Tag Archives: fear

Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with something in your life?

We are continually faced with news reports of war in the Middle East, world-wide terrorism, and the growing threat of militant Islam. Just this morning, I read a threat to America from a zealot saying that it was too late to defend ourselves against the various threats; they were already too big and continuing to grow.

But you know, the truth is that we are going about this all wrong!

Oh, but before I go further … then we have movies and books telling us that Christians are all about to escape these life events. That’s what is really scary because such teaching provides a false hope of escapism.

Now I DO believe that Jesus IS COMING to meet His bride BUT…

300px-UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11_editThere are people groups RIGHT NOW facing horrors that many of us cannot even imagine.

Tell the Christians in Syria that they are going to escape the threat and reality of being murdered for their faith.

Tell the families of victims of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Senegal that they are going to escape sickness, pain, and death.

We are looking for an escape …

… and missing the reality of the NOW hope of Jesus Christ.

He is with us when we are overwhelmed.

He is with us when terror strikes.

He is with us when sickness attaches to our bodies.

He is with us when death enters of familial homes.

ebola-in-usHe is with us regardless the circumstance and His Word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us (Matthew 28:20b).

Again, Jesus IS COMING to meet His bride BUT it is a false hope for us to believe that we (as Americans) are somehow going to escape all of this when Christians all across the earth are facing a NOW reality of these things.

So here is my plea:

1) Let’s put a renewed trust in Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).

2) Let’s pray with a fervency greater than we have ever known. James 5:16 reminds us that God DOES hear the pleas of His people- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT). That means that if we will really mean business with God, He means business with us. He hears us. He answers us.

Go ahead, lose sleep while you’re praying.

Go ahead, weep some tears while you’re praying.

Go ahead, see God move while you’re praying.

3) Let’s do our part in the trust process. Solomon had just finished the construction of the Temple and God appeared to him in the night with certain words. (2 Chronicles 7:11-22) Among these words, God set forth some conditional statements. He told Solomon that there would be times of disaster and horror in the earth. And then He introduced a VERY IMPORTANT word, “Then”.

“Then” means “at that time” or “in that given event.” In other words, God was telling Solomon that difficult times would still be ahead … but that WAS NOT time to turn FROM God; instead, it was time to turn to Him as never before. 2 Chronicles 7:14- “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (NLT).

So God sets this before His chosen people who are called by His Name:

A) They are to humble themselves. This means that they are to recognize WHO God is and in turn, they are to recognize who they are. They are, in fact, nothing without Him.

B) They are to pray. Not only are they to speak with God BUT they are to listen to God, and they are to be willing to respond accordingly to what He tells them.

C) They are to seek God’s face. Remember, this was written to the people who had heard the following blessing often:

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

They equated the Face of God with the favor and grace of God. So in other words, they were to seek His face or His favor in their lives, in their people, and in their land.

D) They are to repent. They are to turn from their wicked ways. And in this sense, wickedness is further stretched to mean ALL thoughts, words, and actions that are displeasing to God. They are to change their ways of thinking AND their corresponding actions.

E) And in turn, God will heal their land.

Now many would tell us that this is Old Testament and therefore, no longer applicable to God’s people. But Jesus NEVER disavowed the Old Testament; in fact, He Himself told us that He came to fulfill or complete the Old Testament. And His continual quoting and referencing of the Old Testament clearly indicates His approval of what was written therein.

rapture-postcard-640x437So when we are overwhelmed, when we are threatened, when we are fearful … it is not time to look for the big escape. It is not time to put our trust in the doctors or in the military (although we ARE thankful for both the medical profession AND the military profession.) Instead, it is time to put our trust in Him.

Will you join me in taking this endeavor to task … to humbling ourselves and recognizing His magnitude and simultaneously, our smallness … to praying to Him with a preparedness to listen to and to obey … to seeking His face, grace, and favor … and to repenting of ALL of our sins, wrong-doings, wasted words, and uncontrolled thoughts.

We live in a world of uncertainty … and we DO look forward to being with Jesus … but let’s don’t wait until that time of His returning to do something.

Let’s not get caught up so much in watching for His return that we forget to maintain a close relationship today.

Let’s do something NOW!

Let’s stay prepared NOW!

Hope in the future is always a NOW hope.

Let’s trust HIM!

Let’s put our hope in Him … Now!

Write Pastor Jim  at jgarrett1958@hotmail.com

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Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with something in your life?

We are continually faced with news reports of war in the Middle East, world-wide terrorism, and the growing threat of militant Islam. Just this morning, I read a threat to America from a zealot saying that it was too late to defend ourselves against the various threats; they were already too big and continuing to grow.

But you know, the truth is that we are going about this all wrong!

Oh, but before I go further … then we have movies and books telling us that Christians are all about to escape these life events. That’s what is really scary because such teaching provides a false hope of escapism.

Now I DO believe that Jesus IS COMING to meet His bride BUT…

300px-UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11_editThere are people groups RIGHT NOW facing horrors that many of us cannot even imagine.

Tell the Christians in Syria that they are going to escape the threat and reality of being murdered for their faith.

Tell the families of victims of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Senegal that they are going to escape sickness, pain, and death.

We are looking for an escape …

… and missing the reality of the NOW hope of Jesus Christ.

He is with us when we are overwhelmed.

He is with us when terror strikes.

He is with us when sickness attaches to our bodies.

He is with us when death enters of familial homes.

ebola-in-usHe is with us regardless the circumstance and His Word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us (Matthew 28:20b).

Again, Jesus IS COMING to meet His bride BUT it is a false hope for us to believe that we (as Americans) are somehow going to escape all of this when Christians all across the earth are facing a NOW reality of these things.

So here is my plea:

1) Let’s put a renewed trust in Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).

2) Let’s pray with a fervency greater than we have ever known. James 5:16 reminds us that God DOES hear the pleas of His people- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT). That means that if we will really mean business with God, He means business with us. He hears us. He answers us.

Go ahead, lose sleep while you’re praying.

Go ahead, weep some tears while you’re praying.

Go ahead, see God move while you’re praying.

3) Let’s do our part in the trust process. Solomon had just finished the construction of the Temple and God appeared to him in the night with certain words. (2 Chronicles 7:11-22) Among these words, God set forth some conditional statements. He told Solomon that there would be times of disaster and horror in the earth. And then He introduced a VERY IMPORTANT word, “Then”.

“Then” means “at that time” or “in that given event.” In other words, God was telling Solomon that difficult times would still be ahead … but that WAS NOT time to turn FROM God; instead, it was time to turn to Him as never before. 2 Chronicles 7:14- “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (NLT).

So God sets this before His chosen people who are called by His Name:

A) They are to humble themselves. This means that they are to recognize WHO God is and in turn, they are to recognize who they are. They are, in fact, nothing without Him.

B) They are to pray. Not only are they to speak with God BUT they are to listen to God, and they are to be willing to respond accordingly to what He tells them.

C) They are to seek God’s face. Remember, this was written to the people who had heard the following blessing often:

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

They equated the Face of God with the favor and grace of God. So in other words, they were to seek His face or His favor in their lives, in their people, and in their land.

D) They are to repent. They are to turn from their wicked ways. And in this sense, wickedness is further stretched to mean ALL thoughts, words, and actions that are displeasing to God. They are to change their ways of thinking AND their corresponding actions.

E) And in turn, God will heal their land.

Now many would tell us that this is Old Testament and therefore, no longer applicable to God’s people. But Jesus NEVER disavowed the Old Testament; in fact, He Himself told us that He came to fulfill or complete the Old Testament. And His continual quoting and referencing of the Old Testament clearly indicates His approval of what was written therein.

rapture-postcard-640x437So when we are overwhelmed, when we are threatened, when we are fearful … it is not time to look for the big escape. It is not time to put our trust in the doctors or in the military (although we ARE thankful for both the medical profession AND the military profession.) Instead, it is time to put our trust in Him.

Will you join me in taking this endeavor to task … to humbling ourselves and recognizing His magnitude and simultaneously, our smallness … to praying to Him with a preparedness to listen to and to obey … to seeking His face, grace, and favor … and to repenting of ALL of our sins, wrong-doings, wasted words, and uncontrolled thoughts.

We live in a world of uncertainty … and we DO look forward to being with Jesus … but let’s don’t wait until that time of His returning to do something.

Let’s not get caught up so much in watching for His return that we forget to maintain a close relationship today.

Let’s do something NOW!

Let’s stay prepared NOW!

Hope in the future is always a NOW hope.

Let’s trust HIM!

Let’s put our hope in Him … Now!

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Willingness to Fail is a Prerequisite to Success

 

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to obey a Montgomery, Alabama bus driver’s order to she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Although her action was not the first of its kind, Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 

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With that thought as my introduction, I want to propose to you that our destiny is determined by whether or not we seize the God-ordained opportunities presented to us.

In other words, are we seizing the God-ordained opportunities before us?

Like Rosa Parks did, we first need to see the opportunities that stand before us. Rosa Parks saw her opportunity AND she moved upon that opportunity (or in her case, she stayed, because of frustration and anger at the abuses she and those like her had suffered.} She stated that she was “tired of giving in.”

That reminds me of a biblical character, Gideon. Gideon, known as a Hebrew Judge or leader, almost missed his opportunity.

Judges 6: 11-16- “Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” (NLT)Gideon threshing floor

In this narrative, the Messenger of the Lord, perhaps an angel … and some say God Himself in a pre-incarnate form, was standing before Gideon and was calling him to his destiny to lead the people of Israel.

Gideon was not only hesitant but he was almost defiant to the destiny God had before him.

But finally, Gideon realized that his destiny was a destiny from the Lord.

John Maxwell has paraphrased the saying, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the life-time of the opportunity.” Rosa Parks had seen enough and was moved to action … and she was terribly out-numbered in her endeavor.

Gideon, too, was grossly outnumbered.

Judges 7:1-7- So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

Gideon ParesBut the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” (NLt)

Then God gave Gideon instructions regarding how to defeat the Midianites and they were, seemingly, ridiculous.

In fact, when he had finished this paring down of his soldiers, Gideon was left with 300 brave men and he and his army were facing at least 135,000 enemies.

But Gideon took God at His Word, saw his opportunity, and realized that a great opportunity has been set before him … if he would simply obey what was placed before him.

From this idea, we should take the following to heart: Never underestimate your power as “one” … especially when you are equipped with the power of God.

Helen KellerHelen Keller, the famous deaf-blind girl who, by the way, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, once said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

 

So with this in mind, I k\now want to ask you: How’s your Prayer-life going?

Many people don’t know that Rosa Parks was a strong and devout Christian, and that it was her faith that gave her the strength to do what she did that day in 1955.

Read here Parks’ words regarding her faith in Jesus:

“Every day before supper and before we went to services on Sundays, my grandmother would read the Bible to me, and my grandfather would pray. We even had devotions before going to pick cotton in the fields. Prayer and the Bible, became a part of my everyday thoughts and beliefs. I learned to put my trust in God and to seek Him as my strength.”

So I want to ask you again, “How’s your prayer life?”

Gideon, too, had a vibrant prayer life that not only sought God … but heard from Him as well.

Judges 7:8-15- “So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.

Gideon hears dreamThe Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”

So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”

His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”

When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” (NLT).

If we expect God to meet us in prayer, we must realize that He expects us to be obedient to that Word with which He has shown up and spoken.

Remember that prayer is only in (small part) speaking to God; it is also listening to God. … And a huge part of the art of listening in then acting upon when you have heard.

Here is another truth: If you wait for perfect conditions to seize an opportunity, you will be waiting until the day you die.

Judges 7: 2-7- “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain[a] and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” (NLT).

Gideon men dip waterGideon strategically did not have too many soldiers; in fact, he didn’t have nearly enough. He started out with 32,000 soldiers. (We don’t know exactly how many Midianites they were facing but according to Judges 8:10, there were at least 135,000.) Gideon had pared his men initially down to 10,000. But God still wanted fewer men in Gideon’s army. These were pared down further, to 300.

God’s ways and ideas are much higher than ours.

Isaiah 55:8-9- ““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”” (NLT).

God wants the glory for His fights.

Judges 7:2- “The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” (NLT).

And in like manner, God wants the glory in your and my life too.

Rosa Parks was convinced that she had a right. And because of that, she refused to get up. “Since I have always been a strong believer in God,” she says, “I knew that He was with me, and only He could get me through that next step.”

Certainly, there is a whole lot more to this story than what I have told here … and perhaps I‘ll get to tell more in the not too distant future

But I want to close with this very simple set of questions:

1) Are you afraid to fail?

2) Do you want to be used by God?

3) Can you recognize when He places an opportunity in front of you?

4) Then, how’s your prayer life?Warriors strike

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