There are three major points we need to consider as we watch for the signs so God can lead us. God works in mysterious ways. We do not understand all of the complexities of the universe, yet God does. Imagine a world filled with millions of scientist and specialists who have intricate knowledge in one area. Yet we are tempted to generalize and sum up the world in our mindset thinking we have it all figured out. It isn’t wise to think in this manner. At the same time, we need to dare to dream the dream. Take some risks and think outside the box. The greatest revolutions have come from people who didn’t think ordinarily. They were extraordinary thinkers. Set out to do something and things miraculously fall into place. Now live the dream. Living the dream is my purposeful statement and it takes me to the unique place nobody else on the planet can go. Declare it and live it.
“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
John 7:17 NIV
Point 1 - God works in mysterious ways.
“On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!”
Joshua 10:12-14 NIV
Point 2 - Dare to dream the dream.
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.”
Daniel 1:17-20 NIV
Point 3 - Now live the dream.
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he set him over all the land of Egypt.”
Genesis 41:39-43 ASV
Our daily thoughts and actions need to be adjusted in such a way that we are able to watch for various signs where God is leading us. He isn’t screaming and booming from the clouds most of the time. Instead he is giving us gentle nudges with the things that surround us and remember our major points.
1. God works in mysterious ways.
“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”
Psalms 147:5 KJV
2. Dare to dream the dream.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”
1 Corinthians 3:6 NIV
The seed comes but God makes it grow.
3. Now live the dream
Live the dream and I pray over you:
““ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’” Numbers 6:24-26
As you walk and live the dream remember,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:1-6 NIV
So God put a seed in your heart, your job is to dream it and protect it. He will make it grow.
There are three major points in choosing to follow God instead of leading Him. Your compass can be calibrated. You don’t have to stay on the path you have started. Things people say about you can be changed and you don’t have to be the same person you once were. Being in front is more work. The Geese have figured this out, which is why they rotate. When we talk about enjoying life and having fun, why do we take on burdens that are not ours? Why would we lead the all-powerful King of the universe when we could follow more easily instead? Tunnel vision makes you miss the horizon. When we are so focused on what we think should be happening, we are missing what is happening. It’s horrible to miss out and you don’t have to let that happen.
“Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”
Psalm 27:11 NIV
Point 1 - Your compass can be calibrated.
“You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.”
Job 42:3-6, 10-12 NIV
Point 2 - Being in front is more work.
So often I find myself being tempted to tell God how to work instead of waiting for him to tell me. I understand the natural propensity to push God, but the progress comes from stillness and quiet instead of a forward crunch.
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.”
Jonah 4:1-5 NIV
Point 3 - Tunnel vision makes you miss the horizon.
Our fleshly desire clouds judgement and wisdom. When we are so focused on the exact outcome we predict in our minds to be the best, typically we miss the best blessing.
“In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it.
But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.”
2 Samuel 13:1-2, 8, 11, 14 NIV
We don’t want to get into the place where we can’t see straight. Choose to follow God instead of lead God and remember the three important points.
1. Your compass can be calibrated.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
2. Being in front is more work. So follow the call instead.
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Romans 8:30 NIV
3. Tunnel vision makes you miss the horizon.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Ephesians 4:1 NIV
Walk with God, dance together in harmony. Remember you don’t lead, you follow.
There are three major points to consider when choosing peace. I will not be shaken. No matter what happens in the world around me, I choose to be rooted in Christ and trust in Him until my deliverance. I need church. Church isn’t just a building, a place to go or a thing to do. Instead it is an integral part of my existence where I am refreshed, strengthened and inspired to take on the world around me. Peace is here and actually surrounds us. The spirit of the Lord covers the earth and God is peace. We simply have to choose it and embrace it.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Isaiah 26:3 NIV
Point 1 - I will not be shaken.
Are you there or are you getting there? Do you feel like you have arrived or are you on the same journey as everyone else. My prayer is for everyone to be there and one day it will come true.
“Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them.”
Psalm 21:5-9 NIV
Point 2 - I need church.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV
Point 3 - Peace is here.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””
Matthew 8:23-27 NIV
Choose the peace that passes all understanding. Let the little things go. Overlook and find the best in others. Some issues simply aren’t worth taking to task. Remember it’s your choice.
1. I will not be shaken
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 KJV
2. I need church
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Hebrews 6:10 NIV
3. Peace is here
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Galatians 5:13 NIV
Burdens and worries are not from God. He has all of us here for each other. We all function as a part of another person’s existence. Someone trucked the food, someone raised the food, someone, worked at the power plant, Phone Company, road maintenance and so on. God designed it this way. Let’s redirect our mindset and remember, you are blessed, and things are good.
Receive His peace, and choose peace.
There are three main points to help us to be set for construction not destruction. You affect your outcome. You set the stage for your day, week, relationships, friendship, life, and success. What you believe is your foundation. Do you believe God sometimes helps? Do you think God sometimes gets involved? Choose your direction. Decide, it’s a great day. What can I do for the kingdom? I can make this better. I can’t fix it, but it won’t shake me.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17 NIV
Point 1 - You affect your outcome.
Paul said to the Thessalonians about living:
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-12 NIV
Point 2 - What you believe is your foundation.
“From there he went up to Beersheba. That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well. Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?” They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.” Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.”
Genesis 26:23-30 NIV
There was no war, and no grappling, but there was a new well.
Point 3 - Choose your direction.
Do we sometimes think we need to help God out a little? Sometimes we have mounds of frustration because of our effort to handle God’s roles.
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.”
Genesis 16:1-6 NIV
Once we start helping God out, we end up fixing one mess after another. Set your direction for construction not destruction. Remember the three major points:
1. You affect your outcome.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”
Colossians 3:23 NIV
2. What you believe is your foundation.
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
James 1:3 NIV
3. Choose your direction.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8 NIV
Lay a good foundation and the right one. Remember we work for God. Trust in the Lord. Choose a direction but only with Gods help. He’s there when we call, and there when we fall. Choose the right things, and most importantly and above all choose Christ.
Job lost his whole family. All of his kids died. His wife blamed him and ran off. He was in need of a severe miracle. Speaking of miracles, I really believe our children are miracles. I remember the birth of each of my girls. The first time Lilly looked at me was unforgettable. Emma and Kate coming out after months of sharing a womb. The 1Dr’s were worried about the twins being early and they would be in the NICU for several weeks. They came out with fully developed lungs. After a series of test they were released in spite of an early delivery. Hailey coming out crying and she’s never stopped being vocal ever since. Hours after being born she became sick and was gracefully healed.
We were watching goats be born this last week. The head was partly out. The kid was swallowing and taking in fluid. One of the girls asked if it was drowning. I explained it was ok until it was time to breathe. As long as the umbilical cord is inside, the goat can remain breathing fluid. As soon as the cord is out of the body, there is a miraculous instant where the blood flowing into the lungs now requires oxygen. This is the miracle of life.
It’s easy to classify life as a miracle, but what about small miracles which happen everyday? Do we take the time to recognize everyday small miracles? Are we willing to give God the credit? Do we spend time explaining away the miracles instead of rejoicing for them? Do we only think of miracles as major events? Do we become deceived by a miraculous expectation that we can’t see miracles happening before eyes?
Speaking of a miracle:
“Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.”
John 4:45-54 KJV
This was a miracle. The official expected fully his child to die. There could be a hundred explanations of why the fever broke. The father however attributed it to Jesus noting the exact time. The father also expected a specific response from Jesus. He wanted him to come with him.
Can you imagine that walk home? I’m visualizing it to be much like our own lives. With statements like Jesus doesn’t even care enough to come and heal my circumstance. In a modern time like ours it’s easy to pray and see Gods favor but sometimes the miracle is almost distorted because of other attendant circumstances. Modern medicine and scientific explanations rob God of His glory continually. Isn’t it amazing how we can explain the properties of water but can’t recreate it? Jesus even handled the small miracles.
Every day we are exposed to miracles and testimonies of those miracles. We need to take the time to acknowledge God in all He does. Miracles strengthen our faith and help guide us on our purpose path.
My brother and I spent hours out in the sandbox growing up. We loved the days and hours that we spent out there. I can’t tell you everything we did, as I don’t remember half of it, but it was fun. We swung from the tree like Tarzan. Once we knocked ourselves out. We even climbed a tree to get on the roof of our two story house. Just about gave our mom a heart attack.
I don’t remember having a troubling childhood. We had fun. I remember talking with my grandfather about the depression and his growing up. He told me the depression really didn’t affect his family. He grew up as a happy child running as hillbilly in the hills without a care in the world.
This leads me to believe, much of our joy is a mindset. Do we allow ourselves to be influenced by others who determine what should be joy and what isn’t? How much do we allow peer pressure to influence our lives?
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Philippians 1:12-20 NKJV
No matter what comes our way, God brings us our joy. He is the center of our salvation and His joy is what makes us whole.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God has plans for you. He is taking care of you and they are good plans. Knowing this brings us joy, knowing the Lord is taking care of us. This gives us the joy of the Lord.
We got a little dog when I was four. Her name was Sassi and she was my best friend growing up. She slept on my bed and was always there to cuddle me. When I was experiencing hard things growing up she continued to remain at my side. She protected me and went everywhere with us. My dad could even get her to howl on command. My mom just loved when my dad would drive down the road dragging a pop can and getting the dog to howl. She died in my arms when I was 19.
My grandparents were so special to me and I have fond memories of them as they have all died. I have had friends who were so dear, coworkers who were killed or took their own lives. All of these people have been dear in multiple ways. Sometimes I find myself wanting to call them or tell them of the new and greatest. Sometimes I just wonder how they are. Other times I forget they are gone. Sometimes I miss them so much I can hardly stand it. Look at what they are missing. There is so much to share, I almost don’t want to experience anything else because it’s not the same without them.
So how do I just get over this? Them? You don’t get over the loss of a loved one. You only learn to live without them. Have you ever felt you were robbed from a loved one? Have you lost someone from a sudden accident, cancer, other illness, suicide, heart attack or you just weren’t ready?
I will be going through 2 Samuel 18 and 19. This is a story where King David’s son Absalom had turned multitudes against his father. David delegated his army creating rank and order much like our military today. He instructed his captains to handle Absalom gently. Absalom was spotted riding his mule. Absalom rode under a big tree where his hair or head got caught in the branches pulling him from the mule leaving him dangling in midair.
Joab was a captain in David’s army. One of the soldiers came to Joab and told him he spotted Absalom. Joab got angry and asked why he didn’t kill him. The soldier basically said not on your life would he hurt the kings son. So Joab went to clear things up and while Absalom was still dangling from the tree he stabbed him to death.
The war was over and everyone were going their separate ways. A messenger came to tell David the war was over. David was excited and then asked about his son Absalom.
“The king was stunned. Heartbroken, he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he wept he cried out, O my son Absalom, my dear, dear son Absalom! Why not me rather than you, my death and not yours, O Absalom, my dear, dear son!”
2 Samuel 18:33 MSG
This was the pain of a child who turned his back on David. David was heartbroken and continued to grieve. Joab then addressed him in private basically telling him to get over it and take care of his solders. David saved face but was absolutely heart broke.
Many times we find ourselves being pushed to move past such devastating losses. How are we to continue and how are we to heal?
It doesn’t appear David was given any victory over his pain. He clearly grieved for a period. He was condemned to get up and go on. Many times when someone dies people tell them to get over it or move on, maybe even exhibiting a lack of compassion. Isn’t it tough enough to go through a death to have someone start telling you how to feel and how not to accept the pain? So what examples in the Bible help us to know what to do with the pain?
Worship is easier said than done but is it the key? I say it’s just the beginning of a long road which we will walk for a lifetime. It doesn’t get better. The pain is always there as long as we are alive. Granted the pain level can be reduced to become tolerable.
We are shown by example to pray, worship, fast, and continue our purpose. Moving forward isn’t easy but be assured the joy of the Lord is our strength. All things work together for good.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
Isaiah 53:4 NIV
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
It’s easy to say all of these scriptures. But how do you let go of the pain? You decide to trust God. Embrace his purpose for you. In this lies joy, peace, love and happiness.
Be assured someday there shall be no more death. Revelation 21:4
““I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
Joel 2:25 NIV
The point is we may not understand the “why” behind the loss. We may not like the loneliness or simply to live without a person but our personal choice and decisions determine our joy and peace in spite of the circumstance.
Or you can continue to serve the ever living God who you don’t understand but trust He always has your best interest in mind. Sometimes we wonder if God doesn’t love us enough to make things easier but be encouraged, He loves you so much sometimes for your best interest He must make things harder.
Don’t forget to enjoy the ones you still have. So today rejoice, pray, trust, and praise the ever living God. Watch the pain dull and the victory rise in your life.
As a kid I loved riding in the back of my grandpa’s pickup watching the sunset after feeding it was so peaceful. I loved laying in the grass looking at stars. Not a worry in my mind. I used to lay in my chicken coop as a teenager and watch the chicken’s just peck the ground. Going outside at my grandma Moon’s after a fried chicken supper hearing the locusts and feeling the cool breeze, smelling the supper smell coming from the house was enchanting. Riding horses with my wife and girls in the pasture brings such peace. During the sunset the earth has a calm if we enjoy it.
All these moments were repeated and peaceful. I didn’t think about our lives, unachieved dreams, dreads, commitments or other peace robbers. I rested in the beauty of the moment and Gods creation. Even secular humanistic approaches recognize calming effects from waterfalls, natural sounds, light therapy, landscape pictures, and lush green settings.
Experts have found colors and certain room enhancements reduce anxiety. Isn’t it interesting how the natural beauty of God’s creation sends a peace and calming effect? God’s creation and His will eliminates struggles with restlessness? The devil is the author of unexplained tension. The devil is there to steal happiness, energy, joy, perspective, goals, hope, and so much more.
The interstate superhighway for these robberies are anxiety. Call anxiety what you want, we can define it 100 different ways, but the end result remains the same, anxiety is the absence of peace. Looking at the Bible, there is not one scripture where God gives us the gift of anxiety. Even Jesus experienced anxiety before his crucifixion but that was a brief moment.
What about our lives and the everyday attacks on our God ordained purpose? Jesus taught through parables, and so it is important for us to look at biblical figures who struggled with anxiety. The prophet Jeremiah was clearly called by God. Jeremiah authored the book of Jeremiah, both books of Kings, and Lamentations. Jeremiah had a unique call. He was the bearer of bad news. His ministry was from 626-587 B.C. Remember we are counting backwards before Jesus.
Many scholars call him the weeping prophet. He proclaimed the famine in Judah. Jerusalem would be invaded. He watched God lift his hand when Israelite people were sacrificing their children to Baal. He resisted plots to kill him
Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant—
“Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘
But they did not listen or pay attention;
instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.
So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’ ”
After Jeremiah tells everybody this, the Lord then tells him
“There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.
Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape.
Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes.
“Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress. “
When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice. ” The Lord called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm he will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken.
The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal. Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.
I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.”
But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.
Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hands”—
God said: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.””
Jeremiah 11:1-23 NIV
Sometimes it is frustrating when you do the correct work and the attack isn’t stopping. Sometimes the attack is part of the plan. In the midst of the attack God provides comfort. It didn’t say Jeremiah found peace. It didn’t even say this made the situation better. It only said God would take care of the people after him. Great, but when?
That’s exactly the problem. Why when we are doing the will do we get the frustration? There were no logistics, no syllabus. Some things we just don’t understand. It’s ok not to have all the answers. Regardless there is still opportunity for peace in this passage. God sends comfort to give you rest in lieu of anxiety. He talks about the destiny of the attackers, but there is no immediate fix. The opportunity to resist the anxiety is there and it’s up to us to determine how it is handled.
We may never understand the meaning of our situation but God will always provide peace. We struggle with control and expect God to respond to our terms. The peace is there. You have to grab hold of it. It’s a choice to take the gift because the gift is already there. You don’t need to be asking God for it.
There is a story of two young people who grow up together. When there were adults they took different paths. They lost track of each other. One day they are bother in court. One guy is the judge and the other is a suspect. He recognizes the judge is his old friend. He expects a break. Instead the judge slams the gavel with a guilty verdict and a maximum fine. He then dismisses court. Takes off his robe and offers to pay his buddies fine.
The gift is there for the friend to take. The gift of peace is in every situation for everyone. You have to choose to take it. I’m repeating this because we have to remind ourselves of this repeatedly. The old phrase, take time to smell the roses is significant.
Are you stopping and enjoying Gods peace or are you staying so caught up in the afflictions you can’t break free?
1 Corinthians 14:33 English Standard Version (ESV)
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
Don’t let the devil play mind games with you. Don’t allow your peace to be stolen. Take it. Hold on to it and enjoy it. When the car breaks down use the time to watch the sky and remind yourself God has everything working together for the good. When people mistreat you, or your circumstances crush you, remember every day is yours to capture if you want, you can feel peace.
There was a man who bought a house young. He probably bit off a bit more than he could chew. Before there was regulation on adjustable rate mortgages he experienced in the period of three months his mortgage doubling. It became impossible for him to continue to meet his mortgage. The home was foreclosed. The man then rented a house and used up any bit of savings he had to get into the house. He started saving again trying to be responsible, only to discover a few weeks later, the rental home he was now in was being foreclosed. And he once again found himself looking for a home. The man then rented another home with the last bit of money he had, forfeiting all the money he deposited for the other home. He worked a full time job and two part-time jobs in order to continue to pay his obligations and provide for his family.
It was during this time, that this man began to feel messages and importations from the Lord, and started writing sermons. Meanwhile his life was an absolute disaster. Many would say he mismanaged his money, others would say he mismanaged many things in general. Yet others took plenty of time to make fun of all of his poor circumstances. This man got down on his knees and begged God for a breakthrough, for a change, for provision and a home he could own. Many times he felt completely abandoned and alone.
After struggling for four years, the man was able to buy a home once again. Did it mean this guy finally arrived, did it mean that that was the only trial in his life, did it mean that God was punishing him?
Have you ever felt like God wasn’t listening, has the pain been so long that it doesn’t feel like there is end in sight? Have you given up on hearing an answer from God? Did you give up on breakthrough? Imagine Jochebed’s struggle:
EXODUS 2:1-10 AMP
“Now a man of the house of Levi [the priestly tribe] went and took as his wife a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and gave birth to a son; and when she saw that he was [especially] beautiful and healthy, she hid him for three months [to protect him from the Egyptians]. When she could no longer hide him, she got him a basket (chest) made of papyrus reeds and covered it with tar and pitch [making it waterproof]. Then she put the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to find out what would happen to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, and [she, together with] her maidens walked along the river’s bank; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid [to get it], and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. And she took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a wet-nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.””
I know the pain. That man we discussed was me. God was preparing my messages 8 years before I started to give them.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
Psalms 23:4-5 KJV
As Christians we have a special call. A special purpose. He needs us to walk in the valley. We can’t stay on the mountain top. Hear this, He will never fail you.
“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”
Psalms 91:7 KJV
It’s no secret, you will endure trials and tribulations. Sometimes these situations may go on for many years. This can become exhausting and test your faith. Don’t waver, my God will never fail. He has the hair on your head numbered, and sees every detail of your life. Understand you have to go through it.
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9 NIV
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!”
Romans 8:15-17 MSG
God will never fail. It’s not your responsibility to understand His plan. It’s your responsibility to be obedient to it. Suffering may last for a while but joy comes in the morning. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
You can’t see your cold virus, but feel the effect of it and nobody can tell you different. There is something in the background that is happening but you can’t see it. Magnetic field is not visible to the eye, but we know its presence. There is a dynamic around the magnet having influence. Gravity and air both have tremendous influence, yet they are not visible. There are forces and realms not visible to the naked eye.
“The People of Israel marched on and camped on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho. Balak son of Zippor learned of all that Israel had done to the Amorites. The people of Moab were in a total panic because of Israel. There were so many of them! They were terrorized.
Moab spoke to the leaders of Midian: “Look, this mob is going to clean us out—a bunch of crows picking a carcass clean.” Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent emissaries to get Balaam son of Beor, who lived at Pethor on the banks of the Euphrates River, his homeland. Moab spoke to the leaders of Midian: “Look, this mob is going to clean us out—a bunch of crows picking a carcass clean.” Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent emissaries to get Balaam son of Beor, who lived at Pethor on the banks of the Euphrates River, his homeland. Balak’s emissaries said, “Look. A people has come up out of Egypt, and they’re all over the place! And they’re pressing hard on me. Come and curse them for me—they’re too much for me. Maybe then I can beat them; we’ll attack and drive them out of the country. You have a reputation: Those you bless stay blessed; those you curse stay cursed.”
The leaders of Moab and Midian were soon on their way, with the fee for the cursing tucked safely in their wallets. When they got to Balaam, they gave him Balak’s message. “Stay here for the night,” Balaam said. “In the morning I’ll deliver the answer that GOD gives me.” The Moabite nobles stayed with him.
Then God came to Balaam. He asked, “So who are these men here with you?” Balaam answered, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent them with a message: ‘Look, the people that came up out of Egypt are all over the place! Come and curse them for me. Maybe then I’ll be able to attack and drive them out of the country.’”
God said to Balaam, “Don’t go with them. And don’t curse the others—they are a blessed people.” The next morning Balaam got up and told Balak’s nobles, “Go back home; GOD refuses to give me permission to go with you.” So the Moabite nobles left, came back to Balak, and said, “Balaam wouldn’t come with us.” Balak sent another group of nobles, higher ranking and more distinguished. They came to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says, ‘Please, don’t refuse to come to me. I will honor and reward you lavishly—anything you tell me to do, I’ll do; I’ll pay anything—only come and curse this people.’”
Balaam answered Balak’s servants: “Even if Balak gave me his house stuffed with silver and gold, I wouldn’t be able to defy the orders of my GOD to do anything, whether big or little. But come along and stay with me tonight as the others did; I’ll see what GOD will say to me this time.”
God came to Balaam that night and said, “Since these men have come all this way to see you, go ahead and go with them. But make sure you do absolutely nothing other than what I tell you.” Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went off with the noblemen from Moab. As he was going, though, God’s anger flared. The angel of GOD stood in the road to block his way. Balaam was riding his donkey, accompanied by his two servants. When the donkey saw the angel blocking the road and brandishing a sword, she veered off the road into the ditch. Balaam beat the donkey and got her back on the road.
But as they were going through a vineyard, with a fence on either side, the donkey again saw GOD ’s angel blocking the way and veered into the fence, crushing Balaam’s foot against the fence. Balaam hit her again.
GOD ’s angel blocked the way yet again—a very narrow passage this time; there was no getting through on the right or left. Seeing the angel, Balaam’s donkey sat down under him. Balaam lost his temper; he beat the donkey with his stick.
Then GOD gave speech to the donkey. She said to Balaam: “What have I ever done to you that you have beat me these three times?” Balaam said, “Because you’ve been playing games with me! If I had a sword I would have killed you by now.” The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your trusty donkey on whom you’ve ridden for years right up until now? Have I ever done anything like this to you before? Have I?” He said, “No.” Then GOD helped Balaam see what was going on: He saw GOD ’s angel blocking the way, brandishing a sword. Balaam fell to the ground, his face in the dirt. GOD ’s angel said to him: “Why have you beaten your poor donkey these three times? I have come here to block your way because you’re getting way ahead of yourself. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she hadn’t, I would have killed you by this time, but not the donkey. I would have let her off.”
Balaam said to GOD ’s angel, “I have sinned. I had no idea you were standing in the road blocking my way. If you don’t like what I’m doing, I’ll head back.” But GOD ’s angel said to Balaam, “Go ahead and go with them. But only say what I tell you to say—absolutely no other word.” And so Balaam continued to go with Balak’s nobles. When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him in the Moabite town that was on the banks of the Arnon, right on the boundary of his land. Balak said to Balaam, “Didn’t I send an urgent message for help? Why didn’t you come when I called? Do you think I can’t pay you enough?” Balaam said to Balak, “Well, I’m here now. But I can’t tell you just anything. I can speak only words that God gives me—no others.””
Numbers 22:1-38 MSG
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.”
1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG
““O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.””
Daniel 6:21-22 MSG
“You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “ GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because GOD ’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!””
Psalm 91:1-16 MSG
We don’t get to see the world the same way God does. We do see His effect. Every day in every way his supernatural forces are at work in your life. There are examples of angels defeating demons throughout the bible. Those same angels are in charge of you. They are fighting for you every day. Rest in His comfort because you have spiritual vision.
Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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