Not Scared

Daniel 3:16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

I urge each of you reading this to stop at this time and read Daniel 3 in its entirety. There are some overlapping principles and situations that we see occurring in today’s society. Many of you know this historical moment, but to those that do not here is a break down. Nebuchadnezzar made a decree (mandate, if you will) that everyone should bow to his statue. Once the mandate was made then people started watching to see if these three guys would not bow and sure enough they did not. Once this information was brought to the King then they were asked if this was true. Verse 16 was their response.

The three Hebrew boys used some interesting wording in their response. They said “we are not care to answer.” In other words, we are not “worried,” “anxious,” or “fearful” to respond to this mandate. They were not worried or fearful to respond in regard to their obedience to God. They stood for what they believed. They served the Lord. They loved the Lord, and they knew one of two things would happen: God would show himself mighty, or they would die believing in something that meant something to them.

As we move into the future, we can see a very liberal and anti-Christian movement happening in our country. First, are you too scared to stand for what you believe? Second, are you ready to stand for what you believe? Would we allow fear and anxiety to change our response when the heat gets turned up on our faith? We have to remember our walk with God before the fire has a great impact on our response for God in the fire.

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:6-9  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things arejust, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

We can all agree that anxiety and peace are both enemies with one another. Worry and anxiety are two things that rob people of peace and joy. If we want the peace of God to rule our hearts and minds then there are certain practices that we must implement.

  • Prayer: we have to realize that prayer is more than just communicating with the Lord. It is a state of mind.
  • Supplication: we must be able to pour our hearts out to the Lord.
  • Thanksgiving: praise is a powerful way of giving thanks.

We have to come to a place where these things are practiced. If we are not praying right, thinking right, or living right then the peace of God is going to be the farthest thing from our hearts and minds. The more intimate our relationship becomes with the Lord, the more peace is experienced.

It is easy to let the cares of this world distract us from the things we are supposed to be focused on. Satan wants us to fear, worry, and abandon our focus on serving the Lord. Right now there are things going on that indicate evil is gaining a voice like never before. There is little doubt that many reading this article are concerned, anxious, and fearful about the future of our country. Some are anxious and filled with worry about COVID-19. Couple these fears with the day to day concerns of life and it becomes more than one can handle. We have to bring this before the throne of grace. We have to remember we have access to God and then utilize that access. It will be the key to experiencing the peace of God.

More Than I Can Handle

Psalms 55:22  Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Do you ever get burdened with life? Is it not amazing at how we can place our eternity in the Lord’s hands but struggle to give Him the burdens of day-to-day life? God does not just secure us for eternity, but He also sustains us throughout life. It is an absolute must that we make this principle a reality in our life. With the burdens that conflict us on a daily basis we must be willing to “cast” or hurl them upon the Lord.

The struggles and hardships of life can get very heavy. There is an old statement that says, “God will not put more on you than you can bear.” While this sounds really good, the reality is that God does allow more on us than we can bear. God does not position us so that we do not need Him. God positions us so that we learn to rely on Him. If I thought I could carry the burden then why would I need God’s help in sustaining me? We might be saying to ourselves at the present moment, “The load is more than I can bear.” That means the Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has you in a place where you must remove the load and get help to carry such heaviness. It is time to take this to the Lord. Stop carrying the load that was never intended for you to carry, and cast it upon the Lord.

The Lord has a strong back and broad shoulders. There is nothing He cannot do. There is not a load too big nor a situation to overwhelming that He cannot handle. He has sustaining power. He has the ability to hold us up and carry our load. We must take it to the Lord. We are not able, but the Lord is very able, as well as willing to carry that which we cast upon Him. The load of life was not meant to be carried. It was meant to be cast upon the Lord. He is our sustainer.

Think on These Things

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for our minds to wander in places they do not need to go? The way a person thinks is directly connected to how a person lives. If we are not thinking correctly, then we are not going to live correctly. Paul covers the spectrum of thoughts and tells us to dwell on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. He tells us to think on the things that are linked to virtue and praise. Honestly, most of the time we are thinking on things that are not pure and things that tend to tear us down rather than build us up.

Our thought life is what controls our lives. The reason we are not living right is because we are not thinking right. God wants us to have the mind of Christ. He wants us to basically lose our minds and adopt the thinking of Christ. One of the keys to bringing our minds under such conditions is implementing Philippians 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. When we study the concept of prayer we will learn that it is a state of mind rather than a pattern of words. Here is the kind of mind we need in order to put our thoughts into the right place:

  1. Single Mind: Prayer is more than just words being spoken to God. It is being able to concentrate solely on the presence of Christ. Worry and anxiety pull us in so many different directions that we cannot isolate our thoughts to be on Christ and Christ alone.
  2. Submissive Mind: A mind that is willing to operate with humility. We have to come to a place where we realize our true need for God. The idea of supplication is that of pouring oneself out to the Lord.
  3. Spiritual Mind: A mind that is spiritual is a mindset that is thankful. When we pray and supplicate we do so with a heart and mind of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has to be coupled with everything we pray.

The reason our minds become so sinful is mainly because they are not solely on Christ. The very nature of Christ encompasses all the things listed in verse 8. Today in the midst of fake news, social media opinions, and busy schedules we need to think on Christ. We must practice this kind of thinking in order to make the Christ life a reality.

Week 2 Discipleship – Prayer and Anxiety

Anxiety and worry are high during the season we are currently experiencing. The political unrest, the division in our country, and the unknowns of a virus. When we add the issues of unknown and uncertainty to all the common day to day concerns of family, finances, and daily stress, we have a raised amount of worry and anxiety. God reminds us that we do not have to consumed with these sinful emotions. Paul gives us a some practices that can be implemented in order to give us victory over worry and anxiety. Here is the study for the week. Praying it helps us walk through the craziness of these perilous times.

Take It to the Lord

Hebrews 4:14-16  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

There is so much that could be and has been preached regarding this text. I want to highlight the phrase “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” We have a high priest and his name is Jesus Christ. He is our intercessor, our mediator, as well as our access to the throne of God. The thing that intrigues me is that He allows us to bring two experiences into His presence: our infirmities and how we feel about those infirmities. The word “infirmity” is known throughout the Bible as “our weakness.” If we are all completely honest we would admit we all have weaknesses. We all have struggles that seem to overcome and overtake us from time to time. Anxiety and worry can be a weakness for some. Anger and bitterness can be a weakness for some. Lust and greed can be a weakness. The list could continue, but the point being is that we all have some form of weakness that seems to hold us back from time to time. The Lord allows us to touch Him with that weakness. We can take this to the Lord during our times of need. He promises help, mercy, and grace when we decide to take these issues to the Lord.

It is equally amazing that He allows how we feel about these weaknesses into His presence. He allows us to touch with the “feeling” of those infirmities. I personally believe that when we go to the Lord with our problems we emphasize the problem and forget to discuss how we truly feel about the problem. The Lord is so loving and so kind that He allows us to touch him with how we feel. The situations and circumstance of life can be stressful, difficult, and really depressing. We must understand that God wants us to discuss with Him how we feel. Do you feel depressed? Tell Him! Do you feel angry? Tell Him! Do you feel pain? Tell Him! Take how you feel to the Lord.

I would be remiss if I did not direct those reading this toward the events and course of our country’s situation. We are a country divided, weak, and at war. It is discouraging and really scary when allowed time to dwell on it. I would also be lying if I told you that it does not bring a sense of anxiety and anger into my heart. I woke up yesterday with anxiety in my heart. I made a choice. I could feed that by observing the news and social media or I could go read my Bible. I decided to read scripture. Two hours later, the Lord had given me exactly what I needed. He had spoken to my heart, calmed my nerves and settled my spirit. Yes, it took two hours, but it was worth it. I walked into the throne room with a feeling about an infirmity and the Lord gave me mercy, grace, and help during my time of need. I am urging each of you reading this to do the same thing.

Week 1 Discipleship – Take it to the Lord

This week we begin a study on prayer. We start by practicing taking our issues, problems, and circumstances to the Lord. When you and I read Hebrews 4:14-16 we learn that the Lord does not just allow us to touch Him with our infirmities, but He also allows us to touch Him with the feelings of our infirmities. It is important that we talk to the Lord about how we truly feel. Our challenge this week and in the weeks to come is to practice taking things to the Lord rather than social media, and friends that feel the same as us. Enjoy this weeks study. Please make sure you read scripture daily.

Scripture Revealed During 2020

Here is a list of scriptures that God used in my life this year. At one point about mid summer, I completely unplugged from social media, the news, and articles posted by friends. There comes a time when we have to put confidence in God’s Word and God’s Word alone! I am thankful He gives wisdom!

Psalms 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (Fear is a demonic spirit that has covered this entire planet.)

Psalms 56:3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (While fear will not go away, I can use it to trigger higher levels of faith)

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Been HUGE in my life this year!) – God loves me so much that He does not require understanding, He just requires trust.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (In the words of a good friend – “I obey God not the governor”)

Romans 5:1-5  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

1 John 2:25  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (Life does not begin at death, but life begins the day I trust Jesus Christ)

Colossians 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (God is the sustainer of all life)

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (If we are going to do it, then it needs to be for His glory)

Acts 17:22-31  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.  23  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.  24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  30  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Week 52 Discipleship – Moving Forward

Well here it is! Week 52 is here. By now you have studied countless verses and read through the entire Bible once and the New Testament twice. Moving forward we are going to work very hard to create a much more effective discipleship format. I do not expect an easier 2021 to be any easier than 2020. All I know is that while the years change, God remains constant. Please help me pray that God gives wisdom on how to make discipleship more effective, efficient, and edifying. Enjoy this week’s study! God Bless each one of you and thank you for following!