Break The Stranglehold of Fear & Worry!
There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1st John 4:18
We all know what it’s like to be strangled by worry and fear. Fear teams up with its good friend, worry. More often than less these two work together in an attempt to bring misery to our lives. Fear brings worry or worry brings fear, troubling our minds with thoughts and tying our stomach with knots. The result is paralysis of our faith.
Fact is, modern medical research has proved that worry can actually cause physical sickness. It can break down your resistance to disease. It also can affect our nervous and digestive systems. Research also tells us these two partners can cause heart issues and disease. Worry and Fear is at root for emotional and mental sickness as well, and of course they affect our spiritual health. Excessive worry can really mess up your life.
We all know what it is like to have fear concerning some things. Fears concerning our marriage, children, finances, health, friendships and even our security of salvation. Far too often we are fearful of the wrong things in life. At the same time, we are not afraid of the right things in life--particularly our fearing the Lord. We don’t fear God like we should. Yet the Bible tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
To fear God doesn’t mean trembling in terror 24 hours a day before Him. Rather, the proper fear of God is reverencing Him. It is respecting God for who He is and trusting Him in all our decisions and actions. When we fear the Lord correctly we will fear displeasing Him more than fearing anyone or anything else. When we sin, it is not the fear of what God will do to us. Rather, it’s the fear of what we have done to Him and it is that fear that will help us practice holiness before Him.
The life changing truth is that when we fear God we will fear nothing else and no one else. On the other hand, if you don’t fear God, you fear everything and everyone.
Jesus said- “Fear not I am with thee I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. We must remember He has told us over and over again to not be afraid. Why- because He is with us. He is our light, He is our salvation, our strength. He is our life. With that in mind whom should we fear?
If you are filled with fear and worry resist them by asking the Lord to rebuke them. Bow your knees right now and ask Him to give you strength for life and faith to replace fear and worry.
Those who have left the greatest impact on our world usually had one thing in common:
People of impact are willing to do things that most people are unwilling to do. They have become people of great self discipline!
1. Impact people train their temperaments.
They live by their Bible based conviction not their emotions. They live by faith not feelings. People who do the right thing even when they don’t feel like it accomplish most of what gets done in the world!
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Proverbs 25:28
2. Impact people tame their tongues.
They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths. They understand the tongue is a mighty power for both good and evil. They understand the Lord gave them two ears and one tongue not two tongues and one ear. Wise people listen more than they speak.
He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life. Proverbs 13:3
For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. James 3:2
3. Impact people tend their touchiness.
How fast can you be offended? How soon do you lose your temper? Unfortunately, a lot of potential influence can be cut short by having a short fuse.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. Proverbs 16:32
4. Impact people track their time.
If you don’t determine how you will spend your time, you can be sure that others will decide for you. The key to eternal success is to only be answerable to ONE MASTER calendar- JESUS. You’ll have to become a great steward of time to be successful in life.
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5
5. Impact people trace their treasure.
They learn to live on less than what they make, and they invest the difference into savings, investments and give to causes that matter to God. Causes like the Lord’s church, missions, gospel sharing ministries, sharing with others in need. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went!
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. Proverbs 10:4
Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10
6. Impact people transform their temple.
They understand clearly that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. They develop habits in their eating,exercise and rest that supplies energy to their physical life. They also seek the mind of Christ which brings mental health. That way they can accomplish more and enjoy their achievements.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1st Corinthians 6:19-20
Where do you need to develop self-control?
The disciplines we establish today will determine our Impact tomorrow.
But it takes more than just willpower to produce lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than our own. It takes the power of God.
The more we accept God’s control over your life, the more self-control he gives to us. The more self control- the more eternal impact on our family, communities, churches the world.
Does Your Temple Need Cleaning?
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
How do you approach your cleaning duties? For instance do you constantly clean the inside of your car or do you put it off till it is extremely cluttered and grimy? How about your dishes or your house? Do you daily take care of organizing and cleaning or do you let things get completely out of order and than take on that mountain of laundry, dishes, etc ? Obviously, the best approach would be to take care of things when they are more manageable. Taking care of smaller messes assure that they don’t become BIG messes! And we all know how BIG messes seem to only discourage us and cause us to procrastinate the task of “ cleaning house”.
Jesus knows a few things about cleaning house. He cleansed the temple twice during His ministry. First time was after His first miracle in John 2:18 and the second time was three years later just before He died on the cross for our sin in Matthew 21:17-23. Twice He went into the temple (the house of God) and drove out the money changers. These dishonest merchants were taking advantage of God’s followers and discouraging them from following the pure person of Christ Himself. This stirred up the Lords righteous anger and it motivated Him to CLEAN HOUSE. He sweeps it clean with a WHIP. And we find Him repeating this twice. He knew small messes turn in to big messes which ultimately become unmanageable. So He cleans house again and again!
In this first week of the New Year let me make a practical application.
When we Christians came to Christ in repentance and faith our Lord cleaned our souls and moved into our bodies. He now calls our bodies His temple. But as we live in this dirty and sinful world we allow old sins back into our lives. And if those sins are not daily cleansed they will grow larger and more dominating. Becoming BIG, unmanageable, addictive, out of control issues in our lives.
How is your temple? Have you allowed your house to become a little unkept, not as clean as it once was. Perhaps it has gone some time without a good cleaning and now it is cluttered and in reality dirtier than you ever would have thought it would have become?
Does your temple need cleansing? Are there some things in your life you know shouldn't be there? Some besetting sins that have taken control? Why not deal with them today? If you decide to repent and confess your house has become dirty Jesus will help you clean house! (1st John1:9)
Once you clean house make sure to begin a regiment of regularly keeping the temple cleansed. I am sure you will find it more manageable in the long haul to take care of little messes immediately rather than allowing them to become life threatening!
The Divine Birth Announcement
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. . . . And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
—Luke 2:8, 10
Each mother and father remember when they announced that they were expecting with a child. And when the baby was born I am sure you remember the first people you called to excitingly proclaim the little ones arrival. You shared with them the weight, length, color of their eyes and hair ( that is if they had hair). You were so proud to tell them the time of birth and every other detail you could think about sharing. And what made this announcement more enjoyable was you were sharing with those you loved and were the closest to you! Those you know would enjoy the news and be just as interested in the happening as you were.
When God sent the angel to announce the birth of His Son, whom did He tell first? Don’t you find it interesting to who it was that the first announcement of Christ’s birth was to shepherds.? I would have thought it would have been announced to others before these lowly shepherds. He could have sent Gabriel starting with Caesar Augustus. He could have sent the angel to appear in Caesar’s court and announce, “the only true Savior of the world has arrived, it is not you, you are not God, I AM!”
Gabriel could have taken this first announcement to the religious leaders of that day. Those who had become so vile in religion and so far away from a relationship with God. Can you imagine hearing Gabriel say “Wake up! The Messiah has been born! The One you talk about, the One you say you look for—He is here! Prepare to meet your God!”
To the human mind it would have made sense to make the announcement first to the influential, nobility, government officials, those who had means to get the word out, those who managed people not sheep.
But the Lord was revealing both His mind and heart in His birth announcement. Instead, He first announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds. Through the centuries many of songs, writings and paintings have portrayed these shepherds of the Christmas story in ways that are not biblically and historically accurate. We must understand in that time shepherds lived lowly lives. They were at the low end of social status.
Shepherds were so disrespected and looked down upon that their testimonies were not even allowed in a court of law. Shepherds did the work that no one else wanted to do. They worked hard, they were with the sheep 24 hours a day and that work was smelling and dirty. They were perceived as unclean because they could not observe the ceremonial hand washings. They were the outcasts, the nobodies, common labors who everybody needed but no-one wanted. The only people lower in social acceptance and status were those suffering from leprosy.
So now we are beginning to see how astounding it really is that the first announcement of the Messiah’s birth was in such a fashion. Our loving Lord decides to announce His birth and share the GOOD NEWS with SHEPHERDS FIRST! In fields, as they were tending sheep, at work, at night, to the outcast, to the common, to the ordinary, to the less-regarded.
This biblical fact should give hope to all because in the great reality of truth every human is simply a shepherd. We are made from the dust, born under curse, poor in spirit, outcasts, common, suffering from a leprosy called sin. Some shepherds wear $1000 suits, some live in million dollar homes but the great reality is they are poor, lowly, shepherds as are all humans on this earth. That is all. And the announcement of Jesus Christ’s birth is to every shepherd, in every place, in every moment of time “bringing good tidings of great joy….for unto each shepherd is born a Savior Christ the Lord.”
This should give each of us “ordinary people” hope. For those who have received this hope through Christ may this season one of great rejoicing and a time of rededicating ourselves to take that hope to the world. For the one who has yet to receive hope through Christ alone may this be the moment for you to bow your head and heart before the Lord in repentance of sin and acceptance of the ONE WHO WAS BORN THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS!
What Can I Give Christ For Christmas ?
True followers of Jesus Christ know the true meaning of Christmas. Yet every year it seems very difficult not to be sucked into the ways the world celebrates the season. How much of our season actually is centered around celebrating Christ? Now that is a question each of who truly loves Jesus must ask ourselves at this time of year.
If we are not careful the activities at this time will crowd out the special opportunity that is availed during this precious month to make CHRIST more centered in our individual life, family life and church life. As we seek to give just the right gifts to those we love may we not forget to GIVE TO THE ONE WHO GAVE ALL HE HAD FOR US!
Let me suggest several gift ideas we can give to our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas! I am certain that as we present our Lord with gifts He deserves He will be well pleased and we will be abundantly blessed within. There is no joy like giving and no greater joy than to give to our Lord!
1. Give Him The Gift Of Your Faith!
The Christmas story teaches us to trust and submit to God’s sovereign plan. Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, the shepherds each teach us the proper response to the coming of the Lord. They trusted in the written prophecies concerning the Messiah’s coming and they trusted in the the God given words of the angel. Mary trusted in the words of Elisabeth as she was filled with the Spirit and proclaimed that Mary would give birth to the Lord! They trusted in the words of Zacharias as he also was filled with the Spirit and proclaimed the LIGHT had come to those who sat in darkness, and that the light was Jesus Christ! On the night of the Lord’s birth there was faith and trust in the hearts of the shepherds as the angel proclaimed “ For unto you this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”. They believed that the Sovereign Savior had come in the fullness of time. They trusted Him by faith. Few things honor God more than our trust. May we give Christ our trust by exercising great faith in His words, His purposes, His calling on our lives. It is “Impossible to please God without faith”, so may we trust Him more and as we do He will receive a gift which brings pleasure to the ONE we love!
For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.—Luke 1:37–38
2. Give Him The Gift Of Loving Others.
Get alone sometime and present your life to God as a gift offered to Him as you choose to yield to the Holy Spirit to actions of love for others. Visit a hospital room or a shut in. Visit a Mission and help serve a dinner and visit with the homeless. Invite a lonely widow or widower to church and better yet invite them to a Christmas meal or function. Call a stop to the Christmas busyness and make time to really love others in tangible ways. After all that is what Christ did on that first Christmas, He came to love us. He came to be born so that He might die on the cross for our sins. There is no greater love than to die for others. May we this Christmas give Christ the gift of our yielding to His control to lead us to others who He wants to love through us.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.—Matthew 25:40
3. Give Him The Gift Of Tangible Items.
Give special Christmas financial gifts to your church, missionaries or the less fortunate. Give Him a gift of time or talent for the new year. After prayer perhaps you may decide to read the Bible daily, to join an organized prayer group, to attend church more faithfully, to begin to serve him in a particular area. Perhaps decide to give an increase in your weekly financial giving, to use your giftedness in His church. To work in the bus ministry , teach a class, visit a widow weekly, sing in the choir, play in the orchestra, wash a church van or a seniors car weekly, you get the idea. What tangible gift could you give that would make Christmas more about Jesus. Either personally or as a family, find a way to give to the Lord or to others in His name this Christmas.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.—Matthew 2:11
4. Give Him The Gift Of Sharing The Gospel.
Christmas presents many opportunities for conversations about the Lord. Whether it be asking a co-worker about their holiday traditions and then sharing yours, or bringing cookies over to your neighbors with an invitation to a special church service where the gospel will be presented, this is a wonderful season to tell others about Christ and why He came. Take this special time to present our Savior with the gift of sharing the Christmas Story with all we come into contact with this season. After all that is the true meaning of the season celebration. Our Lord came to be born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life, He died on the cross to pay for the sins of all people, He was buried in a grave and arose from the dead. And because of that “ Whosoever calls upon Him shall be saved’. “ A Savior was born”. And the Sovereign Savior is coming again. May we rejoice and bring gifts to our Sovereign Savior just as they did that first Christmas Day!
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.—Luke 2:17-18
SHORE NOT SINK!
On the same day, when evening had come, He saith unto them, "Let us pass over to the other side."
One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” So they boarded their boat and were taking a nice calm trip across the Sea of Galilee. Only thing was the calm sea suddenly became very rough because a sudden storm arose. The severity of this storm even shook these experienced fishermen to utter despair.
Now what is extraordinary about this even is Jesus was asleep in the boat. While the disciples were shaken with great fear Jesus was at sweet peace taking a needed rest. The disciples woke Him up and said, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). They were thinking He didn’t care and how could He be sleeping when they were so desperately in need. They really were telling him , GET UP and DO SOMETHING!
Jesus graciously ( out of His mercy not because they demanded) spoke to the storm and said, “Peace, be still!” (verse 39), immediately the storm was over, the waves calmed and the disciples fear vanished. Not only did Jesus rebuke the storm He rebukes His disciples. He basically is telling them that they are slow learners and their great fear was a result of their small faith. Jesus had told them they would cross to the other side, His plan was not to let them drown midway. Jesus didn’t promise smooth sailing, but He did promise a safe passage.
The safest place to be is with Jesus! It is safer in a storm with Jesus than in the calm without Him. It is better in a prison with Jesus than a palace without Him. If we find ourselves in His presence we can trust Him in any circumstance.
May we remember, God is with us no matter what circumstance we are going through right now. We are never alone. He cares. And He will never leave us or forsake us.
“ Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prosperity.” 3 John 1:3 ( As our soul health is prospering so can our physical life )
“ Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Proverbs 3:7-8 ( If we seek Gods ways and wisdom we can have healthier bodies and stronger bones ).
These verses and many others in the scripture teach us that if we are healthy in the spiritual sense then we will be more healthy in the physical sense as well. In fact the closer we walk with God and adhere to His principles we will be healthier in our emotions, mind, body and soul. Let me share a few Healthy Habits from the Bible with the purpose of encouraging each reader to seek to be healthy for the Lord’s glory and your own good.
1. HEALTHY PEOPLE EAT HEALTHY FOOD
Daniel 1:15: At the end of the ten days their countenance appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the operation of the kings meat. ( Eating God’s ways make healthier bodies than eating the ways of the flesh.)
The scriptures are loaded with facts about healthy eating. We need to agree with God and study his word and eat accordingly to stay as healthy as possible. What we take in is one sure key to how our bodies and minds function. Decide to help your body by taking in good food, lots of water and resist taking in the things that are harmful. Remember the primary goal of being healthy is for God’s glory and so we can be more fruitful in the kingdom of God!
2. HEALTHY PEOPLE THINK HEALTHY THOUGHTS
Luke 11:34: The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy whole body is full of darkness.
Make no mistake what we focus on will land in our mind and eventually affect our bodies. Either in negative ways or positive ways. How e think is so important to the health of our soul, mind and body, Philippians 4. Never forget, “As a man thinketh so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
Unhealthy focus – bad life
Healthy focus – good life
Proverbs 4:20-23: My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
3. HEALTHY PEOPLE EXERT ENERGY AND ENJOY REST
Two things are needed in energy management – rest and exercise. We must feed our soul, mind and body and we must work them as well as rest them. For the person who sits 8 hours without movement is the equivalent of smoking 1 pack of cigarettes daily. The lack of exercise is very unhealthy to our bodies and our minds!
Psalm 127:2: It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. The Lord exhorts us to work had exercising our bodies but not worrying will we have enough. Don’t sit up late worrying. Go to bed early enough so as to sleep in peace. Get exercise and get proper rest.
1 Timothy 4:7b-8: Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Yes, body exercise profits our body and it actually helps us sleep. and all this helps our souls to prosper for all eternity.
4. HEALTHY PEOPLE ENLIST SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two people are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor: For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe unto the him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Life is healthier when we do it together. The devil is a liar and seeks to tempt us to think we will be better without others. That is simply not true. Partnership in life is the healthier way of living!
Hebrews 10:25: And let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
5. HEALTHY PEOPLE DEPEND ON GOD
Luke 17:19: And He said unto him ( a sick man) , Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
The fact is we cannot live healthy lives without the Lord Jesus Christ help. We wont even desire to do so and if we did we would not know how to do it. Jesus came to make the sick whole. He has the power, principles and the plan for such. May we seek him daily and yield to His Spirit as He brings health to our soul, mind and body for His glory and our good. He will lead us to proper provision, purposeful work and powerful rest!
My heart is saddened with the tragedy this week in Las Vegas. The killing of innocent people. The great argument will become is it a gun problem or a culture problem. The answer is it is a HEART PROBLEM. When the hearts of men are not turned to God the enemy (Satan) has his way. The thief is come to steal, kill and destroy. His mission is to bring fear, doubt and anxiety to humanity. He is the master terrorist. May each believer do what it takes to defeat the enemy, may we pray! Make a special time daily to pray for our nation to find its way again. And that way is JESUS! Find a a special prayer meeting to begin attending weekly. For all our Liberty Baptist Church family join one of our weekly prayer times. The time is NOW to participate in prayer for our nation!
I read an article Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries wrote this week concerning this event and would like to share it with you as I found it very helpful. Hope it helps answer some question you may have and that it will help you answer some questions being asked you as a Christian.
The Mandalay Massacre
Why did God allow such a horrible thing to happen?
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you."
—1 Peter 4:12
A 64-year-old man armed with more than 10 rifles shot and killed 58 people in what is being called, “the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.” Hundreds more were wounded.
The question that comes to mind at a time like this is. . . Why? Why did God allow such a horrible thing to happen?
A Barna Poll asked, “If you could ask God one question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response was, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” If you are sharing the gospel, it won’t be long before someone asks, “How could a God of love allow tragedy, pain, and suffering?” C.S. Lewis said that the “problem of pain is atheism’s most potent weapon against the Christian faith.” More people point to the problem of evil and suffering as their reason for not believing in God than any other. It is not merely a problem; it is the problem.
So, why does God allow tragedy? If God can prevent such terrible tragedies, why does He allow them to take place? Here’s the classic statement of the problem: Either God is all powerful but not all good, and therefore He doesn’t stop evil—or He’s all good but not all powerful, and therefore He can’t stop evil.
The general tendency, of course, is to blame God for evil and suffering, transferring all responsibility to Him. So let’s look closer at the core question: If God is so good and loving, why does He allow evil?
The first part of this question is based on a false premise. People who express those words are essentially suggesting (or saying outright) that God must meet their own criteria of goodness. But who are they to set standards for God? When did they become the moral center of the universe? God isn’t good just because that’s my opinion of Him, or because I personally agree with His words or actions. God is good because He says He is! Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19 NIV).
God is good, whether I believe it or not. He and He alone is the final court of arbitration. As Paul said, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4 KJV). And what is “good”? Good is whatever God approves. And it’s good because He approves it! “That’s circular reasoning!” Well, maybe, but everything begins and ends with God. I think of it more as biblical reasoning. In Isaiah 1:18, God invites, “Come now, and let us reason together” (NKJV) or “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out” (MSG). You see, God’s thoughts are above our thoughts. There’s no higher standard of goodness than God’s own character—and His approval of whatever’s consistent with that character. So God is good. Period.
Now let’s come back to the second part of the question. Why does He allow evil?
Remember that mankind was not created evil. In their original state, Adam and Eve were innocent, ageless, and immortal. But from the very beginning—from the time that God gave life to Adam and Eve, man has had the ability to choose right or wrong. He made his choice (and then his choice made him!).
Had man never sinned, there would have been no resulting curse. But now it’s too late. Romans 5:12 says, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the [entire human race]. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (NLT).
What this man in Las Vegas did is pure evil. The point to keep in mind here is that humanity—not God—is responsible for sin.
So why didn’t God create human beings to be incapable of sin? If God hadn’t given us a free will, we would merely be puppets on a string, remote-controlled robots that bow before Him at the touch of a button. God wants to be loved and obeyed by creatures who voluntarily choose to do so. Love cannot be genuine if there’s no other option. You and I can choose to love God. And if we’re realistic, we have every reason in the world to make that choice.
Most of us can accept the idea of suffering in general, especially when it happens as a consequence of bad behavior. When bad things happen to bad people it seems appropriate, fitting, understandable. So, its’ not suffering that troubles us; it’s undeserved suffering.
Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Even more, why do bad things happen to godly people? There are times I just don’t know why God does or does not do certain things. I, like you, am mystified by a lot of it. So here is my answer: I just don’t know!
Listen: being a Christian does not mean you will not suffer. We may ask the question, “Why me?” but we could more easily ask, “Why not me?” As 1 Peter 4:12 tells us “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (ESV). Our trials and sufferings should not be seen as strange but expected. Jesus Himself assured us that there will be suffering in our lives: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).
Here is what we need to know: we need to prepare for suffering. Suffering will come; it’s not a matter of if, but when and how much.
As you read this, and you do not have any suffering or tragedy, I would say, “Rejoice, and enjoy it!” But know that hardship will come. Here is the bottom line: you are either coming out of a storm or headed into another. “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire” (Job 5:7 NLT). It’s just a matter of time. In this life, the only way to avoid suffering is to die. So like the diligent squirrel gathering nuts for winter, store these truths in your heart.
As Randy Alcorn says in his book If God Is Good, Why? “Most of us don’t give focused thought to evil and suffering until we experience them. This forces us to formulate perspective on the fly, at a time when our thinking is muddled and we’re exhausted and consumed by pressing issues. People who have “been there” will attest that it’s far better to think through suffering in advance.” In other words, be prepared ahead of time!
Our hearts go out to the families of those that were killed. We need to pray for them.
We thank God for the courageous first responders who are still on the scene. And we pray for the hundreds of wounded people. May God extend His comfort to them.
Events like this remind us that life is short and eternity is real and very close. This is why all of us should always be ready to stand before God. And the only way to be ready is by having put your faith in Jesus Christ.
You Have A Story That Needs Told!
Ever noticed how people love listening to a good story especially a true one. And when it comes to sharing your faith, one of the most effective tools in our evangelistic toolbox is our personal testimony. Why just the other day I was preaching a funeral and began sharing my story of how I came to Christ and I noticed how I gained attention of some who before were not nearly as engaged. Not to long ago I was in a hospital room visiting one of our church members and I began sharing some things about how I came to Christ and it was evident the attending nurse began to tune in. Everyone likes to hear a good story!
Our testimony’s are powerful bridge builders. It’s a way to connect with your listener so that they can see how your life has been changed by the mighty power of Jesus Christ and how it happened in a common and real life setting. Just like the one they are living out! It’s a way to engage people, build a bridge, and help them see how they can come to faith as well.
Sharing your testimony is a great way to indirectly preach the gospel. For me my personal testimony would sound like this. Before I was saved my life was filled with emptiness and I sought many sinful ways to bring satisfaction but nothing helped. I didn’t know what my problem was. But one day a young lady invited me to church and there I heard the pastor explain the gospel. He helped me understand that mans problem was personal sin and that we would never be satisfied in life until we had our sins forgiven. That Christ paid for mans sins and offered forgiveness to all who would repent and put their faith in Christ’s payment on the cross.
You can actually share the gospel while you are telling your own story. And when you’re done, you can say, “What do you think about that? Have you ever heard that before? Have you ever seen a life changed like that before? Have you ever considered who Jesus is and what He can do for you?” Simply share with them what Jesus has done for you and what He has done for you He will do for them!
What’s your story? Everyone has one. Every Christian has a testimony, and every testimony is credible and sings of the amazing grace of Jesus.
When you really think about, every Christian’s testimony is essentially the same. We were all lost. We were all separated from God. We were all guilty and lonely and afraid to die. And we were all on our way to Hell. But Jesus Christ, in His grace, intervened in our lives and transformed us.
That is my story, that is your story and it is worth telling because when we do others will listen and some will be saved!
“ God can turn our mess into a message”
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.