by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever faced a disaster? A couple of years ago we had just returned from a mission trip to Peru. I had been awake for over 48 hours straight, as I could not sleep on the plane ride home. I went to bed at about 8pm the night of returning home, collapsing into bed. I woke up about two hours later to go to the bathroom. I evidently went to wash my hands after and didn’t turn off the faucet. I did this in the dark and was barely coherent. I went back to bed with the faucet running. When I woke up again a few hours later, I had flooded our bathroom and about three other rooms from water running through the ceiling to the rooms below. I stayed awake the rest of the night doing damage control until I could get a hold of the insurance company and get some help. I had created a disaster. It was overwhelming to say the least. And it was an elephant of a problem to fix! I’m still working through it day-by-day as I write this.
Have you ever experienced seemingly disastrous circumstances? I pray not, but if you have, it’s a good time to take an honest measurement of your heart condition. What’s there? Fear? Anxiety? Discouragement? Depression? Hopelessness? Faith? Peace? Trust? What’s going on within you concerning what you face now? Are you at peace? Are you trusting God and walking things out in that trust a step at a time? Do you have confidence that God is with you and helping you? Or, are you struggling with anxiety and fear?
What does God want for you? What is His will for you throughout a difficult situation? That’s a question that needs to be answered, settled and immovable in your heart. Does God want you in anxiety and fear? 1 John 4:18 (NKJV) says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Through this verse, God is telling you that fear isn’t to be a part of your life because fear is a demonic force. The word fear is associated with torment and a fear of punishment. God is love and love drives out fear and torment. You’re made perfect in love when you know that Jesus paid the punishment for your sins and so, no matter what is going on in your life, HE’S NOT PUNISHING YOU!
Anxiety is not from God. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In order to not be anxious, you really need your heart immovable in three things: God’s love for you, what Jesus accomplished for you, and knowing what He has promised you today! If a barrage of negative circumstances and evil reports are tormenting your mind and emotions, then you don’t know these things. If you don’t, it will result in fear and anxiety having dominion over you! This is why the Apostle Paul said to “guard your heart and mind – in Christ Jesus.” In other words, in trusting in His love for you! This is how fear is defeated! It’s not something you can manipulate. It’s not a magic formula! It’s a heart revelation of His love made perfect in you. It creates trust and immovable faith!
Paul talks about how that’s created! He says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (NKJV) In other words, faith builds in our heart by hearing God’s instruction and promises and a revelation of His love for us over and over and over again. And then Paul says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned, heard from, and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)
Know that Paul isn’t just telling us to think about “nice” things. The Greek words mean take a personal inventory of your thoughts and see if they line up with what God is telling you to set your mind on. He’s telling us that thought the study of God’s word, we are to get a grip on the love He has for you and what He promises to you through His covenant with you! His promises are your inheritance in Christ, but if you don’t know what they are, how can they benefit you?
Remember that if there was a target for you to aim for, and there is, it’s to live in God’s supernatural peace in difficult times. That peace comes from having trust in God’s love and forgiveness and help toward you! That is not a formula! That is a relationship! And that’s why Paul said “present your prayers and requests to God with thanksgiving.” You will only truly thank Him if you believe it to be the truth! That is the measurement of your faith!
So, for the past few weeks, we’ve had an elephant of a disaster to face. You know that the only way to eat an elephant is a bite at a time. I praise God that what was in my heart was this: the Lord will take what the devil meant for evil and turn it for good. Each day we make progress in getting our house back to normal. We’re beginning to see the end. Things will be better than they were before. We’ve prayed through every step. God has helped us at every step. And we found our hearts were full of His peace and trust. The anxiety didn’t last even a day. I praise God that after all these years, Renee and I have matured to that place in Him. I give Him glory for that and thank Jesus for His love and promises that created such peace!
Galatians 3:29 (NLT) “And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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