New Hope Notes
On Life’s Journey - Rejoice in Thankfulness And Trust
Pastor John Tilton
The key to life's journey is that we would Rejoice in Thanksgiving and Trust the Lord. Life in today's America and the world is a crazy journey. And that's what we’ll speak of today that even in the trials and tribulation times, that we would rejoice in thankfulness and trust God.
I’m grateful for my parents. You know why? Because we were poor and I remember mom would wear these tattered muumuus and she’d never buy anything new for herself. I remember that she’d scrounge up all the change that she could find and put in a Band-Aid can and put the can up in the closet. I knew that was my lunch money! I think back on all those things.
My parents are now in heaven with the Lord, but I think back that a lot of who I am today is because of my parents, my elders—kupuna. Today, we want to honor them because, among other things, they gave us a lot of wisdom, especially spiritual wisdom:
“A’ole pilikia” means “No problem!”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
“Malama pono” means “Take care.”
Ephesians 5:15 NIV: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.”
“Ah bumbai come” means “Have patience, no worry.”
2 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV: “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.”
“Oe paakiki” means “You’re so hard headed and stubborn.”
2 Kings 17:14 NIV: “However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers.”
“Auwe no ho’i” means “It is what it is.”
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Mark 4:9 NIV: “Then Jesus said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That’s the key to life’s journey: that in times such as these, we would rejoice in thanksgiving and trust God because right now America and the world are on a crazy journey.
Think about the massacre just a few weeks ago on a Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and just prior to that the massacre in Las Vegas at the concert. I read in the paper the other day that he shot over a thousand rounds in just a couple of minutes.
This is our life today. I’m not sharing this so that we would be down or despondent but I’m sharing it because Jesus Christ our Lord is the answer. You may be going through a financial struggle, a career decision, a challenge with a relationship in which you need to make amends, a health issue, something that’s happening in your marriage that God needs to fix, or an addiction.
We do not know the future, but we do know who holds the future—that God has a plan no matter what we’re going through. Life is a series of things that we confront daily. We have the ability to make a choice that will make a difference in our lives. So what do we do? How do we respond? How do we contend in this world?
Sometimes God may be planning to do something really profound in your life and wants you to listen while He prepares, equips, seeds, and invests into you as your elder, kupuna. He wants to take the mess you’re going through and turn it into a wonderful message for others. In life there will be trials and tribulations but how we fare in those times will make the difference—how we fare in those valleys is what matters.
We can see things as problems or we can see them as potential.
James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Your faith will be tested so that you will have perseverance and God can finish his work and you will be mature and complete.
Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” If you trust and submit to God, He will make your paths and your life journey straight!
1. In Times Of Trials And Tribulation, Choose Thankfulness And Trust.
Exodus 13:21-22, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” When the Israelites were leaving Egypt, Moses turned to the Lord in trust, and God gave them a cloud cover from the hot sun and at night He gave them a pillar of fire to lead them in the darkness.
God is saying, “If you will trust in Me, I want to cover you with My love and My promises.” And if you’re feeling that you’re in the darkest time of your life right now, going through tough challenges, God is saying, “I want to be light to you. I want to be the light to touch your heart because I want to give you perseverance. I want to give you tenacity.” In your tribulations and trials, when you turn to the Lord, He will show you His way.
2. Your Perspective, God’s Plan and Potential Are The Keys To Life. Perspective is how you see things or how you think about a situation. Oftentimes, we can look at life in a way that makes us life giving or life taking. Walk out today with a perspective that is firm because of what Christ is doing in your life. If you look for good, good will find you. If you look with disdain, oftentimes, all you will find is pain. Do you believe that God has a plan for you?
Exodus 13:17-18: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, ‘Lest the people change their minds – when they see war and return to Egypt.’ But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.”
There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan—a long way through the wilderness and a shorter way. The Word says that God equipped them for battle, but He didn’t equip them to take on the Philistines, so He took them the longer way—He had a plan for them!
Sometimes in our lives, things may take a little longer. But it will be God saying, “I want to do something.” Everything in today’s life is expediency and we want it now! We can’t wait. We’re impatient.
Sometimes God will cause us to go on a longer journey because He wants us to face the problems that we can’t fix because He wants to fix it! It’s often in the valleys (the longer journeys) that God wants to teach us great lessons. If you’re going through a tough time ask God, “What are you trying to do in my life, Lord?” Maybe He wants to teach you a lesson, something that you need to know so He can mold, shape, build your character, and equip you, as He wanted to equip the Israelites.
God wants to reveal Himself to you and change your heart. Are you willing to let God change your heart today, so that you walk out with a different perspective? God wants to change your heart, your mind, and how you look at things. God’s timing may not be your timing but it’s always timely. God’s plan and potential require the right perspective, but remember, there is an enemy who tries to instill fear so…
3. Don’t Let Fear Paralyze And Pommel You.
Exodus 14:10-12: “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out to Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, “Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?” It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.’”
What are your Pharaohs and Egyptian armies? What are you struggling with? What invokes fear and reticence? What stops you in your tracks? What numbs and paralyzes you that you want to turn back and retreat?
2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Fear can paralyze, pommel, hammer, and beat us up. Instead of fear, we want to choose power and to trust God. It’s not what lies ahead of you but what lies within you. I want to encourage you to go out with a heart and perseverance in trials and tribulations. Trust with thankfulness and don’t let fear paralyze you. Pray this prayer from ibelieve.com:
“I'm coming to you today, Father, as your child, longing to hear from you and asking for your divine healing. There's so much I don't understand about life, but I do know that with one touch, one word, you can make me whole. Please forgive me of my sins, cleanse me of my unrighteousness, and begin your healing from the inside out.
I don't always know what your will is, Lord, especially in times like now when I desperately seek your face. I offer you no promises, no bargains, no deals to exchange for my health. I simply bow my heart before you to tell you the desire of my heart, that I want to spend as many years as I can loving you here, loving others, and wanting to become more like you.
However you choose to accomplish that is up to you and okay with me… I absolutely believe you have the power to heal. You demonstrated that on earth, and you still heal in miraculous ways today. Even when my faith is weak, you say it is enough, and my love for you is strong. I know you already hold my heart and life in your hands. It's up to you…
Ultimately, I want your will to be my will. I look forward to spending eternity with you; but Lord, if you have plans still more for me to do here on this earth, I not only need and want your physical healing, Lord, but I need a thorough deep down cleansing and strengthening—a whole hearted renewal of all that I am because all that I am is yours. In Jesus' name, Amen.”