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Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Good Times and the Bad Times

Updated on February 15, 2015

From the peaks to the valleys, our faith must be a constant.

While we may be at the top or the bottom, our faith must reside comfortably in between.
While we may be at the top or the bottom, our faith must reside comfortably in between. | Source

What impostors they are!

It is often helpful to look back at failures in the calm light of when they have passed. We are not always able to see the forest for the trees. But rest assured that if we do we can profit from our “mistakes” and help to carve out within ourselves an inner strength that will guide us through adversity. Real breakdowns in faith seem to happen in two distinct times; the good times and the bad. Let us look at our own role in these breakdowns.

In the good times we often find ourselves taking back the reins of control and anticipating that our own understandings are best to guide us. This is a misconception of self. It is an ego run a riot.

In the bad times we often lose faith and question our very own connection with our God. In these times we become so big that we begin to believe that if we were in control the world would be better off.

Both of the above situations try our belief. If we are mature in our faith it is these times that we can call on our Lord to help guide us through any storm. Kipling said to the effect: if we can face tragedy and triumph and treat those impostors just the same. Hopefully the thrust of that concept can help to guide us in our meditation looking both backwards and forwards.

It is time to come back home. God never left.

Sunrise and sunset they really do not depend on us.

The world keeps on turning with or without our faith.
The world keeps on turning with or without our faith. | Source

In the good times

So often it happens that when things are all just going great and hunky-dory that we begin to think that we are in control. “Man plans and God laughs”. It is just part of our human condition that requires some thought and some reflection to prevent. Great job, great spouse, great house and great kids and money in the bank and perfect health with good relationships in and out of family. We look at such a situation and we somehow for some reason pat ourselves on the back and begin to believe that it is all our doing and not a blessing from God. It is as though we could kneel down and give praise to ourselves for how great our lives are going. I hope that conjures up a ridiculously funny picture in your mind. For it is tomfoolery at its best.

“No really, I got this God, it is all under control – mine”. What a road to disaster. And perhaps not a disaster in the natural here and now. We have all seen those without faith do extremely well and we question the efficacy of all our faith and devotion to our God. But alas that is the exception and not the rule and a gentle reminder that; faith is not had in order to obtain.

Here is the real loss. A loss of our spiritual health. Good works without faith are nearly meaningless to those doing the good works. Oh they may help others in the here and now and they may make a difference “in the world”. But in relying on themselves they have lost the real gift of faith.

And let us not forget that for many taking back that control leads to disaster and loss of all things we have been blessed with. So often the lack of devotion and humility that arises in such situations is a broken marriage.

Let God shine his light on you!

How about you?

Is your faith steady like a good foundation?

See results

Seems strange to put an advertisement in this hub.

In the bad times.

One can almost say that we can create a safe spiritual environment by habit. Daily devotionals and staying in “the Word” of our faith in a habitual form can prevent a relapse into negative thinking and destructive behaviors. It is when the proverbial crap hits the fan that we must maintain a vigilance. Otherwise we begin to play a dangerous game. That game is the “why would God let this happen?” game. And make no mistake it is a game fraught with danger and created by our own best thinking. Death, Divorce and Loss of job are the three great stressors in modern day. (loss of close family to death is tragic but for a believer there is some solace when others go to meet the creator, somehow there is a resignation to this inevitability. Have no doubt there is still the lingering question of “why”)

When these stressors come about it is as though we have a fork in the road and we can decide which to take. The road to faith or the road to isolation from our God, a separation. I once faced such a stressor and the strange thing was that I had developed a habit of prayer and devotionals and study of the Word. Regardless of the tragedy I was just compelled to act out of habit to look to God and not away from God. No great faith on my behalf just a ritual that kept me pointed down the right fork in that road.

Can we store up faith for the critical times? Perhaps we can, and for this soul, I prefer to store up. I am not sure it works that way but that one I do not need to leave to chance.

Just a wonderful photograph.

How strong is our faith against the falls of life.
How strong is our faith against the falls of life. | Source

An interesting reality

When we stay in faith as a normal course of our existence something strange will happen. We will stress over the little things from day to day. Small matters of little consequence in the big picture of things. Issues and decisions that we can handle. These we do handle with perhaps just a little prayer of question to our God. But when the big stuff happens we are not stressed over them for we know intuitively that they are in the hands of God. Many times we will see the elder faced with enormous grief of loss and they remain a constant at peace. This comes from an abounding faith that “Thy will be done not mine”.

Here we find that tragedy and triumph do not change the faith of those whom it resides it. Faith does not know breakdowns. Faith is constant and does not waiver in times of good and bad. Whether or not we choose to waiver or allow separation then that is our choice. I hope you make the choice to stay in faith.

Healing

It would be remiss not to touch on healing in such a sermon. In faith we can heal and in healing we can strengthen our faith. Have no doubt that those who take control and “have it all” need healing as much as those with broken hearts and minds. The greatest breakdowns are not caused by one or the other, by good or bad they are caused by lack of faith. And we can assure ourselves that faith can heal all wounds if we choose to let it.

Healing is not automatic. Healing takes time. If we are vulnerable to the slings and arrows of this world then we will need healing at some time or all the time. Our circumstances do not dictate how and when healing occurs but rather our faith does.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Joyette for visiting and leaving such a nice note. I am afraid I falter in both the good and the bad times. By acknowledging it we can improve.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 2 years ago from Dominica

      What a beautiful hub! Voted up and beautiful. I like the way you put it about the good times and the bad times; it is in the down times that I falter when I allow myself to be too overwhelmed. I derive a lot of comfort; however, in Lynda Randle's song 'God on the Mountain'.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Demas, yes perhaps it is time to get back to writing, I do miss it a bit.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Faith should be constant but varies as you suggest as the trials and tests come our way and try our faith. There are, as you suggest, steps we can take, and habits we can foster to bolster our faith. Looking for opportunities for service, and praying for them is one step. God will use us for his purposes, especially if we are willing and able.

      Good thoughts.

      Minor housekeeping: "Here we find that tragedy and triumph do not change the faith of those whom it resides it. "

      By the way, seven weeks of written answers, comments, and following, do suggest that you publish some more recent thoughts we can ponder. Yes?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chitrangada, I am so sorry that I missed your comment earlier. I hope you do not think me rude. I always appreciate your reading and commenting on my hubs. We sure are lucky to have our faith.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chitrangada, I am so sorry that I missed your comment earlier. I hope you do not think me rude. I always appreciate your reading and commenting on my hubs. We sure are lucky to have our faith.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Another wonderful and insightful hub! Your Sunday Sermons are so inspiring.

      I loved these lines and completely agree with you, "-----tragedy and triumph do not change the faith of those whom it resides it. Faith does not know breakdowns. Faith is constant and does not waiver in times of good and bad."

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Uzochukw Mike 2 years ago from Oba

      Eric, thanks for the reply to my comment. For sure God also laughs with us because He is our father that cares.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harishprasad, it is always a pleasure to have you come by and leave me a note. I like your mirror concept. Thank you.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      Sir, this mirror needs to be shown to me time to time to grasp the real purpose behind the good days and the bad days. Sunday Sermon is a great teacher. Thank you very much.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mike, at least I know for sure that He is laughing at me and also with me. I find it a great relief to know I am not in total control.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oztinato, How right you are, thank you for your wonderful addition to this hub.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel your comment is most welcome and uplifting, thank you, although you are making me blush a bit.

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile image

      Uzochukw Mike 2 years ago from Oba

      Truly, man plans and God laughs because the mind of God is not that of man.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Yes a good sermon.

      Faith can be a noun or a verb:

      Noun=a set of rules

      Verb=actively having faith.

      I always say if you can feel your faith

      being shaken at least you know you have some !

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      As usual, brilliantly written in your own unique Dierker-esque signature style. You uplift while at the same time making me squirm and take inventory. Great hub!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed no matter what, if I can heal on a daily basis life is good. Thank you for your wisdom.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Eric my man , the naysayer come and go but the faithful are always listening ! And I love the last part about healing ! Awesome job Eric awesome ! Thank you for this one , it hit a spot !

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Venkatachari, you said it all in just a few well chosen words.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's one more great Sermon from you. Faith and the feeling of humbleness are most important in our life. Whatever success or failure we undergo, we should always remember God and attribute all our successes also to God. You have clearly explained this in your sermon.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mary I just love that "to it and through it" phrase -- it really sums up what our faith should be.

      Thank you for coming by and leaving such a nice note and addition to this hub.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith I am happy for you that your grands visited. My family was also baffled with me when I was going through cancer. I let God do the battle and was just along for the blessings. I simply do not sweat the big stuff anymore. Thank you for all your support and your sharing, it means a whole lot to me.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Clive, what a nice comment to add to this humble hub.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marlene it is good of you to drop in. I think we all have to admit that we take back the power -- or at least we think we do.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      We all have a habit of slipping into thinking we did it ourselves but when the rubber hits the road it is God that brought us to it and God that will see us through it.

      This is a great reminder Eric and a Sunday sermon that should be repeated.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, a sermon on my favorite topic of Faith! You have done a tremendous job with this one. You have touched on so many truths here. I remember a time long ago when I thought that I had to control every situation and person in my life Hahaha, and I know God always had a good laugh. I am so glad I realized that was a bunch of baloney no doubt, and I am truly grateful knowing I am not in control!

      When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and large blot clots in both lungs, I baffled the doctors, family and friends, for I did not freak out one tiny bit and just truly placed my full trust and faith in the Lord God. Even if my body was ravaged with cancer and I would die, I knew I would be okay and had peace. Alas, He healed me and so I know I am still here for a reason.

      I am enjoying the day off for President's Day, and I missed this wonderful sermon yesterday for my grands were up for the weekend.

      So glad to read it now though.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      God bless you and yours always

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      AMEN

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Dora, I am glad you came by and read this sermon, I hope you have a blessed week. Thank you for your comment.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I have to admit I'm guilty of thinking I've got things under control, not realizing that I really don't have anything in control. It's all God. He has things under control. I learn quickly when things go awry. The moment I stop, drop, and give faithful control over to God, then things start to smooth out and life is good again. I like to read your sermons. They remind me to stay faithful and trust God for everything.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Such relevant points in this sermon. "Stay in faith" is my meditation for today. Thank you, Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for your extensive comment.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      bradmasterOCcal and Ericdierker

      When we come to realize that the God is Within us and Faith is not a belief then we also mst be able to take responsibility for our own thoughts and action. The blame game never works out the way that we think it would because then the blame falls back on our thoughts and doings. The God Within us all, is simply ourselves and how we bring back to us what we put forth into the world. Nothing happens in this world without us first. If we do not have faith in ourselves and trust in that faith that we can move mountians by even a mere thought then that is the seat of control. We can only control ourselves.

      Each of you have a great day!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am sorry but are you saying that people with faith in God have no intelligence only non-believers do?

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      Faith in religion is not the same as faith in a God. Religions are run, and controlled by people. You assume that your religion is the one that has a true God, and you and its followers have faith in it.

      With seven billion people on the planet, the best following of a religion is less than thirty percent. That means that seventy percent of the world's population don't have faith in your religion, or your God.

      The people and the world have not changed since the recording of history, as well in the stories of the bibles. Faith should have a basis, but faith in God is given without any ounce of intelligence. Our intelligence is what makes us special and different from all the other creatures.

      A dog is not a very intelligent animals, and even it requires some foundation to believe in its master. Telling the stories of the bibles over and over, in many different languages from the original and non punctuated version, allows anyone to come along and say this is what those unbroken streams of foreign characters mean.

      Repetition works in selling even the worse product, but it is not a proof of the truth.

      There is a benefit when people come together as one for any reason including religion, but that is beneficial with or without the existence of a God.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks John, I sure need the reminder. I am pretty busy wrestling control away from God and so very busy screwing up ;-)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      A wonderful Sunday Sermon (Monday for me) Eric and a great lesson for us all. It is easy to forget to thank God when life is going along smoothly, but that's exactly what we should do. Alternatively it is easy to blame God or dismiss his existence if everything seems to be going down the drain..that's when we need to show the most faith and hand our problems over to Him. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jackie you touch on that wonderful duo of faith and grace. We are healed by His deep abiding love and sacrifice. Our faith gives us the good fortune to know this and act accordingly -- not of our own device but divine device we are acting and healing in faith.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Ah you sure got this right! We can forget sometimes when things are going so right that we think nothing can go wrong. Maybe this is the time for serious thanks to God for he won't be mocked in case we do think it is any doing of our own.

      I believe in healing no matter how long it takes! By His blood we are saved and by His stripes we are healed. We have them both! ^+

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill that old CRS syndrome will get you a free pass anytime around here. I wish I could blame my shortcomings on something rather than old boneheadedness. Thank you for your constant support, seems your faith in some of us is what keeps us going.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      These are lessons it has taken me a lifetime to learn, and I'll be damned if I still don't forget them....however, because I'm so old, I can now blame it on advancing age. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Chris. I have, through a tough and rough windy road come to a place where I can truly appreciate different views on God. I try in these to neither be too preachy nor too my faith centrist. It is not always easy but it sure is rewarding that it crosses so much of what many feel are boundaries. I appreciate being appreciated for the effort, it means the world to me.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Eric, Thanks for the reminder that when the going gets easy, the faithful take the credit and begin to stray. I appreciate the careful wording of your hub. Though my path of faith no longer follows the dictates of any of the world religions, I still have a concept of a power greater than me in this universe. Your hub was worded to assist me as much as anyone else. For that I thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Jo. This was a tough one to write as it is easy to slip into judgment of others when they face tough times. Perhaps by looking at ourselves, and not judging, we can do better.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed this very much Eric! A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes the faith seems to become stronger when all we have left is our *faith* in knowing that somewhere out in the vast universe. There is a being who knows exactley what to do!

      Just Beautiful! Shared and Up all the way but funny. :-)