Managing Fear, Walking by Faith

When I heard my pastor say this morning that we need to manage our fears and walk by faith, my heart perked up. Will this be an answer to my prayers? For the last few days, I have felt aggravated by what’s going on at work, and I also know that I am struggling with fear; fear of the person that I work for. Well, last night I was not able to sleep and so I sat up in my bed with my bible in hand, trying to find a verse of Scripture to help me—but nothing. So, I prayed that God would soon show me a good Scripture passage and tell me what to do. Then this morning I really didn’t feel too good and almost didn’t go to church. Then I thought: well, maybe the Lord will give me something; maybe He will answer my prayers. And He surely did.

This morning’s sermon was from the book of Numbers, chapters 13 and 14. You may remember what happened. Twelve spies went into Canaan to spy out the land. They found that the land was very good, but that the people were huge and their cities were well-guarded. Ten out of the twelve spies had great fears; they reported that they were not able to go up against them, that they were not strong enough. They said, “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight and so we were in their sight.”

Here are a few notes that I wrote down from the sermon:

  • When they went into Canaan and looked around, they didn’t manage their fears and so they didn’t walk by faith.
  • God said, enough of the whining, just trust Me.
  • We are to walk by faith, not by fear.
  • There is a high price for not managing our fear.
  • “Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision.” – Winton Churchill
  • The people of Israel wept all night at the peril they faced, but they didn’t turn to God in faith.
  • “If we do not fear God, we fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers
  • When we fear and don’t trust God, we will miss His gifts.

So, what should I do with my situation at work? First of all, I will be praying and will trust God in what to do. I will not let fear rule my life. I will not let myself stew over any further potential problem. I will have a positive attitude as I manage my fears. And I will follow the example of Caleb who said (in Nu. 13:30), “We should by all means go up and take possession of it [the land], for we will surely overcome it.”

My Update: Work, Writing on Martyrs, Retirement

I think it’s time for another update. I’ll try to be positive, though I am having a few problems.

My Present Job

I’m a retired house painter, but I still do a little work. The job I am working on now is not going well. Actually, I thought I was finished, but when the owner got home (from a vacation) and looked it over, she was not pleased. I very rarely get complaints, but she had plenty. What went wrong?

Well, I’m not going to tell you everything, except to say that she let me know that I am not a perfect painter—as I sometimes think I am. I am feeling quite humbled. I have a lot to do over (second coats). I had Thanksgiving and today off, and Saturday I will try to finish up. My prayers this morning were three-fold: that I would do the work well; that my mind would be at peace and I will not worry about it; and that she (the owner) would settle down and not be so upset with me—to also be at peace.

Thanksgiving Day

My sister’s first husband invited me over to his house. He is a good friend, so I was excited to see him and his two kids, also to see some of his family I have never met. It was such a good time being together and making some new friends.

Reading and Writing about Christian Martyrs

I’ve been reading and blogging on Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s been a struggle for two reasons: The reading is so difficult; the translation from that time period (about 1500) is not good. I will try to find a more modern translation. Also, though it is very inspiring to hear how the Martyrs believed and endured suffering, it is troubling to hear how evil things were in the Catholic church and how they were, and still are, so blinded by the devil.

I am also at the same time reading and writing about the coming Tribulation. I am now wondering if the Tribulation martyrdom will be a return of the same Catholic inquisition. I think it may be, but worse! I am so happy though, to know that when they die they will immediately be with the Lord and will be forever rejoicing with Him (as a few Revelation passaged tell us).

Old Age and Retirement

I don’t want to bore you or complain about things, but I do sense that my emotional make-up is breaking down. Maybe I should read a good book on retirement. I know that I need to learn how to relax more, etc. I don’t want to just sit and vegetate. But maybe there are some changes I need to make.

Well, that’s all for now in this update. I wish you all well—you who regularly follow my blog. And I will keep you all in my prayers.

Update: New Book, New Church, New Tires

I’ll start telling you about my writing. My life these days is mostly about my writing. It seems like as soon as I finish one book, I am raring to go start another one. I’m writing now a book about the Tribulation. I’m liking it so far. It is blessing me to see how everything is fitting together. And it is true that those who read and study the book of Revelation will be blessed! I think that when I get about half way through I will start blogging the book—a little at a time, to let everyone see it. I’m getting to the point in my writing that not much editing, or rewriting is needed. So, I just keep moving on. I like it better that way. No need to keep trying to perfect it.

I’ve changed churches. It’s a bigger church and it is much more according to the way I believe. But I haven’t gotten too plugged in yet. I need to do that. I may want to get into a small group if I can find one. Fellowship is so important, but for some reason I find it hard connecting with people. I’m sort of an introvert. But when I make friends, I like being with them. I find that I am energized by good friends.

Well, I should go. I’m getting new tires for my truck today! And an oil change. The Lord is good.

It turns out that I’ll be waiting two hours for my truck tires. So, I’ll write a little more as I wait. It’s so beautiful to see the leaves changing color. I think God has designed it that way—that we will have some variety in what we see and experience from season to season. This time of year is especially nice in Minnesota. It will stay in the 50’s for a while—jacket weather. I actually like it better than warm weather. It’s more refreshing.

I’m running out of books to read. I usually have a few on my shelf waiting for me—so this is uncommon. I’m thinking that I will concentrate on more bible reading while I wait for Bill O’Reilly’s next book to come out. And that—bible reading—I’m sure is a good thing and will bring new blessings and rewards.

Update: Life Changes

Church change. I have been praying about this and churning it over in my mind for a few months. And I finely now have made the change. I feel a little sad about it—not to see certain folks regularly. But I feel I must move on to what I think is the right move. I’m not going to talk about the reasons, but there are doctrinal reasons. So, I feel that I am following the Lord, but yet I am sad. I feel a peace about it. Yet I know there will be struggles, and I must endure them and push on.

Working less. This last summer I worked much more that I figured I would. And I was suffering in the heat—90-degree heat for many days. I think I have to push myself to slow down. I have resolved to take more days off between jobs—I’m a house painter; semi-retired. And I will take only easy jobs. I will not quit working completely, because I really like what I do. But I also like days off and having time to write and read more, etc.

Health issues. I’m finding that I’m having more and more health issues—because of my age I suppose. But it is also a challenge to concentrate more on good eating habits and regular exercise, etc. Nobody wants to be sick—unless you have a death wish. I know that much sickness in people is because of heredity. But we can’t use that as an excuse. We all, especially us older folks, must work extra hard to keep ourselves healthy—watch our diet, exercise, and deal with any illnesses. And I find that daily prayer is very helpful. I follow the Jabez prayer. Why not? He prayed that God would bless him and keep him from harm (1 Chron. 4:10).

True and False Knowledge

For every person, the longer a person lives the more knowledge they have a chance to obtain. But what they do with it is what matters. Knowledge is knowledge, but what we do with it makes it true or false.

I’ll start with what I will call false knowledge.

  • False knowledge is knowledge, but it has no good purpose.
  • False knowledge is knowledge that is prideful in what it knows.
  • There is a gift of knowledge but it can become a snare to us. It makes knowledge an end in itself, in order to pass an exam, to get a grade or a degree. It does not lead to any good actions or deeds.
  • False knowledge puffs up. In this case he has an impatience with any opposing view or any correction. He enjoys his knowledge. He spends a lot of time reading just for the sake of reading. He may read to gain knowledge about God but not of God.

What is True knowledge?

  • True knowledge is having a growing knowledge of the truth.
  • True knowledge is to know God. The end of theology (the study of God) is to know God.
  • True knowledge is to experience God: to experience His truth, His love, His peace, His joy, His glory and fulness, His holiness.
  • To really know God is to love Him, because God is love. Therefore, true knowledge always leads to a love of God.
  • True knowledge will produce good character—the character of God.
  • True knowledge is experiencing His Spirit. It is praying in the Spirit, which is real communion with God.

Source: My notes and thoughts from the book, The Puritans, by D. M. Lloyd-Jones.

The Trials and Tests of Our Faith

Matthew 7:24-27

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. 25 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. 26 “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”

Here is a picture of two men, a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man had a true and good foundation. The foolish man had a foundation made of sand—it would not last.

In this illustration, the wise man is a Christian. His foundation is Christ. The foolish man is a non-Christian. His foundation is his own works and his own philosophy of life. But his foundation is not true and so it is unstable—as sand.

The rain and the floods and the wind represent the tests of our faith and what our life if built on. Notice that both the Christian and the non-Christian are tested.

The rain may represent things like illness, loss or disappointment. Floods may represent the world, or worldliness—“the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” And the wind may represent Satanic attacks, such as to hurl doubts and evil thoughts at us.

Now for the non-Christian, the main disaster for him will come at the judgment, when it is discovered that there is no foundation, that Christ is not his Lord. The Christian does have a lasting foundation, which is Jesus Christ. But the trials of life will nevertheless test his faith to see how he has built upon that foundation (look at 1Corinthisna 3:12-15). And our rewards at the end of our life will depend on it.

One of the most important things for a Christian to do is to see to it that he has a good devotional life, and also that it doesn’t become mechanical. We must remember in our quiet times with the Lord, to stop and meditate on what we read from the bible, and listen to what God is telling us. Then determine to obey Him and to be always asking for His help and guidance along the way. He is our anchor and firm foundation.

Why Prayer is Necessary: #7 – To Obtain Freedom from Anxiety

Anxiety is a terrible thing.  It is a state of uneasiness and worry, of fearfulness and dread.  But prayer can make it all go away; when you pray God will help you to see that He is in control and that He loves you and cares for you.

When we are anxious, we think only of ourselves and of all the things we think we need.  Prayer, however, will take us to God and draw us away from ourselves so that we are more concerned for His kingdom and His righteousness. The practice of prayer will help us to see that life is more than food and clothing, and that we have no need to worry about those things—since God cares for us just as he cares for little birds and flowers (Matt. 6:25-29).          

If you are prone to anxiety, try to develop the habit of praying about everything.  And when you pray, instead of lingering in your anxiety, focus instead on God, honoring Him with thanksgiving and praise (Rom. 1:21).  As you pray with thanksgiving, taking all of your concerns to God, He will fill you with an incredible peace.  Here is the promise from Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Three Warnings Against Deception

From Matthew 7:15-27, Jesus presents to His disciples three pictures with three warnings.

The first picture is of the false prophets who will come to them in sheep’s clothing (verses 15-20). This warning is addressed to Christians to be not deceived by these false prophets (teachers) who will look just like any other Christian teacher.

The second picture is of the judgment day when a professing Christian is surprised that Jesus has rejected him as a Christian and says to him, “I never knew you” (verses 21-23). This warning is addressed to the professing Christian—who is not a Christian at all. The warning is to be not self-deceived into thinking that you are a Christian.

These two (above) scenarios I have already posted, so I won’t write any more on them.

The third picture is of two men who build their houses. The houses look the same, but one is built with a good foundation and the other skips that part (verses 24-27). The warning is addressed again to the professing Christian who is seeking the benefits of salvation without the commitment of salvation. The warning is not to deceive yourself into thinking that salvation needs no commitment to Christ. Here is the teaching:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. 25 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. 26 “And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”

So, in this teaching we have the wise man and the foolish man. And “these words” are referring to Jesus’ entire sermon. And the one who acts upon them will become a Christian and a wise man, and the one who does not act upon them will remain a pagan and a foolish man.

But the thing that is so deceptive in this picture is the fact that the two houses look the same, except for the foundation—which you never see, because it is underground. So, one house will stand and the other will fall. And one man is proved to be wise and the other a fool.

In the illustration, the fool, who is not a Christian at all, is in a hurry to get all the benefits of his house (of salvation), without putting in the work of salvation. The other man is wise. He hears Jesus and responds to His words of truth.

Here are a few more implications about these two men:

  • The two men are both church goers and members.
  • The two men both desire forgiveness and peace; one of them has a genuine forgiveness and peace, the other has a false sense of forgiveness and a false peace—because he is not a true believer.
  • Both men desire to live a good life; but one has a selfish motive, the other desires to glorify God.
  • Both men are highly moral men, but one is not a Christian. He is living a pure life just for himself to put on a good front before others.