Saturday, August 31, 2013

Facing Your Fears

Facing Your Fears
What are you afraid of: problems, failure, sickness, death, loneliness, enemies…?
My greatest fear is failure: failing God, failing my family, failing my church family, failing at work…
What makes us afraid of these things?
I believe one significant element of fear is a fleshly response to the unknown.  
We fear the unknown outcomes of existing, anticipated or imagined:
  • Problems/Challenges
  • Threats/Attacks
  • Sickness/Disease
  • And so much more.
We ‘fill in the blank’ of the unknown with fear when we should:
  • Trust in the foreknowledge of God.
  • Have faith in His plans and purposes.
  • Fill in the blanks with faith in Him!!!!
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
When you recognize that fear is forming in you:
  • Seek Him First!
    • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Seek Him Wholeheartedly!
    • Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Seek Him Diligently
    • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Face your fears while focusing on God!
Loving Father, I confess that sometimes I let my fears control my thoughts, attitudes, desires and actions. I beg You to forgive me for showing how little I trust in You some times. I know that I know that Your Word is true and that You are faithful to Your promises. Please empower me through Your Holy Spirit to live out the faith You have given me. Enable me to focus on You regardless of what I am facing. Help me to trust in You even when everything thing in my flesh is causing me to doubt. Fill in my blanks with faith. I love You, I praise You, and I worship You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Technically we are all waiting on God. He holds the future in His hands – in His providence He is moving all things towards an expected end.
Psalm 27:14 is focusing on the attitude with which we wait.
A Biblically based, God honoring balance of several different types of waiting is best.
  • Passive Waiting – Be calm and acknowledge that He is God. Don’t worry. Don’t fret. Watch for Him to move.
    • Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 
  • Active Waiting – Let the light of Christ shine in you for His glory. Keep busy with what God has given you to do. Use your gifts and resources as you wait for Him.
    • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
  • Confident Waiting – Rest assured with all that you are that He knows and will do what is best. Worry shows a lack of faith that He does all things well and for our benefit.
    • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 
  • Fearful Waiting – Don’t lose the awe and reverence of how God moves over time, in circumstances, and through people to bless us and accomplish His will.
    • Luke 9:16-17 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
  • Anticipatory Waiting – Beyond trusting, expect God to do great things. He is always faithful!!!
    • Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
  • Open-Minded Waiting – As you expect God to move, don’t limit your thinking on how or when He will do what He does. If you develop ‘tunnel vision’, you may not recognize what He is doing.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
  • Appreciative Waiting – Are you being thankful for what God does in your life and all around you? What about being thankful for when He does what He does – HIS TIMING IS ALWAYS PERFECT!!!
    • Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
  • Spirit-Led Waiting – Waiting on God is such a way that the indwelling presence of God is revealed in your desires, attitudes, words and actions.
    • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Does your life reflect a Biblical approach to waiting on God?
Father, you know how much I worry. You patiently endure my complaining. I imagine You laughing as you watch me evaluating options and then weighing costs and benefits. Forgive me for not resting in Your love and power and grace and mercy. Forgive me for not trusting in Your plans. May Your Word and Your Spirit guide me and teach me to wait on You in a way that brings glory and honor to Your Name. I believe, but help my unbelief. I trust, please help me to live like it. Thank You for loving me perfectly. In the precious and powerful name of Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Smack Down

Smack Down

  • 2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
Have you ever come to God broken? Have you fallen before Him begging for help? Did you acknowledge to Him your inability to handle the situation? Were you desperate? Were you sincere?
And then, much to your surprise, things got worse. What you feared the most happened. More problems got piled on top of what you were already dealing with. You got pushed further than you thought you could go. The load got heavier than you thought you could carry.
This is what I selfishly call a Smack Down.
You came to Christ sincerely, trusting. You believed He could help. You pleaded for that help. You expected things to get better. But things got worse.
A Smack Down feels like God is making things worse for you. When in fact He is giving you just what you need. The feeling of being Smacked Down comes from your expectations not being met.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9a And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Christ’s grace is sufficient for every situation (His love goes beyond our capacity to fail). Christ’s strength is perfected in our lives when we submit to Him (He is glorified when we let His power enable us rather than trying to accomplish things in our own strength). 
A Smack Down happens when we come to Christ asking for what we want rather than accepting what He has for us.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Rather than asking for things to get better, we should ask Christ for:
  • Genuine Faith – to trust in Him regardless of our circumstances.
  • Godly Wisdom – to accept whatever He causes or allows in our lives.
  • His Strength – to endure any trial or tribulation for His glory.
So don’t selfishly think God has kicked you when you were down (SMACK DOWN).  
Celebrate the fact that He is willing to take you where you need to go, even when you don’t want to go there, and in spite of the fact that you don’t deserve the great things He has planned for you (SUFFICIENT GRACE)!
Remember, we have the honor of suffering such that His power can be revealed in us.  
Forgive me Father when I think I know best. Forgive me for so desperately wanting to avoid suffering and pain. Give me a heart of obedience. Help me to humbly accept whatever trials or troubles you cause or allow in my life. Thank You for the honor of allowing me to suffer so that Your power rests upon me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. I love You. In Christ’s name, AMEN.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Do you ever feel stuck? Are you up to your knees in the muck and mire and sinking quickly? Life in this fallen world can be tough (responsibilities, commitments, problems, temptations, failures, stress, etc.).  It can all add up and become very overwhelming!
As Christians, we must recognize that regardless of our circumstances, our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121). How we respond to these difficult circumstances is key to receiving the deliverance God wants to provide (Matthew 7:11).
Realizing Our Desperate Circumstances
  • Psalm 69:1-2 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
    • We all face times when life closes in and we feel like we are drowning. Don’t ignore the situation or your feelings, acknowledge them before God.
Recognizing Our Initial Responses
  • Psalm 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
    • In the weakness of our flesh we may become overwhelmed, upset, and impatient. This is natural, but don’t get stuck there.
Receiving Our Promised Blessings
  • Psalm 69:29-32 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. 30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. 32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
    • When our attitude becomes one of humility, recognizing our status and position before God, broken over our sin, praising Him alone, we can rest in His promises to deliver us from our afflictions, either in this world or in the world to come.
      • Matthew 5:3-4 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Maintain an attitude of reverence, respect and amazement towards God. Believe that He is and that He will reward you for diligently seeking and trusting Him (Hebrews 11:6). He will be your relief and protection.
  • Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
Father: I fail so often when it comes to dealing with the pressures of life. I struggle and fight and kick and scream trying to overcome problems in my own strength. I pray that Your Spirit will guide me to You. I pray that I will acknowledge Your power, control and authority over all things. Help me to trust in You. Help me to humble myself before You. May I rest in Your arms rather than drowning in a sea of worry and doubt. May I find peace in the storms of life by submitting to You. I praise You, love You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who Do You Trust

Who Do You Trust
Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. (NKJV)
God is telling us that we have the option of being:
  • Cursed – Living like a bush in the dry, hot, lonely desert; just barely hanging onto life and unaware of future blessings.
  • Blessed – Living like a healthy tree planted near a flowing river; bearing abundant fruit and not afraid of future trials. 
We make our choice by either:
  • Trusting in Man - Turning away from God and counting on our own (or someone else’s) strength, knowledge, abilities, experience, resources and availability.
  • Trusting in God - Focusing on God while submitting to and believing in His power, providence, presence, promises, plans and perfect love.
Who do you trust?
God often uses other people to bless us. So trusting in God does not mean that you don’t depend on those He sends to provide, protect, support, etc. The difference in trusting in man or trusting in God is really about who you acknowledge and depend on as the ultimate source of all blessings!
  • All good things come from God:
    • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)
  • We have to trust that everything He causes or allows if for our good:
    • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJV)
Loving Father, in the weakness of my flesh, in the midst of trials and tribulations, I often turn my back on You and start trusting in myself or other people. Please forgive me! Your Word, Your Holy Spirit and the testimony of history and my experiences make clear that You alone are worthy of my complete trust. I choose to trust in You. Guide me in my daily life to always focus on You. I acknowledge You as the source of all good things. I believe that You are guiding all things to an expected end: and that for me, as someone who loves You, all things are working together for good. I praise You and love You. In the name of Christ I pray, Amen.