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BEHIND CIRCUMSTANCES Philippians 4: 4 -7 BEHIND CIRCUMSTANCES Philippians 4: 4 -7

Circumstances affect our lives • Natural disasters • Armed Conflicts • Accidents/tragedies Circumstances affect our lives • Natural disasters • Armed Conflicts • Accidents/tragedies

California drought California drought

2014 Oso, WA mudslide 2014 Oso, WA mudslide

Hamas/Israel Conflict Hamas/Israel Conflict

The ISIS Crisis The ISIS Crisis

Virgin Galactic spaceship Explosion Virgin Galactic spaceship Explosion

Where is God in all this? • If He is all powerful, why doesn’t Where is God in all this? • If He is all powerful, why doesn’t He do something? • If He is a Good God why all the pain, suffering and loss?

CIRCUMSTANCES CAN BE AWFUL CIRCUMSTANCES CAN BE AWFUL

Different Religions offer their views and explanations • Hinduism and Buddhism simply deny that Different Religions offer their views and explanations • Hinduism and Buddhism simply deny that evil and suffering exist. They hold that these are merely illusions. • Islamic thought holds that events of destruction are arbitrary acts predetermined by a capricious god.

St Paul wrote, • We know that the whole creation has been groaning as St Paul wrote, • We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. – Rom 8: 22

The Good News is… • that the Christian World View offers Hope. The Good News is… • that the Christian World View offers Hope.

THERE’S A GOD BEHIND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES THERE’S A GOD BEHIND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

In the resurrection of Jesus God proved to us that He can handle anything. In the resurrection of Jesus God proved to us that He can handle anything. • One day God will create a new heaven and a new earth. • There will be no pain, sorrow or loss.

In the meantime we have choices to make: • Who to Trust • How In the meantime we have choices to make: • Who to Trust • How to react.

There has to be a way to see a broader picture • in all There has to be a way to see a broader picture • in all things God works for the good of those who love him, – Rom 8: 28

THANKSGIVING ARE A CHOICE TO TRUST GOD THANKSGIVING ARE A CHOICE TO TRUST GOD

Each of us decides whether to travel… • the descending route of bitterness and Each of us decides whether to travel… • the descending route of bitterness and anger, or • the ascending road of thankfulness.

Thanksgiving • It is not a separate • It is essential to discipline that Thanksgiving • It is not a separate • It is essential to discipline that we everything we are can learn and do. practice. • It is an element of our peace and our praise.

Paul wrote the prescription: • Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it Paul wrote the prescription: • Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Phil 4: 4: 7

Study by Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of CA, and Michael Study by Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of CA, and Michael Mc. Cullough of the University of Miami concludes that those who practice gratitude: • We will sleep better and exercise more; feel more optimistic; be more alert and active. They will be more healthy and helpful. In fact, in the study, people who focused on gratitude were just flat-out happier. They were more pro-social, more compassionate. Grateful people were less materialistic…

Here’s What We Can Do Here’s What We Can Do

When struggling with difficult circumstances…. • look up or behind your circumstances. – Break When struggling with difficult circumstances…. • look up or behind your circumstances. – Break the fixation on the immediate – Focus on the God behind your circumstances. • Control one thought at a time – choose to make it a Thankful thought. • Enjoy the difference it makes in you, as it: – lifts you above your circumstances. – rescues you for the ravages of bitterness and hopelessness. – restores peace and Hope.