Today’s Sermon From The Ranch – Being Fully Persuaded

(This Day’s Thought is pleased to feature Eric Elder’s latest series called “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind”) 
 

The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration

Being Fully Persuaded

Lesson 10 from
Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder
www.theranch.org
 

 
I’d like to give you some hope today—hope that God has the power to do what He has promised.  
 
My daughter showed me a great picture a few weeks ago with the word HOPE written on the palm of someone’s hand.  What was unique about the picture was that the hand could be seen in the side mirror of a car, with more words written in small print on the bottom of the mirror that said: 
 
 
Objects in mirror are closer than you think.I thought it was a great picture of the hope you can have in God, too.  When God promises to do something, you can take it to the bank.  You can trust that He will bring it to pass.  And even if the answers to your prayers might look like they are far off, the truth is that the answers could really be much closer than you think!
 
After I saw this picture, my wife and daughter were looking for a new car on the Internet.  Our van had broken down and could no longer be repaired, so we’ve been looking for something to replace it.  My wife has had her eye on a particular little car that she’s really liked for several years.  It’s not like her to care much for cars at all, but this one seemed to be just right for her and my daughter.
 
As they looked, they found it:  the exact car they were looking for.  Everything was perfect about it:  the style, the color, even the design on the front.  The only thing wrong with it, from my perspective, was the price!  (It was the right price for the car, just the wrong price for us!)  
 
A friend of mine told me what he said to his daughter when she went off to a college that he couldn’t afford to send her to.  He said the only thing he sent her with were his prayers and these words:  “The same God who takes care of me will take care of you.”
 
Through prayer and hard work, his daughter was able to work it out.  God did take care of her.
 
So as I went to bed with my wife that night after looking at the cars, I told her about my friend’s words for his daughter.  I smiled and said, “I know you like that car, and you’ve got my prayers!  The same God who takes care of me will take care of you!”  We both laughed and went to bed. 
 
The next morning, I went to a men’s breakfast at 6:00 a.m.  As I pulled into the parking lot, someone pulled in right behind me, someone who was new to the group.  He just happened to be driving the very same car my wife and daughter had been looking at on the Internet:  the exact style, color, and even the design painted on the front.  
 
I couldn’t believe it!  It hadn’t even been 8 hours since I had prayed that prayer.  I got out and asked him how he liked his car.  He said he loved it.  I asked if he’d ever consider selling it.  He said, “Actually, I’m thinking about it.”  He said things had changed recently in his life, and he didn’t need this car anymore.  
 
We talked some more, and after breakfast, I asked if I could take a look at the car.  I started taking a few pictures for my wife, then I got inside.  As I looked around, my eyes landed on the mirror on the right-hand side.  There it was, the full length of the side of the car in the mirror, and these words at the bottom of the mirror:
 
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
 
I almost cried.  I didn’t know if this was God’s answer to our prayers or not, but I did see clearly that if He wanted to answer them, He could do it in an instant.  I took a picture of the car in the mirror, with the words displayed at the bottom, and I repented of my unbelief.  I told God I was sorry for being so flippant the night before, saying to my wife, “The same God who takes care of me will take care of you.”  I knew that God could do anything, absolutely anything.
 
Let me add that it’s been a few weeks now and we haven’t gotten the car yet.  The man’s not quite ready to sell and we’re not quite ready to buy.  We’re not even sure if this is God’s answer or if He has another one in the works.  But it gave me a boost in my faith, and was a vivid reminder of the hope we can have in God, even when it seems like the odds are against us.
 
That’s the kind of faith that Abraham had.  The Bible says:
 
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised” (Romans 4:18-21).
 
I love the way that starts:  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…”  And then I love the way it ends:  “…being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”
 
Abraham was fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.  And that’s the kind of faith that God wants you to have.  But how can you do that?  How can you become fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised?
 
I’d like to give you two ideas today to help give you a boost in your faith.  By doing these, I hope that God will renew your mind and give you hope for your future, too.
 
The first is to take time to read the stories about how God has been faithful to people in the Bible.  Stories like Abraham’s in Genesis chapters 15-17.  Stories like Moses’ in Exodus chapter 1-4.  Stories like Joshua’s in the book of Joshua, or Esther’s in the book of Esther, or Ruth’s in the book of Ruth.  The Bible is filled with stories from cover to cover about how God worked in the lives of ordinary people to do extraordinary things.  As you read these stories, you’ll be filled with faith that God can do similar things for you.
 
The second is to look at stories from people living today who have been touched by the hand of God.  The same God who worked in the lives of men and women thousands of years ago is still at work in the lives of men and women today.  I’ve posted many such stories on our website (www.theranch.org) about people who are living today who have seen God work in their lives in astounding ways.  One of those stories is about a woman named Liesl Alexander, a woman who was locked in a mental institution for years, taking 36 medications a day, and was written off as one of the most hopeless cases in the institution.  
 
Yet when a group of people came from a local church and began to pray for her, her life took a turn in the opposite direction.  By the power of Christ, she was set free to live the life that God had created her to live.  For the past 20 years, she’s been sharing her testimony about how Christ has changed her life, and encouraging her listeners to be fully persuaded that “God can do anything, absolutely anything.” (I’ve included the links to Liesl’s testimony in the P.S. at the end).
 
God wants you to be fully persuaded that He can do what He has promised to do.  I’d encourage you to take some to time to read the Bible this week and look for stories of how God has touched people’s lives in powerful ways, then look at our website or at other Christian books to see how God has worked in people’s lives today, and you’ll be convinced, too, that God can do anything— absolutely anything.
 
Hope is closer than you might think.  Remember:
 
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
 
Will you pray with me?
 
Father, thank You for reminding us that You are always at work on our behalf, and that the answers to our prayers could be revealed in an instant. Help us to trust You fully—to be fully persuaded—that You can do anything, absolutely anything.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
P.S.  If you’d like to read more stories from people living today who have been touched in powerful ways by God, visit this link on our website:
If you’d like to read the text-version of Liesl Alexander’s story, click here:
And if you’d like to watch a longer, but powerful video of Liesl’s story, click here:
Liesl’s Story – Video

(Could I ask you to pray for Liesl as well, as she’s facing a new battle now, 20 years later…this time with cancer.  You can read more about it and post a comment on her website at the link below.)
Questions for Reflection
1.  Read Romans 4:13-25.  What does this passage have to say to us today about hope?

2.  While Abraham and Sarah’s story might seem unbelievable, for they were old and past the age of child-bearing, how can their story give you hope for any situation that you’re praying about right now? 

3.  What story does Paul refer to, in verses 23-25, to remind us about God’s ability to bring life out of death?

4.  What are some steps you can take this week to help you become “more fully persuaded” that God can do what He has promised to do, whether they are steps suggested by this lesson, or other steps that might not have been mentioned?  Consider committing to doing one or two of those things.
 
To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, please visit:
 
To get more inspiring books and music like this, please visit:
 
To find us on Facebook, please visit:
 
To invite Eric to speak to your group of any size, whether by Skype or in person, please visit:

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