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We are thrilled to announce the release of the audio from our "In Christ, Christ In" seminar taught by Peter Wade. There are six sessions from the 2007 seminar, plus two bonus teachings on "In Christ" from the Australian Bible Conference. Also included are the full seminar notes as given to the participants and a full listing of all "In Christ" and "Christ In" scriptures.
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How to Survive a Catastrophe!
by Peter Wade
From chapter 10 of the book "Outdo, Outwit & Outperform". Twelve chapters on how to make a success of You and Christ Inc.
There are plenty of catastrophes in the world this week. People are dying in civil wars, there are areas with great famine, earthquakes, plane crashes, banks failing, recession, in fact, there are so many that a half-hour news service cannot seem to fit them all in.
On top of all this are those personal catastrophes that folk seem to have. Some folk lose their jobs and think it is a catastrophe rather than seeing it as a stepping stone to something better. Perhaps others have been in a car accident and they think it is a catastrophe because the paintwork was scratched. I can remember the night I thought it was a catastrophe when I couldn't work out Rubik's cube! We all have experiences that to us are catastrophes and we need to learn how to survive those experiences of life, those tight spots where things are difficult. Actually the word "catastrophe" is a Greek word that appears in the Bible. It is derived from two Greek words, cata meaning "down" and strophe meaning "to turn", a downturn. We might say that the economy has suffered a downturn, and so we have a catastrophe on our hands.
By way of introduction I will quote just two verses that use the Greek word "catastrophe". "Jesus... overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons" (Matthew 21:12 ESV). The word for "overturned" is the word "catastrophe". For the money-changers it was a catastrophe! It is also used in the New Testament concerning false teaching, how it overthrows the faith of believers. "... Not to quarrel about words... only ruins the hearers" (II Timothy 2:14). The word for "ruins" is the word "catastrophe". False teaching is a catastrophe to those who listen to it and believe it. To learn how to set the stage in order to survive a catastrophe, I will share with you an Old Testament record.
Noah is a good example of a man who survived a catastrophe. Genesis chapter 6 tells us of the conditions that were on the earth at the time of Noah. "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:5,11). Does that sound to you just like today? It certainly does! Jesus commented on it when He said, "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:38–39). I think this proves again the point that the Bible is intensely relevant and practical, because we have not changed much in spite of our sophistication with all our gadgets and computerisation.
There are four statements concerning Noah that will teach us how to set the stage in order to survive a catastrophe. "And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.' But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:6–8). If you were living on the earth in those days, you would have thought that a catastrophe was coming. "But...", and notice the strength of that word in verse 8, "Noah found favor (grace, KJV) in the eyes of the Lord." Then verse 9 amplifies the statement, "These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:9).
"Noah found favor"
That is why Noah survived the catastrophe, the same reason why you can survive anything that the world throws at you—you have found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Remember, Noah lived in Old Testament times even before the ten commandments had been given, so there were no requirement to fulfil any ritual as later developed in the Jewish religion. Noah was a man who did the best he could, and in the administration that he was under God required people to live a blameless life. Today you can live a good life and still miss heaven because God's administration has changed. Noah was not one of those whose "every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". He was a righteous man and blameless among the people of his time. So it was because of his righteous works that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
I'm glad that today the situation is different for you and me, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8–9). I'm thrilled that everybody in the family of God can survive any catastrophe because we have found grace in the eyes of the Lord. We have found it in a different way from how Noah found it, but we found it, nevertheless. In fact, as you study your Bible you will find that we have a far better deal than Noah ever had.
Noah walked with God
Noah not only found grace in the eyes of the Lord, but in verse 9 it says that Noah "walked with God". This statement implies a continuous walk and a close relationship. One of my favourite gospel songs says, "The King and I walk hand in hand together..." The chorus of another old gospel hymn says, "And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known." That is the relationship Noah had with God. He had a moment-by-moment walk with God. Because of this relation-ship, God told him of events that were about to happen. "And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth'" (Genesis 6:13). God let Noah in on what was going to happen. The Lord God Who created heaven and earth had a one-to-one relationship with Noah.
How do you walk with someone who is totally unseen? Hebrews 11 tells us what was Noah's secret. "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith" (Hebrews 11:7). It is by faith that you and I walk with someone we cannot see. It's the faith walk that will help you survive a catastrophe. God calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). You will need to do as God does in order to survive a catastrophe. You will need to declare that the situation is going to change. You will need to see things not as they are, but as they are going to become. It was by faith that Noah and God walked together hand in hand, and it is by faith that you and God do the same.
Noah did all God commanded him
"Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch" (Genesis 6:14). "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him" (Genesis 6:22). "And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him" (Genesis 7:5).
There is a progression in these statements concerning Noah. He found favor in the eyes of the Lord, he walked with God, and he did all that the Lord commanded him. God requires the same from you. He wants you to find favor and he wants you to walk with Him on a moment-by-moment basis, and then He wants you to do all that He has commanded you. I have a record of comedian Bill Cosby telling the story of Noah. He imagines Noah building the ark in his driveway and how all the neighbours made their unkind comments as he went to work. Whenever Noah got frustrated and said he was not going to go along with this crazy idea anymore, God had to remind him, "Noah, can you tread water?" Yes, you too might get frustrated at times yet you must still do all that God has commanded you to do. When you do that, the responsibility is on God for your survival, not on your own shoulders.
So Noah built the ark and then somehow coaxed into it a pair of each unclean animal and seven pairs of each clean animal. That was an interesting experience! Many of us in Australia wonder why he didn't swat the mosquitoes while he had the two of them handy and he could have also swatted a couple of house flies while he was about it. It could have made our lives a lot easier! The ark floated when the rains came down and Noah was in the ark one year and 17 days. That was quite a journey! Now we come to the fourth statement concerning Noah.
Noah thanked God
"Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Genesis 8:20). You might wonder why he offered clean animals. If you read the whole record you would discover that Noah took in seven pairs of all the clean animals and only one pair of the unclean animals (God told him how to tell the difference). There were enough pairs of clean animals so that he could take some to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God, a sacrifice that said, "Thank you, Lord, for getting us through that catastrophe." Worship can precede and follow blessing. The moment Noah had the opportunity, soon after the ark rested on top of Mount Ararat, he stepped off the ark and found that the ground was dry. He then collected some wood and built an altar and worshipped his God.
You can learn something from that, I'm sure. Now that you have found favor in the eyes of the Lord, and have the opportunity every day to walk with God and to do all the Lord has commanded you to do, you too should be thanking God. You can do this every day! Don't wait for a catastrophe to loom on the horizon and don't wait to see results before you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. If you are about to go into a business, thank the Lord for the right location with the right facilities at the right price for all your activities. For your own personal life, thank the Lord for health in your body, for taking care of that account, for this and for that. Offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
After Noah thanked the Lord, the record says, "And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth'" (Genesis 9:1). God blessed Noah and his sons. Worship precedes blessing. God looked after Noah through the catastrophe and then God said, "Now it's up to you, Noah. Go out and make it work." One of the first prosperity statements in the Bible is in this verse: "Be fruitful and increase." Noah got busy and he enjoyed life while he was doing it. In addition, God took care of Noah's future. "I have set my bow in the cloud... the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh... This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth" (Genesis 9:13,15,17).
So that is the record of how Noah set the stage in order to survive a catastrophe. The record is written so that you can see that it is possible for you to survive anything that this world might throw at you. Let me say, however, that I do not believe we should go around with the attitude of wondering what is going to happen next. If you expect disaster you will get what you expect. You should be expecting only good in your life. Because all of life is an ebb and a flow, there do come times when it will look to you from your limited, finite viewpoint that you are about to be swamped by a catastrophe. Later on, years later, when you look back on it, you may well see it as just a silly little incident not worth mentioning in your life story. However, when you are in the middle of the challenge it may well look to you like a catastrophe. At that time remember that you can survive the catastrophe because you are on God's team, the team of grace -- Great Riches At Christ's Expense. You can walk with God, you can obey God, you can offer thanksgiving to God. I recall an old Negro spiritual that says, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and he landed high and dry". He survived, and you can too!
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