Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 17, 2015

"Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." Psalm 27:14 (Amplified Bible)

This one summary verse captures the essence of being free from fear - have faith in the Lord! When life doesn't make sense and you are tempted to fear just wait courageously. Yes, that's right - just wait!

In thinking of this I wonder if one of the reasons so many Christians struggle with fearfulness is because so many struggle with waiting on the Lord. Could that be?

Waiting seems so passive. You want to do something active and make something happen. While there are times that is necessary, waiting on the Lord is not one of the them. While you are waiting you are praying to God and hoping in Him. And you are watching to see how He will work.

When you wait on God you are saying, "I trust in you, Father and I have placed my hopes in you. I know you are at work in this circumstance and I will wait to see what you are doing and let You show me what I need to do."

Does that make sense?

Another way to say it is, "Waiting on the Lord conquers fear."

Let's talk about why that is:

One thing that causes fear is the need for control. The truth is, life is beyond your ability to control it. It is too complex and too unpredictable for any mortal to control it. So, feeling a need to be in control while knowing that there are things beyond your control is frightening!

But as you patiently wait upon God you are, in effect, saying to Him, "God I know I am not in control of my life so I will allow you to be in control and I will watch to see what You do!" That will relieve your fear.

Another common cause of fear is a lack of confidence. When you do not have confidence in yourself you feel powerless and overwhelmed by life, which induces fear. A lack of confidence causes you to doubt your ability to be successful and contributes to the fear of failure.

By waiting on the Lord you say to Him, "I am placing my confidence in You! I trust You to do what is best for me and enable me to do what You want me to do."

That confession of faith in God removes fear!

One more common cause of fear is a lack of courage. When you feel afraid to speak up or take a stand for yourself, for others, or for your beliefs you live in fear of others who seem more courageous.

Often a lack of courage is really a lack of commitment. Fully committed people have strong convictions and those convictions inspire courage. Courage arises from true convictions and faith in those convictions overcomes the fear of not defending them.

For example, a conviction that freedom is worth defending is what gives a man the courage to become a soldier and go into battle. He isn't courageous by nature, but he is committed to remaining free.

Waiting on the Lord demonstrates the courage of your convictions. Believing that He will do what His Word says He will do gives you courage to overcome your fears!

Do you often struggle with fear?

Is fear the dominant emotion of your life?

Does fear keep you from realizing your dreams?
Could your fear be a result of control issues? 

Could it be a lack of confidence or do you lack courage?

Take it to the Lord and wait before Him.

November 15, 2015

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey."  Matthew 25:14-15

Let's review this part of the story:

The master, before he left on a long trip called his servants to leave them in charge of his fortune. He divided it up in an uneven way giving one servant five bags, another servant two bags and a third servant one.

Frankly, that sounds sort of unfair. Now, granted when you have eight bags and three servants the math gets a little tricky. But fairness would dictate that he divide them three, three and two.

But he didn't. In this parable the master represents God, so does this mean God is unfair?

Fairness has become an important value in our culture. It was a big issue in the recent Presidential campaigns. The Democrats promise to make outcomes more fair while the Republicans promised to make opportunities more fair.

Think of how much money and man hours and energy and legislation is invested in the attempts to make our society a fairer place.

There are a number of great truths in this well-known parable and among them is that God isn't nearly as concerned about fairness as we are.

Brad, are you saying God is unfair? No, I am not. I am saying to God fairness isn't as important as it is to us. God is beyond fairness - He is just and He is righteous which means that when all is said and done He will make everything perfectly fair.

Lest you unfairly accuse God of being unfair, consider several facts in this story:

1) The master owned all the gold so it his right to do whatever he wants with it. It would be unfair of you to tell him what to do with his gold!
2) He owned the servants, too! It was their duty to serve him by doing what he told them to do. A master had all the rights and his servants had all the responsibility.
3) The master wanted to increase his wealth not just preserve it. Who doesn't want to increase his wealth? You do! I do!

Considering that and factoring how the story ended, this master could have had a greater increase had he given all the gold to the five-talent servant. Think about it. The one with five got five more and the one with two got two more and plus the one equaled 14 bags of gold. But if he had given all eight to the one servant and he doubled it that would have added up to 16!

So, in fact, his attempt to be fair with his servants may have cost him some profit.

Like the master in the parable God is not unfair but He is more concerned with fruitfulness than He is with fairness. You should be too!

I think it is fair to say that we would all be better off if we worried more about fruitfulness and less about fairness. Thus saith the parable!