To Hell and Back (A Love Story)

Pastor Rick & Shelley Long

4 types of suffering we faced:

·      Natural forces.

“… for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.” Matthew 5:45 (MSG)

·      Hateful people.

“Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that make war inside you. 2 You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people. But you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want because you do not ask God.” James 4:1-2 (ICB)

·      Satan’s attacks.

“Control yourselves and be careful! The devil is your enemy. And he goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. Refuse to give in to the devil. Stand strong in your faith. You know that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are having the same sufferings you have.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ICB)

·      Selfish decisions.

”We must not be proud. We must not make trouble with each other. And we must not be jealous of each other.” Galatians 5:26 (ICB)

God’s path back to love:

“If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall.  Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (GNB)

1.    Pursue humility more than knowledge.

“If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (GNB)

“Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves.  And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.  Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death his death on the cross.  For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.  And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11 (GNB)

2.    Look at how common my problems really are.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” 1 Corinthians 10:13a (ESV)

“I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)

3.    Acknowledge God’s promise to limit the intensity of my problems.

“He will not let you be tempted more than you can stand.” 1 Corinthians 10:13b (ICB)

“Trust the Lord with all your heart. Don’t depend on your own understanding.  Remember the Lord in everything you do. And he will give you success.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ICB)

4.    Never forget God has a way out.

“But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation.” 1 Corinthians 10:13c (ICB)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (ICB)


CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. How did your action step (small step of faith) go last week? What did you learn about God through it? If you didn’t follow through, why not?
  2. What does humility mean to you? How can you personally grow in your humility?  
  3. How does knowing your problems are more common than you think help you overcome them? Share an example.  
  4. God promises to never let your problems be more than you can handle with His help. Looking back, how have you seen God give you a way out when things looked bad?
  5. What are you going through right now that you are trusting in God’s promises that He will help you get through it? Share how the rest of the group can partner with you in prayer.1. 

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