GREATER THAN

1 John 3:20

“GOD IS GREATER THAN MY CIRCUMSTANCES”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 Blessings is a song written and sang by Christian music artist Laura Story.  Laura wrote that song after she & her husband found out that he had a brain tumor.  Through that ordeal, Laura & her husband, Martin, discovered that God is faithful and they received blessings out of circumstances that looked like anything but a blessing.  Laura & Martin know that God is GREATER THAN their circumstances.

 

The apostle Paul testified that God was GREATER THAN his circumstances.  Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.  Paul wrote about some difficult circumstances that he found himself in.  He was hard pressed by some circumstances and struck down by difficulties.  But Paul was not defeated.  He served a God who was GREATER THAN his circumstances.

 

Like Paul, you might find life’s circumstances closing in on you. You may have had some things happen to you that you didn’t want to happen to you.  You might find yourself in some situations you wish you could get out of but you can’t.   But with faith & hope you too will discover that the God who is GREATER THAN is GREATER THAN your circumstances.

 

God is GREATER THAN your circumstances for 3 reasons.  First…..

 

  1. God is AWARE of my circumstances

 

There is something we wonder about when we find ourselves in some troubling situations, especially if we have been in them awhile.  We begin to wonder, does God know what I’m going through?  Does He understand?  Does He care?

 

The answer to those questions is YES!  Does God know what you’re going through?  Yes, He does.  Psalm 147:5 says:

 

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” – Psalm 147:5

 

There is no limit to God’s understanding.  Therefore, He understands what you are going through.  And then we read this about God’s thoughts:

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

 

How much higher are God’s thoughts than our thoughts?  As high as the heavens are above the earth.  How high is that?  Let me try to give you an idea by sharing some information about how huge our universe is. This is simply astounding to think about.

 

Our little corner of the universe is the Milky Way Galaxy.  In our galaxy are billions and billions of stars.  It is estimated that there are 80 billion more galaxies in the universe.  That’s enough galaxies for everyone on planet Earth to have 10 galaxies each.

 

 Our universe is a pretty big neighborhood.  Our universe is so vast that the only way to measure it is in light years.  Light travels @ 186,000 miles/sec.  In the time it takes you to snap your finger, light has traveled around the earth 6 times.  That’s fast!

 

In one minute, light travels 11 million miles

In one day, light travels 16 billion miles

In one year, light travels 5 trillion, 865 billion, 696 million miles.  We’re talking U.S. national debt levels now!

Astro-physicists estimate that the outer edge of the universe is 15.5 billion light years way.  That’s virtually unimaginable. 

 

That, my friends, is the distance between God’s thoughts and our thoughts.  His thoughts are heavens above the earth higher than our thoughts.  So, your deepest and wisest thoughts fall 15.5 billion light years short of how great and how wise God’s thoughts are.

 

Now, don’t you suppose that in all of God’s vast universe of knowledge, His thoughts would include being aware of your circumstances?  I would say so.

 

God understands your needs.  He knows all about your financial situation, your health struggles, your emotional issues and your relationship problems.

 

A wealthy grandfather who was hard of hearing went to the doctor about his hearing problem.  The doctor fitted him for hearing aids and told the man that he would now hear everything perfectly.

 

A month later, the grandfather went back to the doctor for a check-up.  The doctor said to him- “I bet your family is really glad that you got these hearing aids “

 

The grandfather said- “Doc, I haven’t even told my family about the hearing aids.  I’ve just been sitting around listening to their conversations for the past month.  I’ve changed my will 4 times.”

 

  We may be like that family, in that, we think that no one is listening to us. You may think that no one understands what you’re going through or what you’re up against.  But God does.

 

Not only is God aware of what you are going through, He cares about you as you go through it.  Psalm 56:8 is one of the most touching verses in the Bible:

 

“You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected ALL my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in Your book.” – Psalm 56:8

 

Eric Clapton, in his Grammy winning song about the loss of his 6-year-old-son, wondered if there were tears in heaven.

 

You bet there are.  Every tear that rolls down your cheeks, God catches and puts in a bottle.  That bottle has your name on it.  It contains every tear that you’ve ever shed here on earth.

 

God is so moved by your circumstances that He’s keeping a diary.  He’s writing down every struggle that you’re going through.  That’s how much God is moved by your pain, your struggles and your difficulties.

 

God has not turned a deaf ear to your cries of anguish.  God has intensely entered into your suffering with you.

 

As life caves in around you , you might be tempted to think that no one knows the difficult circumstances you are in.  You might think that no one understands the depression you’re going through, the fear that overwhelms you, the brokenness, hopelessness and loneliness that you feel. 

 

Not only does God know, He cares.  He cares about what you are going through because He cares about you.

 

Not only is God aware of your circumstances.  He is there.  This is the second way that God is GREATER THAN my circumstances:

 

  1. God is Present in my circumstances

 

Here is another thing that we wonder about in the midst of difficult circumstances.  We wonder, “God where are you?”  Where is God when you face a tough situation?  God is right there with you in the midst of your circumstances.

 

Psalm 46:1 promises that:

 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

 

This verse doesn’t promise a God who is present some of the time.  This verse doesn’t say that God is present most of the time.  It says that God is an ever-present help in trouble.

 

Being ever-present means that there isn’t a time when God is not with you.  God will not abandon you during your darkest days.  He has promised you that He will never leave you nor will He forsake you.  God will be with you as you go through whatever you are going through.  God will be with you as you deal with whatever hard thing you have to deal with.

 

Sometimes we might have a hard time believing that God is with us.  Sometimes you may feel like your prayers aren’t getting any higher than the ceiling.  But they don’t have to.  Why?  Because God is right there with you in the room where you are praying to Him.

 

Why do we have a hard time believing that God is with us?  One reason is because we’re discouraged.

 

A second reason is that we are keeping up such a frantic pace trying to deal with our situation that we have lost sight of God.  Instead of keeping up a frantic pace, we need to pace ourselves.  We need to slow down.

 

Psalm 46:1 says that God is an ever-present help in trouble.  But the key to experiencing God being ever-present is found in verse 10 of that Psalm.  Verse 10 says- “Be still and know that I am God.”

 

We need to get still and have some quiet moments.  It is in those quiet moments that we become more aware of God’s presence and experience His peace. 

 

James wrote:

 

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” – James 4:8

 

When we draw near to God, we will realize that He is with us.  But it’s hard for us to draw near to God when we are busy all the time.  That’s why we need to get still and be still.

 

An 85-year-old Catholic nun learned this in a new way.  While staying alone in her convent, she got trapped inside a broken elevator for 4 nights and 3 days.  She had her cell phone with her, but there wasn’t any signal.  Fortunately, she had with her a jar of water, some celery sticks, and a few cough drops to keep her going.

 

At first, she said to herself, “this can’t happen!”  But then she decided to turn her elevator into a personal prayer retreat.  “It was either panic or pray,” she later told a reporter who interviewed her for CNN. 

 

She started viewing the experience as a “gift”.  She said- “I believe that God’s presence was my strength and my joy, really.  I felt God’s presence almost immediately.  I felt like He provided the opportunity for a closer relationship.”

 

When you find yourself trapped in a circumstance that is beyond your control, why don’t you use the situation to be still and draw near to God in prayer? 

 

The Bible teaches us that when we are anxious, we need to pray.  The promise is

when we pray that we experience God’s peace.

 

God is GREATER THAN your circumstances because God is present in your circumstances.  You don’t have to go through them alone.  God is right there with you.  And God’s presence in your circumstances will bring you comfort in your circumstances.

 

God is also GREATER THAN my circumstances because…….

 

  1. God can Empower my circumstances

 

A little girl was sitting at the kitchen table with some paper and markers drawing a picture while her mother was busy fixing dinner.  Her mom asked her what she was drawing.  The little girl told her that she was drawing a picture of God.

 

Her mother told her that she couldn’t draw a picture of God because no one knows what God looks like.  The little girl said, “Well, they will when I get done!”

 

How do you picture God?  Do you picture a God who is GREATER THAN your circumstances?  Do you picture a God who is All-Powerful? Do you picture a God who can empower your circumstances?

 

Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet.  He was down and depressed about the sinful condition of the nation of Israel.  But in the midst of his circumstances, Jeremiah had faith in the God who was GREATER THAN his circumstances.  This is what Jeremiah declared about God:

 

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.” –Jeremiah 32:17

 

Nothing is too hard for God.  Not even your circumstances.  Let’s think for a moment about some of the circumstances that God empowered for people.

 

The children of Israel were fleeing Egypt.  The Egyptian army was in hot pursuit.  The Israelites come to the banks of the Red Sea.  The Red Sea was in front of them.  The Egyptian army was behind them and there were mountains on either side of them.  The Israelites were trapped.  Their circumstances seemed hopeless.  That is, until God empowered their circumstances by parting the Red Sea.  They walked through on dry ground and when the Egyptians tried to follow, God brought the waters back together and the Egyptian army took the last bath they would ever take.

 

Young David went to fight the Philistine giant Goliath.  Goliath stood over 9 feet tall.  David was just a boy.  Goliath could have easily overpowered David.  But God empowered David and his circumstances.  With just a sling and a stone, David dropped Goliath right where he stood.

 

In the book of Daniel, we read where 3 Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego were thrown into a blazing furnace because they refused to worship the image of gold that Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon had set up.  But God empowered those 3 Jewish fellas in their circumstances.  They became fire proofed.  Not a hair of their heads was singed!

 

Also, in the book of Daniel, we read of Daniel being thrown into a den of lions.  Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den because he prayed to the Lord God instead of praying to King Darius, king of the Persian Empire.  But the lions ended up not being hungry on that day.  God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.  God empowered Daniel’s dire circumstances.

 

Jesus and his disciples were on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat.  A powerful storm blew up.  It was so strong that the disciples feared for their lives.  They woke Jesus up and asked him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Jesus simply stood up and calmed the storm.

 

God can empower your circumstances and He can empower you in your circumstances. He will either calm the storm in your life or he will help you weather the storm.  In Philippians 4:13, Paul declared:

 

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

 

God will give you the strength and determination to rise above your circumstances.  God will enable you to make the best of bad circumstances.

 

God can give you strength in your situation.  You have to trust God.  You have to believe that God is GREATER THAN your circumstances.  You have to believe that God will give you the power to overcome your circumstances. 

 

PRAYER for people’s circumstances.

 

Of all the difficult circumstances you’ll ever find yourself in, the most difficult of all is your sinful condition. The Bible says that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

Our sinful state is an impossible situation for us.  We can’t be good enough and we can’t do enough good things to atone for our sins.

 

It is impossible for us to save ourselves.  But Jesus said that what is impossible for us, is possible w/God.

 

God can save us.  God’s grace is GREATER THAN all our sin.  Our sin was atoned for when Jesus died for our sins on the cross.

 

In order for you to be saved, you have to believe in Jesus as your Lord & Savior, repent of your sin, confess your faith & be baptized.

 

If you are watching from home this morning, and you want to accept Jesus and be baptized, please call the church office so I can speak with you.

 

For those here in the sanctuary, you can receive Christ as your Savior and be baptized this morning if you will respond by coming forward as we sing our commitment song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Us

Lebanon Christian Church

409 Yorktown Road

 

Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603

 

Phone: 757 887-5536

 

  

CCS #8003



 

Graded Classes
Nursery - High School
Sunday 9:30 AM
Adult Bible Fellowships Sunday 9:30 AM
Morning Worship Service Sunday 10:45 AM

Children’s and teen Bible School will resume in September.

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