• INTRODUCTION: In this life of struggles and troubles, some will live life better with difficulty than without. How does this make sense? By realizing that in times of difficulty and trouble, the believer tends to constantly rely on and pray to God while those without trouble or dependency soon forget God because they're not in need--it's human nature. Sometimes the greater danger lies in victory: when you win, do you take the glory and riches from your peers who recognize "your" achievement or do you remember to give glory/credit to He who made your victory possible--God?

    ROLE MODEL for this story: Abram (later renamed by God as Abraham) of the Old Testament, father of the Jewish nation Israel. While a man of true faith and obedience who God promised to make his seed into a great, nation (Israel--from then to this day)--Genesis 12:1-2, Abraham still endured trials and hardships just as non-believers.

  • Times of trouble and peril are the ideal times to define, refine and test a person's character.
  • Genesis 12:4 and Hebrews 11:8: (Example of where Old Testament and New Testament scripture match) God told Abraham to "get up and go" but without telling Abraham where he was going and Abraham responded by gathering his life and wife and went, even though he didn't know where his final destination was--this is how much trust he had in God

  • Yet while Abraham was obedient and life was going well, life changed for Abraham when his nephew Lot was taken and Abraham had to respond to whether he would conform and actively deal with the situation (because once Lot reached his place of captivity, there was no getting him back) or avoiding it in hopes it would "go away" or bypass him

  • LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Abraham was not only the father of Israel and obedient to God but was a brilliant military strategist!
  • In the end, Abraham and his 318 men chased one of the largest Mesopotamian armies ever 80 miles through Damascus, toward modern-day-Iraq (the final destination), to attack, win and return 220 miles with their spoils and Abraham's nephew, Lot
  • Now the final test: with men coming to recognize Abraham (not God) for the victory, how does Abraham respond?

  • There may be times in your life when God will remove all outside help from you and give you a difficult situation in which you can fold and forget or have the faith to call upon God for help, rely on Him for victory and give Him the credit for the win

  • This week, some of you will have another mundane, quiet week of work and family. For others, your entire life and world may change overnight. Will you crumble or meet the challenge and succeed?

  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8: Paul, one of the greatest Christian persecutors-turned-faithful (Acts 9:1-18) didn't let his past demoralize his future mission to spread the Gospel throughout the land to mainly enemies of the Church. He saw the danger coming, prepared himself, had faith in God, never folded and declared before his death that he "fought a good fight" and "kept the faith". Because of this, Paul (and any other believer to his day) will literally receive a "crown of righteousness" from God at this world's end

  • Abraham prepared himself for the challenge, acted against it, won, and closed it out by giving God the glory for the win. For a continued life of great victory, you do the same.