Have you noticed that fear can cause us to do all kinds of crazy things? Fear can cause anger. Fear can cause distrust. Fear can cause us to freeze, frozen in fear sound familiar?
We trust God more when we exercise our fear muscle. Now do not get me wrong, I do NOT want to have something to fear either. But I have noticed how overcoming fear can make the next time easier.
I have been blessed to travel to Israel twice. The first time was overwhelming and terrifying. I had never flown more than a short few hour distance. By that I mean that I had never flown over 3 hours in one flight, at least to the best of knowledge. My flying had up until this point been within the continental United States. I have a fear of flying over the ocean. Flying to Israel is a minimum of a 10 hour flight. Over water. My palms were sweaty, my heart was raising, and I clutched some prayer beads I have made before the trip tightly, so tightly I broke the strong wire they were made from. This time when I flew I read a book, watched a movie, and relaxed. God has taken away the anxiety that sometimes comes with fear. I am still aware and a little nervous but proud to report that no prayer beads were harmed.
I repeated the passage that says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” from Proverbs 3:5. It was truth spoke into my life from God’s word. The Lord has been faithful. I have trusted Him and seen amazing things happen.
A great study I did this fall put it this way...life can be hard so we have to believe big. We need to find scriptures that we place on our hearts and minds that we believe to be true and speak them into our lives. Literally. Daily trusting in the Lord will help you develop the faith muscle to help you overcome a fear, disappointment, or heartache.
Here are some believe big scriptures that you should mark in your Bible, put on an index card or post-it where you can see it daily, and /or put to memory:
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Psalms 119:90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
These are just a few of great verses that remind us that God is with us and we can trust in Him. Try saying them aloud, not allowing the devil to have a stronghold on your fear or you mind to run wild with horrible thoughts when times are tough!
Remember too that scripture tells us that is God is close to the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Trust the Lord today!
Everyday is choice of how we respond to what is thrown our way or given to us. We can choose to wake up with attitude. Come on we have all been there. We did not sleep well. We do not feel well. We have to do something that we do no want to do, so we will be snarky. By snarky I mean that the commercial for Snickers where someone is hangry, would have NOTHING on us.
I have discovered, as have many of you I bet, that my day will not improve if I have a rotten attitude. It really will not. I might succeed in dragging someone down with me. That is not very attractive at all. I might succeed in making myself miserable, that sounds wonderful! Right!?
Wonder if with unkind words from another, we choose kindness? Ephesians 4:32
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” That would be something, right? Something good!
Wonder if instead of leaning into all that is wrong we choose joy? Psalm 28:7, NLT “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” The verse does not say easy, it says “trust” and “filled with joy”. A by produce of the choice you make to choose joy.
Wonder if instead of hatred we choose love? Romans 12:9-13 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Wonder if choose to wake up and rejoice? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I believe if these are the choices that we make then God will honor our attitude with a blessing. Maybe a friend will call for coffee. Maybe someone will swing by the office with a kind word. Maybe your day will be terrible, horrible, a very bad day and you will think well that did not change a thing. Maybe just maybe someone watched how you responded to something that should have derailed you and did not. Then maybe just maybe someone will think “huh _____________(insert your name) has got it going on, what is different about them?” Then maybe just maybe you will get to share the best choice you ever made .... to follow Jesus! Let’s live as people who have a choice to make!
In the last few weeks I have barely been able to turn on the news or to be able to stand all the negativity that is flying around. Am I the only one? Why oh why do we spread hate???? As a Methodist it has been really hard to be a part of the news.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
We can make a situation worse or better. I by no means am an expert at this, I have failed more times than I would like to admit. I hate when I let my emotions get away from me and respond hastily in the moment. Many of us have that problem. The times that I have handled things the best have been when I have waited 48-72 hours to respond.
This time gives perspective. This time gives a moment for things to cool down. Many times when I have waited 48-72 hours I choose not to respond at all anyway. I realize that at times my anger is in response to someone not seeing something as I do, my desire to be right. I am learning that for people to see the Jesus in me they will need to see the Jesus in me.
That involves...truth and grace.
Jesus saw someone do something wrong and said …”neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” The problem is we feel the need to condemn. We feel the need to let everyone know we condemn. What would it look like if we prayed before we commented? “Lord God, you see this going on do you want me to say something or remain silent? Is this a teachable moment for me? For them? “
I by no means saying that there is not sin in the world or that sin should not be addressed but I am saying there is a time and a place, a way to do it, and relationship that needs to be taking place.
Relationship: Nobody cares what you know until they know you care. I once had a women scream at me in a jewelry store over my daughter and I fighting about getting her ears pierced. She did not know that my 3rd grader had cried, screamed begged to get her ears pierced or that I had taken a day off especially for our adventure only for her to refuse and scream in the middle of the store. NONE of it was pretty but yelling at me was not solution either.
A way to do it: Screaming at me in the middle of the store was not the way to do it. If she had said to me “I think that you are missing the point...she is afraid!” The whole thing might have been better. Delivery is always better when compassion is present.
A time and place: IN the middle of the chaos of my screaming child store dilema was not the time and place to add to my drama.
I am pleased to report we recovered from this terrible moment between us. She is a healthy 20 something with double pierced ears. When I see a scene similar to mine, I pray is it wise for me to be in the middle of this? God do you need me to say something? Or should I be silent?
Let’s not yell at each other just because we see people on TV doing it! There is a better way!
Mark 12:3-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Pastor Tim’s Talk “Having a Good Lent” “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB In just a few days on March 6th the 2019 season of Lent begins with our Lenten Lunches and our evening Ash Wednesday service. I grew up in a church that didn’t emphasize the Christian year other than Christmas & Easter. Because of that I hadn’t observed the Lenten season until I was a pastor. When I served as the associate pastor at Huntertown, they did emphasize Lent. Since my time there Debi, the kids, and I have practiced Lent. Part of our Lent as a family has been the practice of giving up something or taking up something. I always try to keep what I am giving up a secret and the family usually guesses what I have given up by mid-way through the 40 Days. One year, Zach and I really got into trouble with Debi. Debi was raised on the farm and is a “meat & potatoes” cook. That year Zach gave up meat & I gave up eating potatoes. Needless to say, Debi was not happy with either one of us. The reason for practicing Lent is really to help us “fix our eyes” on Jesus. The giving up & taking up are reminders to keep our thoughts centered on the Lord and to keep following the Lord wholeheartedly. The giving up can help us break some habits that are keeping us from following Jesus with all we’ve got. The taking up can help us establish some habits in our lives that help us draw near to the Lord. Here are a few suggestions I came across about what to give up and take up… Give up something you would like to eat each meal. Give up second helpings Give something away every day Don’t interrupt people Go on a complaining fast Give up a habit that is hurting you and those around you ~ Spend time in silence daily (at least 10 minutes) Read through the Gospels Sit alone in a church sanctuary with Jesus daily Do one act of kindness every day Write an encouraging note to someone each day My prayer is that this Lenten season will be a time in which we are all able to “fix our eyes” & our lives on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith! All for Jesus,
Pastor Tim Amzd2t@live.com
Called to Grow, Blessed to Share, Sent to Serve
In my mind one of the most powerful chapters in all of Scripture is Romans 8. Here are a few of my favorite verses from this chapter…
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” v. 1-2
“So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’”
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example,
we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the
Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be
expressed in words.” v.26
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” v. 28
In the last part of chapter 8 in the New Living Translation the phrase “...for us” appears several times. I noticed this the other day while having my devotions. Here are the verses…
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” v.31
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up
for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” v. 32
“…for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,
and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” v. 35
Know this today and remember this God is for us!!! God is for you!!! The story of Jesus shows that God is for us, not against us!
Sisters and brothers, if God is for us what does it matter who is against us! Because God is for us, may each of us live wholeheartedly and passionately for Him!
Week #2 of the Ten(der) Commandments
Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Strongly related to the first, you could just gloss over this and move on down the list. Let us spend the time to explore today. There was a lot of idol worship and sacrifices at this time. The Israelites were being warned NOT to participate in them. The things being done at this time included but were not limited to baby/child sacrifice and sacrificing virgins just to mention two. I cannot even imagine! There was also carved gods that were kept in homes and town squares that people worshipped.
The big issue was a heart one; which we still suffer from today. Ever hear too much of a good thing can be a problem? It can cause us to create an idol in our lives. Money, sports, even charity work, and church can turn into something we worship in place of God.
I had a time in my life where school was an idol for me. It came before everything else. If I do not teach my children that the Lord comes before everything else like I described last week, who will? This passage is also telling us that we hand down patterns and idolatry to generation from generations before. We learn and copy a lot from those around us.
Yet, there is hope that God will bless those who keep His commands. It says an amount of blessings and years we cannot even fathom. Have you ever known a family that just seems to be blessed? Things just seem to go there way? I often wonder if they are reaping the rewards of faithful followers who loved the Lord with all their heart, couls, and mind faithfully. I want to live in a such a way that generations after me reap these amazing rewards of blessings. I surely do not want to show my family how to do it wrong!
It is never too late to change what you are doing and make the Lord the center of your life. Make it a priority to take stock this week and clean out the closets so speak. If God is not a priority or coming in second, change it! Every day is a chance to make a better choice!
I have been reading in the book 1 Samuel every day since January 1. I am enjoying reading this book with some familiar themes. Key players in this book are Samuel, Saul, David, and Goliath to name a few. The chapters I studied this week consider with the day. So that means I read Samuel 13 on this week.
In Ch. 13 we see that there is a war going on with the Philistines. Much of the Old Testament deals with war. We still struggle with wars today. Civil. Personal wars. The list is long. Chapter 17 deals with a giant and a young shepherd. On the surface your money would be on the giant, right? Wrong! The shepherd is David and with a slingshot and a stone wars will be changed forever. We gain courage from knowing that the giant can be defeated.
What is the war that is raging in your life? Do you have an addiction that needs toppled? You can topple that giant. Need something in your life healed? The giant of poor attitudes, unforgiving spirits, and more can be toppled with the Lord. David walked in the ways of the Lord.
He was far from perfect. He stumbled in big ways we will chat about later. Yet, he sought after the Lord even after failures. 2019 is a great time to seek after the Lord.
Psalm 15 written by David gives us great insight on how to live for the Lord.
1Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
I want to live as one not shaken. How do we do that? We live by Godly standards as seen in this Psalm. David knew the Lord intimately so we can trust in these words. Join me in reading 1 Samuel this month. Simply read the chapter that matches the day as well in the Psalm.
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