Life Is Difficult, But God Is Good

Worship Service for October 17, 2021

WELCOME

Good day, welcome, and thanks for joining CrossPointe Community Church’s online Word worship presentation. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Our leaders have authorized the opening of a fund for the purpose of purchasing and installing the equipment need for us to be able to live-stream our worship services. That means you will be able to see from your internet-connected devices the entirety of our worship as it happens in real-time. If you are interested in contributing to this fund, please mark your check with the words, “live stream.”

CALL TO WORSHIP

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are Mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.     

Isaiah 43:1-3a

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

How Firm a Foundation

Rippon, John

How firm a foundation, Ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not; I am with thee. O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, Omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials, Thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Blessed Be Your Name

Redman, Matt & Beth

Blessed be Your name…in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow…
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name…
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name…
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be…
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name…
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.
You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

©2002 Thankyou Music/PRS, admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing   
CCLI License No. 1843349

My All in All

Hernandez, Frank/Powell, Sherry Saunders

You are my strength O God
You are my help O God
You are the One on whom I call.
You are my shield, O God
My life I yield O God
For You will ever be my all in all.

©1975 Birdwing Music/BMG Songs/Garden Valley Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, our God, our ever-present help in times of trouble, we bless Your Holy Name for Your precious promises to always love us regardless of circumstances. Help us today, O Lord, to find renewed rest and peace in You, for we ask this in the name of the peace-giver, Jesus, our Lord, amen. 

OFFERING

If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:

P.O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

OFFERING/PRAYER SONG

God is Good

Chapman, Morris

God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)
God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)

Well, He’s filled with compassion,
And His mercies are everlasting;
God is good,
God is good,
All the time.

God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)
God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)

Well, He’s filled with compassion,
And His mercies are everlasting;
God is good,
God is good,
All the time.

O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.
O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.
O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.

God is good,
God is good
All the time.

© CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Brad Winter

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the beautiful day you’ve given us. Thank you for our pastor, leadership team, musicians and singers ALL who use the talents you blessed them with to make every Sunday morning service a wonderful experience filled with love.

We thank you for the beautiful weather you have blessed us with over the past several days. The warm days, the cooler nights and the beautiful fall colors that are starting to blossom. Seeing the beauty of this earth that you created takes us to a place of tranquility and peace. The work of your hands are so overwhelming. 

We pray for strength Lord! Keep our feet grounded and shield us from worldly temptations created by the devil that will do nothing more than rob us of precious time and energy and distract us from those we love and those who love and depend on us. 

We praise you for your guidance and your steady and calm hand upon us as we navigate these chaotic times. Only the path we follow that is led by you brings joy, contentment and peace to our lives.

You know how this day will end Lord. Please place someone in our path that we can inspire and lead to You! Please bless this day and keep us safe.

In Jesus’ name AMEN

SCRIPTURE

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. 

Proverbs 3:5-6

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.  Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

MESSAGE

Life Is Difficult, But God Is Good

Randy K’Meyer

Life is difficult. 

Take the two New York entrepreneurs, for example, who decided to see if some money might be made by introducing bungee-jumping to Mexico. So they fronted some capital to build a platform, where people who like ‘extreme sports’ could dive off and spring up and down. When it came time for the trial run, the two entrepreneurs climbed up the platform and looked down on the gathering crowd. One of them strapped himself into the harness and dove off. When he came up the first time, his partner noticed that his nose was bleeding. When he came up the second time, he could see that one eye was turning black. He yelled out, “Are you okay?” 

And as he began his third descent, the guy yells back, “They think I’m a piñata!”

It may well be true that some of us know what it feels like to be a piñata. Some of us are, emotionally, battered and bruised. 

Life is difficult.

Life was already difficult before December 2019, when we first started hearing about a mysterious, new virus. The ensuing pandemic has brought much heartache and made life difficult in many unexpected ways. 

And when you throw in the shortage of many products, rising prices on just about everything and the ever-increasing polarization of our country over so many issues one wonders how we are going to navigate the ‘life is difficult’ days that certainly lie ahead.

When troubled times come, all of us need to be reminded that in the midst of our difficulties, God is good. 

Life is difficult, but God is good. 

That’s the message that the writer of Hebrews is conveying to his readers. 

Life was difficult for them. According to the author they are being persecuted for having faith in Christ. Some of them have endured being in prison; others, the seizure of their property (10:34). 

But from the very first verse, the author has been driving home the point that they shouldn’t even consider giving up their faith and trust in Christ because God is good. 

When he comes to chapter 11, he illustrates the importance of maintaining that faith and trust with a ‘who’s who’ list of God’s people, 17 by name, plus all the prophets, who lived in a whole slew of life is difficult situations, but who persevered by maintaining their trust in God who is good all the time.  

The author doesn’t quote Proverbs 3:5-6, but indicates that these folks, “Trusted in the LORD with all their heart, and leaned not on their own understanding; but in all their ways submitted to Him, and He made their paths straight.” 

Our situation and/or circumstances may be beyond our understanding, but they are not beyond God’s. And when God’s people trust in the Lord with all their heart, life might be difficult, but God is good and will work out Romans 8:28: “God works out all things for the good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” 

“Through their faith,” Hebrews says, the people in days of old earned a good reputation” (11:2). 

Our trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness will also have a significant impact on others. 

Dr. Tad Stewart accepted a pastor’s job at a Presbyterian Church in Teheran, Iran. Shortly after arriving, the government closed his small, struggling Church. They burned all the Bibles and padlocked the door of the church building. [LIFE IS DIFFICULT].

But Dr. Stewart and his wife trusted in the Lord with all their hearts as they opened their home on Sunday mornings for worship. People came early in the morning while it was still dark. Church attendance grew until it doubled and then tripled. People smuggled in Bibles as if they were pure gold. Tad said that when he read from the Bible, you could have heard a pin drop. That church went on to make a significant impact all over the city of Teheran! 1 [GOD IS GOOD]

Friday’s reading in Sarah Young’s, Jesus Calling, says, 

Be prepared to suffer for Me, in My name. All suffering has meaning in My kingdom. Pain and problems are opportunities to demonstrate your trust in Me. … When suffering strikes, remember that I  am sovereign and that I can bring good out of everything. Do not try to run from pain or hide from problems. Instead, accept adversity in My Name, offering it up to Me for My purposes. Thus your suffering gains meaning and draws you closer to Me. Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity through your trust. 2

When we respond to Life is Difficult situations with trust that God is Good all the time, we will have a significant impact on others. 

Pastors Stuart and Jill Briscoe, originally from England, before moving to and taking a church in Wisconsin, tell the story of knowing a couple who lived in England who prayed long for a child. The man worked in a huge industrial plant that at that time was greatly influenced by a Communist-dominated union. And because the man was a Christian, he took a lot of ridicule. 

When his wife told him she was pregnant, they were filled with joy and his work took on a new perspective even in the midst of the difficult environment. When people asked whether they wanted a boy or a girl, they said it didn’t matter at all, they were simply praying for a healthy baby. But when their little girl was born, they could tell right away something was wrong and doctors confirmed she had a severe case of Down Syndrome. 

They began to wonder about how they were going to tell unbelieving relatives. And the man worried about what he was going to tell the men he worked with. What would they say? 

But even that unpleasant thought paled in significance to his own nagging doubts; if God really loved them, why would He allow this difficulty in their lives?

When he returned to work, his fears were justified. One man asked, “Do you still want to believe in a God who did this to you?”

Another said, “You know I don’t believe in God, and my kids are fine.” 

Standing there in the midst of that arrogant atheism, he hung his head. He was filled with shame for he knew their voices echoed his own. 

Suddenly the Holy Spirit filled him with a renewed sense of trust. He looked up and a hush fell over the group as he softly said, “I am so glad, so very glad that my God gave her to me and not to you.” 3

And in that very moment of life is difficult, he rediscovered that God is good by trusting in the Lord with all his heart, leaning not to his own understanding, but in all his ways submitting to Him, fully confident that the Lord would make his paths straight. 

And what that man said had a significant impact on those who heard him say, “I am so glad, so very glad that my God gave her to me and not to you.”

The Apostle Paul would have said, “Amen to that brother!”  

For you see, he too trusted that in the midst of life is difficult situations, God is good. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, he writes: 

“We are pressed on every side by troubles” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“but we are not crushed” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“We are perplexed” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“but not driven to despair” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“We are hunted down” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT], 

“but never abandoned by God” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“We get knocked down” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“but we are not destroyed” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“so that the life of Jesus may be evident in our dying bodies” … [GOD IS GOOD].

“So we live in the face of death” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT],

“but this has resulted in eternal life for you” [GOD IS GOOD]! (4:8-12). 

When life is difficult, we must remember God is good; supremely revealed in the victory Jesus won for us on the cross!

That great 15th-century saint of the church, Augustine, once said in a sermon “The cross is a mousetrap for the devil.” 4

Speaking of the evil one, there’s a story about a Quaker missionary and his entourage traveling by boat down the Amazon for supplies. As they passed by a village, they noticed it was in complete and utter chaos. Villagers were crying, screaming, yelling, running frantically to and fro brandishing machetes. 

Stopping his boats to see if he and his party could be of any help, the Quaker missionary discovered that a huge anaconda had struck the village, and was constricting an infant girl. 

The missionary knew he had to do something. So he hurried back to his boat, reached into the supply bin, and hauled out a pistol. He rushed back to where the anaconda was and raised his pistol. Suddenly he noticed he had only one bullet in the chamber. Too late to return to the supply bin, he knew he had to make his one shot good. So he steadied his hand as best he could, aimed the shot right between the eyes of the snake, and when his hand got as calm as he could get it, pulled the trigger. Bull’s-eye! He hit that snake right between the eyes. 

And that’s when literally all hell broke loose, as that anaconda, began to release its dying fury on everything around it. For the next couple hours, that rampaging anaconda careened from corner to corner of that village, taking down with it as much as it could until it finally collapsed and died.

Do you know why I told that grisly story? 

To remind you that the serpent has already been slain. We know how the story ends, church. We know that the victory has already been won! 

But we are living in that time between when the bull’s-eye was scored on the principalities and powers of this world and the day when the Son of Man returns to throw the devil and his angels in the lake of fire forever and ever. 

In the meantime, the forces of evil attempt to inflict as much damage as possible. 

How did Martin Luther put it? 

And tho this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, For lo his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.” 5

And what is that one little word that has already felled the Prince of Darkness? 

That word is what? JESUS. 

He once said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” … [LIFE IS DIFFICULT], 

“But take heart, because I have overcome the world” … [GOD IS GOOD]. (John 16:33). 

He also said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” as they were experiencing one of those Life is Difficult situations. “Trust in God, trust also in Me for I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2). 

He also went on to say, “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

I say, “Trust in Jesus with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. 

Especially the path that leads straight to heaven. 

In this world, the writer of Hebrews said, we are “strangers and foreigners,” (vs. 13) … life is difficult. But God is good: we have a “heavenly homeland,” where Jesus’ disciples really belong and toward which we journey. 

A little boy was offered the opportunity to select a dog for a birthday present. At the Pet Store, he was shown a number of wonderful puppies. From them, he picked one whose tail was wagging furiously. When he was asked why he selected that particular dog, he said, “I wanted the one with the happy ending.” 6

A bright young girl of fifteen was suddenly cast upon a bed of suffering, completely paralyzed on one side and nearly blind. She heard the family doctor say to her parents as they stood by the bedside: “She has seen her best days, poor child!” 

“No, doctor,” she exclaimed, “my best days are yet to come when I shall see the King in His beauty.” 7

Adversity is a fact of life; it can’t be controlled. 

What we can control is how we react to it. 

By maintaining trust in our God; knowing that Life is Difficult, but trusting that what? GOD IS GOOD!

CLOSING PRAYER

[I encourage you to pray as you feel led by the Spirit of God].

CLOSING SONG

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Luther, Martin

A mighty Fortress is our God, 
A bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He, amid the flood 
Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe 
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, 
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, 
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, 
The Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? 
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, 
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.

And though this world, with devils filled, 
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed,
His truth to triumph through us.

The prince of darkness grim, 
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure, 
For, lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, 
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours, 
Through Him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go, 
This mortal life also.
The body they may kill; 
God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever.

A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.

A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.
A mighty fortress, a mighty fortress is our God.

© Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! …To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

Revelation 5:12, 13

1 Thomas K. Tewell, Preaching Today #171; submitted by Kevin A. Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/october/13933.html

2 Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishing, © 2004] page 301. 

3 ‘Peace of Mind’ by Jill Briscoe, God’s Chicken Soup for the Spirit, Compiled by Kathy Collard Miller and D. Larry Miller, [Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Starburst Publishers, © 1996] Pages 58-59. 

4 Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment; Paradox, Outrage and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus [Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing, © 2002] page 110. 

5 Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, 1528, Public Domain. 

6 From ‘Sermons Illustrated,’ God’s Chicken Soup for the Spirit, Compiled by Kathy Collard Miller and D. Larry Miller, [Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Starburst Publishers, © 1996] Page 210.

7 Source: Anecdotes, Incidents, and Illustrations, D. L. Moody
https://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/our-best-days-are-yet-to-come

Randy K'Meyer

Leave a Reply Text