Play The Cards You are Dealt

Introduction:
This week’s message was on poker. Life is kinda like a game of poker. We’re given a certain set of “cards” that we didn’t choose. We didn’t choose when or where we were born. We didn’t choose our ethnicity. We didn’t choose our abilities or disabilities. We didn’t choose our parents. There are a lot of things that go into us that are beyond our control. The cards we were given are the cards we must play. The easy thing to do is to complain about it and wish you had a different set of cards; the right thing to do is to make the most of the hand you’ve been dealt. But how do we do that? How can we transforms those “cards” into a winning hand. How can I better use the cards in my hand? And how can I trust God to effectively use the cards I was dealt.

Something To Talk About:
I would like to give you a few additional thoughts in addition to what Roy said on Sunday. Our character should always be stronger than our circumstances. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. In those moments when I choose to stop doing the armchair quarterback thing or complaining and shutting down because I don’t think I can win with my cards, we can learn to pause and remember that God has a plan for you. And the cards in your hand are what you need to fulfill that plan. Choose to grow spiritually no matter what you’re going through.“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Turn your troubles into strength or as Roy said, “turn your mess into maturity.” Every difficulty in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith, and maturity if we make the choice to trust Him completely. All our pain has a purpose. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

God’s timing is always perfect. Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own timing by folding your hand or trying to change your cards. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11. And God will be with us every step of the journey. You may feel like you have to play the cards you were dealt all alone, but nothing could be farther from the truth. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Questions:
1. Psalms 139:14 says,“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God doesn’t make clones. He doesn’t make copies. Do you ever wonder whether God did make a mistake in the cards you were dealt? How did you deal with those feelings?
2. Which of the five cards, chemistry, connection, circumstances, consciousness, and choice is the weakest part of your poker hand? Why? How can you turn the weakest part into a strength?
3. How can we best harness our consciousness, our thinking, our paradigms, etc. for God? What is your process/method for making choices? Is God part of the decision making process? When and how do we include God in how we make choices?
5. Pray and ask God to turn your messes into maturity in 2015.

Take One Thing Home With You:
It is not an easy thing to accept who we are, warts and all. And it is certainly not a bad thing to improve yourself, to have ambition, to improve your mind. But there’s a difference in accepting who I am and making it all about me. God made us who we are for a reason. And there is no point trying to hide or deny the fact that our lives include weaknesses and strengths. The key is having the strength to accept who we are, and how God wishes to use us to further His kingdom. It’s not about what we do. Or what we have, or even what we achieve. It’s not about conforming to what society thinks we should be. Howard G. Hendricks known affectionately as “Prof” to more than 10,000 graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary, gave us something to think about as we work on the hands we were dealt.”Nothing you can do, will make God love you more. Nothing you can do will make Him love you less.”