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Learning How To Fight

March 13, 2019

At 34-years-old, I’m learning how to fight.

Growing up, fighting was something I avoided. And some of the fights that I did get into, I lost … big time.

I was a pretty healthy kid apart from bad allergies. While writing this, I’m laughing to myself as I realize that. So, being healthy enough, I could’ve fought. I simply did not know how too and the many times I did end up in a fight for some reason or another, I would end up getting hurt.

The pain was not only physical but emotional and I vowed to never, ever fight again. It was an agreement from boyhood that I didn’t realize would have a substantial affect on my life.

I made that agreement out of fear of getting hurt, and out of fear of the worst that could come out of it. But, what I would find out, is that fear of fighting, and fear period, would mutate into a toxic mindset that was neither Godly or healthy, an idea that life should be easier and without struggle or conflict.

So, I avoided at all costs. And oh did it cost!

During my adult years, I have yet to raise a fist for a physical fight. Hopefully nothing in my life comes to that. But, I do see the Lord trying to teach me how to fight spiritually, a fight that is required of all of us, a fight that I’m no longer going to be allowed to avoid.

In order to learn to fight, I had to deal with the issue of fear, the fear that drove social anxiety, the fear that guided how I would treat myself and others, the fear that said that I would live a certain way in order to keep from what I considered stressful situations:

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

I did in fact repent of the time I let fear lead. Now, I’m learning to trust the Lord with anything and everything that brings about concerns and anxiety.

There’s simply no room for fear or timidity.

My wife also suggested that I invite the Lord into what is going on — work, bills, creative endeavors, even our marriage. That has actually made a HUGE difference in our lives.

Paul in his letter to Timothy encouraged him to fight the good fight of faith.

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In the pretext just before you get to 1 Timothy 6:12, we’re warned of “the love of money” being the root of all evil. We’re also told that those desiring to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and it leads them into “foolish and harmful lusts,” which drown men into destruction and perdition (to be ruined, loss).

As believers, a lot of our fighting is not only an involvement to stay connected to the Lord and His Word, but, to also fight against ourselves and our selfishness and desires that are not of God.

More and more, I realize now that to fight is to remain in God through prayer and through the reading of His Word. And, daily, I fight that it all remains not about me but about Christ and the life He’s called me too.

And thereby trusting God even in the daily battles — the battle to pick up the phone and take care of bill collectors and school loan debtors, the battle to keep and save marriage, the battle to say no to the next shiny new device and yes to godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6), the battle against self-preservation and self-comfort but for self-control and to saying yes to dying to self daily.

I Still Choose To Believe

January 29, 2018

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Considering the world that we are living in and the state of America (and the world), there’s a wonder why we should believe.

We question the validity of coming to church on a Sunday morning to worship God and believe in His son, Jesus Christ.

We don’t even take it that far.

We question the existence and character of God.

We begin to put together questions and answers in an attempt to place God on trial: the challenging “if-then” statements of our time:  “If God is real, then [insert antidote]”

The doubts, the questions, the cynicism, the skepticism, the “free thinking” seem reasonable at first glance.

 

 

But, in spite of what the condition our world is in, I still choose to believe!

I choose to believe that Jesus still lives! I choose to believe that He died for me and He died for you too!

I choose to believe because I look at the evidence in my own life both spiritually and even in the physical that proves that Jesus IS who says He is and that God is real and loves you and me.

I must acknowledge that while some amazing and awesome and wonderful things are happening in my life, I do experience trouble and challenges, which is a part of life.

Years of low self-esteem, low confidence, depression and a poor appreciation for my identity was something I struggled with for a long, long time.

It took a lot of prayer, counseling and building of real, healthy relationships with people.

In many cases, God put people in my life to help lift me up and help grow me up…people who actually cared, who listened and who empathized with my situation but also told me the truth about myself and about my situation.

Even when circumstances didn’t change immediately, I felt the sting of discomfort and disorientation and confusion.

But, through Christ, I was able to deal with the status of being up or down, rich or poor and doing things I don’t necessarily want to do but have to do in life:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Also, the Lord already overcame this trouble filled world:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

I choose to believe and I choose to have faith because I’ve experienced too much of God and Christ in my own life to even think that both are made up. The message of the Gospel hits me at my core and moves me to live for Him.

The evidence of knowing God and Christ will show up not only in your own personal walk but also for others who see you and speak to you!

I’ve been through too many moments in life that have tested my faith to the limit…moments that I’ve fallen so hard I didn’t want to live…moments I felt so confused I almost decided to throw in the towel…moments I felt so lost and alone that I questioned my existence.

Then, God reminds me, He loves me. He reminds me through His son Jesus, who took my place and in turn has freed me from the guilty, penalty and power of sin.

My declaration is not a naive notion. It is real. It is real because my relationship with God and Christ is real.

Today, now more than ever, it is imperative to keep the faith.