God, Where Are You??

DrRvrBdI’m troubled most when God is quiet. When living water seems to have dried up. Consider Psalm 77:7-9…

Will the Lord spurn forever, & never again be favorable? 8 Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?

When God is silent I get anxious. I start questioning… wondering and wandering… my mind tends toward discouragement. I identify with the uncertainties of what is written in the Scripture above. What about you?

Intellectually I know God is omnipresent. It’s the personal sensed favorable presence of God I/we need. We are like the little kid scared by thunder at night who crawls into bed with his mom and dad for safety. God’s “stuff” (Material blessings) mean nothing in comparison to His felt presence. Houses, land, money, and men’s recognition is crap compared to everything this world offers (Don’t get offended, Paul said it first in Phil 3:8. “Rubbish” is better translated “barnyard dung.”).

Therefore there are other Scriptures I go to which answer Psalm 77’s questions…

You who have made me see many troubles & calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness & comfort me again. Ps 71:20-21

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Ps 56:8-11

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock & my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Ps 62:1-2

You (God) who have made me see many troubles & calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness & comfort me again. Ps 71:20-21

What I feel (God’s absence) is not reality (God is present). Sometimes He causes us to feel absence of His presence to long more for Him and be satisfied with His presence above all things.

Why Christians Do Not Fear

This post is a reminder… of things you already know… about God and fear…

Mt 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear HIM who can destroy both soul & body in hell.

1 John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. 18 There is NO fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, & whoever fears HAS NOT BEEN PERFECTED IN LOVE.

Ps 56:11 In God I trust; I shall NOT be afraid. What can man do to me?

Ps 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will NOT fear. What can man do to me?

Ro 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

Eph 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may GIVE you a spirit of wisdom & of revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know… 19 the immeasurable greatness of His power TOWARD US who believe, according to the working of His great might 20 that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead…

Mt 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them (touches) the ground apart from your Father. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Mk 5:35 “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But… Jesus said… “Do not fear, only believe.”

Lk 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you The Kingdom.

Mt 14:23 When evening came… 24 the boat… was a long way from… land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 In the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the lake. 26 When they saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified, & said, “It is a ghost!” & cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Mk 4:37 A great windstorm arose, & the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But He was… asleep on the cushion. They woke Him & said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He… rebuked the wind & said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, & there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?”

Jn 14:25 These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things & bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Don’t Fear Tomorrow!

Christian… remember this for it is how God will direct your life, “We walk by faith… not by sight.”  In other words, God will only give you enough light to take the next step (Sometimes).  Consider these examples…

Abram was told to leave his family without being told what his destination was (The rest of his life).  Joseph (OT) was sold into slavery twice… falsely accused of rape… and thrown into prison and left there not knowing what would happen next (17 years).  Moses was exiled to the back side of a desert (40 years)… not knowing what would happen from year to year.  Jonah ran from God and had to have thought he’d die in a fish’s belly (3 days is a long time there!).  As a teenager Daniel was deported from his country and forced to live the rest of his life in a godless nation constantly under scrutiny and attack (He never returned home).  Naomi traveled to Moab where she became a widow and childless… not having a clue of what God was doing as it was happening (We don’t know how long that was).

But then…

Abram was given a son and is the father of faith… Joseph became vice-Pharoah… Moses led Israel from Egyptian bondage… Jonah preached a great revival… Daniel was elevated and given great power and influence… Naomi became the grandmother of King David.  God always has a plan.  It’s always being worked.  It’s always for His glory and our ultimate good (Romans 8:28)!

You are somewhere along the road… somewhere in the path of what God is going to do.  You may be in year 16 of 16 1/2… or year 5 of 10… or the day before He will break forth.  We just don’t know, you don’t know… but God does.  So “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  So don’t be afraid of anything… there is nothing God cannot do!

Jesus On When We’re Afraid

Nothing is as uncontrollable as a storm.  If we have time we can hunker down in a bunker (Tornado), run (Hurricane), or ride it out (Earthquake).  There is only one thing we can’t do… change the event.  Only once have I been literally in fear for my life in a storm… and I never want to be there again, mostly because I had no control.  Maybe you’ve been there either in reality or metaphorically (For most of us the latter is more likely and more often).  Consider Matthew 8:23-27…

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but (Jesus) was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

In the midst of a storm… when the Apostles were in fear that they would die… Jesus was asleep!  They woke Him and his first comment was… “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”  In essence he was saying… “This little breeze and mist isn’t anything to get all worked up over.”  Then by a word or two the storm ended immediately.  Get that… IMMEDIATELY.

Now… what is YOUR storm?  What are you afraid will “swamp your boat and take your life?”  What are you in that you are sure there is no deliverance from?  Whatever it is, hear the words of Jesus… “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”  Think with me about why as a Christian we need not fear regardless of the situation we find ourselves in…

Jesus has promised to NEVER leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b),

Jesus is praying for you (Romans 8:34),

The Holy Spirit is praying FOR you… according to God’s will (Romans 8:26-27),

There is NOTHING God cannot do (Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 19:26),

God has promised not to allow anything into your life that you can’t handle (1 Corinthians 10:13),

God causes everything He allows into your life to be for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28),

Jesus has given Christians HIS peace that cannot be taken from them (John 14:27),

God grants His peace that guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7),

There is nothing that can destroy you (2 Corinthians 4:7-12),

God is in absolute… complete control… and He loves you (Isaiah 46:9-101 John 3:1),

God always gives only good things to His children (Psalm 84:11; Matthew 7:11),

God has granted promises so that we can live joyfully (2 Peter 1:3-5),

Even were your life to end… as a Christian… that is a good thing (Philippians 1:21-23).

So next time the storm is raging… when the boat of your life is about to be swamped… read the Scripture and believe God!

For Those Who Struggle (Part 1)

Hypothetical Situation: A doctor enters the room and tells you that you have a terminal disease.  Then he tells you that it can be cured if you take a certain medication and follow his instructions to the letter until you die from something else, most probably natural causes.  He tells you that this is the ONLY cure what you have… and if you don’t follow his instructions to the letter you may have 3 months left to live.  This is your one shot.  Would you follow his directions?

The next few posts are for those who are: Afraid, angry, anxious, bitter, fearful, worried, uncertain, troubled, confused, ect.

It is recorded that Jesus said…

Mark 6:31 “Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (NIV)

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and Iwill give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learnfrom me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)

There is one person who is bigger than your problem… Jesus Christ.  There is one person alone who can calm the soul forever…  Jesus Christ.  There is one person who will not require more of you… Jesus Christ.  There is one person who will never fail you… Jesus Christ.  There is only one person who can and will give you exactly what you need… Jesus Christ.

Read Mark 6:31 again.  Does the first part of that verse describe you either physically… emotionally… or spiritually?  Does it describe you on all three levels?  If so, consider seriously what Jesus said in the second part of Mark 6:31.

Getting alone with Jesus today is simple.  Turn off the cell phone.  Get away from people and all external interruptions.  Make it at least an hour or so (However much time you need).  And turn your focus to the only One who can help you.  Who is that?  Read Matthew 11:28-29 again for the answer.

How do you go to Christ (Mt 11:28, the first three words)?:

Go to a place of solitude, free from all the world’s interruptions.

Set aside the amount of time commensurate with your desire to be made whole.

Prayerfully ask God to reveal Himself to you through the Scripture.

Prayerfully ask God to do His work in you…

Read two passages from the New Testament… Slowly… VERY slowly.  Matthew 6 and Romans 8.

Ask God to drive His truth from these passages deep into your heart.

Do this at least for 10 days in a row.

If we’ll take medicine from a doctor for 10 days to get well… shouldn’t we be willing to seek God for 10 at least days for spiritual and emotional health?  Here’s the catch: Knowing God intimately IS what you need more than anything else.  The one thing that will help you that you may not be able to see or understand right now is an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  To know God better IS what you need… regardless of whatever anyone else may say.  Philippians 3:8-11…

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Why Are We Afraid To Be Honest?

Every Sunday people get up… get in their cars… and go to church.  Along the way they mull over a variety of things like:

Their marriage is in serious trouble and/or…

Their financial condition is tenuous at best and/or…

Their children are wayward and/or…

There might be layoffs at work and/or…

There are decisions to make about aging parents and/or…

Their spouse’s health is crashing and/or…

Their own health is crashing and/or…

The dreams of their youth didn’t materialize and/or…

Etc., etc., etc., etc.,

But when they get out of the car in the church parking lot, they put on a smile… and answer to everyone who asks “How are things going?”… “God is good!”  (Pause)  And inside they plead to God… “please help me…”  Even with our friends we tend to hold a lot back concerning what we are really dealing with.

Why do we all do that?  Why do we put on the mask of normalcy when what we should do is find someone… preferably someone of spiritual maturity… and ask them to pray diligently.  Why don’t we ask our Sunday School class to pray for us… specifically?  Is it because we’re afraid of what people will think and/or say about us?  Are we afraid of losing our reputation?  Are we afraid of people knowing just how scared we really are?

What happened to “bear one another’s burdens?”  What happened to “weep with those who weep?”  What happened to “‘confess your sins one to another?”

Maybe this Sunday I might get up the courage… or have the freedom… to be honest and transparent about just how weak I really am.  And who knows… maybe then I’ll be given strength!  (“When I am weak, THEN I am strong…”)

When You Are Afraid…

When you are afraid… cast out fear by loooking and trusting the God of truth!  Meditate upon these texts…

1 Sam 2:1 And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in the Lord.

1 Sam 30:6 David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Ps 4:5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

Ps 11:1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

Ps 32:10  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. 11  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Ps 34:2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Ps 64:10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him!

Ps 112:6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

Ps 115:11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.

Ps 118:8  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Ps 125:1Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Pr 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Pr 16:20 Whoever gives thought to the word  will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Pr 28:25 A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

Pr 29:25  The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Is 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.