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Are You In It Or On It


Good Morning Beloved Family,

What a privilege we have today to gather together
and study the Word of God
For those of you joining us for the first time,
I'm glad you're here. And I pray you will be blessed today.
And for you faithful ones to attend, you know you are my family

Let us pray...

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the honor, the privilege of worshiping You
Your love is steady and does not falter, unlike our own
Lord, we praise You and Your water in our desert
Since the beginning of creation, You've been at work
And Your still at work in our lives today
You have been faithful, through good times and bad
Breathe into us the new life through Your Holy Spirit
Connect our temporary worship to Your eternal truths
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Amen

"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped."
Matthew 14:22-32

Today's message: Are You In It Or On It

I pray by the time we leave here today
that you will understand the title and be blessed by today's message

Even as followers of Christ, there will be times when our faith is tested.

For some, it may be a financial crisis, you've lost your income
and along with your ability to provide for your family, you've lost your dignity

For others, it may be the loss of your health, the telephones rings,
and you received word from your doctor that you have cancer,
or may it the loss of a loved one, there's been a terrible accident
someone you love has suddenly been killed...

Whatever the circumstances may be, we all face trials.
Quite often, they are inner struggles that go on in our personal lives.
Grappling fear, depression and anxiety

Before we move forward, I want you to realize that when I mention trials, I am not speaking about something that God puts into our lives to test us.
But, rather things that God allows into our lives that test our faith.
And I'll be honest, sometimes, these trials mitigate even the most wonderful events of life and suspect that is the reason that we read in Scripture, that Jesus wept, and frankly,
I don't recall reading any place in scripture where it says Jesus laughed.  

"He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
Matthew 5:45

In other words, stuff happens to every one of us, Christian and non Christians.
Beloved, we have to realize that God is going to allow us to go through tests. And the thing that sustains us in the midst of them is our trust in God, our faith that God is working all things out, for our greater good and His own glory.

The fact that we are Christians does not absolve you or I from life's trials

The bottom line is bad stuff happens!

To everybody.
All the time.
Every day.
Church or no church
Christian or non Christian
Believer or non believer
I know that many of you would prefer to have a struggle free life, without trials and hardships
but if that were the case, how would we ever testify and witness to someone about the amazing things God has done in our lives?

Every now and then, the things in this world are going to collide and when they do, you or I may very well be found right smack in the middle of it all.

I have heard many people over the years ask, "Why do such bad things happen to good people?"
Given that we are all sinners, sinful both by nature and in action, I suppose the more appropriate
way to approach that question, in keeping with Scripture and in an honest evaluation of ourselves
would be to ask, "Why do good things happen to bad people?"

And since none of us believers can avoid standing before Christ, at the Judgment Seat, on that inevitable day, aren't we all grateful for that glorious doctrine of justification by faith in Paul's epistle to the Romans? The opening statement of Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there are now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." that gives us great comfort, that when we stand before Him, we can do so without fear of judgment for our sins!

How God justifies us, undeserving sinners that we are, having all sins forgiven by the merit of Christ, and imputes the righteousness of Christ upon us? There is a tremendous amount of theological wealth and amount of security in understanding how God shows perfect grace to us, having the knowledge that we have not done, and cannot do, anything to earn it.

Beloved, thanks to Jesus Christ, Who has accomplished redemption on our behalf, we can rest in our salvation!

That said, God had one Son Who was without sin, but no Son without a cross!
So beloved, we must also face the reality, that if we are a child of God, the cross comes with the territory, we are going to have trials.

I know, that we often times pray “God, keep bad stuff from happening to me and my family…”
And while He may protect us from some things, we must also understand that He may allow us to go through some of these trials, to cause our faith to become stronger and to deepen our trust in Him.
So trials can come to us through several means and with several purposes in mind all for His glory.

Trials also come to test the strength of our faith and to reveal our hearts. A great illustration of this is found in 2 Chronicles 32:31, "..God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart." God certainly doesn't need to test our hearts so that He can know what is in them, He allows tests, that we may know what is truly in our hearts.

If in the midst of our trial, we find ourselves complaining, filled with anxiety, asking Him why is this happening to me, that may very well be a good indication, that you're weak in your faith.

However, if we find ourselves resting in the Lord, having placed our situation in His care, allowing Him bear the burden and going on filled with joy, even through our trials, praising Him for all that He has already done for us, trusting that whatever our current situation may be, we trust Him, than we can know for ourselves, our faith is indeed strong!

We can therefore, or at least we had ought to, be thankful for our trials, because they help us to take inventory of our own faith. Beloved, that’s very helpful. Shouldn't we all want to know where the weaknesses are in our faith? That we can define those areas, so we work to strengthen and increase our faith As well as the strengths? 

Another way trials are helpful, is because they tend to humble us. They remind us not to think more confidently than we should, concerning the strength of our faith.
We find a wonderful illustration in 2 Corinthians 12:6-7, when the apostle Paul says, 

"For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!"

So by this, when these trials come, we recognize that there are two different positions that we can take, regardless of the situation.

And so beloved, I ask you the question today, Are you on it or in it?

In our text today, we found that Peter was in the midst of a raging storm.
Winds were blowing, waves were crashing around Him.
And one minute He is on top of the thing that could destroy him and the next minute he is in the midst of it!

So beloved, that struggle you're going through today, are you on top of the situation that you are struggling with?
Or are you in it? 
Do you have control of it?
Or does it have control of you? You see, you can be in control of a situation without having control of a situation.

My faith is that God has it in Control.
I am not going to become stressed out…
I am not going to become a basket case.
I am not going to lose my mind, losing sleep, thinking about what the outcome will be, because I know that I am a child of God and He is ultimately in control of what happens to me.
Let's look at our text again, one minute, Peter is Proactive. 
His faith is strong
He is bold
He is confident
He is sure.
As he is stepping out of the boat and taking his first step on the water, that Jesus is not going to let him down.

So he begins to walk… as many of us do…  believing God for the miraculous.
And then Life happens.
The storms get louder.
The waves get rougher.
And the things that we were once on top of in our life begin to pull us down into it.
We begin to sink in them.

Then the fear that was not a problem at first becomes a major problem.
The doubt that you totally had under control at the beginning of the struggle is now beginning to pull you down, your sinking in your storm.
That certainty, that what was once under your feet is now up to your neck and your drowning in it!
 
So beloved, are you proactive or are you reactive, when it comes to the problems in your life?
Because if you are proactive, that means that you are praying before you need to pray.
If you are proactive in your walk with God, that means you are reading your bible daily and studying His Word to grow and strengthen your faith, not because you are searching for the answer to your problems.
If you are proactive, you are walking on the problems.
If you are proactive, you are on top of things spiritually.

But if you are sinking, your walk with God has become reactive.
This means that you are no longer in control of the things that happen in your life, but rather they are in control of you.
You are now responding to them instead of them responding to you, or your faith, or your prayers.

If you wait until you are in the middle a problem in your life to pray, you’ve waited too long.
If you wait until you situations are destroying your faith to read God’s Word, you have waited too long.
If you wait till you are knocked down to your knees before you find an altar of prayer, it just might be too late.
God allows trials in our lives, especially when we are blessed in places of spiritual service to keep us humble, that we start to feel that we’re invincible.

Believe me, I can speak to this!
While raising and homeschooling my sons, preaching and began taking care of my parents, in the midst of all of that, I found myself in a season where I found out I had colon cancer. They would be removing part of my colon, and my small intestine.. Talk about a humbling experience.. 
I was the one who was supposed to be strong, capable of taking care of my family.. tending to His flock and here I am laying flat on my back being quickly rushed into surgery, then being told I had only weeks to live. How could this happen? 
Doesn't God know that everyone is counting on me??
Of course He did!
He was using that trial to test and grow my faith, to humble me, to reveal my heart and where I needed to strengthen my trust in Him. Ultimately, all for His glory!

So beloved, are you on it or in it?
Is your current struggle under the control of your faith and knowledge of God’s perfect will or is it controlling your faith and knowledge of His will? 

If you're not praying and believing God, you’re like Peter sinking in the water.
Then you now need Jesus to pull you out of your situation.
But if Peter had been preparing himself for the day he would someday walk on water with Jesus, he may not have started to sink.

But I have to give Peter a lot of credit.
He was willing to step out of the boat when Jesus called to him, unlike all the other people in that boat that day.
Unlike many people even today!

But let's turn to our text again, Matthew 14:31,

"Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Another reason, I believe, that we go through trials, is to detach us from worldly things. 
And turn our attention to Him.

Have you noticed, as I have, that as you're facing the greatest trials of your life, those worldly things tend to have less and less significance? That as you reach out for all those worldly things and they make no difference in the midst of your struggle and they come to mean absolutely nothing...
Trials tend to show us the bankruptcy of the humanistic world values, and that the treasures are in the glories of eternity. And once you realize, your most precious possessions are laid away as treasures in heaven, you'll have a very disengaged relationship with the things of this passing world!

Are you looking at your struggle in view of the world, as Philip did, in John 6:5-7.

"Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little."

I can tell you this, faith is like light, you don’t have to have a lot of it in order for it to shine in the darkness. In fact a smaller light is more visible the darker it gets.
And faith, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear to an onlooker, shines it’s brightest the darker the storm of our life gets.

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:16-19

And in verses 22-25 it says.
"For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

So then, when we go through trials, they tend to give us a greater affection for those things which are eternal. I would tend to say, a very important purpose of trials, is because they reveal that which we truly love. 

There are some people that believe that you either have great faith or you have great doubt.
They believe that if their faith is very small, than their doubt must be very large.

But we are not talking about natural things here today, are we…?
We are talking about something far more powerful,  spiritual things!
In fact, when your faith is at it’s absolute lowest; it still outweighs any amount of doubt that would come along.

"And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
Matthew 17:20-21
I have seen mustard seeds; they are extremely tiny.
In fact, so small, that you can barely see them.
But according to His Word, that’s more than enough to move mountains!
Amen?

You see it's our trials that reveal what you really love by the way you react.
If you supremely love God, you are going to be able to thank God, for what He is accomplishing through this season.

However, if you really love self more than God, you are going to question, God, why do you do this to me? You are going to be irate and you are going to be upset and bitter.

Beloved, if anything is anything, or anyone, that means more to us than God, then we need to let Him have it! But as for me, and my life...I want to make sure that nothing is more important to me than the Lord because I don’t want him to remove it, and I'm not saying that He always does...

"you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
Deuteronomy 13:3

That's a powerful verse! 
Lord is testing you to see who you really love, and whether or not, you love him with all your heart and with all your soul!


Beloved, reason teaches us to value the world and the things in it. Sense and feeling, tells us to value pleasure. Reason says, grab what you can grab in the world and go. Sense and feeling says, go and find pleasure at any price.


But faith, faith tells us to value God’s word, God’s favor, God’s blessings. 
Faith tell us to believe God's world!   
Faith says, obey the Word of God and be blessed.

Peter had everything he needed to walk on his storm. He had a little faith!

If he had only known to trust his little bit of faith, he never would have began to sink in the storm.

Look, I know that some of you, are hanging onto your last thread of faith today, I am here today to say "That's great, because that’s all you need!!"

This is what I’ve learned to do.

Speak to that mountain.
Speak to that situation.
“Depression, you are not going to destroy me! There no longer room in my life for you!"
“Worry and fear, I refuse to allow you to continue living in my life!"
“Situation, I will going to rise above you.”

That's the value of our faith!
God gives power over the enemy!

"Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
John 16:32-33 

In Closing....

Trials are designed to teach us, that obedience to God, at any costs, bring blessing!

Our trials often come to put us through suffering, that we may obey God, in the suffering and then receive the full blessing of God.  
And I would also say, that when you go through a season of trial, if you will just learn to remain obedient to God, you will experience the wonder of His blessing, that is His promise!

We can know this through the life of Jesus, He was humbled. He took upon Him the form of a man, offered himself in death and God highly exalted him
Jesus became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him and through suffering He was obedient and God exalted Him.


So beloved, it is my hope and prayer, that the next you are facing a season of trials, or if you are facing one today, that you will reflect upon the purpose of this message.

Trails are not designed that we fail, their purpose is to test the strength of our faith, strengthen, to humble us,
to distance us from worldly things, to call us to a heavenly hope,
to reveal what we really love, to teach us to value the blessing of God and to appreciate it, to learn obedience through suffering.

It all comes down to our faith. We have to faith and have a believing heart to believe that God is at work in our lives.
That He has a purpose for what we are going through and that He will supply everything that we need for that trial

And now, I ask you once more..

Are You In It or Are You On It???

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.


Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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