Episode 5
|
May 16, 2022

Truest Truth | True Purpose in Suffering


Our suffering doesn’t have to be in vain. We can trust God to change our stories. He can derive meaning and hope from our greatest difficulties.

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[Applause] i i think that perfectly kind of brings together the conclusion of this series if you've been with us we've been
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talking about identity and the identity we all start with is exactly like that it's exactly the same as gene we start
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with an identity that's rooted in in things that have happened to us and bad experiences we've had and pain we've
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gone through and shame and guilt that we have from our own decisions and and that
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like it or not is an identity we live with and then through a relationship with jesus he now
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has a new identity in him and that's the we believe that that's the only person the only way to have a
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new identity is in christ and today we want to talk about one more identity piece when it comes to when it comes to
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our faith and the truths we believe in i just want to talk about this that that our identity is wrapped up in our our
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purpose but it but it's also our purpose comes through the middle of of pain and
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difficulty and the truth is every single one of us goes through pain and trial
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and difficulty and that's just the way life is but we have this opportunity to have
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hope and purpose through this my objective today is just this that anytime you experience anything in this
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world loss or suffering of any kind that you would know by the end of this
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message what your purpose is in that pain and that's such a difference it makes such a difference
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i know a couple months ago my friends who are in my small group they were stuck at the orlando airport i don't know if you
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remember this being it made national news like it was it was shut down and they happened to be stuck there which
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means you had thousands of people in this airport no planes were leaving you
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couldn't get a rental car and everybody was miserable anybody ever spend the night in an airport right much less two
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that's miserable so they looked around and everybody around them looked like they wanted to hurt somebody right
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and then on top of that they were running out of food like the food court was shutting down and there wasn't enough food to supply for all these
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people so as a as a 21st century american that's about the worst thing you can endure
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and they saw all of this and everybody's miserable but then my friends noticed that there was this one guy
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who seemed to be different he seemed to have a different look on his face and that's because every time they
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called to the counter and they did this thing where they're like hey if anybody wants to come up here and
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take a the next flight will give you a thousand dollars and so he jumped up and he went up there
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and he'd be like i'll take a thousand dollars and and he did that again and again
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he went through the same pain that everybody else in that airport went through but by the end of it he made six
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thousand dollars and my friends said they were sitting there and they were looking at him and he was reading a magazine and everybody
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else is miserable and he kind of just looks over at them and he's like i don't know what everybody's complaining about i don't think it's that bad you know
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he was going through the exact same thing but he had purpose he he had his
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head and his mind and his heart in a different place now it was just to make money but that's where he was and you know
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what the best part is he left at the exact same time as my friends he didn't have to stay any bit longer
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than any one of them same experience six thousand dollars i want to be that man but anyway
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that's what it is all of us have to experience it doesn't matter it doesn't matter if you're religious or not religious it doesn't matter if you're
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rich or poor every one of us will experience the pain and the heartache in this world i want you to know when that
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happens the purpose the hope that you can have in the middle of that
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to do that we're going to walk through continue walking through or end our walkthrough of romans chapter 8. now
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we've been going through this through the entire series and before we get to this part i just i just want to give you
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some context of everything that paul's about to say the book of romans is is vitally important
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to our understanding of faith because here's what happens you read matthew mark luke and john which we call the
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gospels and you read the story of jesus's life and then it all kind of comes to a crescendo and jesus dies and rises from
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the dead and then it just sort of ends and you're left with this wow that's
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incredible and i think the apostles were like man this is incredible but a little bit like
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but i don't know what that fully means so the apostle paul comes around long and he writes the book of romans in the
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first half he spends all of his time just explaining in detail what it means that jesus the son of god died on a
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cross and rose from the grave and he spells it all out most of what we
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understand about the true impact of jesus sacrifice comes from
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the writings of paul and specifically the book of romans so he starts the book of romans in romans
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chapter one and two and he just talks about the actual problem and the actual problem is
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we have a sin problem we have a selfish problem and it's not just you and it's
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not just you and it's not just me it's all of us all of us have this sin
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problem that keeps us from having a relationship with god and it's what
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plagues the entire earth and then in romans chapter 3 he explains
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and jesus was the answer to that problem that it isn't about us behaving or
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becoming better or for obeying some outward religious rules it's about putting our faith in what
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christ did on the cross and when he died on the cross and rose from the dead that gives us the opportunity to believe in him put our
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faith in him that we could be washed that through what jesus did that we could be made clean that we could be
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made holy and now because of that our response to that as he talks about in romans chapter
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six is to walk away from sin which is the original problem
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and we spend our life walking away from this sin now then we get to romans chapter 8 and
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everything i told is the gospel and now in romans 8 he's going to say now now that you believe hopefully you believe
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in the gospel here's what you do on a day-to-day basis to live out your faith
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and he talks about the flesh and this desires of the flesh and it wars against
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our relationship with god and then he talks about as we've been talking about in this series then you've got the spirit the spirit is from god and the
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spirit of god is calling us to put to death the flesh and lived by the spirit and finally last
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week we talked about and really his whole point is just to convince you and we do all of this we live out this
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gospel as children of god now what i want to do is i want to walk
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through some verses picking it up from that point that talk about pain and suffering and difficulty
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i want to talk about those from a theological perspective i want to understand those verses and then i want to give some takeaways at the end uh
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towards the end of the message here of what that means for our purpose uh in the middle of the pain so here
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let's pick it up romans chapter 8 verse 17. it says and since we are his children
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talking about anybody that's believed in this message and put their faith in christ
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and swens we are his children we are his heirs in fact
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together with christ we are heirs of
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god's glory now sometimes because sentences are short you can blow past now i don't want
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you to blow past this he is saying if you put your faith in christ that you are an heir
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i don't know any of you out there maybe you maybe you stand to have an inheritance one day i
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i stand one day to inherit a 200-acre corn farm in nebraska
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my family's farm at least half of it as long as i keep mom happy right so that
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now here's the thing i haven't lived on that farm for 20 30 years i haven't i haven't farmed i haven't worked the
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ground i didn't do anything to earn that inheritance the only reason i have that inheritance
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coming my way is just this because i am a son of jim and dina agler
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that's the only reason i get this inheritance he's using that simple understanding
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he's saying listen you are a child of god man if you if you have put your faith in him
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if you have done that then you are a child of god and that means you're an heir and not to a corn farm
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you are the heir of god's glory
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he doesn't even explain that necessarily what he means but i'm glad he doesn't just say and it's heaven which is this
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nice place one day he says no you are heirs to the glory of god almighty i don't think we can even
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get our mind around what that means but anytime you experience any kind of
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difficulty or pain i want you to keep that in your mind if you're a child of god you are an heir
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to god's glory and the next part this is equally as important
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he says in fact together with christ we are heirs of god's glory but if we are to share in his glory
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we must also share in his suffering
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now this is a key point i want you to get your mind around it isn't just here this is all over the new
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testament this pushes back against a theology or an understanding that we come up with
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sort of on our own some people come up with on us on their own without ever opening a bible or
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going to church or maybe some people do it while going to church and opening their bible they come up with this theology that goes okay
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so i'm going to do my part i'm going to be faithful i'm going to be obedient and then god is going to like keep me from
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experiencing difficult things in this world or at least to the degree that other
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people experience them and you just need to hear this that is something that we came up with
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on our own in fact you don't find that in scripture
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at all in fact jesus said this he turned to his disciples the night he was betrayed and he said listen guys
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in this world you will have trouble
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i want to say that again because that is a bona fide guarantee from the son of god right
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in this world you will have trouble what's the promise
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but take heart i have overcome the world
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i think we get in our mindset that if we just have enough faith and we believe and we pray then god's going to bless us
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and he's going to give us like a get out of get out of the the suffering of this world but paul's telling us the exact
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opposite here and it's important you understand that because you will go through difficult times just as jesus went through
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difficult times here on this earth and you can't pray it away
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and you can't faith it away and you can't obey it
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away we think man if i do my part and i'm obedient then god's gonna like not let
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bad things and i just want you to know that's that's not how it works
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the promise isn't that things are gonna get better right here and right now you still have to live with this world the promise is
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that one day you will be an heir to the glory
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of god so he says this in the next verse he says yeah what we suffer now is
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nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us
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later again this is an important moment where you where we decide kind of what
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our faith is built on i've been guilty of this as a christian and as a pastor
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i want people to have a relationship with jesus if you're here today and you don't have a relationship with jesus i got to tell
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you all in the world i want you to do is have a relation that's all i want for you
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and sometimes in order to like close the deal or encourage you or
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whatever i think i've made false promises and i've implied that like god's gonna fix your here and now
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problems oh he's gonna make your marriage better and he's gonna he's gonna make your life better you'll never have anxiety or
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depression and you can just skip menopause or like whatever you know like whatever whatever the promise like looks like
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that's kind of what we do as christians sometimes and i to tell you i genuinely believe my life is better in christ
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because i have a relationship with christ i believe that but that's not why i believe
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it's a byproduct of why i believe and hear me on this if you
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are here today following god because you're wanting him to make your here and now better immediately
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to fix all of the issues that you have in your life or at least the primary ones
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you will eventually stop believing because that is going to be a promise
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that god never made to you that he falls short on because he never made that promise
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and i can tell you that because i watch people all the time walk away from the faith i watch people get excited about
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faith i get into the bible they start reading and they start going to church and they're like damn man this is great god's like on my side and then they
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experience difficulty and they're like wait what happened i thought god was supposed to like fix all my problems i'm like
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where did you hear that and then he says in the next verse
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he says for all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when god
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will reveal who his children really are do you see how future focused
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he is and he's saying there is a future day where this is this is the pain and the purpose i want you to understand
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here's what's going to happen one day god will reveal what really matters on this earth
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i i kind of compare it to sort of a cheesy reality tv moment right maybe the
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bachelor this is a bad analogy but like where all the ladies are lined up
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you know and he's going to give that first round of roses out i don't even know if that's how they still do it but he's going to give that first round of
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roses away and we're all like who's it going to be and he walks up to one girl and she gets the rose and she's like oh
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and the other girl's like you know and it's just it's all of a sudden it's revealed who has been chosen who's gonna
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make it what he's telling us here is this is where our hope is is
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is that all of creation everything that's happened since the beginning of the world
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is about the children of god there is going to be an epic reveal at
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some point where god goes this is what it's all been about and here are the true
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children of god we're waiting for that reveal
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to take place any time that you deal with the the crap of this life the
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difficulty in this life remember that you're waiting
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for the reveal it's going to be difficult until that day and then he gets into the kind of the
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deeper theology and understanding and this is an important couple of verses for us to get when it comes to pain and
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suffering and explains why it is the way it is he says
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against its will all creation was subjected
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to god's curse a lot of times people look at the world
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like well if god's so smart and powerful and loving he's just really bad at making stuff
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because it's broken and there's pain and there's heartache and why would god do this why would god do this and you need
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to understand this is not god's perfect iteration of a world this is a world that god has
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intentionally cursed and he explains to us why he says but with eager hope
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the creation looks forward to the day creation all of creation including us
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to the day when we will join god's chu it will join god's children in glorious
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freedom from death and decay four we know that all creation has been
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groaning as in the pains of childbirth to the present time
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and we believers also groan even though we have the holy spirit with us as a foretaste of future glory for we
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long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering
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he tells us explicitly yes the world is under a curse and there's a reason for the curse
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and it's the same reason that we learned about in gene's story at the beginning
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it's because we don't seek god when everything's great
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we we don't come back to our heavenly father and turn away from our sin when the world is perfect
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that's not probably anybody's story i know it's not my story
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i wasn't in a position where i'm like man my life is just fantastic
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maybe god will make it better like that's not what i did
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i came to a place where i i felt the weight and burden of the curse
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i felt the weight and burden of my own sin and shame and failures and inability
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to be a good person whatever that is and i just felt like i couldn't do it and i
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got to a place where i had nothing left but to return to my heavenly father
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i think it would be fantastic if that's not the way the world works but that's the way the world works and that's the way all of us work
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because we're stubborn we're prideful and we're sinful
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and this curse is god's way ushering back to him so that we can be revealed so that
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we can have hope eternally in this life here's
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here's what i want to make clear anytime you're going through pain i think there's a few things we can take
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away from those verses we just read a few things we can take away to give us purpose purpose and the pain the first
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one looks like this remain faithful
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i know that may sound simple and it might sound it it probably sounds too easy
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if some somebody maybe is a new believer you're like oh no problem man i'll remain faithful easy
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i just want you to know that is i think that is undervalued at how important that is
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if somebody were to get baptized today and they were like man i'm just excited to follow jesus like what do i need to
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know and i'll be like know that for the rest of your life you are
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now on a long arduous journey to remain faithful the faith that you have right
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now is real but that faith will be tested remain
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faithful and i want to tell you no matter what you go through in this life there's going to be times where man you want to
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go to church and you want to get in a small group and you want to read the bible and you want to pray and it's like it's man you're
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just eating that up it's good you're growing and then there's going to be times where
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you don't want to there's going to be difficulties in your life that you find challenging and the
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burden of this curse and the weight it and the anxiety and the and the the
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temptations and the people in your world are going to put you in a place
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where it just feels like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling there's going to be seasons of your life
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that are difficult and challenging and in those moments i need to tell you that's the purpose
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make it through the pain and remain faithful
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and as your seasons of life change have your radar up be cautious be on your guard if you're
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single right here today and you're following jesus you're like this is great and then all of a sudden you meet somebody and you're like oh we're going
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to start dating and then you get to a place where you realize man this person i don't think is leading me closer to
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jesus i think this person is actually leading me farther away from jesus they're they're actually influencing me
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more than i'm influencing them there's going to be this painful thing you experience which is part of the curse
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where you have to go i have to end this relationship so that i can remain faithful and when
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that happens you need to remain faithful
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having kids sounds like a good idea right why i don't know but eventually
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eventually they become teenagers and if you're in here and you're the parent of a teenager and you feel like
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the motherboard in your brain is fried and you're going crazy and the cheese is
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about to slide off your cracker no matter how difficult it is
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remain faithful whatever season you go through if your
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marriage go grows cold or you go into a midlife crisis or temptation feels
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stronger than temptation has ever felt before then in those moments you need to know the purpose of that is to remain
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faithful if everybody you know does this thing where we pick and choose what we want from the
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new testament we take what we want and we throw the rest of the word of god away like it's common garbage you
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remain faithful that's the purpose that we have
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in the middle of the pain the next one i think we get from romans 8 is
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turn pain into faith turn pain into faith in in every moment
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when you experience pain there's an opportunity for us to to grow in our understanding to reaffirm
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to put our faith in god during those difficult times
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a verse that we should all have memorized if you if you've been a christian for about six months you need to go home and memorize this today
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because we always seem surprised but man if we had this memorized maybe we wouldn't be surprised
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is james chapter one verse two he says considerate pure joy my brothers
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and sisters when you face trials of many kinds we laugh that off like he he's so
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out of touch but i think he's actually saying that consider it joy when you face trials of
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many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must
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finish its work so you will be mature and complete not lacking anything
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and then we walk out the door and a trial falls in our life and we go i didn't see that
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coming and we sure don't get excited about it but that's what it is during those
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painful moments we have this there is only the opportunity for growth
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as he was talking in romans chapter 8 as he was talking about how all of creation is groaning out then he adds on to this
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he says and the holy spirit helps us in our weaknesses
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for example we don't know what god wants us to pray for but the holy spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be
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expressed in words and the holy and the father who knows all hearts knows what the spirit is
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saying for the spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with god's own will
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i i some people think that verse is talking about speaking in tongues i actually don't think it is that happens in other places in scripture but i think
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right there what he's talking about is that place where you get to where it's just you got nothing
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left you're at a place of such heartache and despair that you you just sort of have nothing but a
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groaning spirit before god have you been there
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i think we all get there at some point and we don't even know how to pray and it's an opportunity to turn it into
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faith a few years ago we we had a we have four children two
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biological and two adopted and we decided to do adoption again and we went through the foster system
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and uh we we had a child and just right off the bat there was kind of this hope and this promise and we were optimistic
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you know and they were like yeah we actually think that this child is totally going to be adoptable and going to be yours so sort of right off the bat
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i just this was my daughter and to my kids this was their sister and my wife this was their daughter and
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and we just kind of lived that way and we'd already gone through this process before so we we were just optimistically
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waiting for god to do another thing you know and that went that way for about nine months and then they started to say that
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maybe that wasn't gonna happen anymore and then and then we got a new judge and a new
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caseworker and just like that reunification was going to happen
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now reunification of course sounds good when you're zoomed out away from it but when you get up close and you know the people involved
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you know that that's not always the best thing and so we were praying like crazy we're like obviously god this would be better
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it was this would be good this would be right and despite all our prayers after she
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had been in our home and been my daughter for 14 months a caseworker came to pick her up one day
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and it was just the worst scene you could imagine all the family was gathered together we all said goodbye and they took this 14 month old girl
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who'd lived in my house and only known us put her in the caseworker's car with the window down and she drove away
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crying and all of us just sat in the front living room speechless and just
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bawled and we just sat there and cried and there was nothing to even say
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and we were groaning out god what do we do with this why didn't you answer our prayer why didn't you give her to us
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what are you doing in her life what are you doing in our life and we had to find a way
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to turn that that pain into faith and belief and trust
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that god knows what he's doing the third one i'd give you is
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the next one is eagerly hope eagerly hope as you read through romans chapter 8
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paul seems i know it's crazy he seems excited
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about being an heir to the glory of god
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and why wouldn't he be here's what he says romans chapter 8 verse 23 he says we too wait with
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eager hope sometimes i think we need some eager hope sometimes i think we're like yeah i guess we'll have eternal
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life and stuff you know but paul's giving us permission to have
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eager hope for the day when god will give us our full rights
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as his adopted children including the new bodies he
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has promised us anybody in the market for a new body he is going to fully and bring about
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every hope and desire everything that you're groaning for and longing for will one day be fulfilled why wouldn't we be
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eager about that why wouldn't we be excited look forward to it i think when
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we look forward it to it in that way it makes what we experience in this life brief
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it makes it seem short if we do the comparison game the now versus what's coming
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man of course we would look forward with eager hope several years ago i was in college i was
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kind of an idiot that's all changed but i was kind of an idiot and i i i one time i was living in this
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farmhouse over the summer and with this guy and i didn't have a bed so i went to a garage sale and i and i bought an
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ottoman to sleep on which is kind of funny to imagine me sleeping on an ottoman but anyway it was a big ottoman
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and uh actually i didn't even pay for it it was free i just want you to know this is not a good idea so i'm sleeping on this free ottoman and
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uh one day i woke up and i i had this kind of itch between the webs and my fingers
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and i was like that's weird and then that happened and i was a dumb college kid so i was just like whatever
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it'll fix itself i'm sure well it got worse to where i was waking up every morning i was doing this and my
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fingers were just on fire and then it got in the webs of my toes and it was everywhere and then i looked
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and i had like bumps everywhere all over my webs and my toes my fingers and there was just these tiny little bumps and it
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was awful and i figured it'll take care of itself so i let this go way too long and
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eventually it had covered my entire body and especially in my nether regions and
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it was a problem so i decided to go home to my parents who lived about an hour away i drove
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home to their house and i was like look at me like what is this and they're like oh
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i think you've got scabies i don't know if you know what scabies are they're these little bumps and those
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little bumps are actually little villages where these microscopic little bugs live and every time you scratch
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them and it pops and there's kind of this little thing that runs around they flood everywhere right so i'm spreading
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this every day right so they're like we gotta get you the doctor i go to the doctor and the doctor is like oh yeah those are scabies like
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stand over there and he gives me this tube of cream that's about this big he
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says put that on every day twice a day i go home i don't know if you can tell there's quite a bit of real estate here
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to cover that little tube like serve gave me one uh i applied it one time and it was gone
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so that didn't work at all it didn't even slow him down i go back and uh to my parents house and grandma calls now
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grandma was born in the late 1800s and she has a remedy for this
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she says you need to take a bath in bleach and i was like that makes a lot of sense
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i'll do it and at this point i'm desperate i'm like whatever i got to do i don't care
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so uh i go and uh she meant by that that i should take like a couple of cups of bleach and pour it in the tub what i
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heard was take a bath in bleach so i go into the bathroom and i feel bad
31:01
that i only have one gallon of bleach i fill up that tub and i cut it with a
31:07
little bit of water and then she said to scratch them open right so i i got in that tub and i scratched everything open
31:14
and i got in that bleach and it burned i was on fire but i was excited i was
31:21
the burning is how you know it's working right so i was in that tub and i was just like die
31:29
and i sat in there way too long and i came out and i'm still white from here down like it's
31:34
for other reasons but anyway like that's completely fried those little boogers and i got to tell you they never came
31:41
back never ever came back no bug has ever attempted to live on my body since then
31:46
because it worked i got to tell you that's how i feel like paul is paul is eager
31:54
he's eager to be done with the flesh he's done he's done living with sin and
32:00
temptation and people and and hate and and ugliness and living under the burden of the curse of
32:06
this world and watching people he loves and cares for and move on and pass on i
32:11
think he's done and he's eagerly hoping for the future
32:16
man if you are a child of god i just want to give you permission it's okay to
32:21
put your hope there it's okay to filter every decision and everything that you do through the lens of i am going to one
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day receive my inheritance which is the glory of god
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if you live with that kind of hope i think it changes everything about the way you behave in the here and
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now your hope isn't now your hope
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is in that future day let me pray for you
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father god i pray that you would fill us full of eager hope
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i pray that we would look forward to that day which which may seem far away to us but in the grand scope of eternity
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it's just around the corner i pray that we would put our hope and our faith in what you have given to us and that we
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would just live here in the pain and the suffering like everyone else
33:18
but that we would be filled of your calling god that we would remain faithful no
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matter what we experience or endure and god i pray that every every person
33:30
that's gathered or this listening god if they they don't have that relationship with
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you if they haven't stepped across the line and and put their faith in you god i pray
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that you would call them call them to come home today
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and i pray that in christ's name amen



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