PM Sermon Topic: When Life Gives you Lemons…
PM Sermon Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
In research findings from Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century.
Midlife increases in suicides and drug poisonings have been previously noted. However, that these upward trends were persistent and large enough to drive up all-cause midlife mortality has, to our knowledge, been overlooked. If the white mortality rate for ages 45−54 had held at their 1998 value, 96,000 deaths would have been avoided from 1999–2013, 7,000 in 2013 alone. If it had continued to decline at its previous (1979‒1998) rate, half a million deaths would have been avoided in the period 1999‒2013, comparable to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic through mid-2015. Concurrent declines in self-reported health, mental health, and ability to work, increased reports of pain, and deteriorating measures of liver function all point to increasing midlife distress.1
Man that’s depressing news! What do you do when life gives you lemons?
Here are some quotable quotes to try and answer that question.
“When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye.”
“We live in a world where lemonade is made from artificial flavoring and furniture polish is made from real lemons.”
“When life gives you lemons, do NOT make lemonade. Lemonade is for losers. Make orange juice instead.”
“When life gives you lemons, sell them and buy a pineapple. How to better your life 101.”
“When life gives you lemons…add melted butter , toasted paprika and dip some lobster in it!”
“If life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Words to live by, especially when you kept in mind that the only way to make them into lemonade was to squeeze [them to death].”
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
What do you do when life hands you lemons? You make lemonade.
Mary Tudor ascended the throne of England when John Bradford was a popular English reformer in the 1500s. Mary Tudor is better known in history as “Bloody Mary.” She was adamant to return England to Catholicism under the Roman pope and John was arrested along with many English Reformers of that period. The English Reformers were to Anglicanism what Martin Luther was to the Catholic church. They believed the Anglican church needed reforming.
John Bradford was arrested and thrown into the Tower of London. He and a young man lamed John Leaf were sentenced to death on July 1, 1555 for the trivial charge of “trying to stir up a mob.” You can Wiki the details. But here is the learning point. At the stake where Bradford and Leaf were about to be burned, John offered forgiveness to anyone who he felt wronged him and begged forgiveness from God for anyone he may have wronged. Right before the fire was lit, he turned to young Leaf and said, “Be of good comfort brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!”2When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
There is bad news out there, but all the hand wringing in the world is not going to help us engage the problem. Sitting on our hands is not going to solve the problem. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.
“Do you believe that there is work to do (Matthew 9:9, 35-38)? Jesus called Matthew to follow because there was much work to be done. There were many souls to be saved. He told His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (9:37). The problem is not with the harvest–the world is lost and dying. There are potential converts everywhere we go. The problem is that there is a lack or workers. There are too few willing to share the good news.” — Burt Warren
I want to share with you three things we are empowered to do in 2 Corinthians 1 that will help us take the lemons of life and make lemonade out of them.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (NASB95)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
6But if we are afflicted, it is afor your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
7and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that aas you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
8 For awe do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our baffliction which came to us in 1cAsia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
91indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
10who adelivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, 1He bon whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,
a 2 Cor 4:15; 12:15; Eph 3:1, 13; 2 Tim 2:10
a Rom 8:17
a Rom 1:13
b Acts 19:23; 1 Cor 15:32
1 I.e. west coast province of Asia Minor
c Acts 16:6
1 Lit but we ourselves
a Rom 15:31
1 One early ms reads on whom we have set our hope that He will also
b 1 Tim 4:10
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 1:6–10.
11you also joining in ahelping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by bmany persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
a Rom 15:30; Phil 1:19; Philem 22
b 2 Cor 4:15; 9:11f
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 1:11.
I wonder what one million prayers of effectual, fervent, righteous persons would do for the good of our country? I mean sincerely, boldly, coming before the throne of a holy God and calling the names of our nation’s leaders, asking Him to cleanse their hearts of greed, power, and every other thing that would stand in the way of returning our country to a more righteous environment. Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you think that God would just ignore our pleas? I have over 240 FB friends and if each one would read and then share this, we could reach a lot of people with the request to pray.
One thing I would like for us to consider is that every breath we breathe, every sunrise in the morning, and every time the seasons change, we are reminded that we have a new chance…. a new opportunity. There is a song we sing sometimes that says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion says my soul. Therefore, I will hope in Him!” This song is a direct quotation from Lamentations 3:22-24.
1. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century
vol. 112 no. 49, 15078–15083, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518393112, September 17, 2015
Preparing to teach Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Lesson 1, “The Living God is a Missionary God. I encountered the following quote from John R. W. Stott this morning:
“Since it comes from God we must guard it; since it is intended for modern me and women we must interpret it. We have to combine fidelity (constantly studying the biblical text) with sensitivity (constantly studying the contemporary scene). Only then can we hope with faithfulness and relevance to relate the Word to the world, the gospel to the context, Scripture to culture.” (The Bible in World Evangelization, p. 23.)