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COMFORTABLE?

5 Mar

Comfortable?
by Linda Weaver  
6/26/2013 / Christian Living

As God’s children we are sometimes led by Him into uncharted waters – areas we are unfamiliar with. In the Bible there are stories of many who were called by God into unfamiliar territory or directed by Him to do things that were way out of their comfort zone.

In Genesis, Chapter 12, we read that God told Abram (later called Abraham) to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household to go to a place God would later show him.

Wait a minute — do you mean God would ask someone He loved to pick up everything and just go somewhere else without telling them where?

What in the world would you do if God placed that instruction in your heart? Oh, and did I forget to say that Abram was 75 years old at that time? So, in case you are thinking you’re too old think again.

Further, the Scripture says, “So, Abram left, as God had told him”. I mean, Abram packed up everything – his belongings, his family, his animals and left his old life behind.

Okay, I’m sure I can imagine what you may be thinking. I don’t have the space to write about it all here. However; if you think God wouldn’t ask something of you without giving you a map from beginning to end, you are mistaken, my friend. That is what faith is all about.

Besides, I’m sure God may have already directed many of you in some areas of your lives. And, if so, how did you respond? I can probably guess at many of the questions and excuses that you could come up with. (Ask me how I know.)

“God, are you talking to me?”
“I must have imagined that.”
“Where in the world did that come from?”
“Surely God wouldn’t tell me to do that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I can’t do that. How would I . . . ”

You see, the very lives we live follow God into many unknown areas and uncharted waters if we are truly listening to Him and letting Him direct us. It may not be about going to a “far country” as God instructed Abram. But, it may be a tug at our hearts to do something else which may take just as much faith. We can’t map out our lives like we do a vacation. When we walk with God, life gets very interesting at many levels. Besides, a “far country” is anywhere that is unfamiliar to us.

Think I’m a little out of balance? Well, it’s okay if you think that. Sometimes I’m not so sure myself. But, I do know this. I trust my God in heaven. I know His voice, and I follow His direction to the best of my ability.

Do I make mistakes? You can be sure of it. Will I again? I’m sure of it. Why? Because I am most certainly human. But, I have plenty to say about how faithful God has been to me in the midst of many a trial and many a storm. Most of them took me on a journey I didn’t think I was ready for with no idea of exactly how I was going to get there. My peace came from within, knowing that God would never fail me because He never has.

Each journey I take with my Heavenly Father, takes more of my trust and faith. And, each journey gets more exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. God knows where I’m going that’s what is important. He can see around the corner — I can’t.

Walking with God doesn’t allow for being in a rut. Don’t like being uncomfortable? Neither do I, but I want what God wants for my life and that usually means being a bit uncomfortable. It also means not coming to a dead-end.

My friends, God wants you still kicking until He calls you to your mansion in the sky. If you sit down and get comfortable you’ll miss out on some exciting things.

Like A Red Flag To A Bull

26 Feb

I posted the following article earlier, and it needs to be repeated. I find myself in the same position time and again. Hopefully, one day I will be more prepared for the “red flag” being waved in my face by the devil. He wants to steal from me, destroy me and kill me. He keeps trying but our God is always with us as our protector. We have already won the battle and it’s important that we know God is the One we listen to – not the enemy waving a red flag in our face to upset our lives.

The Red Flag Story

Becoming a child of God does not mean we are free from adversity. We will still face major challenges in our lives. There will also be times when we assume we are in a mess because we always do everything wrong. Satan works hard at putting condemnation on us. But, it’s all hype.

Moses answered God’s call to deliver the Israelites. He was given instructions to go to the Pharaoh and deliver God’s message to let His people go. Now it would seem to me that if God gave me instructions to do something and I did it just as He said, I would succeed in that task. But it didn’t happen that way for Moses. The Pharaoh refused every command he was given by God (through Moses). The point being, God had a master plan. He wanted the Pharaoh and all the world – forever to come – to see His glory and His power. So, what appeared to be Moses’ failure in the eyes of the people watching, was all part of a bigger plan to exalt God’s love and provision for His people.

Just because things don’t happen the way we think they should doesn’t mean God isn’t paying attention or that His plan isn’t working. It means that God uses all things to work together for good. All we can see is what is right in front of us. God sees the big picture. That is why Scripture tells us to walk by faith and not the circumstances that we see.

We don’t always know where our trials come from. We blame a lot of them on the devil. Becoming a Christian is like a red rag to a bull! But, don’t be discouraged by that. Jesus said we are more than conquerors. He warned us that we would have trials in this life. He also told us many, many times to “fear not”. He said that “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”

Being afraid of the devil and what he can do should not be an issue with us as Christians. God’s Word gives us promise after promise of defeating the enemy.

When you think of the red flag and the bull – see yourself as the bull – not the red flag! What power could that little red flag possibly have over that big raging bull? (An average bull weighs from 1700 to 1800 pounds. I doubt seriously if the red flag even registers on the scale.) Selah, pause and calmly think about that.

According to askville by Amazon, the bull is being provoked and tormented by the matador. That is exactly what the devil does to us. He waves a red flag in our face to taunt us and to provoke us and to torment us. The bull can charge that flag all day and accomplish nothing. The red flag is powerless. It’s a tool in the enemy’s arsenal to keep us off guard – to keep us upset – when all we are really doing is running in circles and chasing something that can in no way hurt us.

Why in the world would you let a little red flag being waved in your face taunt you and cause you so much distress? See it for what it is. It is nothing but Satan trying to cause a distraction so that he can keep you from God’s best. And, take note of the fancy matador. He struts his stuff and makes a show but once the raging bull gets past that red flag to him – well, you get the picture. Kind of puts things in a different perspective, doesn’t it?

Jesus gave His life so that we could face anything that comes our way. We may run in circles chasing red flags, but in the end the red flag is just a red flag. It is otherwise useless against a child of the King.


Sticks & Stones

5 Jan

Our Pastor started a new series Sunday called “Sticks & Stones” – Great message – I was so inspired by everything he said that I decided to post my own comments about some of his remarks.

He quoted a remark made by Mike Tyson – “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face!” That “hit” home with me in a big way. While we are making an attempt to wait on God we get caught up in situations that we consider to be “the right things to do.” We can get so wrapped up in a project or a goal that we slowly move away from God’s purpose for our lives. There have probably been times in our lives that we were moving in a direction that we believed to be an amazing idea or a great adventure. The idea was great – we couldn’t wait to make it happen. Motivation took over and so many things began to look possible. Then – Oops – what happened?

Everything starts tumbling down. Possible it may be that the time has come to “back out” of something. I always say that getting into something is always easier than getting out! Another quote I like is “It can be a GOOD thing but may not be a GOD thing” I don’t know about you but I prefer to do God things.

Good things should be normal everyday occurrences and so should God things. The difference is that good things are incidental, God things are deliberate. According to the dictionary good things are things of high quality, first-class, first-rate, respectable, upright, noble, etc. God things are directives from Him. For instance,  instructions or commands – possibly even a mandate.

There are times that we get caught up in agreeing to do something that may seem like a good thing to us, but our motive is off just a little. We mean well and we want to help so we jump into something with both feet. Then, before long, we realize jumping in wasn’t such a good idea. When that happens to me it’s usually because my intentions were good and I meant to do something good but I didn’t check it out with God first to see if He was okay with my plans. God blesses what He calls us to do – big and small.

Please understand that we are not talking about the everyday good things we do when we are attempting to live godly lives. We are talking about God’s direction for our lives, God’s will and His plan for us. According to Pastor’s sermon, God is the author, not us, and we need to stop mourning over what God is no longer blessing in our lives. He added that sometimes the hardest thing to get rid of is something that no longer meets a need. That certainly includes me.

As he pointed out, we may be holding on to things we’ve had for many (many) years. We are attached to them and can’t let go. I have a big problem with this. I consider myself to be “sentimental” – that’s my reason. I have attached memories to certain things, and to let them go just isn’t easy for me.

Pastor challenged us to let go of whatever it is that we are holding on to that may be holding us back whether it be material or otherwise. God, the Holy Spirit, is our counselor. He is the one who can guide us in how to let go of the things that are keeping us from walking in the GOD things – which HIS blessing will be upon. Scripture is life’s instruction book. God speaks to us through His Word and gives us the direction we need and the peace that we are in His will.

This series is going to continue so be sure and check back.

You Don’t Have To Be Here To Be Here!

6 Nov

I was watching a movie the other night and was immediately inspired by a scene where a popular school teacher had died. Several children were sitting in a group, reminiscing about good times and feeling down and sad. They were interrupted by another teacher who wanted to encourage them. He said to the group,  “I know you are really sad that your teacher died but don’t you know you don’t have to be here to be here? Every time you give your knowledge away or what you have learned – every time you give something to someone – you give a little part of yourselves to them. You have a little bit of everyone who has given into your life. They are here with you, you just have to know where to look.”

Wow! So many thoughts and feelings flooded my heart and my mind. That is an awesome truth. First, I thought of my Mother who died a few years ago. I miss her so very much, yet so much of her is still with me. I  have many of her material things, but I don’t drag them around with me to keep her near me. My Mother is always – always – with me. She’s in my heart. I hear her voice when I do something I know she wouldn’t like. I hear her sweet, loving words to me when I am discouraged or hurt. I can see her face in my mind’s eye. So many of the things I learned came from watching her and listening to her. I hear many people say,  “I’m turning into my Mother.” Many of us say that as though it were a bad thing when, in fact, it can be a very good thing. That’s where the statement “. . .you just have to know where to look” comes in.

Just think about how many people have become a part of us – our parents – our siblings – our friends, and so on. We glean from each and every one of them, even if it is to determine we don’t like certain things they do, and we surely don’t want that part of them to dwell in us. More than likely, we even catch ourselves picking up certain traits of others – repeating their phrases or their reactions.

Unfortunately, deposits into our lives by others are not always positive.  Some of the deepest hurts and fears left as residue from them may  keep us bound by vows we have made as a result of the pain they have caused. They are still with us. That means we are looking at the wrong place in our hearts. (We might say, “I’ll never let anything like that happen to me again,” or “I learned my lesson – I won’t do that anymore”). Surely there are also good things deposited into us by others yet we tend to focus on the negative things and not the positive. We then begin to put walls around our hearts and push others away based on what one person did to us. Over the years, the deposits made by others can even keep us away from the destiny that God has prepared for us.

The Scriptures tell us Eccl 5:5-6 ” It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.” NIV   We should re-think any vows that we may have made and ask God to forgive us. We can’t assume that because one person has hurt us that others will. That is when it is vital that we “. . . know where to look.”

My mind races with how many ways this affects us. I’ve had a good, long life. I’ve experienced a great deal of pain and loss. (See how I mentioned the pain and loss first?) I have also been blessed with so much good – more good than bad. When I think of the pain and loss, I think of the people who are here with me, even though they aren’t here with me! On the other hand, when I say certain things or experience some feelings of fun and joy, I think of others who are with me, even though they aren’t here with me. So many of life’s experiences have made me who I am today.

The most important fact of all is that God is with me – and He is here with me even though I can’t see Him – He is here with me! There is never a time He isn’t with me. He lives in me – He never leaves me. He isn’t just a memory. He’s alive and He is with me always – at all times – good and bad. He talks with me – He listens to me – He helps me to overcome the negative things that have been deposited in my life by others. His is the influence I need to live by – nothing else – good or bad. My memories of others are part of my life forever, but they don’t make me who I am. God does that.

If you don’t know the God of Abraham, invite Him into your life. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to come and live in your heart. He is an amazing God – Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV

Only God can see to it that our  hearts are cleansed and free from everything that would keep us bound.

 

God’s Ways

26 Aug

In today’s society it is hard to hear God above all the noises that surround us.  My biggest heart’s desire is to please God, and to do the right thing – meaning – the thing God wants me to do.

As part of the older generation I find it difficult to keep up with all the social media. There are so many good things about it – I love being connected all the time.  It’s kind of like getting out of the house without getting out of the house, or having company without having to clean the house.

Obviously, there are many “words” flying around us all the time – videos, text messages, emails, Hangout messages, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, and so on. It is easy to take our focus off God’s voice or His Word, with all the other “voices” coming at us – almost impossible to avoid all the “chatter”. Some people even need to have constant music, gaming, entertainment, streaming videos and constant text messages to be at peace.

Hearing God over all that isn’t easy. It can be done, but we have to remember to listen for His still small voice coming from among all the other voices. I suppose it’s kind of natural that as I age I rather like things a little slower, but whether we like things slow or fast we need to reserve a place for God, not leaving Him out.

If we’re too slow we can miss what He has for  us – if we’re too fast, we tend to get lost in all the noise around us. God’s ways are amazing, perfect for us, but we can either be too tired and weary or in too big a hurry to hear what He has to say about an issue. If that happens we can find ourselves in a precarious position. God IS our security. We need to hear Him before we jump off the cliff of indecision – not call out to Him on our way down to bless our jump, or to save us from hitting the ground!

Let’s get it right the first time. The way we do that is to do  it God’s way. Of course, it will probably mean we don’t get to jump in (or off) and then cry out for help. It means we take our petitions to Him first and wait for the answer. We don’t like that word – wait – not in today’s world. Yet, if we walk in God’s ways, we can actually save wasted time by doing it right the first time.

Walking with God is a choice, and being consistent about it isn’t always easy. Sometimes our adrenalin is just rushing and the last thing we want to do  is take a few minutes of our time to talk to God.  We decide to talk to Him on the way off the cliff. The thing is, that few minutes with God could save us so much unnecessary anguish.

Take time to get before God, tune into His frequency even if  it’s just for a minute or so – especially if you have a “red flag” in the pit of your stomach or feel uneasy in any way. The Wi-Fi connection you have with Him is better than any of the others. Just stop a moment and call out to Him – He will reply. He may tell you to be still – to wait. If He does, it is for a very good reason. Listen for Him. Trust Him. Obey God’s ways.

 

One Thing

25 Aug

Sunday morning our Pastor encouraged us all when he spoke to the children about starting the new school year. The title of his sermon was “One Thing“.  He wanted us all to know about the one thing  we need to remember at all times as we face life every day. The message inspired me so much that I wanted to expand on it. The following Scripture tells us what that one thing is:

  • Matt 22: 37-38 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  NIV

My youth and my prime are behind me. I am in the winter of my life. It’s been a rough life, but one thing has been consistent – God. All other things change. Just about the time we get comfortable, something (or someone) upsets the apple cart and we have to pick ourselves up, wipe off the dust, and keep going.

God isn’t shaken when we are. He is the one thing in our lives that remains steady. For that I am eternally grateful. He is my rock; without Him I’m not sure I could face today or tomorrow, let alone the future I face as a senior citizen. I find peace in His Word that promises me that He will never leave me or forsake me.  One thing I can count on is His faithfulness. So can everyone who accepts Him as their Lord and Savior.

I wish I knew how to express the peace and satisfaction life holds as we keep one thing in mind – He is always with us, we can count on Him – those aren’t  just clichés. Until we put our hope and faith in Him, and develop a one-on-one relationship with Him, we find life almost unbearable at times. With Him, life is not only bearable, it is fruitful, it is fun, and even exciting.

God is so real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He is alive. He is progressive. He knows how to speak to  us with the assurance of His presence, even though we can’t see Him. He is more real than any person with skin on! He is just as present with us as they are – even more so.  He is with me every moment of every day and He is the one thing that I can depend on when everything around me is unstable. He is available to each and every person that will call out to Him.

We all believe in something. We use our faith every day. Why not use that faith to believe in God and His presence? Why not do that one thing that would welcome Him into our lives – whatever it is that we might be holding back – maybe it’s yielding to Him – inviting Him into our lives. Or, it could be that we aren’t sure He hears us. That one thing might be stepping out to read the Bible on a consistent basis. That’s the main way God communicates with us. As we read it, we aren’t just reading an old Bible story. We’re reading about the lives of people who, back then, were just like we are today. They weren’t any more special than any one of us. They faced the same doubts, fears, temptations, and hardships that we face. God’s Word reveals how He helped them, and how He used them, and how He took care of them. Most important, we can read about how God forgave them and loved them no matter what they had done.

God doesn’t expect perfection from us. There is only One who is perfect – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He came to earth in the form of man (Jesus) and died on the cross to take our place for all of our sins – past, present and future. God is not behind the times. He doesn’t grow old like the rest of us. Nothing we have in today’s world would be possible without Him – nothing.

One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt – God loves us and He wants only good things for us. The one thing we have to yield to Him is our hearts. He will do the rest. He will come down to our level and help us out of whatever situation we are in. He is approachable, and forgiving. His plans for each one of us are for good and not evil. He wants to bless us and not punish us.

God  is the one thing I can count on in my life – nothing else.

God’s Conviction vs. Satan’s Condemnation

15 Jul

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. . .”  Rom 8:1  NIV

As Christians we strive to please God.  Scripture reminds us, according to John 10:10,   “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (NIV)  Those are the words of Jesus.

Following are a few of the ways we can discern whether God is convicting us by way of His Holy Spirit or the thief (Satan) is doing his best to condemn us by his accusations and lies.

 

When God Convicts He:

  • Nudges us gently and with love
  • Speaks a Scripture to our hearts for encouragement
  • Speaks clearly in our hearts when we sin which allows us to repent immediately
  • Reminds us of previous victories to enhance our faith and give us encouragement
  • Cannot lie
  • Sends friends to encourage and support us
  • Gives us joy and peace

When Satan Condemns He:

  • Accuses us of awful things, calls us names, tells us how unloved we are and that we are no good
  • Is the father of lies and tells us God’s Word won’t work for us
  • Reminds us of our failures and mistakes and tells us we will never get beyond them
  • Tries at all times to discourages us
  • Tells us God isn’t listening to us and that He won’t keep His promises to us
  • Hates us and will try to destroy us
  • Sends people to discourage us
  • Tries to convince us that to sin is not that big a deal and that it won’t hurt us
  • Constantly tells us we will fail and never amount to anything
  • Works at tormenting us and plants seeds of doubt and unbelief to make us worry

These are just a few ways we can know if what we are hearing is from God or the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy us. God does not condemn us. He sent His Son to die for us so that we might have an abundant life. We cannot fathom how much He loves us, and wants to encourage us.

When we become discouraged and all kinds of negative, hurtful,  and discouraging things come at us we need to recognize immediately that God is  not the author of those things. God’s way is to convict us in love. He will convict us in a manner that is clear and direct when He wants to get our attention. He won’t torment us and cause us to wonder what he is saying to us. God will correct us, His children, but He will do it in a loving manner. He will also do it in a way that we can accept and understand without condemning us in any way.

Any time we begin to have constant negative thoughts – or become depressed and guilty about our past or our failures and shortcomings – we are not hearing that from God. We are hearing it from the accuser – the one who condemns us – the thief, satan.

This is literally good (God) against evil (Satan). We need to be very careful about allowing the thief to rob us of one more moment of peace. God loves us and forgives our sin immediately when we ask Him. He then casts our sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. Therefore, God isn’t the one reminding us of our past mistakes or speaking condemning words to us.

Ps 103:11-12  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  (NIV)

When the enemy starts bringing those negative, abusive, hurtful thoughts to our hearts we have to stop him immediately. The way to do that is to refuse to yield to those things that will allow doubt and unbelief to haunt us. Instead, we need to denounce the enemy, tell him to get away from us, and remind him that he is a liar, and that he has no authority over us.

The next step is to begin to thank God for His love, His protection, His encouragement and refuse to let our minds meditate on anything but the goodness of God. Actually, the Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (NIV)

We are not slaves to our minds. We aren’t helpless when it comes to keeping out negative thoughts, but we do have to make an effort to put a stop to it and to re-focus our thinking on the things of God. He did not leave us helpless, He gave us spiritual weapons. Giving place to His Word, the Bible, will give us all the answers we need.

Hearing Voices

14 Jul

Recently, Pastor said “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”?  That statement brought so many things to mind. Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NKJV

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t hear God’s voice or that God doesn’t speak to them. John 10:27 tells a different story. If we are born again Christians we are His children, His sheep, and His Word says that we hear His voice.

I like the way Pastor said it – “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”? We hear voices constantly – so much so at times that we can’t rest. Where do they all come from? They are not all God’s voice. We can’t claim that everything we do is directed by God because it isn’t. God’s Word, the Bible, is His Word. To know God’s Word is to know God. Without reading the Bible, we can’t know which voices we are hearing.

We hear voices on the radio, the television, people all around us, our inner thoughts, the devil and the still small voice of God. Even Jesus was tempted by satan as he fasted. Jesus, in turn, spoke the Word of God to Him and told him to flee.

Today the world around us moves so fast. We do our best to keep up, and in doing so we sometimes don’t take the time to consult with the One who was given to us as a counselor – the Holy Spirit of God. We don’t always have to stop everything we’re doing and get on our knees to talk to God although there is a time and place for that.

God is with us all the time, everywhere we go. We can talk to Him on and off all day. We can thank Him as we are blessed, call out to Him when we have a question and need guidance, or seek His knowledge and direction, as needed. He can, and will, give us instant direction if we need it. One of the shortest prayers in the Bible is “Lord, save me.” He hears us, and He knows us.

Sometimes we blame things on God that He didn’t do. We may not have trained ourselves to  focus on what God is saying to us. Listening to God and taking our marching orders from Him will assure that we remain in His perfect will. Ignoring that “red flag” we sometimes sense in our hearts is dangerous and can get us off track which gets us out of the will of God. Following God’s voice sometimes takes courage – especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone, but our comfort zone is not always part of God’s plan for us.

The “red flag” is that little bit of uneasiness we feel when we’re about to do something we shouldn’t do. A feeling that something isn’t just as it should be,  is reason enough to stop and reconsider our actions. The problem can be that we are facing a deadline and time is of the essence, but God isn’t limited by clocks and deadlines. Our trust in Him should be so great that we trust Him to work beyond a deadline. Ignoring His warning can lead to bigger problems.

God always has our best interest at heart. He knows the path we take and can lead us around the pitfalls. Our part is to listen to Him and obey His direction. The fear we feel inside can be transformed by prayer into faith. God looks on our hearts and knows we are doing our best to follow His lead. He is well able to turn things around for us and will do just that as we dedicate ourselves to following Him as He leads us.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. Getting to the finish line will be much faster and less complicated as we let Him lead us rather than take unwanted detours and distractions by following voices other than His.

 

 

We Are Limited – God Is Not!

12 Jun

There isn’t one day in our lives that God doesn’t already know about. We may encounter surprises or unexpected circumstances, but God is never surprised. He knows everything we do before we do it. We may not always be prepared, but God is.  He has every answer we need, and He will accomplish all that He has purposed for us. Our part is to walk with Him, and follow in obedience.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

God wants to use each one of us for His purposes, which sometimes requires us to step out of our comfort zones. Our confidence should be in Him, not in our own abilities. As we take the first step, God is at our side, guiding us. He will equip us for any task He  brings our way. Past mistakes or  fear will attempt to hold us back, but God doesn’t require perfection; He wants our love, trust, and obedience.  As we follow His lead and do our part, He will do those things we can’t do; He will make a way.  Our challenge is to take the first step.

It is in our nature to want to know things in advance, but according to Scripture, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Our eyes should be on Him and what He can do – not on ourselves and what we can do. We are limited, God is not.

Don’t Panic

22 May

Life is full of surprises. Ask me how I know!! But, keep in mind that nothing surprises God. He knows us – our past, present and future.

Naturally, staying calm in a crisis is much easier said than done. But, there are some ways we can prepare ourselves in the event we have to face those surprises in life. Most important is that we do our best to stay in a close relationship with God. His Holy Spirit lives within us and is there to be our comforter, our guide and our teacher.

As we mature in the ways of the Lord, we learn that He has all the answers. He IS the answer. That isn’t just a “churchy” statement. Our first reactions is usually to take matters into our own hands or call everyone we know.  We need to make it a habit to turn to God first, at all times in every situation. Then, it is important that we allow Him to lead us. I realize how difficult this may sound, but if we can discipline ourselves to do this in all things, we’ll be better equipped to handle life’s harder, unexpected events.

God knows not only what is behind us, but what is ahead of us. He can take us on a straight path to the solution of any problem. Look at it this way – if you were lost without a map and had no idea which way to go, and a good Samaritan came along and said he knew the way, he could help you. He could draw you a map and tell you about all the turns and signs along the way, or he could just say, “Follow me”. Following him would be the easiest, quickest way.

That’s what God does for us. He just says, “Follow me”. There is no need for us to waste any  time trying to work out what we are going to on our own, making wrong turns along the way. The quickest, easiest way is just to follow God. The stumbling block is for us to do is get control of our emotions and to keep our minds from imagining all sorts of scenarios.

I heard a story once that is a great illustration. It was told by a police captain who was called to an automobile accident, a really bad one. There were people everywhere – medics – policemen – firemen – and bystanders. The captain was criticized later because he seemed cold, unemotional and too far removed from the events going on around him.

He was later interviewed by a local reporter about his seemingly uncaring attitude. The captain’s reply  to the reporter brought a hush to the crowd and turned their outcry  to one of a quiet hush and tearful eyes. He explained that in order for him to do his job, he had to remain calm and keep his mind alert. There was so much chaos all around him and so much anger and confusion that there had to be someone who could make the hard decisions and direct the others in a manner to keep order. He said that his heart was breaking inside and his mind was racing, but it was mandatory that he keep his mind focused so that he could do his job.

If we all fall apart in a crisis there is confusion and chaos.  There must be order. God is a God of order. We can see all throughout the Scriptures that God had a plan from the very beginning of time. We cannot presume that we know better than He does. We can’t know better. God is our strength and our refuge. He knows the way out. He has the answers.

Some would say that they can’t control their emotions, which is a lie they have believed from satan. Their emotions take over and they can then cause other problems that have to be addressed, adding to the already bad situation and taking up valuable, possibly life-threatening time. Controlling our emotions is a matter of self-control. It’s not that we can’t, it’s that we don’t want to.

It’s not easy to control our emotions when everything within us is screaming and our hearts are racing. We think we don’t have time to talk to God about it. If we proceed without Him, it’s kind of like jumping off the top of a building and calling out to God to save you. We can’t unscramble eggs. We can avoid making our situation worse by taking just a few minutes to ask God for His help. We can ask Him for the peace we need and to direct us as we make decisions. It just takes a moment to call out to Him. And, that moment can change the entire outcome of the situation. The Bible tells us  to acknowledge God in all our ways.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. NIV

We all want our path to be as straight as possible. The key is to acknowledge God. Put Him first, not last. Don’t be guilty of making Him an afterthought. Don’t take detours, follow God’s path. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

  • Matt 11:28-30    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV
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