IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT
Copyright © 2012 <—>
First published 2012 by <—>
The right of Terry Eckersley to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
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Unless otherwise marked, Scripture quotations are taken from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson, copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked ‘nlt’ are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked ‘tniv’ are taken from from the HOLY BIBLE, TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 2001, 2005 by Biblica®. Used by permission of Biblica®. All rights reserved worldwide.
1. God is Doing His Best!
2. Get Better – Not Bitter!
3. God is in the Heat with You
5. ‘The Refiner’s Touch’
A five chapter booklet examining how, in the middle of a crisis or tough situation, when it looks like we are doing our worst or we are going through a difficult set of circumstances, God is doing his finest work.
The book encourages us to get better not bitter, to trust that God knows what he’s doing, that he is Almighty and he will refine you with the desire to see his image manifest in you, and that you come into the likeness of his son Jesus Christ.
I’m just going to share a little bit about myself. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. I was half Roman Catholic and half Jew: it was the same as being a normal Roman Catholic, but when I went to confession I had to take my lawyer with me!
My dad died when I was thirteen. His death absolutely knocked me of the rails, it drove me crazy. When most young lads were playing with toy cars, I played with the real thing! I started joy riding at thirteen, shoplifting, getting into a lot of petty crime at the time and I was put in the care of the local authority. I went from bad to worse – drugs, crime, drugs, crime. I was in out of care homes and institutions right up to the age of twenty.
At twenty years of age I gave my life to Christ. I didn’t realise the enormity of what I’d done, but eight years later on – eight years of nearly dying three times from car crashes and drug overdoses, all sorts of crazy stuff – I was saved; I was born again. I knew Jesus died for me and I got filled with the spirit when I was twenty-eight. I settled in a local church and was with Dave Gilpin and the guys from Hope City Church for about seven years.
Shortly after this time I was down south on a busman’s holiday to look after ‘The Fountain Inn’ in Rowland’s Castle. Who was to know that about two months after this my job would fold and I would be head hunted for a job in Southampton.
But primarily in all that, God was calling me – our steps are ordered by the Lord:
Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he’s happy. If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; God has a grip on his hand. (Psalms 37:23–24)
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The theme I want to discuss, the general overview is leadership: God is preparing us as a church for other people to come in, but God is preparing us for awesome things, even greater things than we’ve ever dreamed of or seen or imagined in our lives. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says:
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it –
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
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<H1>GOD IS DOING HIS BEST!
The title is In the Heat of the Moment. This is called an ‘idiom’, not an idiot you might say but an idiom – like ‘rubbing salt into a wound’. ‘In the heat of the moment’ describes the immediacy and aliveness in being involved in something: ‘I didn’t mean to do it, darling, I said it in the heat of the moment’; ‘I didn’t mean to do it, Pastor, but I watched something on TV and in the heat of the moment . . .’; ‘I didn’t mean to do it but in the heat of the moment I left my wife’, ‘I packed my job in . . .’ In the heat of the moment people do their worst, they say the worst, they behave the worst. And I want to share with you that in the heat of the moment – God is always doing his best.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26–28)
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God is always doing his best in the heat of the moment.
For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop. (Genesis 8:22)
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The heat will never cease. This is mentioned in Genesis, right at the beginning of the Bible. My aim is to help us understand God’s purpose in the heat of the moment, our experiences and how we should respond . . . It’s not people, it’s not the Devil; it’s God in the heat of the moment.
There’s three kinds of people: there are God-centred people in church who are faith-filled and always in victory; there are people-centred people who are always unforgiving, always bitter – you see them everywhere; there are Devil-centred people – ‘the Devil made me do it’ – they are always living in fear (‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline’, 2 Timothy 1:7, nlt).
What kind of people are we . . . in the heat of the moment?
My key scripture, is from Daniel 3:16–18:
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.’
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Nebuchnezzar was furious with them and his attitude towards them changed. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual and he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up the three and throw them into the blazing furnace . . . in the heat of the moment. That’s my key text; God does his best in the heat of the moment.
A lump of coal under intense heat and pressure becomes a very valuable and expensive diamond, in the heat of the moment; gold is refined and purified, in the heat of the moment. Your test will become your testimony, and your mess will become your message after the heat of the moment. The final stage for a beautiful, expensive vase, after it’s been crafted and painted, is to be placed in a kiln in the heat of the moment.
People develop best in the heat of the moment; God always does his best in the heat of the moment.