Thursday, October 28, 2010

Faith vs. Fear

"Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."

Seems like no matter where I go or whom I talk to, people are dealing with FEAR. Fears about money, family, jobs, health, politics and the interactions between one or more of those pound us relentlessly from every side.

I am sure that you, like me, have dealt with your share of fear in life - perhaps in this very moment. The antidote? Well, it depends upon whom you talk to. Some escape through their "drug" of choice (alcohol, sex, tobacco) or more subtle things (work, music, spending money). I've not tried all of these, but enough of them to know just how pointless...and hopeless they are.

I'll never forget a particular point in my life where fear was threatening to run rampant - out of control - because of a huge decision I had to make. Quite literally, every waking moment of every day, this decision (and the fear of making the wrong one) pounded on the door of my heart.

My solution? The only one I have found to work...every time. I found my strength in the Word of God - The Holy Bible. I confess that I wasn't always reading it, but I was able to meditate on it because of having put it into my heart years before. The most powerful passage for me in that particular time was this: "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You" (Isaiah 26:3).

I can't tell you how many times I used this as a shield against the fiery darts of fear that assaulted my heart and mind. It become the rock of truth upon which I stood when the waves of doubt threatened to overwhelm me...and it helped me to withstand them all!

I thought that maybe today you needed to be reminded of some of God's most powerful promises in this arena, so I leave them with you in hopes that your Faith in Him...will triumph over your Fear of what assails you most right now:
  • We walk by faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
  • I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
  • Be strong and take courage, for the Lord your God is with you (Joshua 1:9).
  • In quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15).
  • The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
  • Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
  • If God so clothes the grass of the field, will He not much more clothe you? (Matthew 6:30).
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All I Have Seen

"All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. "
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have to admit something to you today: The longer you have been living a life surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, the easier it gets to do it. That means when you are a relatively new Christian, it can be a lot tougher to do things "His way." I think that's why God gives to the new Christian an extra measure of zeal & energy...because they don't yet have the experiences to rely upon when the going gets tough.

But as you make some choices that honor Him, you discover the power of His promise found in 1 Samuel 2:30 (my life verse): "I will honor the one who honors me." You don't do things just for your benefit, but you discover that when you do things for His benefit, there are benefits for you, too!

And you begin to accumulate know, the ability to come into a tough time, and to look back and say, "I don't know what God is going to do, but He's been faithful to help me before - so I'm going to trust Him again!" So when I come up against the next really trying situation, I remember things like:
  • When God gave me a beautiful wife that I don't deserve
  • When God gave us children after we thought we couldn't have any
  • When God provided a buyer for our house(s) (more than once) before we listed our house(s)
  • When God opened up a job opportunity where it seemed none existed
  • When God replaced depression & despair with His peace
  • When God gave me fresh perspective when I was sure He was being unfair
  • When God restored a relationship I thought for sure was over
  • When God gave me the capacity to forgive one I thought unforgiveable
  • When God forgave me when I felt unforgiveable
  • And the list goes on, and on, an on - you get the idea

Now, I'll be the first to agree with you that He doesn't always work this way - sometimes His ways remain completely baffling & mysterious, but, to quote Mr. Emmerson above, "All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." It is my prayer that you will reach this conclusion as well!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So often we are expecting God to ask us to do something big, when all He is asking us to do is "Come."

I came across the above, anonymous quote, just last week and I found myself immediately identifying with it. So, being an "average guy," I thought it might strike a chord with you as well.

God took me back to a night sitting on the hood of my Cutlass Ciera (honest, that's how Oldsmobile spelled "sierra") when He and I had quite the discussion. You see, I was finishing school in Indiana, working at a print shop, and pastoring a small, country, Methodist church (filled with good people, mind you, but not in a hurry to go anywhere).

Things were going pretty well, but not at all like I thought they should be going. Just weeks away from completing my pastoral education, I was just sure that God was going to use me to change the world. Landing in a town with 28 houses, a grain co-op and a church wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I thought of doing something "big" for God.

Through the magic of memory (a pretty cool gift God gave to us, if you think about it), here's how the conversation unfolded...
  • ME: Thanks, Lord, for all you're doing for us here.
  • GOD: I'll continue to do it, Kirk, as long as you continue seeking Me.
  • ME: It's been kind of frustrating, though, Lord, 'cause everyone here seems to be content with things as they are. No one really wants to grow or try new things, or reach out.
  • GOD: I understand, Kirk, but what if I told you that this is the plan I have for your life - to stay in this place and take care of the people here in this small town, in a church that probably will always be this size.
  • ME: You're kidding, right? This is just a "launch point" to bigger and better, right? You wouldn't just leave me here, would You?
  • GOD: What do you think?
  • ME: I think that you made me for much more important things than this...for greater things...bigger things.
  • GOD: Are you saying that the people here aren't important?
  • ME: (Gulp!) NO, not at all! I was just expecting more.
  • GOD: More what?
  • ME: More impact, more exposure, more success, more money...
  • GOD: Kirk, you need to figure out whether you're going to be content with what I have planned for you, whether or not it's what you think is best. Do you trust Me enough to believe that what I have planned is the best plan for you?
  • ME: (Silence)

To be honest, it was several days before I got back to God on this issue. But when I did, I'll never forget surrendering my will (again...and many times since then) to His will, choosing to trust His ways over my ways. And you know what? The ride has been exhilarating...not always what I would choose or expect, but absolutely unforgettable!

Now my only expectation is that God will use me, bless me, and make me a blessing no matter where or with whom I find myself. And that's all I need to know!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"Faith is believing in advance what can only be understood in reverse."

Well, another trial of life is upon us: my son lost his job this week. The details aren't important - the fact is, he is unemployed. I confess that I wasn't sure how he'd respond to the whole thing. If you've ever walked this road, you know that it can lead you to believe that what you're best at is failing.

While there were indeed the momentary doubts regarding his self worth, I can't tell you how pleased I have been with his overall response - just when I thought he hadn't learned anything from 18 years under our roof! (Not that I can take credit for him "getting it").

He's actually beginning to grab this thing we call faith. If you remember anything about what God's Word has to say about faith, it is defined as:
"Being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
While there is much he does not know, what he does know is this:
  • God loves him...period!
  • God is in control of his life
  • God has a plan for his life
  • If God's plan was for him to stay where he was, he'd still be there
  • What is confusing now will one day make great sense
  • So the best thing he can do now is seek God's direction and...APPLY for another job!

Thus, we don't find ourselves worrying, fearful, anxious or impatient (at least not yet), for we know that the very same God who has helped us in the past, not only is able to, but wants to and will again (though it may or may not be what we think is best).

How about you? Tempted to despair? Not sure what's coming next? As the old song says, "God will take care of you"! Believe now what one day will make perfect sense in reverse! I'll keep you posted on our this particular faith walk evolves!