Monday, September 13, 2021
The Bible says you can find joy through your anxious times. Whatever times you're going through that are leading to anxiety, you can replace your anxiety with joy.
Monday, September 13, 2021
So, he says, "Do not be anxious about anything." It's like, "Oh, thanks. Just don't be anxious." But then Paul explains, "but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." What's Paul saying? The way you avoid being anxious about anything is to pray about everything. Whenever you feel anxiety, pray on it. Whenever you feel anxious about this, that, or the other, pray for this, that or the other. Anxiety and prayer to God cannot coexist. Prayer will always bring a defeat of anxiety. Why? Because of the rest of the verse. Paul says, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." That's the result. When you are anxious about anything. You pray about everything, and the peace of God will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. First, it'll guard your hearts. The word guard means to establish a century guard, a powerful protective guard that is virtually impenetrable. He'll guard your heart. What is your heart? It is your emotions, the seat of your emotions. In the Hebrew Old Testament, the heart was considered a seat of the human emotional system. It will guard your emotions.
Let's pray. Father, I pray right now that whatever is bothering me and whatever is bothering anybody watching this life lifter, I pray that they would lift it up to you, God. I pray right now to just give it to God. Say, "God, I'm anxious about such and such. I'm anxious about this. I'm anxious about that." Tell him tell him in your own words. Pour out your heart to him. He's a God of refuge. God, as they pour out their prayers to you now and throughout the day, week, month, year, and throughout the rest of their life, give us the answer to this promise that you'll give us a peace that guards our heart and our minds in your son Jesus Christ. I claim this for them. I claim this for me, in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, Septemeber 1, 2021
Imagine if I was to ask you, "What is your relationship with God like? What do you know about God? How is God working in your life?" If I asked you those questions, your responses will tell me a lot about how much faith you have.
Wednesday, Septemeber 1, 2021
This week, we've been talking about faith. Yesterday, we asked a question, "What is the object of your faith?" Today, I want to ask you, "Do you know the object of your faith?" And so I want to talk to you about the struggles that people have with faith. What I have found in in my almost 20 years of being a pastor is that when people struggle with their faith in God, it is more times than not tied to a lack of knowledge of who God is and his ways. Read that again: struggles in faith more times than not are tied to a lack of knowledge of who God is and his ways.
Romans 10:17 tells us this, "Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." The key to increasing your faith in God is to be in his word every day. By hearing the message, by reading it in our Bibles. The more you read the Bible, the more you will get to know God and his ways. If you are struggling to have more faith in God, then I want to encourage you to spend more time with him reading your Bible. But you may say, "Well, Frank, I already read the Bible." I want to encourage you, don't just read it, study it. Maybe you already study the Bible. Make sure that you're praying, speaking to God. You know, prayer doesn't have to be in some high and lofty English. It is just common, everyday language. It's having a conversation with God. Praying is also listening to God, spending time in quiet, just listening and letting God speak to you. Is it an audible voice? I've never heard it as an audible voice, but deep down inside in your heart, you sense the leading of God in your life. If you want to go even deeper in your faith, try fasting. Fasting is a great way to grow deeper in your faith and your connection and closeness to God. These are all spiritual disciplines to draw us closer to God to help us know Him and to know his ways better. The result will be an increase in our faith. When we know God more, we will trust him more, and we will trust his word in our lives in an increasing measure.
Let's pray. Father, thank you that you have given us the opportunity to know you through your word, the Bible. May we study it, may we apply it to our lives. As King David said, may we hide it in our hearts to know you more and more. Thank you that we can reach out to you in prayer. Thank you that we can sit in quiet and let you speak to us. Thank you that you've given us fasting to draw us closer and make us more and more dependent upon you, increasing our faith. Thank you, Father. For this we ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Today, I want to ask you to do a spiritual gut check.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Today, I want to ask you to do a spiritual gut check. In other words, I want you to not worry so much about what others say. That is still important - I just said it was. But I want you to hold yourself to the highest standard you can. Do a spiritual gut check. I get this from a verse that I think about very, very often, like many other scriptures that roll around in my head. It comes from the very end of Psalm 139, verses 23 to 24. I want you to take it in, because I think it just says what it means, and means what it says. It doesn't need a lot of explaining, but it does need a lot of applying in many people's lives. David says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Search me, O God, and know my heart. In other words, what's in my heart? Try me. In all my mind, what am I thinking about? See if there is any offensive way in me. That refers to your actions. Lead me in the way of everlasting life - in other words, lead me the right way. David is saying that sometimes we need a gut check. Sometimes we let things slide in our life that we shouldn't let slide. Sometimes we have anxious thoughts that we have no business being anxious about. Sometimes there are things in our life that are character slippage. If you let character slippage go on too long, your character will change. I don't know what's going on in your life, but one of the most challenging prayers is to say, search me, O God and know my heart. Ask God to look into your heart, look into your mind, look into your actions. Those are the three things David calls out. Say, "God, what do I need to change?"
Are there things in your heart that you need to change? An attitude toward a person, or things in your mind? The things you think about a lot, or things in the way you're living, where you're going, what you're doing? Search me O God, and know my heart. I know this is a very humbling, sobering thought, but it's an important one. The best thing in life is when you challenge yourself more than anyone else in the world does. When I challenge myself, I hold myself to the highest standards, and I know when I do that, I'll be the best Christian I could be, the best husband I could be, the best person I could be. I hope the same is true for you.
Let's pray. God, I just pray this prayer, search me and search all who are reading this. Search us, O God, and know our hearts. Try us in all our mind, see if there is any offensive way or action in us, and lead us in the way of righteous, everlasting life. God, just help us see where we need to grow and help us work on changing it. In Jesus' name. Amen.