Walking in Your Own Shoes – Part IV (13 Jan 2008)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Bill Irwin

Special Music

Joyful, Joyful
Now Thank we All Our God

Solo/ Anthem
We Walk By Faith
Aaron Shust – My Savior, My God
Aaron Shust – Watch Over Me

The Message

Message by: Robert A. Schuller

My wife and I flew into Los Angeles just a few days ago. It was actually early Wednesday morning. It was still dark out when we flew over Southern California. The fires were burning totally out of control, in fact we heard about them all the way over in Jerusalem. It was international news of what was going on in Southern California and the devastating fires. And when we flew over those fires I saw this line of fire that must have been five miles long, it was enormous. And it wasn’t just one line of fire but I could seem them in different places because it being night time and being up in the air you could see the glows of these fires. And this thought came into my mind: the thought was this is beyond human intervention, that this requires divine intervention. And Donna and I immediately started to pray and I didn’t even know what to pray for except please God help. And that’s all we could pray for at that time. By the time we got home and I climbed into bed it was in the wee hours of the morning, still dark and as I laid in bed and thought, this thought came into my mind pray for rain. Pray for rain. I said now that’s a good idea, that’s what it takes, I’m going to pray for rain. So I got up in the morning as soon as the sun came up and I turned the television on to see what the forecast was and it was very, very, very bleak. They said there was no precipitation in the coming future, that the Santa Ana winds would continue for the next seven to ten days and that was the forecast. And the fires are out of control and are devastating homes and firefighters and the like.

So that afternoon I drove to San Bernardino to give an invocation, a two minute invocation for a friend of mine and he was dedicating his new corporate warehouse and his distribution center for Stater Bros. Jack Brown is a former member of our board in the Crystal Cathedral ministries, and a dear friend and he asked me to do this and even though I had arrived into the states only a few hours before I said yes I’ll do that and I made a commitment and so I did. The challenge, the most challenging part of the whole thing was getting there. I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about with jet lag and all, but my body said it was two am but my clock said it was two pm. And so I’m driving down the freeway going like this the whole way; keep awake, you can do this, don’t fall asleep. You ever done that? That startling thing will keep you awake until you get to your destination, one way or another. It’s really hard to fall asleep when you’re sitting there slapping yourself in the face, but when you get there everyone says, “Boy you look good, you got such rosy cheeks!”

And so I got there and saw Jack and he said, boy you look good Robert. I said thank you. You got such great color! I said yeah I know. And so he had this great reception for his new center there. He had a fifty piece band, he had the color guard, he had the Mayor, the city council of San Bernardino. All in all there must have been five hundred people at this event. There was twenty of us just on the platform. And when I went to give the invocation we could still smell the smoke and the ashes falling and it was not a pretty picture as far the atmospheric situation was concerned. So I said we need to pray. The bible tells us that “If My people will humble themselves and pray then I will heal their land.” I gave them the condensed version. We only have two minutes after all, for this invocation. And then I went on and I said we’re going to pray for rain and when I said that people snickered. They kind of chuckled. I could hear them under their breath turn to the person next to them, yeah-fat chance you know. They knew what the weather forecast was, but we prayed for rain. I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to pray for rain and I know I wasn’t the only person praying for rain. What I do know is that we prayed for rain at four o’clock on Wednesday afternoon and sixty hours later, two and a half days later, Saturday morning I get a call from Jack Brown. He’s so excited he can’t even stand it he says, ‘Robert you told us to pray for rain and it’s raining here in San Bernardino today! Praise God! Praise God!’ And that was the turning point. That was it. From then on the firefighters continued to fight these fires with the help of God.

You know we face incredible odds and struggles and challenges in life. What we have to realize is that with the power of God we can do all things. Solomon, you know that verse that I shared with you earlier, “If My people will humble themselves and pray,” actually comes from II Chronicles 7:14. It says this, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” Now this message comes from God who was speaking to Solomon at the dedication of the temple. Solomon built the temple, had just completed it and that’s the setting with which we receive these words. Now if we go back and look at the life of Solomon you have to look at II Chronicles number one and in there we have the account of where God comes to Solomon and He says Solomon ask for anything you want, anything and I’ll give it to you. And Solomon prayed for wisdom and for knowledge. And having prayed and asked for wisdom and knowledge this is the way God responded to Solomon’s request for wisdom and knowledge. He said “Since this is your hearts desire and you have not asked for wealth or riches or honor, nor for death of your enemies and since you have not asked for a long life, but for wisdom and knowledge to govern My people over whom I’ve made you king. Therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you and by the way I will also give you wealth, riches and honor such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will ever have.” I think he made the right decision. What do you think? He could have asked for anything, but he asked for wisdom and knowledge this might be a clue for us as we look at prayer and as we look at what to pray for and what to ask God for. Do we want to ask for wealth or do we want to ask for wisdom and knowledge? Do we want to ask for all of our enemies to be destroyed? Or do we want to ask for wisdom and knowledge? The bible says, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened. For he who asks receives, he who knocks the doors are opened.”

Art Fry, do you know that name? You should know that name; you need to remember it and tell you why. He was a 3M employee and he was in the choir, church choir. He loved his hymns and he loved his music. And he wanted a way to be able to mark his hymnal. He didn’t know how to do it. As an employee of 3M he knew of something that wasn’t working. They weren’t marketing it so he got a hold of it, put it on pieces of paper and it worked absolutely perfect because it didn’t stick forever. He could post it there and take it off and today you all use his product. What is it? Post its! Post-it notes. Thanks to him I have got Post-its all over my computer, I have them all over my book. Look at in my bible right there! Post-it note! If that is not enough how about this: Post-it notes. You know what, if that’s not enough how about this side, more post-it notes. I’ve got post it notes everywhere. I’m going to leave my jacket on. We’ve got post-it notes everywhere thanks to non other than Arthur Fry the choir man who wanted to know where his hymns were.

How about George de Mestral? A guy in Switzerland, the year is 1948; he’s out walking his dog. Comes back from walking his dog on a summer day and he’s got burrs all in his hair and he’s trying to get the burrs out of his dogs hair. He’s got burrs all over his pants and he’s ripping these things off of his pants. The burrs were absolutely horrible that year, drove him absolutely nuts. But he was also a scientist so he thought this is kind of fascinating. How do these burrs stick to my pants? So he put them under a microscope and he saw that every single one of these branches off of the burr had a microscopic hook on it, never seen anything like it. So he made something like that out of plastic and on the other side of the plastic he made a bunch of loops and today we know it as Velcro and it sticks and it un-sticks thanks to tiny little hooks and loops.
Check this one out, how about Dr. Harry Coover. You all use his product, it’s called Cyanoacrylate. Cyanoacrylate. In fact my wife used it yesterday. She had a broken nail and she used Cyanoacrylate. He was just looking for a piece of plastic, clear plastic. He’s working for Kodak and he got in real trouble because he ruined a few really good lenses at the Kodak Corporation. And then he discovered that hey this stuff is really, really good. And we know it as superglue. We run into problems and so often we sit here and we curse God instead of realizing that God is in the process of blessing us! We get the burrs stuck to our legs and all we can think about is how miserable it is having these burrs in our legs. But anyhow, we sit here and look at the problems we face never realizing that it’s the greatest opportunities that stand before us.
The biggest struggle that God has with every single one of His children is the right ear and left ear. What’s in-between; that four inches that doesn’t have enough faith to believe. So we need to walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus Christ is the very center of the universe. He is the very center of everything that ever has been or ever will be. Jesus Himself claims to be the alpha and the omega. What does that mean? The beginning and the end. That means before God even thought about creating the heavens and the earth, Jesus was. And when there is nothing, now I don’t know how that is going to develop, but if there is an implosion which science talks about happening in a billion years from now where the whole universe implodes upon itself. He is there. He is the beginning and the end. He is the center of history. From the beginning of time to the end of time.

One of the ways to kind of begin to realize how Christ is the very center of the universe is to understand that the Roman Empire had a system which developed Rome as the very center of the universe. That’s what they consider themselves. You’ve all heard the expression, all roads lead to Rome. You’ve heard that expression right? It comes from the Roman Empire. They had established a milestone in the very heart of the city not far from the temple of Saturn. It was called the Aerarium, the Golden Milestone. And then throughout the civilization of Rome, they would establish these milestones. They were huge columns and they were dug several feet down in the ground, twenty/thirty feet into the ground. They weighed several thousand tons so that they were basically impossible to move. You could strap a team of horses to those things and you couldn’t budge them. And then engraved on there would be a number and that number was the number of miles away from the golden milestone, the heart and the center of Rome. So if you were on the British Isles and you were on one of the major roads that led to Rome, you would find one of these milestones and you would know where you are. And the same was true as if you were in the Holy Land or in Egypt or in Turkey or in Morocco. No matter where you were in the Roman world, you knew how far away you were from the center, from the heartbeat.

And Jesus Christ is our golden milestone. The word Christian means to be like Christ. To walk and to move and to be in the presence and the reality of who He is. And so we have to realize that our success in life is a journey, it’s not a destination, it is the journey. It is walking. It’s not arriving. It is in the process, not in the accomplishment. So that everything we do as we walk closer and closer to Christ, we examine where we are and we realize He is the center. We put Him in the center of our heart and He brings healing and hope and goodness. God asked Solomon what do you want? Anything you want and it’s yours. And Solomon said wisdom and knowledge. And Jesus Christ asks you what do you want? Anything you want is yours. Ask and you’ll receive, seek and you’ll find, knock and the doors will be opened. What do you want? I think we should follow the wisdom of Solomon. Ask for a knowledge of Jesus Christ that we can be more like Him and as we move towards Him, discovering His character and His beauty, we’ll discover the success in life, the joy, the happiness, the beauty that comes between our right ear and our left ear. The choir sang it this morning we walk by faith and not by sight. We trust in God and not in might. For in our darkness He is light. We walk by faith and not by sight.

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