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Pastor's Points - August 2019

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Dear Church Family,

One of the things I find myself doing on a regular basis in my ministry is encouraging others to trust in the Lord.  So many times, people find themselves in situations that are bigger than they are.  They have the tendency to look at their situations in life and try to figure it out on their own or try to power their way through it in their own strength.  And I am just as susceptible to this as the ones that I encourage not to worry but trust God.  We need to trust God in everything. And I mean everything! You name it, whether in our personal lives, or the corporate life of our church, we should trust God with it. Recently I read this devotional that really encouraged me on this  topic of trusting the Lord. The author writes…

“Trust the Lord! It’s one of those sincere, but often trite-sounding, statements we may say when we are trying to encourage or challenge someone. We may throw it around when someone has a hope deferred. Trust the Lord.

We say it when someone is anxious about provision. We say it to the terrified young mom as she brings her first child home from the hospital. We say it, perhaps in a slightly different way, to the wife who has just lost her beloved husband. I’m praying for you. Lean on the Lord.

And when we are miserable with fear — fear of the future, fear of man, fear of tragedy — we often say, Trust the Lord.

Those little words do indeed pack a lot of truth, but what does it really mean to trust the Lord and how might our encouragement better point us to the One we can trust? In other words, yes, we want to trust the Lord, but why can we?

Learning on the Job
We can learn a lot about why we can trust God from the story of Job. During great trouble, Job had to trust the Lord. I can only imagine the fear he experienced as one horrible event happened after another.

If you remember the story of Job, then you know that he lost everything. And by “everything,” I mean everything that was of any importance to him. Job lost everything. At the end of his story, as he repents and sings great praise to God, Job proclaims, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Job suffered greatly, and, I imagine, he was very confused. His friends didn’t do a good job of comforting him; Job even called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). But Job turned to God and was convinced of the wisdom of God, even in the midst of great pain and confusion.

Sovereign, Wise, and Loving
We get a glimpse of Job’s view of God when he says, “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?” (Job 9:4 NIV), and, “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). Job isn’t thinking about how he feels at the moment or even his current circumstances, though there is no problem with considering those things. Instead, Job realizes that in order to minister to his own heart he must remember the character of God — who God is, and why he can be trusted. Job doesn’t ignore his pain — but he does remember his King.

And what did God do? He restored Job and his fortunes. He gave him twice as much livestock as he had previously possessed and gave him more children: seven sons and three daughters. Job was restored to his family and friends. The Lord worked in       unexpected ways.”

God doesn’t do anything in his sovereign will that isn’t both wise and loving. If God is for you, who can be against you? We don’t trust God simply because someone tells us to. We trust God because he is God. He is holy and awesome and righteous in  every way. We can trust God because we don’t serve a God who is only sovereign and wise. He is also infinitely loving.

I hope the portion of this devotional that I was able to share will encourage you in all situations to trust in our great God  knowing that He is perfect in every way.

I love you and I love being your pastor!

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change - August 2019

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Don’t worry, be happy," was the mantra of the 80’s.  I used to love that song by Bobby McFerrin, so light and happy, but it's easier sung than done.  Leaving worry behind is a difficult task, even for Christians. Sometimes our worries are founded, but many times they are not.  We worry about things that we can’t or shouldn’t control. We let it consume us until we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually stalled.  Dale Carnegie said, “Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.” I believe this applies to our spiritual fatigue as well.  Why do we feel so dry and faithless? It's often because we let worry consume our life.

I’m pretty sure we all agree that worry is bad.  When we realize this, many times we take off on a journey of freedom from worry on our own.  We think, “If I just try harder” or “If I just refocus my thoughts”. The truth is you can’t do it on your own, because worry is not just a productivity problem. It is a faith problem. Worry is an act of faithlessness. Worry says to God that I am not willing to trust God, instead I am going to mull this thought over and over again.  Deep down we know we can’t change anything, but the act of worry is an attempt to control an uncontrollable situation.

The reality is that worry is not a biblical idea.  We are challenged to be free of worry many times in scripture.  The greatest refutation of worry is by Jesus in the sermon on the mount. Maybe you have heard this before, but try to look at it with fresh eyes.  Open your Bible and read Matthew 6:25-34.

One of the major worries of those in Jesus’ time was simple day-to-day necessities like food and clothing.  Jesus tells them to not worry about these things. In fact God knows they need them and He will help them. He points to how God cares for the flora and fauna of the world and if God takes such good care of them how much more will He care for us, His most precious creation.  Jesus is saying to trust God and have faith that God will provide. While we may not  worry about food or clothing, the same idea is true. We need to trust God in all things. Jesus says that worry will not add one hour to our life span, so why worry. Basically worry won’t change anything, so why do it.  Instead, trust the Lord, who is in control of all things.

He also says, at the end of this passage, to seek God’s kingdom first.  Jesus is telling us that worry is the equivalent of seeking our own kingdom; however, when we put God’s kingdom first we are exhibiting true faith.  This means that the next time you are tempted to worry you need to turn to the Lord. The apostles help us with some really practical  advice. Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, that instead of worrying we should pray.  We need to change our habit of worry. When we feel ourselves begin to worry, start to pray. The Bible promises that when we give those things over to God He will fill us with a great peace. While we can change very little by worrying we can go to the God of all things and ask Him to help us.  What an amazing truth!

Peter also tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on the Lord because He cares for us.  This echoes what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount. God loves and cares about every detail of your life.  So don't worry, instead look to Him, cast your burdens on Jesus. He can take it!

What fills your life with worry?  For me it’s mistakes of the past, present things that are out of my control, and     future things that haven't even happened yet.  I can control none of these things and worry only compounds my problems. Recently, I have challenged myself to let these things go and turn them over to the Lord.  By His grace, He is helping me to do that. I am much more at peace and can focus on what God wants me to do. This can happen for you as well, instead of being worry ridden, be faith filled by trusting the Lord and giving Him all your worries.

 

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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