Posts Tagged faith
Series: Fear vs Faith
This week: The Fear of Pain and Suffering
“No pain, no gain.” While that motto might look great and be motivating on the wall of a workout facility, most of us want to steer as far away from pain as we possibly can. In this message, we are referring to physical pain and the prolonged suffering that can accompany it. Web MD lists almost 350 different types of pain medications available today. Gone are the simple days of taking an aspirin; we want the strong stuff (Extra-strength Tylenol; Advil; Percocet; Demerol; Vicodin; etc. all the way to legalized marijuana). The stark humanity of us is seen in the way we fear pain brought to our bodies and the possibility of being in a continued state of suffering. Frankly, we don’t like it!
The REALITY of this fear is that we are not exempt from accidents, health issues, surgeries, disease, harm from others, old age, threat of persecution, fear of being handicapped or becoming an invalid, etc. Satan uses these to create an unhealthy fear of strokes, heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and all kinds of detrimental health problems.
The RESULT is that our age is plagued with all kinds of physical and emotional suffering due to pain: addictions; dependency on drugs of all kinds; alcoholism; panic attacks; hypochondria; mental stress; depression; feeling helpless and hopeless; suicides; overcompensation on safety; fear to take risks; robbing Christians of their joy; the list goes on and on….
We need the FAITH TO OVERCOME these fears. When you suffer, remember you can have:
1. FAITH IN GOD TO HEAL. James 5:15 says that we can say a “prayer offered in faith that will make the sick person well.” Don’t discount the power of prayer (James 5:16). And don’t discount the power of God to heal the body. That healing can take place in a number of ways: 1) sometimes God will allow the body to heal itself; he has created the body with that amazing ability; 2) sometimes God wants you to use the medical advances that are available in our world (they used what they had in Bible times, so why shouldn’t we?); 3) sometimes healing will come in direct answer to prayer; and sometimes it comes in ways we don’t comprehend or understand. By God’s sovereign power and will, he can heal! Believe that!
2. FAITH IN GOD TO APPEAL. This appeal comes through prayer, but prayer that is persistent, passionate, and powerful! Jesus told his disciples that some things will only happen through faith and prayer (Mark 9:14-29) so the continual appeal needs to go out. There’s an amazing story in 2 Kings 20:1-11 when King Hezekiah was told he had a short time to live because of his illness and to put his house in order. He appealed to God and God blessed him with 15 more years of life! Appeal!
3. FAITH IN GOD TO REVEAL. This is the hardest one to do. But there comes a time when we accept our situation in life even if it means poor health, pain, and suffering. Then we ask God to reveal to us the strength we need, the character to develop (see Romans 5:3-4), and the unseen purposes that we may or may not understand. Such was the case when Paul suffered from his “thorn in the flesh” (discomfort in his body), and he “begged” God to remove it, but the Lord revealed his purpose in teaching him that “my strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Paul concluded in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks (note: see 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 for more detail). I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (Message Bible)
Remember from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – don’t lose heart! Our bodies will waste away in time, but renew the inward person daily! These pains are light and momentary, compared to Heaven itself where there will be no more pain, sorrow, or suffering! Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen!
Series: Fear vs Faith
This week: The Fear of Poverty
First, an overview of this new series. Our lives are gripped and many times crippled by our fears. Satan uses common fears to undermine our faith in the Lord. Often Jesus would say, “O you of little faith!” It has been said that there are over 365 scriptures that have some form of “fear not” in them – one for every day of the year! This is a battleground between the forces of evil and good, between Satan and God. We must not discount the damage that fear can bring to our minds, bodies and souls. So during this series, we are going to highlight the “Top 7 Fears” that are common to people everywhere. Let it be noted that there is a difference between “phobias” and “fears”. Our phobias are many (fear of snakes, darkness, heights, public speaking, etc.) and are more from the natural man. But fears are from within the soul and are the ones Satan feeds off it to destroy and discourage our faith.
Countdown of the Top 7 Fears begins with #7 – The Fear of Poverty.
On one hand, how can anyone living in the United States be in fear of this when compared to the rest of the world’s economies and lifestyles? So consider this fear as being defined more as the fear of not having enough; the fear of financial hardships; the fear of being deprived of resources both needed and wanted.
This is a REALTIY in our world. Never has a society had so many things to be fearful of. How many of us have not expressed some kind of thought patterns where we see ourselves being affected by homelessness, natural disasters, bankruptcy, foreclosure, loss of job, loss of ability to provide, health care issues, the demise of social security, not enough to take care of us in the retirement years. One author states, “We’re tied in Gordian knots over climate change fears, vaccine fears, bioterrorism, your kid passing his finals, cyberterrorism, grey hairs, the grid going dark, drivers who text, stock market collapse, gluten, debt, that guy eyeing your job, E.coli in packaged salads.”
The RESULT is fear that expands into the sin of WORRY. Yes, a sin. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry.” And then describes this as a lack of faith! One definition of worry is “to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” In verb form, it means to fret, agonize, overthink, brood, panic, stew, get worked up, and to torment oneself. In noun form, it equates to anxiety, distress, uneasiness, restlessness, nervousness, agitation, edginess, tension, and stress. Satan uses these to go far beyond the element of being concerned and taking appropriate actions, to a sin that destroys the mind, body and soul. He elevates it above the faith that is God’s antidote to fear and worry.
Here are three steps to gird yourself with more faith than fear, all taken from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-34.
1. Trust God to PROVIDE. Matthew 6:26-30 (“..don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you?” MSG)
2. Trust God’s PRIORITIES. Matthew 6;31-33 (“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.” MSG)
3. Trust God to PROTECT. Matthew 6:34 (“God will help you deal with whatever hard thingw comes up when the time comes.” MSG) It’s the concept of “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”
Remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”