Tag Archives: trust

How to Conquer Stress Fear and Anxiety

 

God speaks about fear and anxiety in plain terms in the Bible.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 01/01/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Anxiety, Fear, God, Stress, Trust
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
In Matthew 14:22-32, the disciples found themselves in a very stressful situation. They were in a small boat in the middle of the sea when a great wind came up, making their boat toss back and forth. Many of these disciples were fishermen, so they knew the dangers of the storms on the sea very well. Under their circumstances, most likely they felt that they may not make it through the storm alive. However, what is often missed in this story is that in verse 22 it says that Jesus “…made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side.”  Jesus knew full well what was going to happen to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, so this could actually be called a “spiritual test.”  It should never surprise a believer that God will often test their faith in Him by placing them in a very stressful or uncomfortable situation.

Why can we say that stressful moments should not cause us to be afraid or anxious?
God is most often the author of what happens in our life. He is always wanting to do something in us so that he can do something through us, and many times He is more than willing to place us in a situation that we did not create and one that we cannot control.  So, in the midst of those kinds of difficulties, it is such an important lesson to learn that God controls all things and that there is nothing that He cannot control. He is never caught by surprise by what happens to someone, and that is why Paul could so confidently say in Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

No matter what may happen to us as believers, what the Scriptures teach is that if we truly are trusting God, we will find that even the anxious and stressful moments are things that He allows to happen to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes we become so distracted with other things that we lose focus on what is eternally important, so God often times raises up very difficult and trying circumstances to help us see more clearly what His greater purposes are for our life.

So, what is God really saying when He says that we do not need to be anxious about anything?
The utterly amazing part of Philippians 4:6-7 is when Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Our normal behavior is to constantly worry about things that in the big picture really have a very minor impact in our lives, making it difficult to stay focused and ignore the eternal issues that will define our eternity. When I read a statement like “Do not be anxious about anything,” I immediately realize that God is staking His reputation on this statement. He is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and compassionate God, that He simply does not want us to somehow miss the reality of His control over whatever may happen in our lives. For someone who simply created the heavens and the earth with just a word, taking care of any problem or difficulty we may have is simply no big deal.

This is what is so amazing about these verses because when fully understand they are God’s way of saying that we can cast our every care on Him no matter what our stressful circumstances may be saying to us.  1 Peter 5:6-7 explains it this way:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.

Not long ago, the nuclear plant where my oldest son had worked for seven years was shut down. Everyone that worked there lost their job – 5,000 people in one day without any notice. My son and his family were traveling home at the time when he received the phone call and his wife called us to let us know. In that process, she made the remarkable statement that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. They never became anxious about what my son losing his job was going to do to their life, but they sincerely found that trusting God in the middle of an outwardly stressful reality was really not difficult. To them, it just seemed to be the most natural thing to trust in God. 

If we can trust Him completely with our eternity, then surely we can trust Him with our present circumstances.

The Bible never promises believers that life will be easy and it never promises that there will be no problems.  However, what it does promise is that when life is difficult and when there are very real problems affecting our life that God has all of the right answers and all of the resources to see us through those stressful moments in our life.  It is His way of helping us to trust Him.

Pray this week:
“Father, I come to you seeking the grace that I know I will need for the difficult times in my life that will challenge both my faith and my confidence in You.  You are a great God and I seek your grace for the strength, courage, and wisdom that I need to trust you fully with my life.”

If someone else were to examine my life when life creates very anxious moments for me, would they be able to tell someone else that I was truly trusting God in the midst of those difficult times?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Joseph’s Christmas Story: Full-On Faith

Joseph shows us how to react to surprising and difficult circumstances.

Written by GodLife on 18/12/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChristmasFaithGraceHumilityJesusJoseph


When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:24-25

Considering the birth of Jesus, it’s an interesting exercise to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. Think about it. As he is making preparations to marry his fiance, Mary, he learns that she has become pregnant even though they have not been together as man and wife.

What would your first reaction be? Rage? Sorrow? Disappointment? Shame? Any of these emotions would be certainly understandable. However, Joseph didn’t react like this at all!

Let’s look into what Joseph’s reaction was and how God was present, helping him all the way through one of the most difficult times in his life.

Humility and grace

Purity was a huge deal in the Jewish culture of the day, so marrying a woman who had become pregnant out of wedlock was not something that was seen as acceptable. Because of this, when Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, the Bible says he decided to quietly separate from her and move on with his life.

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)

This act of grace alone shows that Joseph is a man of great integrity, because many young men in that culture would have put her to shame.

The power of faith

As the story continues, we see that Joseph has remained with Mary through her pregnancy, all while he contemplates what his next steps should be. Then he gets a visit from an angel of the Lord who tells Him that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and commands him to stay with Mary and name her baby Jesus.

If this happened to you, what would you think? Would you say ‘Yes Lord!’ or would you be scared and doubt that what you heard was actually from God? I think most of us would doubt, but here’s how Joseph responded:

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)

Extreme faith. That’s what it took for Joseph to listen to the angel of the Lord and believe that God was watching over him and directing his steps. 

Joseph’s story shows us the power of faith and what can be accomplished if we simply believe. Will you believe what the Lord is telling you today about your difficult life circumstances?


Pray this week:

Lord, thank you for showing me what it means to have complete faith in you, no matter how crazy the circumstances are around me. Help me to trust you like Joseph did and believe that you have the best for me. Amen.


When have you had a hard time trusting the Lord with a difficult circumstance in your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

One Man’s Death Every Man’s Guarantee

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man

Tags: Death, Easter, Hope, Life, Power, Resurrection
We all keep hoping for peace. World War I was "the war to end all wars." Then we found ourselves in the midst of World War II-again sending out sons, husbands, and fathers who may not return.

The wars kept coming. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Each one pouring out death and destruction to an extent the world hadn’t witnessed previously. If only military victory carried a lifetime guarantee of no more death, no more failure, no more fear. Or better yet, an eternal guarantee.

But only one man’s death carries that guarantee.

No human effort to build a better world can guarantee lasting peace in the Persian Gulf, or Somalia, or anywhere else for that matter. The freedom that costs the blood of our precious young men and women isn’t permanent. It lasts only until another aggressive power comes along, unjustly claiming supremacy over others. Then the bloodshed starts all over again.

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man. Death is man’s legacy; life is God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).

Good Friday, when we remember the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is a day that man made because of sin. But Resurrection Sunday is God’s Day. He made it. Only the power of God could have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Man’s deepest yearnings for life, power, and hope find fulfillment in the meaning of Easter.

Life
Resurrection speaks of life. Jesus Christ is alive today! Here in the northern hemisphere, Resurrection Sunday comes in the spring. After a long, cold winter, nature comes alive. In the spring, one is prompted to think of resurrection. It’s a new beginning.

Death is our enemy. But life is ours in Jesus Christ. Death brings fear. The Resurrection gives peace. Thoughts about death often lead to depression. The reality of the Resurrection leads to hope. Death speaks of separation, but the Resurrection speaks of a life that is indestructible, in union forever with the risen Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). We are alive to God because the risen life of Christ is our life. All of us who have Jesus Christ in our hearts know that He’s alive. That’s why we love to sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The Lord affirmed, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That speaks of His life in us!

When Jesus came out of the grave, having finished the work on the cross, having shed His blood, having taken the punishment for our sins on His own body, He was able to give us life, because He was alive, risen from the dead.

Do you have this life? Have you experienced what it is to come alive in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced what the Bible calls a "new birth"?

To be born again means that Jesus Christ actually comes into your life. Instead of being dead to God, dead to the things of God, not understanding what God is like, you come alive. You become a new person who can understand the things of God.

The Resurrection speaks of life; not only the life of Christ, alive from the tomb, but also an abundant inner life for us, here and now, daily.

Jesus Christ also opened a way into heaven. We no longer have to fear death, because we are united with Christ. A Christian has been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Christ’s victory is our victory both now and in the future. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed him "who holds the power of death-that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).

Power
Resurrection also speaks of power. Before the Lord was raised from the dead, the apostles were quite a miserable lot. What was wrong? What was it that they lacked? They lacked power!

Until the Lord Jesus was resurrected, was raised up into heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were still afraid and in hiding.

But on the Day of Pentecost, Peter, who had earlier been afraid of the accusations of a servant girl, stood up in front of several thousand people and said, very boldly, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). What brought on this boldness?

Peter now was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! He had the risen life of Jesus Christ in him. The power that brought Christ out of the grave is for us now. God’s power is not something that we work up ourselves. It comes only from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you lack power in your life, power to overcome temptation, power to witness for Jesus Christ, then you need to allow God’s Spirit to fill you. You need to acknowledge His life in you and let Him live through you.

The life of Christ dwells in every one who by faith receives Him. Your life can be filled with the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Hope
Hope? Yes, resurrection also speaks of a secure hope. My father’s body is buried in a little cemetery in Argentina. But my father has been with Jesus Christ all these 48 years since his physical death. One day his body is going to be resurrected, just as the body of Jesus was resurrected.

For those who know the Lord Jesus, that fact is very real. The Lord is coming back! The Bible says that one of these days, we shall be changed "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52). What a marvelous reality!

When my father died, we sang a hymn at his funeral:

Face to face, O blissful moment.

Face to face, to see and know.

Face to face with my Redeemer,

Jesus Christ who loved me so.

Face to face I shall behold Him,

Far beyond the starry sky.

Face to face in all His glory,

I shall see Him by and by.

This is the hope that the Resurrection gives you. We know we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face in all His glory. Do you have that hope? Do you have that assurance? Do you know for sure that you’ll see Him?

If the resurrected Christ does not live in your heart and you die today, what hope would you have? There is no "reincarnation," no "second chance." But if Christ lives in you, then there is the secure hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," He has said (John 10:28).

A minister’s son, 28 years old, married with two children, had cancer. Each of the several specialists who examined him said the cancer would take his life. I was the guest speaker at the minister’s church on the Sunday that his son died, early that morning. This pastor, who had suffered so much for two years seeing his son slowly dying, was at perfect peace. He described the last few hours he spent with him. His son had said, "Dad, tonight I’m going to be with Jesus."

"Aren’t you lucky to get there before me, David," his father said. "To think that tonight you will actually see Moses in person, and Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist!"

Then his father said, "But son, best of all, you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. And when you see Him, David, will you tell him that your father loves Him very much?"

The reason this man had such tremendous peace when I spoke with him a few hours after his son’s death was because his son was with the Lord Jesus. That’s what knowing Jesus Christ will do for you.

If the Lord Jesus returned today, would He welcome you into His presence? Have you opened your life to Jesus Christ?

You can receive the Lord Jesus by a simple prayer of faith. Believe in Him, invite Him into your heart, and become a child of God. Make sure that you will be part of that resurrection day when the Lord Jesus comes back for His own.

Make this prayer your own, quietly now, as you finish this article:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that because of Easter, You’ve made it possible for me to have a new beginning. Thank You for Your death on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins. Thank You for Your resurrection three days later. You’re alive and now You offer me new life, power and hope here and now and for all eternity. Please forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. I gladly receive You and put my trust in You. Amen.

What is your favorite part of the Easter season? Which Easter truth gives you the most hope and peace? Did you pray the prayer at the end of the article for the first time? If so, talk to a caring Christian about it and be encouraged!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Trusting God’s Wisdom

He is Infinitely Wise

Written by Dan Lee on 10/01/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: WisdomHopeSovereignty


Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does? “Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice?

Romans 11:33-34 CEV

We as human beings are constantly faced with tough decisions, and situations. It’s the nature of living in a fallen world. However, through all of the turmoil, God is still sovereign and is truly wise.

If we doubt that God has infinite wisdom, we will be tempted to despair when things go wrong. On the other hand, understanding God’s wisdom helps us to trust Him and be secure in any situation.

Here are some areas we see God’s wisdom demonstrated, and why you should trust his Wisdom:

Creation – Past and Present

By wisdom the Lord founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. (Proverbs 3:19)

From the distant galaxies to the tiniest insect, everything we see is a product of God’s perfect design, not random chance. Every area of human knowledge, from mathematics to physics to biology, is just a tiny sliver of God’s great wisdom. All of our study in these and other fields, is an attempt to discover more of the wonders of His creation. “The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, and the skies declare what He has done.” (Psalm 19:1)

Some people believe that God created the world, then left us to fend for ourselves. But Colossians 1:17 says this about Jesus: “God’s Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Human History

If the presence of evil rulers bothers you, think of Pharaoh, who was cruel and oppressive to God’s people. Yet, “In the Scriptures the Lord says to Pharaoh of Egypt, 'I let you become Pharaoh, so that I could show you my power and be praised by all people on earth.'” (Romans 9:17). Yes, even Pharaoh, the wicked oppressor of Israel, was appointed by God to bring glory to Himself. And so it continues with today’s kings and kingdoms. God is still in control.

Our Relationship to God

One of the most “foolish” things to many people is the idea that God came to earth in human form, and then willingly allowed himself to be killed for the salvation of mankind. Yet 1 Corinthians 1:25 says that God’s “foolishness” is greater than human wisdom.

In His infinite wisdom, God sent Jesus to die for your sins. All God's children should take great comfort from this. Those who have not yet decided to follow Him should realize that His plan of salvation, strange or even foolish as it may seem, is true and is intended for you. Humbly accept that God is infinitely great and wise, and seek to follow Him.


Pray this week:

Lord, forgive me for thinking I know better than You. Even though I can barely see or understand Your greatness, by faith I submit to Your great wisdom and Your plan for my life. Teach me through Your word to understand more and more, and to walk in greater confidence every day.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member