Tag Archives: worry

Trust in the Lord!

Peninsula Community Church 

September 15, 2019 

Psalm 37:1-6 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

There is so much in life that brings us reason to give up and give in. There is so much that could give us a reason to throw our hands up and run and hide but that has never been the work of the Lord. It has never been the desire of God that this would be the way things would be. 

In verse 1, this passage begins with the idea that we are not to fret about things. The problem with worry and envy is that we give power to those things to control our life. We worry about things that do not matter. We envy what others have without recognizing what God has done in us. The outcome of worry and fretting is that we give power to those things and in so doing we allow them to control us. You may have experienced this. Someone says something to you. It may be just one word or phrase. But that one word or phrase sticks with us and we become focused on that and it becomes the focus of what we think about. 

I remember when I left for Bible College that my dad said to me. “Why do you want to go to college? Why don’t you stay home and work? Do what your brother is doing?” Those statements messed with my thinking and for years I felt that I did not have my dad’s blessing. For years I was trying get his blessing. I worked harder. I studied harder. I graduated with honors from Bible school. And yet I never seemed to please my dad. Those statements began to control my actions and they began to control my emotions. It wasn’t until I learned that I had to let go of those desires and attempt to please God because the reality was that I might never get my dad to believe in me. I was so relieved when I was able to let those words go and let God fill me with the assurance that He has it under control. 

The point is those words began to control me. They did not have to but they did. They did not have to push me down but they did. But when we take those thoughts captive and we judge them through the template of God’s grace and His mercy, we find that the words and actions of those around us do not have to hold us in bondage. The sad part is that later in life I found that my dad had always been proud of me. He just did not know how to communicate that. So, I spent years holding things that were not really true. 

That is why David so beautifully shares these words. That is why David lays out a plan for us to live effective, passionate, and committed lives. Notice that rather than fretting or worrying we should trust in the Lord. Trust is an amazing word. It is a word that is easier said and communicated than lived out. It is an action that is hard to define and enact because for us as believers it is hard to believe and hold onto what is not seen. It is hard to trust sometimes what we do not know. 

It is hard to trust God for tomorrow because we do not see tomorrow. When we made the decision to start this transition we knew there we would be so many unknowns. But that is where trust is best envisioned and that is where trust is best formulated for the life we need. When we trust God, we will begin to see how much we are blessed of God. That is why I love what Adrian Rogers has stated. I am too blessed to be stressed. He has suggested that the best way to look at this passage is to understand that the word trust means to be face down and have run out of all options, but it is here that you will trust the Lord as your only source and hope. I do not stress because, I am blessed by a heavenly Father that loves me immensely. 

That was the very basis for the beatitudes of the New Testament. Blessed are you when …… and you fill in the blank. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:3-12. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

David in the passage before us today reminds us that we are called not only to trust the Lord but we are to do good. Most people withdraw or retreat when things get tough. They act of the hurt and the struggle, but that is not what the psalmist tells us to do. We are to move forward. We are continue to do what we know to do and do it well. Adrian Rogers suggests that God puts you in school. And God will keep you there until you pass the test. If you flunk out the first time, He will enroll you again. Therefore do good! Walk in righteousness even though you might have every reason not to do so. 

I love this next section. How wonderful it is to know that we can delight ourselves in the Lord. When your dreams, your hopes, and your thoughts about your future are dissolved, stop and delight yourself in the Lord. Here is what David says. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. When our dreams dissolve it is tempting to lose heart. It is tempting to fret and worry. Why is that? It is because our joy is threatened. The solution is to find a joy that cannot be threatened. That joy is only resourced by the Lord and is only found in the Lord. Corrie Ten Boom said, Look around and you’ll be distressed. Look within, and you’ll be depressed. Look to the Lord, and you’ll be at rest. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

The idea suggested through this passage is that we make Jehovah, the Lord, the joy and rejoicing in our spirit. Think about this for a moment. If we remember that God is ours, there will be no incentive to worry or fret. To remember that God is ours and we are His means that we can trust Him and we can delight ourselves in the Lord.

The promise is that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. But notice this, if our delight is in the Lord then we will not ask for anything that is opposed to His will or outside the bounds of His will and His purpose. We will delight in Biblical truth. We will delight in God’s promises. We will delight in God’s character and recognize that He loves us and cares deeply for us. 

It is here that David makes this powerful statement of hope. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. So let me ask you, when you feel threatened or life is fighting against you what do you do? When we have committed our way to the Lord, we do fret? We do not worry? We do not lose trust? I love this. four times in the New Testament we are told not to lose heart. And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1). So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory (Ephesians 3:13). It has been suggested that the word here for “way” really means “lifestyle.” It carries the idea of a well traveled path. This means that we rest in the Lord. When we live a life filled with commitment to Christ we will rise above the fray and above the problems of life.

When we commit our ways to the Lord He will act on our behalf. I love what Psalm 55:22 says. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Solomon wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).

When trials arise, do you run toward the Lord? Or do you try to handle things yourself? He who created you can handle any difficulty and pain, even when it seems overwhelming. What He desires is your surrender and trust. It is in His arms that you will find rest for your soul.

Are you delighted by God?  Do you take pleasure in God?  Are you satisfied with God?  Do you look to stand on what God has revealed about Himself in His Word. Do you delight in knowing Him?  Are you awestruck by His Will and Commands?  Do you see God as He is presented in the Scripture and desire Him? Do you want to know Him? Do you want to please Him? Do want to be satisfied with Him? Do you know there is and can never be anything or anyone greater?  Do you desire to do everything in your life to delight in God?

If you were given one choice, would you want God more than money, more than comfort, more than sex, more than security, more than praise, more than food, more than honor, more than ability, more than friends, more than family, and more than fame. If you had the choice between God and knowing Him and everything beautiful and pleasurable in all of Creation, would you choose God? I hope that you would. Let’s pray. 

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Is It Possible to Live in Peace?

Peninsula Community Church

July 28, 2019

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

One of the deeper questions of life is the question of how one can achieve a life of peace? How does one reach the place where they can live in peace? That is the cry of most hearts. In this passage, Paul defines peace by saying that God’s peace passes all understanding. This is a peace that is there when everything around you is falling apart and the world is filled with torment and difficulty. It is a peace that is achieved not by what we do, but whose we are and who we trust. 

It is noteworthy that the dictionary defines peace as follows. Peace is the freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. It is a mental calm; serenity. It is a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended. It is the freedom from dispute or dissension between individuals or groups.

It is noteworthy that Scripture suggests there will be no peace in this life. There will always be something that will cause upheaval and turmoil in our life. The kind of peace most people want is just an illusion. It is a fantasy. In Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:51 we find that Jesus stated that he had not come to bring peace but a sword and division. You see the Jews of Jesus’ day wanted the war and struggle with the Roman government to end. They wanted the factions within their own community to be united, but Jesus reminded them that He did not come to bring peace. Instead of peace, Jesus’ ministry would in fact create more division and more fighting. I believe that today we are in a battle that is not democratic or republican, but it is a battle for the standard that Christ has set for us individually and as a nation. It is a moral battle.

While Scripture gives us the bad news about tribulation in this world and the lack of peace here, Scripture also allows us to see where real peace comes from. Jesus in John 14:27 made this statement. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. The world considers peace as the cessation of war and disputes but this peace is much more than the cessation of war or dispute. It is the internal peace that comes from deep within one’s soul and within one’s spirit. It is a peace that comes from a deep relationship with the living Christ. 

In John 16:33 we are reminded of Jesus’ words. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. The world focused on the outward cessation of tribulation but Jesus focused on the internal cessation of tribulation, so that inwardly we are at peace. That is why in Romans 8:6 Paul without hesitation states For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. That is why Isaiah proclaimed. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3).

It is from this perspective and understanding of peace that Paul writes the words of Philippians. He begins this passage with the command that we are to rejoice in the Lord always. Wow, what a statement because there are a lot of things in my life that I do not want to rejoice over. In fact, more often than not I have an opposite response but if I am dependent on Christ for all things and if my mind, my soul, and my spirit is at rest in Him, then I can be comforted with the peace Paul defines. He says it is a peace that passes all understanding. It is a peace that baffles the mind. It is a peace that passes all human capacity to understand. Out of this rejoicing everything flows and is ignited by faith. 

As he continues in this passage we find that Paul states that we are not to be anxious about anything because anxiousness takes our peace away. It is anxiousness that deprives us of our ability to rest in Christ. Anxiousness is a deterrent to our peace and to our ability to be all that He desires of us. When we are anxious, our peace is robbed and our hearts are filled with concern about the future and what is to come. The wording here tells us to stop worrying. Give it up.

The cure for worry is prayer and a spiritual focus on Christ. We are all prone to worry, but the principle applied here is that prayer and worry are mutually exclusive. Prayer and worry do not go hand in hand. To cure anxiousness we pray. The truth is worry will destroy prayer, and prayer will destroy anxiety. In other words, worship and prayer is a divine deliverance from the power of worry. One result of coming to the living God in prayer is that worry shrinks and dies at the feet of Jesus. That is why Paul reaffirms that in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

In this Paul gives us an antidote to worry. First, Paul states that we are to pray. Pray! Now that is an amazing idea. Let me ask you, do you take your problems to the Lord immediately or is it a last resort or last ditch effort to secure God’s blessing? How often do we take things to Him after they have become problems? How many times do we take things to God after we have already become overwhelmed or controlled by anxiousness? That is why Jesus commands us to make prayer a priority in our life by seeking the Kingdom of God first. In so doing, all of the things we need will be added to our lives. 

Second, we are go to the Lord with our supplications, e. g. our needs and our concerns. The word “supplication” means to ask humbly and earnestly of the Lord. It means to request of God answers to prayer. It means that we carry to the Lord what He alone can handle and take care of. This is an echo of Paul’s writings in Ephesus 6:18. We catch Paul mid breath when he says that we should be praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

This is also a reminder of Peter’s words. We are to release everything to Him because He cares for us and He knows us intimately. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7). Listen to the Psalmists. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved (Psalm 55:22).

Thirdly, we are to do so with thanksgiving in our heart. Thanksgiving and gratefulness must be the corner stone and bed rock of all we do. A thankful heart is a grateful heart. A thankful heart is one that recognizes that God is the only one that can provide and care for us. A thankful heart is a humble heart. When you think about it, it is amazing that Peter, of all people, would write these words. The tempestuous and quick tongued disciple is writing about humility but the reality is that he more than anyone else understood this dynamic. He had learned the lesson of humility big time. He did so through the multiple mistakes he made and problems he faced.

It is here that we come to the conclusion of this passage. As we pray, as we bring our needs to God, and as we begin to express our thankfulness, we find that God’s peace comes sweeping into our hearts and minds because we have the heart of God. That is why Paul could say And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The result of praying, of bringing our concerns to Him, and living with a grateful heart is that we will obtain a peace that passes all understanding. The opposite of worry is peace and the opposite of peace is worry. The peace that Paul presents here surpasses or exceeds our ability to understand peace. That is why the world around us can be falling apart and we can still be at peace in God. We can rest in who He is. 

And finally, the result of praying is that God will guard our hearts and our minds. The word guard is a word that means to put up a garrison. The literal translation of the word is that He will keep our minds and hearts as a well-garrisoned stronghold. What does that mean? Our thoughts are protected. When we are focused on God, our minds will be like a well garrisoned stronghold that will not allow any thought that is not of God to enter and find residence. It also means that the heart, the seat of the emotions, will be protected. 

This is not a magic pill or a magic formula. The idea is that we continue to press into God through prayer. We continue until we are at peace. We continue until worry is dispelled. We become like the man who had unexpected company and did not have bread to feed his visitors which was a huge necessity of that day. To not give his guest bread would have been a great travesty and a social disgrace. He knew his neighbor had bread and he began to knock on the door until he answered and the man gave him what he needed.

Listen to the story out of Luke 11. And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:5-13)!

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized