MOMENTS OF TRUTH
“21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible”
#14 – Problem Solving
26 July 2020
This is our 13th lesson in our series entitled “21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible.” We must remember our goal is to aid in our growth as Christians and help to develop servant leadership traits inspired by men and women of Scripture. The apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter also tells us to “add” to our faith in 2 Peter 1:5-11, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” These are just a few of the Scriptures that teach Christians to grow and mature as Children of God. These things aren’t done to make the Christian better “than” those around them but better “for” those around them. As Christians are to be as Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
You see, the Bible is not only the greatest book ever written, it is the greatest leadership book ever written. Everything we could ever want to learn about leadership – vision, purpose, thinking strategy, communication, attitude, encouragement, mentoring, follow-through – it’s all there. We must be open to what God wants to teach us. We learn from the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:11 concerning God, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Three things we must recognize in this text, (1) God’s Word always fulfills His purpose. (2) His Word does not return to Him void; (3) It accomplishes what He pleases and prospers in what He sent it for.
So, for Our lesson today we examine: Problem Solving: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be a Problem.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, But take heart! I have overcome the world.” As we go through life here on earth, trouble is a given. Problems are unavoidable, but they don’t have to be insurmountable. Problems become a problem only when we let them. It’s all a matter of perspective e. As author Robert Kiyosaki said, “Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.”
Problems are everywhere, and they can have a negative effect on followers as well as the leader. Leaders have a responsibility to help their people solve problems as quickly and effectively as possible. So how do you “take heart” in the face of problems? The first step is to admit that problems will come. Many people expect – or at least hope for – smooth sailing. Once a leader has accepted that rough water is inevitable, they are able to anticipate and prepare for it, not in a negative way, but realistically. Leaders can handle anything that comes when they expect the best but plan for the worst.
Problems are simply obstacles in the path toward a goal. It is easy to let them block the view of the finish line. Effective leaders look past the problems and keep their minds on the goal and the big picture. This combats hopelessness and powerlessness. It also can reveal the way past the obstacle, especially when people search for solutions creatively and think outside the box. Paul Harvey once said, “In times like these it is good to remember that there have always been times like these.” While the folks experiencing this pandemic have never experienced anything like this before, it has happened before! We only have to look 100 years into our past to see a similar event, the so-called “Spanish Flu.” Even President Woodrow Wilson suffered from it.
Let us be sure we recognize every problem introduces you to yourself. It reveals how you think and what you are made of. Do you stop or turn back when confronted with an obstacle? Or find a way over, under, or around it? Getting past problems is a crucial part of achieving your goals. Every time you choose to see beyond a problem and think creatively until you find its solution, you not only get closer to your objective, you also increase your skill as a problem solver.
Today we are going to learn Problem Solving from the Shunammite and Elisha, Esther and Mordecai, and a woman with an issue of blood. Each of these Scriptural examples have been preserved to aid us in our efforts to overcome problems. Any problem that may come our way. We gain hope from examples like these. Quite simply because these folks each trusted in God, in Whom True Hope exists!
In 2 Kings 4:8-37 we get to learn from the Shunammite woman and the prophet Elisha, “Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, "Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 "Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there." 11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. 12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, "Call this Shunammite woman." When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, "Say now to her, 'Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'" She answered, "I dwell among my own people." 14 So he said, "What then is to be done for her?" And Gehazi answered, "Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old." 15 So he said, "Call her." When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, "About this time next year you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!" 17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. 18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, "My head, my head!" So he said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, "Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back." 23 So he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath." And she said, "It is well." 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, "Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, "Look, the Shunammite woman!. 26 "Please run now to meet her, and say to her, 'Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?'" And she answered, "It is well." 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, "Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me." 28 So she said, "Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me'?" 29 Then he said to Gehazi, "Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child." 30 And the mother of the child said, "As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, "The child has not awakened." 32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite woman." So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, "Pick up your son." 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.”
The Shunammite woman was happy to care for the “man of God”, she and her husband made for him a place to stay whenever he came by.
When Elisha told her about gaining a son, she did not want it to happen, there would be challenges! She had become content. The child came, the child died, the Shunammite went to Elisha and was upset. Elisha prayed God to bring him back to life!
Now let’s turn over Esther 8:1-14. Here is where we learn the part of problem solving referred to as ‘Follow through’, “On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman. 3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. 4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, 5 and said, "If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king's provinces. 6 "For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?" 7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, "Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. 8 "You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's signet ring; for whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's signet ring no one can revoke." 9 So the king's scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king's signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds. 11 By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives-to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king's command. And the decree was issued in Shushan the citadel.”
Haman’s evil plot against the Jews was still in effect even after his death, Esther and Mordecai knew something had to be done! So, once again, Esther risks her life for her people as she stands before the king and requests something be done to stop the plot from happening. Because of her courage and love for her people she found a solution to the problem and the king gave the command and sent his couriers quickly away to get the decree everywhere so the Jews could avenge themselves of those who would destroy them.
From the Shunammite Woman and Elisha, Esther and Mordecai, now we learn from a woman with an issue of blood and her creative solution for her problem in Mark 5:21-34, “Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" 31 But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."”
This woman had a 12-year problem and was not getting the relief she needed to the expense of all that she had, but she did not give up! She kept her eyes and ears opened. She learned about Jesus and went to Him with great faith! Because of her great faith, Jesus was more than happy to heal her! His words to her show this, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
As we near the end of our lesson let us recognize The Shunammite woman had found contentment not having a child of her own. She was afraid of what could happen should she be blessed with one. She ended up being blessed even when trouble arose! Esther and Mordecai knew Haman’s evil plot was still in effect and something needed to be done about it! Esther risked her life once again and went to the king! The woman with the 12-year issue found the solution in Jesus, and her faith led her to being freed from her suffering!
So, with these examples of Problem Solving and so many others, let us examine our hearts and see if we “measure up” to the level of Problem Solving truly desired in us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The level of Problem Solving He Himself had when He was willing to go to the cross on our behalf. His Problem Solving aided Him in going through all that He did on our behalf. All Christians need to be problem solvers! Our world around us struggles so, because too many true Christians do not step up to aid in problem solving! Let us recognize Whom we serve! The Greatest Problem Solver in existence! Our Father in Heaven! As we learn from God in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
So, for this series of lessons we have studied: Character, Charisma, Commitment, Communication, Competence, Courage, Discernment, Focus, Generosity, Initiative, Listening, Passion, Positive Attitude and now Problem Solving. The Lord has provided for us time and time again these qualities modeled in the Bible for our growth for His Will to be done!