Mighty Warrior – Tender Father — July 29, 2018

What is YOUR God like?

  1. The Food Truck broke. Driving it Saturday to set up Saturday Produce Experiment, the truck was hard to steer and it didn’t have very strong brakes.  This is bad.
  2. Saturday I bought too much produce ($100 worth) and didn’t sell enough… This is also bad.
  3. My wife is feeling anxiety about her schedule at school.  This is bad.
As I reflect on my troubles, I want to be rescued by a Mighty Warrior but I want to control how it all works.  I want to manage my rescue, control the costs and influence the outcomes.  Perhaps, I just want to rescue myself.

 

Sunday’s conversation at church highlighted how we have a Warrior who Saves and a Father who loves.  Zephaniah 3:16 & 17… God is trying to get our attention through our struggles.  He wants us to lean on him more than our own ideas.  When we do, God reveals himself in new and fresh ways…

 

God always wants to rescue us from the storm.  Sometimes he calms the storm. Sometimes he calms his child.  The rescue might look different than we expected… We want Jesus to be the Messiah who overthrows the Roman oppressors. When He wants to be the Messiah who brings lasting peace in the hearts of his followers.

 

In the end, the Food Truck will get fixed, the produce will all work out and Marcia will live to see another day at EWA.  It may turn out different than I expected but as I allow God to fight my battles and rest in the Father’s tender affection, I can relax because God is alert.

 

How does God, the Might Warrior – Tender Father, lead me to peace and joy of the Lord in my struggle?

 

By cultivating a more vibrant awareness of God’s presence and power.
By reflecting regularly on our Father’s tender affection.
By opening our hearts humbly to Jesus rule and authority.

 

Read the Verses: Zephaniah 3:16-17

Sermon Video for this week:


Sermon Manuscript for this week…

What is the promise? – God, the Mighty Warrior who saves, delights in me as his child.
What is the verse? Zephaniah 3:16-17
Look at it in a couple of versions…
What did the verse mean to original recipients, context…    This verse was an encouragement that even though hard times would come… God had not forgotten them.
  1. The book of Zephaniah was written notice to get Israel’s attention. Israel was in trouble because they turned away from the Lord; they were being disciplined by God through other nations… and it felt terrible…  Discipline was and is a time of personal crisis…
  2. God has such a merciful, loving heart… he wanted Israel to see the depth of his affection… Even while being disciplined… To encourage those whose hearts were aligned with his… SO God offered this promise for Israel’s future blessing when the discipline was over… when hearts turned…   Be encouraged… you faithful followers, you humble, teachable, heart for God people… don’t look at the circumstances look to your God who IS WITH you… don’t lose heart…
  3. He’s not with you like a weak and overworked strongman… But described as a warrior…     Who in the story does God the Mighty Warrior save?
What does this mean to us?
  1. God is working to get our attention.  Life is what it is… ups and downs; joy and sorrow;  God is either bringing or allowing challenges that expose our frailty, our fears, our weakness and our dependence… sometimes all at once…  because there are area God wants to purify and mature us… Our response determines if we resist or we receive…
  2. God delights in us (maybe like a grandmother delights in her grand child and is filled with tender affection and warmth, like a blanket fresh from the drier or the joy of offering fresh baked cookie… Delight in the recipent… ), wants to quiet us in his love ( maybe like a father who sees his anxious son after a car accident, and hugs him with quiet affirmation that sets the boys heart at ease so instead of feeling prickly nervousness, there is stillness like the early morning)  and is so over the top for  us he breaks out in singing (maybe like a boy in love whose object of his affection has drifted so he writes a love song and goes to sing it while she’s at a sleepover at her girlfriend’s house to recapture her… He’s so smitten… He wants her happiness as much as his own…)…
  3. As the Mighty Warrior, He fights violently on our behalf and embraces our brokenness tenderly.  Israel was familiar with this phrasing… and their God who conquered… El-Shaddai Lord of Hosts; Story of Joshua and the Commander of the Lord’s Army…  Joshua 5:13-6:2 – But HE rescues those who are under his rule, not those who push away his ways…
How does God the delighting, loving, singing Warrior change your life?
  • We all feel stuck…  like we’re at a place and we’d like to get to another place… We have ideas of what life should look like, how it should work… but how often does it work that way?
  • We’re all trapped in the life we’ve been given or we’ve created…  And the idea of God lifting us out… seems impossible… but what if God wants to change us Here… where’s he’s placed us…
  • What if we’re not trapped, we’ve just been looking for the wrong path to our best life…   Perhaps we need to be open to a shift…
    • When the story talks about poverty… you insert YOUR situation, with your struggles, doubts, trials and disappointments…
This promise reminds us that we do not go through challenges alone – ever… God, who takes great delight in you, WANTS to quiet you with his love and IS READY to break out in song because he loves you — God is your Warrior and STANDS READY to rescue and secure to save…  IF we want what he wants; IF we pursue his priorities; IF we respond to his delight, his love, and his singing…
What about life works against this promise?
  1. Our fear.  Our fears are rooted in our belief that God is small and we are not enough…  Afraid of what?  not enough money; not enough health; not enough work; not enough family time; not enough courage; not enough restraint… We’re afraid that life will create a hole, bring an event that’s too large for us to jump over and if we fall in our lives, our families will be harmed…  Our fears are mostly in our mind… most of what we’re afraid of doesn’t happen… but the anxiety of it ties us up in chains and enslaves us to excessive control…  Our fear makes God seem too small and we have to struggle along on our own…
  2. Our internal experience of personal rejection.  Relationships are complex but we all, at one time or another in one way or another have felt or currently feel like we’re rejected by others and it effects every relationship we have…  Sometimes it’s overt… like when we get fired or ‘released’ from work… or when our friends get together and don’t invite us to the party… or when we get overlooked by managers or employers…
  3. The evil one whispers regularly that even God has better things to do than keep helping you…   You worthless failure of a human, you drink too much or watch too much porn or you are addicted to what other people think of you or succeeding at your job at the expense of your family…   The accuser knows your weak spots and undermines your place in God’s family or your value as a human so that  you’ll THINK or BELIEVE that God’s left you and you have to fight for yourself.
  4. Our own Biblical Knowledge can work against us… What kind of a Messiah did the Pharisees/teachers of the Law in the New Testament expect?  We have to be careful that we don’t make the mistake of the Pharisees… that we expect God to show up like WE think he ought to show up; they were looking for a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and frequently we want someone who can forcefully resist those who oppose us… BUT remember when Jesus came, he brought an internal reality, a Kingdom life that offered inner renewal that would overcome eternal power; inner substance that would transform our vices, doubts and pride; an inner life HE would give us, his power to tear down strongholds and face our fears…
What might this truth mean in our mind, heart and behavior?  If God, the Mighty Warrior who saves, is with us…  how does it change my heart, life, family and work?
    1. I’m not walking into any trial, struggle, threat or situation without Divine support…
      • What is it that suggests you’re alone?
      • Who told you that was true?
      • How does the Spiritual world show up in the physical world?
  1. I am a special object of God’s delight and affection…
    • What does it look like for you to rest in God’s love?
    • What would change if you could begin sensing God’s delight in you and presence in your daily struggles?
What about God supports this promise?
  1. One of God’s names makes supports this picture of God, the Mighty Warrior who saves…
  2. Ephesians 1 – chosen by God; loved…
  3. Jesus’ arrival shows God the Father’s commitment to rescuing you, me and others from the brokenness of life;
  4. Jesus came 1st to reveal the Kingdom an inner Kingdom… when Jesus comes again he will ride the white horse and overthrow the nations… with power and force and authority…
How might we experiment with this promise this week?
  1. Roll it around in your head… Because God, the Might Warrior who saves, is with me, I…..
  2. Put on the Armor of God Eph 6
  3. Submit yourself to the Lord of Hosts; Resist the Devil and he will flee (James 4:7)
  4. Holy Imagination… when you find yourself in a battle, picture yourself on the battlefield with your church family behind you and the opposition in front of you… admit your inability, your self-sufficiency, the ways you self-manage and put Jesus in the place he ought to be… between you and the opposition… keep your eyes on Jesus… review how he delights in you, how he quiets you in his love and how he rejoices over you in song…  and step into the battle behind the Lord… approach it with his priorities in front of yours… his Kingdom before your family… his integrity before yours… less pride and more humility… and complete your task with a view of honoring God and serving others…  AND the Lord will fight for you… your mighty warrior, El-Shaddai, Lord of Hosts…
Summary Conclusions…
Zephaniah is a call to return to the Lord; Judgment is coming, return; when you return God will forgive and redeem you from your past and rejoice over you with singing.
Do we want to rest in his love?  How do we rest?  What does that look like? What doesn’t it? What’s important about that for us?  What does the deceiver slip in that makes us doubt God’s affection and passionate interest in us?
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