real with Him today.

Empty

‘Bottomless pit’ and ‘well’, in the following verses, are the same word in the Greek language: phrear. This is one of several word denoted as ‘Hell’ in the Greek language. Hell, then, can be a state of the heart…

– Rev. 9:2 – He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.

– John 4:11-12 – “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?

In context with the rest of the story, the woman at the well was basically saying, ‘I am an empty, bottomless pit’. I have a hole that I can’t fill. I cannot get enough husbands, or boyfriends, to fill this hole in me. How then can I draw water up to quench my thirst?

– Eccl. 12:8 (MSG) – It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.

Smoke chokes you out and burns your eyes. It dulls the senses. It wants you to flee in discomfort instead of putting out the fire at its source. It doesn’t want you to have an endless source of water to squelch its flames.

The smoke isn’t the fire; it’s only what the fire produced. I lot of times we try to treat symptoms instead of curing the illness. God is the healer. This woman’s symptom was that she felt like she had to have a man in her life. The root issue was something else. It might have been that she had not received love from her father, or that she never finished grieving over the loss of her first husband. Whatever the case, Satan loves to throw up the smoke screen and try to confuse us. He knows that if we can’t see to put out the fire, that he can continue to burn us out till there is nothing left.

– John 4:25-26 – The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

She had heard of Jesus, but now she’s met Jesus. Jesus turns your bottomless pit into a spring of water. He doesn’t just give you one drink in your need, but provides a lifetime of provision for you. He is the living water and the only way to put out the flame at its source. If you have a bottomless pit that you can’t fill, ask Jesus to come meet with you and give you a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.

– 1 Cor. 3:20 – The Master sees through the smoke screens

– Rom. 8:27 (MSG) – He knows us far better than we know ourselves

– Rom. 8:1 – there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

When you can’t see through all the smoke, ask Him to show you and snuff out the flame. Notice that Jesus didn’t condemn this woman. The woman didn’t lie to Him about her sin. God honors your honesty, even when you know that you are doing something wrong. He won’t condemn you for being honest and asking for His help. He came to explain everything to us. He wants you to know your own heart and understand what it is you really need.

James 1:5 – But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him.

Jesus isn’t just a well of water. Jesus is a spring of water welling up.  You don’t have to do the work of drawing up the water for yourself when you have Jesus. Just get in His presence.

Listen to this worship song on the subject: Jeremy Camp “Empty Me”

7 Quotes from the Cross

Jesus went through His worst day, to help you through yours. When we go through junk, it makes us masters and gives us wisdom for those going through the same struggles. In one day Jesus was emotionally distraught to the point of sweating blood, was physically beaten, strung up naked for public humiliation, rejected by all his friend, suffered the most agonizing death, and yet he still perfectly taught us how to get through a bad day. He said 7 things on the cross, and all of them are significant for us today:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)
  2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)
  3. “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)
  4. “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)
  5.  “I’m thirsty.” (John19:29)
  6. “It is finished.” (John19:30)
  7.  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

Fix your Eyes on Jesus– Heb. 12:2 (MSG) – keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.


1. On your worst day, forgive people
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)

– Eph. 6:12 – we struggle not against flesh and blood but evil forces in the spirit realm.

If you need someone to be mad at, get mad at the devil.

Leave It, or be a Slave to ItForgiveness is not:
1) Minimizing the seriousness of the offense
2) Instant restoration of trust
3) Resuming the relationship without changes

We need to forgive because:
1) Our own emotions can’t be healed from the pain until we let go of it
2) Everyone has done something wrong
3) If we can’t forgive, we can’t be forgiven by God or man
4) Jesus forgave us
5) The people who hurt us were victims too


2. On your worst day, help someone else
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ( Luke23:39-43)

Criminal on Cross– Luke 23:39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus was dying on the cross, and He didn’t fear piling on more rejection from people, or harm from the soldiers – He still spoke the truth. He talked to the two criminals hanging next to Him. It was a 50/50 shoot. He took the chance and He saved one! One criminal accepted Jesus as his savior. The other, more or less, said, ‘Get yourself off the cross and I’ll believe what you have to say; why should I trust you if you are in the same position I’m in?’ It didn’t faze Jesus.

Help othersWe feel like we don’t have the right to try to help others when we are going through the same struggle that they are. Jesus shows us otherwise. On your worst day, and in the middle of your worst situation, you can still speak Life to someone else. ‪It probably comforted Jesus to have a friend hanging there next to Him, going through the same pain He felt; especially after all his so-called friends had rejected Him that day. It’s easy to say ‘I can’t take anymore’, but what if helping someone else is God’s way of lifting our pain? Taking our mind off our own problems can ease our anxiety. Seeing someone else go through the same struggle can give us a different perspective that can help us. There are countless ways that God uses helping others, to help ourselves.

– 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

– Col. 3:12 – Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


3. On your worst day, take care of those who are important to you
“Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John19:25-27)

Jesus helps Mary from the cross– John 19:25-27 – Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Joseph, Mary’s husband, was dead and Jesus, her son, was dying. Jesus’ situation was really bad, but He still did what it took to take care of those He loved; even if it meant getting a friend to help Him do it.

The people closest to you, usually get the brunt of your bad day, but Jesus took care of the people closest to Him. What a great example!


4. On your worst day, you’ll feel like God has forsaken you
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt.27)

Job forsakenSometimes we try to make God tell us why, before we do what He assigned to us.

– Job 3:23 (MSG) – What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?

Realize that there are going to be some questions that you don’t get an answer for. We live by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. God says His plans for us are good, so we have to take His word for it sometimes. When you get to heaven, and get the answer, you will say, ‘Oooo, ok. I couldn’t see that, but I’m glad that happened the way it did.’ God’s plan for everyone is good. Job basically said, ‘God, make this mess in my life go away, or at least tell me why my life is so messed up.’ There are 35 chapters of that, before God responds from a scary storm:

– Job 38:2 – Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

– Job 38:1-5 – Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

– Job 38:18-21 – Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!

– Job 40:2 – Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?

God creates UniverseBasically, we assume that if God gave us an answer that we would be able to comprehend it. Gods understanding far exceeds our own. Sometimes the answer is too complex for us. We can only understand it once we get to heaven and see how it played out with our new, more capable, mind.

God got a little sarcastic with Job. God who has lived infinite years, said ‘Surely you know, since you have lived so many years!’ The point is, we don’t have to understand everything. We can just trust Him. Paul & Silas did:

– Acts 16:22-23 – The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison

Was it God’s will for them to be flogged and imprisoned? No. It happened because God gave people freewill, and the ability to make their own choices. Freewill is a gift, but unfortunately it is one that is highly abused. God chose not to control us, or make us slaves, and I thank Him for it, because I’ve had enough control and manipulation in my life to be sick of it. Anyway, they were flogged and most of us would be wondering why God would allow that to happen. Yes freewill, but yes, He could also save them. God could’ve rescued them. God rescued several other people from things like this. Nonetheless, they weren’t offended that God didn’t rescue them. In fact:

– Acts 16:25-26 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Paul & Silas in PrisonGod delivered them. He came through. Not on their timing, but with perfect timing. They went on the mission to spread the gospel. The free people didn’t receive the message, but God knew who would. The people in the prison had been mistreated the same way Paul and Silas had. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Paul and Silas had freedom, and that freedom got on everyone. God allowed Paul to go through the flogging so he could save all the prisoners. Since that was Paul’s intentions of going to the city anyway, I don’t think he would’ve had a problem with being flogged, once he knew how many people it saved. But Paul didn’t have to know God’s plan in advance. He knew God and trusted that His plan was good.

Remember:
1. God is always with you; even in the depths of hell (Ps.139:7-8 )
2. God is never late (Hab. 2:3)
3. God knows best (Heb.11:39-40)
4. God cares (James5:11)


5. On your worst day, you have needs
“I’m thirsty.”
(John19:29)

Jesus drinks Be human enough to acknowledge your need. We feel like we can’t have feelings or emotions. We like to act like we have it all together, but God Himself acknowledged His need. We need people in the church to start being real with each other.

We all have hidden weaknesses, a desire for approval, and past hurts that need healing. We need support, growth, protection, and unconditional love. This is what the church should look like.


6. On your worst day, you need to know that it doesn’t last forever
“It is finished.” (John19:30)

HopeBe confident that there is a purpose, and an end, to every suffering. No struggle is pointless. No suffering is unending. This life is temporary, but the glory to come is eternal and every tear will be wiped away.

– Ps. 126:5-6 – those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

– Rom. 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He works everything out for our good.

– 2 Tim. 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

1. I know that God loves me
2. I know that God wants the best for me
3. I know that God has a plan for me
4. I know that God will bring me through

– Lam. 3:21-22 – Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

– 2 Tim. 4:18 – The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


7. On your worst day, you can give it to God
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke23:44-46)

quoteJesus felt abandoned by His father, but He still knew that He needed to trust Him. Surrender your day to God, and let it go. I’m going to turn this loose and let you have it, God. I want to hold onto this, but take it over.

– 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

– Phil. 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worry is a control issue. Are you going to be in control or is God going to be in control? The root word means to choke or strangle. It means a divided mind. Worry is unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

– Matt. 6:27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

RestWorry doesn’t make life better, it shortens life. Ever heard the phrase: ‘I’m worried sick.’ Worry is bad for us. Remember God promises us 7,000 times, in the Bible, that He will take care of us.

– Matt. 6:32 (MSG) – People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

– Matt. 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1. Get to know God
2. Put God first in every area of your life
3. Live one day at a time


For more on this topic: How to Live Through A Bad Day – Highlands Sermon Series
Worship: Where you Go, I Go, by Jesus Culture


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