OUR UNCHANGING GOD

“When you go to the people of Israel, tell them, ‘I am sent me to you.’ ”
EXODUS 3:14

Do you know anyone who goes around saying, “I am”? Neither do I. When we say “I am,” we always add another word. “I am happy.” “I am sad.” “I am strong.” “I am Max.” God, however, starkly states, “I AM” and adds nothing else.

“You are what?” we want to ask. “I AM,” he replies. God needs no descriptive word because he never changes. God is what he is. He is what he has always been. His immutability motivated the psalmist to declare, “But you never change” (Psalm 102:27). The writer is saying, “You are the One who is. You never change.” Yahweh is an unchanging God.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

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THE DANGER OF DISCOURAGEMENT

Numbers 21:4-6; Galatians 6:9

An old missionary couple had been in Africa for years and were returning to New York City to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid.
– They were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

No one paid any attention to them.
– They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President’s entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.

As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, “Something’s wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for Sod in Africa all these many years and have nobody care a thing about us? This man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.”

“Dear, you shouldn’t feel that way, “his wife said.
– can’t help it; it doesn’t seem right.”

When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President.
– The mayor and other dignitaries were there.
– The papers were full of the President’s arrival, but no one noticed the missionary couple.

They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping to fine how they could make a living in the city.

That night the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God isn’t treating us fairly.”

His wife replied, “Why don’t you go into the bedroom and tell that to God?”

Later he came out of the bedroom, but now his face was completely different.
– His wife asked, “Dear, what happened’?”
“The Lord settled it with me, “he said. “I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, ‘But you’re not home yet!”

Yes, there are rewards for faithfulness, but not necessarily down here.

Discouragement is one of Satan’s big weapons.
– Some of the Bible’s greatest men were defeated because of discouragement.
– They were tired, and couldn’t see things in the right perspective — got discouraged and
depressed. — Numbers 21:4-6; Galatians 6:9

When we get discouraged we’ll:

1. PRAY THE WRONG PRAYER
– Moses prayed to die — Numbers 11:11-15
– What a terrible load Moses had to carry — be responsible for 6 million complaining people.
– Parents can hardly take it when their kids get to whining……..
– Moses was trying to carry it by himself — he needed to turn it to God.

Elijah prayed to die — 1 Kings 19:4
– Elijah had fallen into the trap Satan loves to spring — running off and being alone.
– There Satan can pour fuel on the “poor me’s.”

Studies done on depressed people show they want to be alone.
– Should we let them be?
– Not if we want them to improve.
– There’s something about being with others that lifts our spirits.
– We need genuine fellowship.

The church serves two vital functions, the first is to put us in touch with God then with one another.

– We need each other — particularly when life caves in on us.

When I’m discouraged, the last thing I should do is run to solitude.

2. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE’RE IN DANGER OF SAYING THE WRONG THING
– Job did — Job 3:3-13
– All Job could think of was how awful his luck was to have been born.
– He wanted to hire professional cursers…… ……

David did — Psalm 116:11
– When we’re in a fit of discouragement we tend to lash out at people and say mean things that can cause irreparable damage to our relationship.

3. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE’RE IN DANGER OF THINKING THE WRONG THING
– John in prison — Matthew 11:2-3
– Me working at pea harvest.
– Martha and Mary — John 11:20, 32, 39-40
— Not Even God Can Help Me!

4. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE OFTEN DO THE WRONG THING
– Moses smote the rock — Numbers 20:2-12
– Moses had a temper fit — he gave vent to anger and caused himself grief!
– The stupid off-set printer in Grand Coulee

Elijah ran — 1 Kings 19:3
– Elijah was tired, and stressed out — had he thought about Who God is and His awesome Power, he would’ve never run — he would’ve stayed and stood up to measly Jezebel.
– How often we let the Devil spook us into running when we should stand — Ephesians 6:13

5. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE SEE THE WRONG THING
– Giants instead of God — Numbers 13:27-33
– Difficulties instead of the Power of God — Mark 5:15-17
– Think of what they missed because they were concerned for their pigs

6. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE GO TO THE WRONG PLACE
– Jonah in fish — Jonah 1:9
– Elijah under the tree — 1 Kings 19:4

7. WHEN WE’RE DISCOURAGED WE GET IN THE WRONG SPIRIT

– Spirit of defeatism
– Spirit of murmuring -Spirit of grouchiness

An Air Canada flight ran into trouble one fateful Monday. Passengers were enjoying a movie on a Boeing 767 when the jumbo jet’s massive engines abruptly stopped.
– Only those without earphones noticed at first.
– Then came a break in the movie and the pilot announced Flight 143 would be making an emergency landing.

69 people were trapped in an agonizingly slow but inescapable descent to earth.

For several minutes, a desperate silence hung over the cabin.
– Then fear gave way to screams as the landing neared.
– All the latest technology couldn’t keep the jumbo jet in the air another second.

What happened was the electronic digital fuel gauge was out of order.
– The flight crew depended on figures given by the refueling crew before takeoff, but someone on the refueling crew confused pounds for kilograms.
– 800 miles short of its destination, the jet ran out of fuel.

Fortunately, the captain and the co-captain were able to glide Flight 143 some 100 miles to a former military air field.
– A dramatic crash landing heavily damaged the jumbo jet’s landing gear, but, by the grace of God, no one was hurt.

An impressive craft – headed in the right direction – ran out of fuel.

That’s happening to a lot of people today.
– They’ve a high sense of self-esteem.
– They’re motivated by a sense of purpose.

But one day they wake up disillusioned and disheartened. — The fuel has all been spent.

Where does the fuel we need for life come from?
– From God’s in-dwelling Spirit.

In the early days of America, a sailing ship was off the coast of South America over 100 miles from the mouth of the Amazon River.
– The wind had died and they were virtually stranded — they ran out of water to drink.
– For days the sailors suffered from extreme thirst.

Finally the wind came up and they were able to sail again, but they couldn’t make it in time to land and fresh water.
– They saw another ship coming toward them and signaled: “Could you spare us some water?”
The other ship signaled back, “Lower your buckets into the sea.”
To their surprise they found fresh water to drink.
– They’d been in that stream for days while they were dying of thirst.

According to old ship’s logs and sailors’ diaries, sailing ships hundreds miles off east of the mouth of the Amazon River would dip buckets into the sea and get drinkable water!
– Why?
– Because fresh water is less dense (weighs less) than salt water.
– The fresh water would float on top of the seawater and go hundreds of miles like that until the two waters are mixed by winds and other factors.

There are people being overcome by discouragement and depression that could let down their buckets into God’s River of Life and find their souls will be fully satisfied.