Week 5: What About Health & Healing?

Blog YAFI w5.001On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about Health and Healing.


Let’s look at God’s Word and see what it says about people being healed. One of the clearest places it talks about sick people getting well is in the book of James.

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”  James 5:13-14 (NIV)

Many of us have gone through or are going through major illness or physical struggle. James says, “Go get some believers, some leaders, have them pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord.”

Don’t get focused on the oil. The oil is a symbol. There’s no real power in the oil itself. It’s just like baptism or communion. They are symbols. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who is the One who anoints. The Holy Spirit’s role is to point us to Jesus, not to the person praying.

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:15-16 (NIV)

There are two extremes in the body of Christ. So from church-to-church, you’ll have these two extremes and anything in between.

One of the extremes is a confessionist approach. This approach believes all you have to do is name-it and claim-it and if you say it you can have it. If you don’t get what you asked for, it’s because there’s something wrong with you and God is rejecting you. There’s a lot of condemnation with that one, and God is not a God of condemnation.

The other extreme is a cessationist approachThis is the belief that miracles happened in the Bible, but they don’t happen today. They believe that once the final apostle died that God closed shop. The purpose of the apostles miracles was to authenticate them and have God testify to it by signs, wonders and miracles. Now that we have the authenticated writings of the apostles in scripture and writings of Jesus as the cornerstone of our faith, miracles are no longer necessary to authenticate the message of Jesus.

God is still in the miracle working business. There’s no healing apart from God. We struggle to believe that, because we’ve all had experiences where God didn’t do the miracle. We’re living with an illness or physical struggle we’ve prayed would go away. We’ve buried people we’ve prayed for. But what’s really happening is that those two extremes are trying to answer this question:

Why doesn’t God heal every time we pray?

  • God still heals people.

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV)

Are we going to be rescued or go to heaven? Yes. Both of those options are miracles and a work from God. He’ll either heal you and you’ll glorify God or you’ll die and be in glory.

I refuse to let my faith be hindered by my understanding.

That’s why it’s called faith. I’m going to trust God at his word. That he delivers me from every evil attack and takes me safely into his kingdom. That’s why James changes the subject it seems when he says, “If he sins that will be forgiven.” And if you confess your sins and pray for each other, that’s real healing. Deeper than the physical.

  • God is also concerned about my soul.

God created your body. One day every body will rise. But God is also very concerned, with our soul. We get so concerned about the body: we lock our doors, buy insurance, do everything we can to protect the body, take vitamins, work out. All good things we should do, but Jesus says:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matthew 10:28 (NIV)

We’re missing the big point if we think it’s all about just being physically healed and that it’s all about the body. So go to the gym, see a doctor, watch what you eat but also go to a small group, confess your sins and fears and pull things out into the light. We need to be just as concerned about our soul.

  • God wants me to grow in faith.

The key word there is grow. He wants you to grow in your faith. He wants to take you on a faith journey.

We’re concerned about what’s happening to us.

God’s concerned about what’s happening in us.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Hebrews 11:1,6 (NIV)

When do you seek God the most? When everything is answered or when you have a lot of need? The answer is obvious. That’s why the very next verse in this James passage, he tells us the story of an Old Testament person named Elijah.


Understanding Faith

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”  James 5:17-18 (NIV)

Elijah was a prophet while an evil man, named Ahab, was king. Ahab had an even more wicked wife who controlled many of his decisions. So Ahab & Jezebel turned the hearts of the people away from God to false prophets. God raised up Elijah to be a prophet to proclaim His Word.

Elijah comes and he stands down king Ahab, and says,“It’s not going to rain until I ask God to cause it to rain.” Elijah proclaims the forecast, not like a weatherman, but his words actually turn on and off the water supply. He pronounces this huge drought, and sure enough, it doesn’t rain at all.

Then, God takes Elijah to a ravine where God miraculously provides for him in the middle of this drought while Ahab’s trying to kill him. One day, God dried up the brook that was providing water for Elijah and he went out of the ravine to a place called Zarephath, where he met a widow, who had just a little bit of oil and flour. It wasn’t enough. God miraculously multiplied it so that it was enough.

One day, the widow’s son died and for the first time ever recorded in scripture, Elijah takes this dead boy up into the upper room, prays, and God raises this boy from the dead. After a season of hiding, where there’s been no rain, God calls Elijah back to confront Ahab, and call him out to a showdown. Elijah says, “Get the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah. Bring them up to Mount Carmel, and we are going to see who the real God is. Is it your gods, or is it my God, Yahweh?” 

Elijah has them build an altar, put a bull on it and ask their god to bring down fire over the altar. All morning the false prophets call out for their god to light the altar. They dance and cut themselves, and nothing happens.

Then Elijah builds his altar, has the false prophets soak it in water in the middle of the drought he calls on God. God sends fire straight down from heaven to consume the altar. Fire engulfs and eliminates the whole thing and licks up all the water in the trench. The false prophets bow in worship to Yahweh and Elijah turns to Ahab and says, “I hear a rainstorm coming.” That’s how the faith journey begins every time. With a word from God.

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It’s a word from God’s Word. There are thousands of promises from God in the Bible. Many people once believed a God promise, but at some point stop. They let their faith grow weary. Elijah’s story begins with a word from God.

“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.'”  1 Kings 17:1 (NIV)

The promises of God always come to pass. God will work everything together for his glory and good. God says:

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)

Here’s the second part. This is much more complicated and probably where most of us are in our faith journey today: Faith continues regardless of what you see.

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Wherever you are in your faith journey, whatever you’ve been believing God for: healing, relationship restoration, legal situation, getting out of debt… There’s more happening than what you can see. See how this story with Elijah plays out. Elijah prays for it to rain and it doesn’t. The Bible says he puts his head down between his legs and tells his servant, “I’m going to pray, you go look at the sky.”

“’Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked. ‘There is nothing there,’ he said. Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’ So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”  1 Kings 18:43-44 (NIV)

He kept on. He didn’t give up. He was persistent in his faith. Someone reading this needs to hear, “Go back. Pray some more. Seek God again. Do it some more.”

Wherever you are in your situation. Hold on. Don’t give up. Put your face to the ground, believe God, and if you don’t see anything out there over the sea, go back and do it again. Why? Because…

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

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“Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”  1 Kings 18:45-46 (NIV)

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NLT)

We’re so focused on healing, the destination. It’s important. But it’s not the most important thing. God is focused on the journey. The process is the point.

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Let God work in you. He still heals, He still does miracles. 

Maybe that thorn is there to drive you to the throne and push you deeper into a process that will reveal God’s power and grace like never before.


 

Check Back

Review what you talked about last week.

Do you have any more questions or conclusions after reflecting on last week’s message on how the world ends?

Are you living in light of eternity?

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Hear the Word

Read James 5:13-20 & 1 Kings 17 & 18

Application

Have you ever prayed for healing for you or for someone else? What happened when you prayed?

What words describe Elijah’s faith? Describe ways we can apply the lesson of Elijah to our faith. 

Read Hebrews 11:39-40 and Isaiah 57:1

Discuss with the group what these verses mean. How can these words from God help us when God does not answer our prayers as we planned?

At Rock Brook, we offer a process of next steps to help us in our faith journey. It’s called Growth Track. Where are you in the Growth Track journey?

For more information, visit http://rockbrook.org/connect/growth-track

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

Is there anyone in your life who is struggling with health and healing? How can you encourage them?

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Week 4: How Does the World End?

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On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about How the World Will End.


It’s a great question. How DOES the world end? It’s one of the questions that the disciples asked Jesus.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'”  Matthew 24:3 (NIV)

The disciples wanted to know “when” it will happen and the warning signs. For 51 verses in Matthew 24, Jesus lays out what is going to happen. He gives us the “what” and the warning signs, but He doesn’t give us the “when”.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.”  Matthew 24:36 (NIV)

One of the most crucial signs that the end is near is found in a statement that Jesus makes:

“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

The Greek word for nations is the word ethnos which doesn’t mean a geographic boundary of a nation, but ethnicity or people group. There are more people groups than there are countries. The UN lists around 190 countries on the planet. But there are lots of ethnicities, distinct people groups all over the world.

We are the first generation in history that is about to take the gospel to every people group. We are on the verge of completing the Great Commission.

There are still a lot of small people groups in remote places that have not heard the Gospel. There are people groups that do not have a single believer, a Bible in their language or a church in their culture.

In the year 2000, there were 3,000 unengaged people groups. This year, there are 1,061 unengaged people groups. We are closing in on fulfilling the Great Commission.

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:3-7 (NIV)

Verses 5-7 are referring to the creation account in Genesis where God picked a day and said, “Let there be…” and the heavens and the earth were created by God. It’s also referring to Noah, the ark and the flood. God picked another day and said, “I’ve had enough of these evil people.” And He destroyed the world and everyone and everything on it, except for Noah’s family and the animals they had in the Ark. By the same word, God is going to pick a day, that only He knows, and destroy the earth by fire.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

Jewish scholars believe this verse is referring to what they call a Seven Day Earth. If a day equals a thousand years, and there were 7 days in creation, then the earth is going to last 7,000 years. There were 4,000 years from Adam to Christ, 2,000 years from Christ to the present, that would mean you’ve got another 1,000 years left.

So many things leave us feeling uncertain, but here is one thing we can be sure of,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Picture it like this: God is sitting on His throne with Jesus at His right hand in heaven. God looks down at the earth and sees all the wicked things going on and He turns to Jesus and says, “Go get the church out of there.” Jesus jumps up because He is ready. The church is His bride this is His wedding day. Jesus gets on His white horse to come get us, the Church, and then God says, “Wait! Wait a minute. I see some more people we can reach, so let’s just wait.”

God is not in a hurry to judge people. He is patiently waiting for people to come to Him. 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”  2 Peter 3:10 (NIV)


What Will Lead Up to the World’s Destruction?

  • People will be distracted with life.

We all need to ask ourselves, “How much of this world am I focused on? How much of heaven am I focused on?” Don’t get distracted with the things of this world to the point that you aren’t ready for the end of your life.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”  Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV)

People in Noah’s day were distracted with life. They weren’t paying attention to what was happening around them. 

  • People will forget God.

Today in China, over 35,000 people a day are coming to faith in Christ. The Gospel is surging in China.

The Gospel is surging in places where it has never been heard before. But in places that have had the Gospel for a long time, it’s declining.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”  Matthew 24:12 (NIV)

Because of this wickedness, you have to guard your heart, your marriage, your kids, your faith.

  • People will not be ready.

“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Matthew 24:40-42 (NIV)

“For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)

The book of Revelation tells us what to look for in the end. People look at the book of Revelation and feel overwhelmed, but let’s break it down into 10 events.


Ten Events in the book of Revelation

1. The Church Age – Revelation 2-3

This age started with the birth of the Church in Acts chapter 2 and it continues into the end times.

2. The Rapture – Revelation 4:1

The Rapture is when God snatches all the Christians off of the earth.

3. The Rise of the Antichrist – Revelation 6

The Antichrist is the one who brokers a deal and signs a treaty with Israel to rebuild their temple. The Jews are ready to go. All they need is a signature on a treaty from the Antichrist.

4. The Tribulation – Revelation 6-19

Most of the book of Revelation is about the seven years of Tribulation. This is where the world falls apart with plagues, famines, wars and death. God will bring His judgement upon the earth. There will be people who believe in Jesus Christ during this time, but it’s going to be very hard for them.

5. The Second Coming of Christ – Revelation 19

Praise God! Jesus is going to come back and make everything right. He is going to defeat the enemies of God and win the victory!

6. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19

At this point, Jesus is going to take Satan and the Antichrist and bury them in a bottomless grave. With them will go all addiction, depression, pornography, deceit, depression, confusion, anxiety, greed and destruction. Then Jesus is going to throw a party. 

7. The Millennium – Revelation 20:6

This will be a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. We’ll get to see what it’s like to live on earth with Jesus as Lord of all!

8. The Last Rebellion – Revelation 20:7-10

God will let Satan out of the bottomless pit to one more time test the earth so that people born during the Millennium will have their chance to choose or reject Jesus.

9. The Great White Throne Judgement– Revelation 20:11-15

If you’re a Christian, you won’t be a part of this. Your judgment happens at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is where everyone living and dead who rejected Jesus will have their day in court.

10. New Heaven and New Earth – Revelation 21-22

The new heaven and new earth will be much like the garden of Eden. We will get to live there and work there and do incredible things.

The incredible things you will get to do in heaven, will depend on how you live your life on earth.

The real question when studying the end times is, “How does it change my life?” You can have the most accurate end times chart, but if it doesn’t affect your life, it’s worthless. Whenever the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus would quickly switch the conversation to evangelism. He wants His follower’s primary focus to be on their mission in the world.


So What Should We Do?

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First, we should think clearly in light of the end times.

“The end of all things is near therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”  1 Peter 4:7 (NIV)

Prayer is what helps you to stay clear minded. Prayer unleashes the fruit of the Spirit so you can be self-controlled. Why do I need to think clearly about my life?

“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”  Philippians 3:18-21 (NLT)

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Next, we should focus on relationships.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:8-9 (NIV)

We focus on relationships because people are the only thing you’re going to take with you to heaven. People are the only thing that will last through out eternity. Everything else is going to burn up with a fervent heat.

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We should also focus on making a difference here on earth.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

You are gifted! When you became a believer, God gave you a spiritual gift that He wants you to use in the church and serve others. It’s not a self-serving gift, it’s a gift to serve others.

Your spiritual gift is the delivery system that God uses to get His grace to the world.

So God wants you to discover your spiritual gift. He wants you to develop and deploy your gift so that it benefits other people and builds up the church.

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

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Finally, we must receive God’s grace if we are to effectively make a difference with the days God has entrusted to us.

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  2 Peter 3:11-18 NIV


Check Back

Review what you talked about last week on the topic of navigating seasons of life.

What priorities did you adjust for the season of life you are in? How were you able to help others this past week with the season they are navigating?

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Application

Read 2 Peter 3:3-11

Living in the Last Days: With which of these dangers of the last days do you struggle?

1. People will be distracted with life.  Matthew 24:37-39

2. People will forget God. Matthew 24:12

3. People will not be ready. Matthew 24:40-42     1 Thessalonians 5:2     Matthew 25:1-13

It is not by accident or oversight that the Bible does not define the “time” of the end. What it does describe in great detail is what our lives should be like when we live out our last days on this earth.

So What Should I Do?

1. I should think clearly.  1 Peter 4:7  Philippians 3:18-21

2. I should focus on relationships.  1 Peter 4:8-9

3. I should make a difference.  1 Peter 4:10-11

4. I should receive God’s grace. 2 Peter 3:11  Isaiah 55:6-7

What does it mean to be “eternally focused”?

What changes can we make in our lives to assure that we are investing our lives, not just spending them?

Have you received God’s grace for your last days?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

How can you be an effective dispenser of God’s grace in your relationships this week? Who could you point to Christ?

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Week 3: How Do I Navigate the Seasons of Life?

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On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about Navigating the Seasons of Life.


You have to go through various seasons of life in order to grow, mature and bear fruit. God has also established seasons of human activity; relational, physical, spiritual and emotional seasons of life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

“… everything on earth has its special season.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NCV)

Although, every person experiences different seasons throughout their life; there are 5 facts about seasons everyone can count on.


5 Facts About the Seasons of Life

  • The seasons of life are beyond my control.

You can’t control when a season happens. You can’t control when a season starts or how long it will last. Most seasons begin with an irritation, an interruption or an inconvenience. 

Waiting is a season of life. Why do we have to wait so much in life? Because much of life is out of our control. If you could control it, you wouldn’t have to wait.

God controls the times and the seasons.  He makes and unmakes kings.”  Daniel 2:21 (GN)

God sets some people up as leaders and He deposes others. God is in control of world events. It may not look like it, but He is. That’s why you shouldn’t worry about what’s going on in the world; because God is in ultimate control.

  • The seasons of life are often confusing.

Sometimes you’re in a situation and think, “Why is this happening to me? I don’t understand it.” Understanding usually follows an experience, rather than precedes it. We tend to understand the seasons of life after they’re over.

Often, when you’re in a difficult season, you’re blind to what’s really going on. Some things happen in your life that you’re never going to understand. God does not owe you an explanation. There are some things in your life that you’re not going to get an explanation for until you get to heaven, because God wants to teach you to live by faith not by explanations.

… God does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NCV)

  • God has a purpose for each season.

We know that all that happens to us is working for our good IF we love God and are fitting into his plans.”  Romans 8:28 (LB)

This verse is a promise that is simply not for everybody. All things do not work together for good for everyone in the world. They only work together for good for those who love God and fit into His plans. This is one of the basic truths in the Bible. If you’re a believer, nothing comes into your life that hasn’t been filtered by your heavenly Father. Your life is not a random series of circumstances or an accident. God never does anything by accident. He has an appointed time for everything in your life. Even the bad times.

Don’t misunderstand this. God does not cause all the problems in your life. The bad times happen because you make bad decisions or because other people make bad decisions. But God doesn’t make bad things happen. God is not the author of evil. He has a purpose for each and every event in your life. Every single event, no matter how dark, how shameful, how bad, how guilty; God can bring good out of it. The Bible doesn’t say all things are good. There are a lot of bad and evil things in the world. The Bible does not say that all things are good.  It says, “All things work together for good…” for those who love and trust God and say, “God, will You work good out of this?”

  • The seasons of life include both good and bad times.

Life is full of contrasts. We go through mountains and we go through valleys. We experience success and we experience failure. We win some and we lose some. In Ecclesiastes 3 it lists 28 different life experiences.

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Life is a combination of contrasting seasons. All sunshine and no rain, makes a desert. If you are following God’s will, each of these experiences have meaning, purpose and value. All of these seasons are God’s will. Some of you think that the only time you’re in God’s will is when things are going great. But the Bible tells us there’s a time and season for everything. God can take even the bad things, in the proper season, turn them around to use them for good in the way He intends.

  • What I sow in one season, I’ll reap in another.

Every farmer knows that if you plant in the spring you will harvest in the fall. You don’t plant in the spring and get a harvest the next day. We want to do that. We want immediate results. The habits that you develop in one season of life determine the fruit you will reap in another season of life. The way you respond right now is definitely going to affect your future. If you respond correctly in one season of life or if you do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it, you will reap the dividends in the future.

Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

These are five facts about the seasons of life. So how can you make the most of each season in your life? How can you grow from it, develop in it and become all God wants you to be? Regardless of which season you’re in, there are four questions to ask yourself.


4 Questions to Ask in Each Season

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First ask yourself, “What can I learn in this season?”

Always be looking for something you can learn in each season of life. There are some things we only learn through experience. You only learn them in the school of hard knocks.

“Remember what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with Him.”  Deuteronomy 11:2 (GN)

Life is a test. Life is preparation for eternity. This life is not the big show. You’re in the warm-up act of your life right now. You’re going to live on earth 60, 70, 80 years, and then you’re going to spend the rest of your life in eternity.

God wants you to learn multiple things here before you get there. One of the things that God wants you to learn is that Christ died for you, rose for you and wants a relationship with you. After you have that relationship with Christ, God wants you to learn certain character qualities which you will take with you into eternity. That’s all you’re going to take into heaven. In all of these seasons, there is an important lesson to learn. To make the most of the seasons in life, you’ve got to extract those lessons.

When you’re going through a difficult season, don’t ask, “Why is this happening?” Instead ask, “Lord, what do You want me to learn?” God never wastes a hurt and He never wastes a season. He wants you to learn something out of everything that happens in your life.

Two facts about the school of life experience:

1.  If you flunk a test in the school of life experience, you get to take it over.

God will keep giving you the test until you learn it. Have you learned to be patient?  No. Then God will put you in irritating circumstances until you learn patience.

2.  Just about the time you think you’ve graduated, you learn there are more classes to take.

There will always be more lessons to learn about God, about yourself, about other people, and about the world.

“(This happened) … so we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but God…”  2 Corinthians 1:9 (Ph)

The next 2 questions go together. Ask yourself, “What can I enjoy in this season?” and “What is most important in this season?”

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Some people are always getting ready to be happy. When work picks up or the business slows down or you finish this report or when you’re feeling better; that’s when you’ll be happy. But the Bible says not to wait to enjoy life, enjoy it right now.

“People ought to enjoy every day of their lives.”  Ecclesiastes 11:8 (NCV)

“Give thanks in all circumstances; this is God’s will for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

The good days, the bad days, the hard days, the easy days are all to be lived with a sense of gratitude because each day has been given to us by God.

There are two fallacies that we hold on to in life. One of them is “I’ve got lots of time.” There’s plenty of time to spend with my kids, lots of time to build my marriage, lots of time to serve God, I’ve got years to make my life count. The Bible says that rather than having lots of time, our life is like a puff of smoke, a vapor, a mist… and then it’s gone. That means the sooner we learn what really counts in life, the sooner we’ll get on with what’s really important to enjoy making the most out of that particular season.

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Another fallacy we operate under is “I can have it all. Right now.” I can have it all, be it all, do it all – right now. I can have a great family, a great job, lots of money, good health, good looks. I can do it all. Right now.” The truth is, you can’t. You have to make choices. 

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  Philippians 4:11 (NIV)

I’ve got to make some choices. Maybe this season I can have this and that season I can have that, but for each season I need to know what’s important. I want to talk for a moment about how this relates to parenting. Most of us are not very good at enjoying the moment.

“Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do.  Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties these days.”   Ephesians 5:15-16 (Ph)

The Bible says that we are to enjoy each season of our life because each season is unique. What we tend to do is look back at the past and we either think “It was so great back then. I wish that were still going on in my life.” Or we have regrets about our mistakes and we spend too much time worrying about the past. We find ourselves looking at the future wondering, “What will happen to my children? What happens when I retire? What happens when my kids leave and I’m alone?” We worry about the future. We ignore the fact that it’s this moment that I am living in; not what was or what might be, but what is right now. The Bible says to enjoy every season of your life.

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The fourth question to ask yourself is, “How can I help others in this season?”

What good can I do during this season? The Bible says very clearly that you weren’t put on this earth just to live for yourself. It’s not about you.  

“You were created for a life of good works.” Ephesians 2:10

God gave you abilities, talents and energy to help other people. A lot of us plan on doing that “when things settle down”. You plan on getting into a ministry or get involved in church when things settle down. Things are not going to settle down! 

So are you doing the good works that God created you to do or are you spending all your time, energy, and effort on yourself? In every season of life, you have unique opportunities to help other people that you will never have again. If you miss it, when the season’s over, you will never again be able to help people in that way, because you’re not in that season anymore.

“Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help.”  Proverbs 3:27 (NCV)

There’s no better time than now to serve God and help other people. Most people are miserable in life because they spend all their time regretting the past or future, so they miss the present. The secret of happiness in every season is in serving God and serving others because you were wired, by God, to do that.

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”  Ecclesiastes 11:4 (LB)

God wants to use the season you’re in right now to help other people. Do something good this week. If you’ve never joined the church, take that step of spiritual growth. Get involved, grow in your faith, discover your ministry. Do those things and watch what God does in your life. Start taking advantage of the season you’re in right now. Look for lessons to learn, experiences to enjoy, things to be grateful for, priorities that need to be set and people you can help.

Make this season count!


Check Back

Review what you talked about last week.

How would you describe your success or struggles in avoiding people pleasing?

To hear the sermon online, go to rockbrook.org/sermons or listen to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music.

Application

Read Ecclesiastes 3:2-8

Which season from Ecclesiastes 3 are you currently in?

What have you learned in this season?

What do you enjoy the most about this season?

What priorities have you had to adjust in this season?

How have you been able to help others in this season?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

Is there anyone in your life who is going through a difficult season?

How could you encourage them and show them how much you love them? How could you point them to Christ?

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Week 2: How Do I Avoid the People Pleaser Trap?

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On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about The People Pleaser Trap.


A very common struggle and problem in life is people pleasing. Approval addiction.

If you don’t deal with this issue you will be miserable your entire life. It’s a common destroyer of happiness. You’ll be controlled by other people. People who aren’t even trying to control you.

Now the desire to win the approval of other people is not a bad thing. You need the approval of others in your life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to please your parents, please your husband or wife or please your teachers, coaches and bosses. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved and liked. The Bible actually commands us to try to please other people in many ways. We are to serve one another so that we aren’t only focused on our own wants and needs.

But like all of God’s good gifts, legitimate needs can be misused. Just like your need for food can be misused, approval can be misused too.

“It is a dangerous trap to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.”  Proverbs 29:25 (TEV)

The Bible calls it a trap. So how do you escape this trap? Let’s first look at why it’s a trap and then we’ll find out how it traps you.


Why Trying to Please Everyone is a Trap

  • It causes me to miss God’s purpose for my life.

You can’t be worried about being who everyone else wants you to be and focus on who God created you to be at the same time. If you’re always trying to be who others want you to be, you will miss God’s purpose for your life. The two ways we miss God’s purpose for our life: Envy and people pleasing.

Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts.”  1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NLT)

  • It keeps me from growing in my faith.

Trying to please everyone else stunts our ability to grow in Christ. When God is big in our lives, people’s opinions have less power. But when we allow people to be big in our lives, God’s power diminishes. We can fall into the trap of giving people what really belongs to God. When we give people authority or give people influence, then we give people what God deserves to have. 

How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”  John 5:44 (NIV)

  • It leads me to sin.

This could also say: We give in to peer pressureWhen we think of peer pressure we typically think of teenagers. Remember hearing this as a teen, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too.” But the truth is, those of us who are older have the same struggle. The bridge may look a little different for us, but it’s the same struggle. It’s the desire to please others. A large percentage of the stuff we do that we shouldn’t do, is the result of giving in to the pressure of other people. 

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong!”  Exodus 23:2 (NIV)

It might be worth asking the questions:

  1. In what areas of my life am I caving in to the expectations of other people?
  2. In what areas of my life am I doing what I know is wrong to win the approval or to avoid the rejection of other people?
  3. Where am I jumping off the bridge of peer pressure?
  • It causes hypocrisy in our lives.

When we’re trying to gain the approval of others we start to wear masks. Few things are as exhausting as trying to figure out what masks you need to wear in front of which people.

“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.'”  Luke 16:15 (NLT)

God wants us to be consistent not full of hypocrisy or wearing masks. The fear of disapproval can cause us to compromise things. Things that are important, like the truth. This is why we say things that are socially acceptable, rather than what is true. This is why we say things that are politically correct, rather than the truth. But integrity is more important than popularity. What if we were to pray, “God, help me make my integrity more important than popularity.”  That’s how we stop wearing masks and put off hypocrisy.

  • It silences my witness.

“Many people, including leaders, believed in Jesus. But they wouldn’t talk about it publicly out of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. They loved human approval more than they loved the approval of God.”  John 12:42-43 (NIV)

Who around you would hear about Jesus if you weren’t afraid to share? 

 

Maybe as you read these five traps you’re thinking,  “You’ve nailed it!  This is me; I’m a people pleaser. How do I break free from these traps?” Here are 6 antidotes to approval addiction.


Antidotes to Approval Addiction

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Number one, consider that even God can’t please everyone.

Right now, there are people praying for different teams to win at a sport. Half of those people are going to be disappointed in the game. Right now, some people are praying for it to rain and some people are praying for it to be sunny. Half of those people are going to be disappointed. 

Even God can’t please everybody. Do you think you can please everybody? Only a fool would try to do what God can’t do. If everybody likes you, it means you stand for nothing. It means you have no conviction or beliefs. The moment you take a stand, somebody’s going to stand against you. 

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Second, realize that you don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy.

What other people think of you has no relationship to your happiness unless you choose to let them manipulate you. You can’t please everybody. God doesn’t expect you to please everybody. Disapproval doesn’t have to ruin your happiness. 

You might have spent all of your life trying to please an unpleasable person. They said, “You’re never going to amount to anything.” And you thought, “I am going to earn their approval.” You have tried and tried to win the approval of an unpleasable person, but the truth is, that’s a self-inflicted prison. You haven’t gotten their approval yet. If you haven’t gotten it by now, you’re never going to get it. It’s not your fault, they’re just unpleasable. 

“Your approval means nothing to me.”  John 5:41 (NLT)

When Jesus is number one in your life, He sets you free from approval addiction because you’re focused on pleasing Him. If you are looking to any human being to meet all your needs, you’re going to be severely disappointed because nobody can do that. Only God can meet all your needs. If you are looking to any human being to keep you happy, you’re going to be unhappy most of your life because people are going to disappoint you. So you better find your happiness in God.

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”  Psalm 27:10 (NLT)

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Next, realize that what seems so important now is only temporary.

The reason you became a people pleaser is because you put more emphasis on the here and now than on eternity. What seems so important now is only temporary. The things that you think are really important right now, later they’re not going to matter as much. Think about the five most important things to you in high school. Five years later, how much did any of that matter to you? None of it mattered five years later. It’s the same today, what seems important now is only temporary.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever.  1 John 2:16-17 (NIV)

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Then, understand that you only have to please one person.

You only have to please one person and that’s your Creator. You only have to please the One who made you and has a purpose for your life. Learn to live for an audience of one. You only need one person’s approval – God’s. That simplifies life enormously.

“I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.”  John 5:30 (NIV)

You may have never realized this but people pleasing is a form of idolatry. The first two of the Ten Commandments are: Don’t have any gods before me and don’t make any idols. Anything you put before God becomes a god, an idol. When you are a people pleaser, you allow someone else to take first place in your life. They become an idol, because their opinion matters more to you than God’s opinion.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

If you don’t tell people you’re a Christian because they might think less of you or if you don’t let them know you go to church because they may not like you, then their opinion matters more than God’s opinion. At that point, you have another god, an idol in your life. Remember you only have to please one person.

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Realize that one day you will give an account of your life.

“Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.”  Romans 14:12 (NLT)

When you take that long-term look and realize you’re going to give an account one day for every word you say and everything you do, it gives you the ability to stand up to peer pressure. In that peer pressure moment, remember what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. 

He didn’t deny you. He didn’t back down. He died for your sins and we owe Him our lives. He created you. He saved you. He forgave you. He’s taking you to heaven. Remember that one day you’re going to give an account to God. God’s going to ask, “What did you say in that conversation at work? What did you say to your friend at school?” Integrity is more important than popularity. 

“If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, I, the Son of man will be ashamed of him when I come in My glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”  Luke 9:26

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Finally, discover that God created you to become like Christ.

From the very beginning, God decided that those who came to Him should become like Christ. When you get to heaven God isn’t going to say, “Why weren’t you more like your brother? Why weren’t you more like your mother?” Because God made you to become like Christ. God is not going to ask, “Were you popular?” God’s not going to ask, “Did you make everybody happy?” He won’t ask, “Did you become what others wanted you to be? He’s going to ask, “Did you become like Christ?” 

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”  Romans 8:28-29 (NIV)

God’s primary purpose for mankind is for them to become like Christ. God’s purpose for your life is good. God didn’t put you on earth to fulfill the purpose of somebody else. God put you on earth to fulfill the His plan for you.

If someone in your life is urging you to do something that would make you more Christ-like, that’s a good thing. You should do that thing. Not to appease them, but because they care about your primary purpose. Don’t wait until you feel like it. Move toward Christ.

There’s only one person in the universe who knows you completely, who accepts you unconditionally, and who knows the purpose you were created for.


Check Back

Review what you talked about last week.

Do you have any more questions or conclusions after reflecting on last week’s message on anxiety and depression?

How are you doing with saying out loud your thanks to God for your life?

Application

Read John 5:16-47

Have you ever felt the trap of people pleasing?

Describe a time in your life when peer pressure or people pleasing ever led you to sin or hypocrisy.

Which antidote to approval addiction do you need to remember the most right now?

Is there anyone’s approval you’ve been trying to earn? Do you need to simply accept that if you don’t have their approval by now, you never will?

What is an action step you can take as a result of this message?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

Is there anyone in your life who is desperate for your approval? How could you encourage them and show them how much you love them? How could you point them to Christ?

 

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Week 1: How Do I Handle Anxiety & Depression?

On Easter weekend, we did a survey and compiled your most asked questions. Those questions are the roadmap for this series called You Asked For It.

This weekend, we took a look at what the Bible had to say about Anxiety & Depression.


There are hard things in life. And they can make us anxious. So anxious, we become depressed.

Different emotions produce different sensations. For instance, anger produces a burning sensation. Guilt produces a sick or nausea sensation. Anxiety is best described as tightness. Constriction.

 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 (NKJV) 

The word afflictions in the Hebrew is the same word the Assyrians used for torture. The kind of torture where they stand you up on a post, tie you to it and pile rock by rock on you until it crushes you dead. Maybe you’ve felt that way. Where you’re getting choked out, you’re suffocating, it’s getting tight and if they put one more rock on you, you’re done.

Let’s talk about those rocks for a second. We’ll call them the amplifying or aggravating factors. These are the amplifying factors that make anxiety and depression worse. Again, they are not the thing that’s causing it. They are the things that are making it worse.

  • Your upbringing – how you were raised. This is your operating system. The good news is, it can be re-written and debugged.
  • Your circumstances – relationships, conflict, marriage, deadlines, divorce, a new job, parenting, expectations of others…

  • Your environment – anything from noise to lighting

  • Your body – eat, sleep, exercise.
  • Your genetics – physical, biological, and neurological factors. Because of this, for some people, medicine and counseling are a necessary part of facing anxiety and depression. Your doctors will agree that those treatments alone will fall short. There’s a spiritual side to the battle.
  • Technology – we are not equipped to deal with this constant, incoming stream of information
  • Content – not only are we letting a stream of information in all the time, we are letting in content that is not life-giving or helpful.

If you only tackle the amplifying factors to anxiety, you will never make it go away. What’s causing this constriction? What’s the source?

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 5:5-11 (NIV)

The Bible says your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a lion looking for someone he can eat alive. He’s looking for a family he can divide. Looking for a future he can ruin before it even gets started. Looking for a church he can divide, a nation he can divide, he’s looking for an addiction he can plant. The devil is busy and active.

When you believe in Jesus for the first time it’s like being born again. It’s a new life. The birthmark of a believer is a bullseyePeter is teaching us that we are born again into a living hope but as you are born again into hope, you are born into a very real battle. This is why Christians say “I’m under attack.”

Some people think God’s promise is that nothing will go wrong in their lives. That’s not his promise. In fact, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Just because you love God, doesn’t mean you won’t be afflicted. But the Lord gives you the ability to stand strong and have peace, even in the face of a lion.

Look at this passage from the Apostle Paul, found in Philippians chapter 4, where he talks about how to guard against anxiety and how to have peace in the face of this lion.

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

God says, I guarantee you can experience God’s peace. This is a promise. But with this promise there’s a condition. Verse 7 starts with the word thenIf you do these things, then you will experience God’s peace. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. His peace will keep your thoughts quiet, keep your hearts at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

So let’s look at 5 things leading up to the word then that opens up this promise of peace.

First, if you want peace to guard your heart and mind, refuse to worry about anything.

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Don’t worry about anything…”  Philippians 4:6     

Paul says don’t worry about anything, because that’s where it begins. If you let things worry you again and again they become anxiety and depression. Yes, bad things may happen, but God is in control and he’s working all things together for good for those who love him. You may be sad or grieved, but do not be anxious, it’s all coming together for your good.

Second, if you want peace to guard your heart and mind, talk to God about everything.

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“…instead, pray about everything…”   Philippians 4:6

Stop talking to yourself and everyone else about all of the stuff that’s stressing you out and start talking to God. If it’s not worth praying about, it’s not worth worrying about.

Next, if you want peace to guard your heart and mind, thank God in all things.

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“…Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”  Philippians 4:6

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

It doesn’t say thank God for all things because there are a lot of things you shouldn’t be thankful for. There’s pain in the world. But it says in all things give thanks. Which means, even in the bad times, I can find something to love. You don’t have to love everything about your life to love your life and be thankful for it. You don’t have to love everything about someone to love them. You don’t have to love everything about your job to love your job.

Study after study has shown that the healthiest emotion known to human beings is gratitude. The more you build gratitude in your life, the happier and healthier you will be. We know that gratitude is one of the remedies for depression because it gets my eyes off myself and gets them on other people.

The fact is, you can always find something to be grateful for. There’s no time in your life when everything is good and there’s nothing bad in your life. There’s no time when everything is bad and there’s nothing good in your life. The challenge for you this week is to open your mouth and say out loud “Thank you for my life.” Say it every day.

The fourth way to have peace guarding your heart and mind is to think about good things.

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This is extremely important because the anxiety and stress you war with, that battle, is going on in your mind. The war with stress is won or lost in your mind. What you fill your mind with will determine your success to resist and stand strong.

The Bible says,

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philippians 4:8 


During World War II, Corrie ten Boom and her family lived in Amsterdam. They were a Christian family that took in Jewish friends and hid them in what they called “the hiding place” in their house to prevent their friends from being captured by the Nazis and shipped off to death camps. One day, the Nazis found out and not only took the Jewish friends but took Corrie and her family and they were taken to death camps in Poland. Corrie lost her entire family. She was the only one who survived. She says in her book, The Hiding Place,

“If you look at the world you’ll be distressed; if you look within you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest.” 

It all depends on what you have your eyes on. Don’t look within. Look to God, look at Christ.


Read 1 Peter 5:6-7 again,

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

Too many of us, have been trying to cast our anxiety but we keep our pride. Pride and anxiety come in the same package. If you insist on doing it your way, then expect to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, because it is.

What is in the middle of the word ANXIETY? The same thing that is in the center of  the word PRIDE. I is the center of both of those words. Spiritually speaking, at the center of your anxiety is your pride. The reason that you’re so anxious is because you’ve got you at the center. You can’t sustain it because it’s not your throne. Listen to your language. “I don’t know if I have what it takes. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I can make it.” Maybe the reason you’ve been carrying anxiety that you can’t get rid of is because you’re bearing weight that you weren’t meant to bear. If you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, you’ll think less about yourself. It’s not a command to cast your anxiety on him. It’s a result. The command is to humble yourself under God and when you do, the anxiety goes with the pride.

Get yourself out of the center, get God on the throne and lift your hands to him and say “I need you Lord.” Bow down to him. Tell him you can’t step without Him, can’t parent without Him, work without Him, live without Him. There’s no peace without Him. There’s no joy without Him.

Is the reason you’re so anxious because of your pride? Maybe the anxiety is the fruit and the pride is the root. If you pull it up by the root, the fruit can’t grow.

Lastly, if you want peace to guard your heart and mind, be content with anything.

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Contentment is not apathy. Contentment is not complacency. Here’s what contentment is: it’s enjoying what you have right now rather than waiting for something else to happen in order to be happy.  It’s not letting what you want rob you of what you have. It’s enjoying what you’ve got right now. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to progress. It doesn’t mean you don’t have goals. It means you’re not waiting for something to happen in your life in order to be happy.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”  Philippians 4:11-13

“Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but envy is like a cancer.”  Proverbs 14:30 (TEV)


How?

These five strategies are easy to explain but they’re hard to do. It’s not easy to worry about nothing.  It’s not easy to pray about everything. It’s not easy to thank God in everything. It’s not easy to think about good things. And it’s not easy to be content with anything. So where in the world am I going to get energy to do these things that reduce the anxiety? God tells us, You come to me. And I will give you the power and the ability to do what will help, to do what’s best for you.

“Obey God and be at peace with him; this is the way to happiness.”  Job 22:21 (NCV)

The real reason you’re not at peace is because you’re at war with God. God sent Jesus to make peace with God for us. When you make peace with God then you get the peace of God and then you can have peace with others. There will not be peace in the world until the Prince of Peace is reigning in our hearts. So in order for you to have the peace of God, you have to first have peace with God.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

You don’t feel like praying? You don’t feel like giving thanks? You don’t feel like thinking about good things? You don’t feel like being content? You have to move.

Choices lead, feeling follow. When you move against your anxiety, the strength and peace of God comes.


Application

What stood out to you in this message?

What are you worried about?

What do you normally talk to God about?

What are some things you can be thankful for? Take an area of life (i.e. job) or a person in your life you are frustrated with, and start listing things you love about that thing or person.

What are some things (i.e. television shows, gossip, information) you could filter out of your life that would help you dwell on good things?

What things in your life are you not doing God’s way? How can you humble that pride?

Are you content with the things in your life?


Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with this week?

Something that extremely aggravates anxiety and depression is unresolved or unconfessed sin. Is there anything you could share with the group or something in the group that would relieve the pressure?

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16

Who can you share this life-giving message with?