Complaining

WHY DO WE WHINE SO MUCH?

We complain easily and we complain a lot.

As Christians we complain despite the reality that our life has the proverbial “embarrassment of riches”. The fullest description of our wealth of blessings may be what we find in Ephesians 1:3-14:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

A believer who habitually complains – is somewhat like Bill Gates moaning about his finances, or Michael Phelps whining that he doesn’t have enough Olympic medals.

In addition to what Ephesians describes,

We have God’s unfailing Word that we can read and follow in all situations

We have the Holy Spirit – all that God is – living in us

We have Christ who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords interceding on our behalf

We have the open invitation to cast every burden upon our Lord Jesus

We have the Church which God raised up to bless and support us

We have the wondrous promise that every situation will work together for our eternal good

So how are we using this treasury of ‘riches’ from God?

Yes, our mouths should be open and we should have a lot to say. But let it be praise rather than complaint, thanksgiving rather than grumbling. These are the appropriate responses for all who are in Christ! As the Psalmist declares,

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised”

 

GRUMBLE FREE

Phil 2,14

by Debbie Huber

 

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vainPhilippians 2:13-16a

My growth group recently dealt with the question, “Is it feasible to be able to never grumble?” We all chuckled and quickly answered, “No!” Sure does not feel like it is possible, at least in our own strength. We all realize that we can grumble about so many little things we do not even think twice about. Things like the weather, the slow person in the grocery line ahead of you, the service at a restaurant, the coworker who doesn’t seem to be pulling her weight, and the list goes on.

But Paul in Philippians instructs us to do ALL things without grumbling. Then he goes on to say, “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation”. How can we be blameless and innocent in this area? It is not in our own strength. The Bible tells us it is God who works in us to accomplish this for His good pleasure. He supernaturally enables us to refrain from grumbling. “Holding fast to the word of life” keeps us focused on Christ and not how we are affected by circumstances.

Why does it matter if we grumble a little? Everyone complains about the weather, the traffic, etc. Is there a day that goes by where you do not hear anyone grumbling about anything? It is probably rare.

If we live a “grumble-free” life, we will shine a light in a dark world filled with lots of grumbling. It is not so the crooked and twisted world will think that we are great but that they will know that Christ is great.

 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.09.14

 “God has saved us, now what?”            

Exodus 15:22-ch 17

The Israelites have left Egypt & the Red Sea behind. As they enter the wilderness, they will face a series of serious trials

The Biblical narrative focuses on two things:  (1) The people’s response to their difficulties, and (2) God’s faithfulness in their difficulties

Overview of trials the Israelites faced

1.  God provides pure water (15:22-27)

Need:  a huge number of people & animals can only find undrinkable water

Response:  they grumble against Moses

Provision:  Moses calls on the Lord who tells Moses to throw specific log in the water which becomes drinkable

2.  God provides manna (ch 16)

Need:  the ongoing issue of food arises

Response:  they grumble against Moses saying it would have been better if they stayed in Egypt

Provision:  God solves their food problem for the next 40 years by sending manna

3.  God provides water from a rock (17:1-7)

Need:  once again the people cannot find water

Response:  they quarreled with Moses; he is questioned and accused

Provision:  God has Moses strike a rock with his staff and water comes forth

4.  God Provides Victory Against Enemies (17:8-16)

There is no mention of complaining, just an enemy attacking  

Moses has a two part plan:

(1)  Joshua will pick men to fight in the battle

(2)  Moses will hold up his staff on a hilltop

God’s people fight, but the victory only comes as Moses holds up his staff

This was not a magical staff, but a reminder that victory is by God’s power

The story stays focused on the hill, because that is where the victory comes from

Although the victory is completely of God, a weary Moses needed the help of others to hold up the staff

Afterward God seems to give Moses a case of good news/bad news 

God says war with Amalek will continue through the generations (they are a symbol of the enemies of God’s people)

But the key truth which immediately follows is “the Lord will have this war”.  Our protection is always by God’s provision

God the deliverer, is also as God the provider

We have been delivered, but we still walk through a broken world

In Christ, we are completely saved, but the fullness of it cannot be experienced in a sinful world

We too are in “the wilderness”, with all the struggles it brings

But we struggle knowing what God has done in delivering us from bondage

And we persist knowing what God has promised to take us into the land of His rest

We have been made children of God, but we still need testing

In chapters 15 & 16 God says He is “testing” those He delivered

This is not for God to discover what is in us (nothing hidden)

Testing reveals to us what is in our hearts. It shows the inconsistencies in living out what we say we believe

Testing sifts & purifies us in ways that ‘ease’ cannot provide

This testing was God’s means of teaching His people and fulfilling His care

Grumbling & complaining are inappropriate responses for God’s people

Grumbling forgets – accuses – and rebels in the face of God who saves

The Israelites couldn’t stop their stomachs from grumbling, but they could stop their mouths from grumbling

The correct response to what God has done is seek him and trust him

These responses remember – exalt – and represent our Savior

How do we do this when life is hard?  We are to praise Him, because praise remembers

We are on the same journey as the Israelites, but with greater blessings (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

We eat the same spiritual food

We are in the care of the same faithful Heavenly Father  

And the rock we drink from, is the same Christ who in himself is all we need

DRUNK WOMEN SHOULD NOT JUDGE BASEBALL

Stephen Altrogge shared an experience on his blog that he had watching a couple tipsy middle-aged women yelling complaints against players during a Phillies vs Pirates game.

As Stephen points out, neither of the woman likely had much experience themselves in being baseball players, yet they didn’t hesitate to mock the best players in the world, because those athletes didn’t perform according to their expectations.

It is an interesting article that becomes a TERRIFIC article, when Stephen makes this application to the women’s behavior .