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Guest Speaker 6/14/09
 Psalm 37:4 – Speed Bumps


Audio Sermon

Speed Bumps
by Pastor Timothy Burdick

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)

Today, I want us to look at three very important D’s. They are namely the Design of God, the Direction of God; and Delighting in God. Before we talk about God’s Design though, I want to tell you about something that happened to me. I found out recently that I had to have open heart surgery. Like anyone else, the news hit me like a ton of bricks, and I thought “just when everything seems to have started going right this had to happen!” But I found that while I personally don’t recognize this as God's perfect will, I also have become convinced in my life that He can use even this in the design or plan that He has for my life if I will only let Him do it.

For most of us, things seem to be going along fine and then you and I hit what we might call a “speed bump” on the road of life. I have learned that these speed bumps are not necessarily barriers in our path but protective devices to get us to take a good hard look at how we are living our lives. Just as in driving a car, I have also learned that these speed bumps on life’s road are Designed by God to slow us down and give us necessary course corrections. They are typically not designed to stop us altogether.

Sometimes I don’t understand what the Design of God is all about, but I’ve learned it is okay because in the midst of all this, we discover what trust is all about. When a person faces an obstacle in his or her life, they are given a choice by Almighty God as to how they will react. Our very own decisions shape the rest of our lives and define us as people. And He will change us into His Design for our lives. He will mature us in relation to what we have previously decided to do and bring us into His will.

When facing an obstacle that seems to stop them, all too many people just tend to give up. They may say something like, “I guess the Lord just didn’t want me to do that after all!” Or they might ask from the vantage point of a negative “D” which is discouragement, “How can I go on now?” thinking life for them is simply – over.

But if you will, take a look at life’s challenges in a new way. Rather than getting us to stop altogether, these challenges are often a way of God saying, “My Son, My Daughter, you are doing a great job, but I want you to take a good look at how you can glorify Me even more with certain Design modifications to improve on the Direction you are taking in life.

A key next step is to take a look at your situation from God’s perspective. Take some effort to consider God’s way of looking at things. His Direction for us does not necessarily alter the path that we are on in some kind of radical way. Like an airplane pilot, He may only tweak our course slightly. To see this, look at John 15 verse 2 with me: “He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jesus was painting a word picture that the people of that day would have understood. He was letting them know (and letting us know) that in order for the fruit in our lives to reach its full potential, God, the Master Gardener of us all, will have to lop off dead, non-producing “branches” in our lives from time to time. And the beauty of it is that we will be surprised at how much we LIKE the result of what He has done.

Another example of this direction can be found in John Chapter 11 verse 15. Jesus had found out about the illness of his friend, Lazarus, and told His disciples that physical death would be the result. Let’s look at how Jesus used this speed bump in the lives of the people concerned. And yes, from personal experience I understand the awfulness of death, but God has a better perspective of life and death than we do. He would tell them, “For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

Jesus used this situation to encourage and stimulate belief in the hearts of those who were part of those terrible and subsequently wonderful events. He wasn’t trying to get His disciples to give up; on the contrary He wanted them to believe so that they could go forward even in the face of certain death and become more than they were; more than they otherwise ever could have been.

In the same way, God wants us to truly discover what it means to BELIEVE, so that we can reach out and appropriate the dreams and goals that He has put into our hearts. He has Designed us and He has a Direction for us.

In what I believe might have been a similar experience, God taught Paul something that had eternal consequences. To see this, look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul seemed on most occasions to be a take-charge kind of a guy who wanted to get things done. Yet he faced a number of obstacles in his life that slowed him down considerably. But seeing God’s hand in all that happened, he learned about the third "D," namely the principle of Delighting in the obstacles that at times seemed to fill his life. Our God has Designs for and Directions in our lives and He intends that we will DELIGHT in what previously had seemed to be insurmountable obstacles.

In the Thirty-Seventh Psalm, Verse Four, David said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” God will change our Desires into the Design He has in mind and we will Delight in what He has done.

Our Lord has much to teach us here in the wonderful 37th Psalm, for we cannot truly “Delight” in what is being taught to us without delighting in the Teacher. If I practice what I preach, the detours in life, like my open heart surgery, will have been worth it, and I too will learn more about Delighting on my journey as a disciple of our Lord.

Father, teach us to Delight in the Design You have planned for our lives and also in the course corrections, the Directional changes You bring our way. We trust in You and we praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Timothy Burdick
Voice by Pastor Ron Beckham
Friday Study Ministries
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