Life Factors – a three part series

 

“Fear Factor”

Fear, Its a word that we don’t really like to think about.  Fear brings on many emotions, that can be devastative to our health, our family, and our future.  Every year, the retail industry spend big dollars on helping you and I to be scared.-Halloween.  So fear is apart of our lives.  How we face these fears, can determine the outcome of life’s issues.  We’ve all been to 1st responder calls that lead us to think, I hope I never have a call like that one again.  For me, it was responding to a motor cycle wreck some years ago, where the outcome for the rider didn’t have a good outcome.  It took me a long time getting over that call.  We used CISM, when we got back to the station, I had my Captain meet me on  the back porch to talk about the call.  I think this was one of many meetings I had with my Captain, to talk with me, about what I was going thru.  Weeks after the call, If dispatch said, “stand by for a car vs. motor cycle,”  I would cringe and pray that it wasn’t my call.  Fear, had me in its grip.  Eventually, after many back porch conversations with my Captain and crew, I had come to the realization, that there was nothing more, we could have done, on the scene.  We did all, that we were trained to do.  The outcome of the incident was determined before we arrived on the scene.  Its still hard to see what we saw, that night.  I am aware of what fear can do, if it goes unchecked.  It can destroy.

Another fear that I have is making it to the finish line.  I have 25 +years in, and about 9 + to go.  I never really thought much about retiring, but all the sudden its on the horizon.  I also feel the effects of the horizon.  The occasional aches and pains of middle age.  Sometimes, I am fearful of something happening to my body, that will keep me from crossing that finish line.  I know this kind of thinking is not productive, but its just apart of life.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one that struggles with these issues.  I think the enemy wants me to keep my mind busy, with the what if’s in life.

Application for you and me:  Fear is apart of life, but we don’t have to yield to its grip.  In Acts 27, Paul had been arrested and was on a ship headed for Rome.  Paul had warned  the ships crew that the voyage is going to disastrous, and will bring great loss to the ship and its cargo, verse 10 tells us.  (11) But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.  (12) Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided we should sail on, hoping to reach phoenix and winter there.  This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.   The StormActs 27 v. 13 -15  When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity, so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.  (14) Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island.  (15) The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind, so we gave way to it and were driven along.  

  •  The majority sometimes dictates the future.  Fear Factor, is sometimes the majority.  How can we get thru the Fear Factors, that plague our situations. … How can we keep from being, “caught by the storm” in the Fear.   We will discuss this in our next session, called “Faith Factor.”     

Exodus 20 v. 20 – Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

Job 5 v 7 – Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward.

Psalms 23v4 – Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Next Week – “Faith Factor”

 

“Faith Factor”

 What is faith?  Is it the opposite of fear?  We hear a lot of nice sermons, by some T.V. preachers, really pushing the scenario, that faith, happens to people who are successful in life.  People that have arrived, to their designed destiny, are successful, people of faith.  I believe, that is what many Americans try to file faith as, that is, status and materialism, fashion cloths, & politics.  This thought is so far, from the truth, of God’s word.

Faith is more than materialism and status.  It’s more that bank accounts and real estate.  To a ship carrying experienced sailors, and some prisoners headed to Rome, faith is about, all that was left after their fear factor, had outlasted its welcome.  Look with me again at Acts 27 v 9-    By now much time had passed, and the voyage was already dangerous.  Since the Fast was already over, Paul gave his advice (10) and told them, “Men I can see that this voyage is headed toward damage and heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” (HBSV) (11) But the Centurion paid attention to the captain and the owner of the ship rather than to what Paul said.   Verse 14 tells that the ship was in the middle of a hurricane.  The storm, full of fury, and threatening with death, according to Paul’s pre sailing prediction.   The crew would not listen to a prisoner.  They were veterans of the sea!  Look at the results.

  • Verse 17 uses, words like, the ship was “driven” by the storm.
  • Verse 18 explains that they were “severely battered” by the storm.
  • Verse 20 tells for many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the “severe storm kept raging.”

And now a staggering narrative the scriptures give us. Verse 20 of Acts 27 says- …finally all hope is gone, that we would be saved from disappearing.

Fear is at its peak, with the drama that sounds like, a bestselling Suspense Novel, of what, will fate; give to the helpless crew, of the fateful voyage, into the abyss of no return.

I know that the Lord works in dark circumstances.  From the very first book of Genesis, God worked during some dark times in creation.  Look at Genesis 1 v 1 – 3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  (2)Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  (3)Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.   The earth was “formless,”  “empty,”  “darkness covered the surface.”  These three words describe perhaps the same types of place that the ship with its crew was facing.  Maybe it’s where you are at right now.  Look what happened when God showed up.  V.3 God said let there be “light,” and there was light.  When God shows up, where does the darkness go?  If you walk into a dark room with no windows and close the door, you cannot see your hand in front of your face, but then, you turn on the light switch, the darkness goes away!  Darkness cannot stay, when light is introduced into a room.  The same with you and me.  If we allow Gods light to work, through faith, we can expect things to change, for the better.

When God shows up, the fear, that we so easily yield to, is only a shadow when God, speaks peace to our situation.  Back to our story, Acts 27 v 22 Paul makes a statement, “Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship.  (23) For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, (24)saying, “don’t be afraid, Paul.  You must stand before Caesar.  And look!  God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you. (25)Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.(HCSB)

Application for you and me:     Fear factor may take us to some dark times in our lives.  It’s in those dark Fear factor times that God wants to encourage my faith.  God works during dark times.  The darker the fear, the more light He wants to shine on our situation, and the more faith in Him he wants us to have.   Focus on the light, and that light is the brilliant light of the world – Jesus.  In verse 23, Paul said For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me (24) saying, “Don’t be afraid Paul…     I can’t help but notice that during the Storm, Paul was worthy of God’s attention.  The angel of the Lord stood beside Paul, and gave him reassurance of safety.  Isn’t that just like God?  He shows up when we need him the most.  The “Faith Factor” is allowing God to be God, and having spiritual eyes that can see him, even in the darkest of night.  God is our Faith FactorYou can trust him, even when, it’s tough.  We have to sometimes feel the fear, to touch the faith that is in God.  Hebrews 11v1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.   Without faith it is impossible to please God.    Where is your faith focused? On the Fear, or on the Faith.

Have a blessed Week!

 

 

“Trust Factor”

Jeremiah 1 v 5 -Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (KJV)

This verse really stuck out in my mind as I was sitting in my pew, Sunday morning at church.  I’ve seen and read this verse before, and I understand what it is saying, but Sunday, it hit me in a different way.  I felt God move some things in my life using this verse.  It’s like someone different, who says something to you in a fresh way.  You already knew what it meant, but another voice, another angle, a fresh meaning.  Earlier in the series, “Fear Factor,” I mentioned some of my own fears, which have gripped me before, and have at times crippled my way of thinking.  This verse breaks all the chains of fear; the enemy has fastened to me.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…   As I was sitting in the pew, and I saw this verse appear on the screen above the pulpit, the Holy Spirit came through me with a fresh new meaning for me of this verse.  Notice the word “I formed thee.”  God has formed me before I was conceived. This is the work of God and no other.  There are a couple of things, the Holy Spirit, allowed me to understand about this verse.

  1. God did the forming.  I didn’t have anything to do with his work in the womb.  I cannot take any credit for the work, of God in my life. I can trust God during this life, which He has allowed me to encounter, the life I live.  God did the forming, I need to trust Him.
  2. The enemy (Satan) is trying to form me today.
  • Satan is a great deceiver.  He is trying every way to form me (and you), to the image of his ways.  He wants to keep me in shackles, bound to his ways of living.  He wants our lifestyle to be formed with his agenda.  He wants me to be shackled to my own personal sins. Check this out, The Holy Spirit revealed to me, that Satan does want me to own my sin, and to confess them, because it makes me feel better, but that’s as far as he wants it to go.  We are so deceived.  Satan wants me to have a form of godliness, but that’s all.  He never wants me to repent!  He wants me to confess because it’s good, for the feel good part of me.  Satan never wants me to be freed from the slavery of my sin.  He is forming, and wants to rock me to sleep with the belief, that my sin is O.K., and that the Idols I have in my life are normal.  Again Satan is in the business of imitating God.  He wants me to believe that God formed me this way.

Application for you and me – Always trust the word of God.  Read and study the word of God,  because you need to become more aware, of what God said, and what He is accomplishing in your life.  Reading and knowing, God’s Word allows us insight, on the enemies’ schemes against God and us.  We can short-circuit his plans for our lives, if we call Him out for what he really is.  A liar and a con artist.  Satan cannot form, what God has already formed us to be, as believers in Christ.  We were formed in God’s image, and in His likeness.  We are carefully and wonderfully made.  So I need to walk in the likeness of God, and live in the “Trust Factor,” of God’s Word.

You can trust God this week!!!

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