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The Fear of Trusting God

Jun 23, 2017

PROGRAM D-7865

How well do you know God? Knowing God doesn’t just happen—you don’t automatically inhale that knowledge because you were born in a Christian home or go to church regularly. Knowing God is a result of seeking him and devoting yourself to knowing him more and more all the time. The fact is that many Christians never get over their fear of trusting God. They go through life unwilling to yield to him the control of their lives because they’re not quite certain he is trustworthy.

We only overcome that fear by getting to know God because you trust whom you know. And you don’t get to know God by accident. It happens on purpose. You must purpose to get to know him.

We’ve seen reports of tests given to high school seniors which show their knowledge of basic facts is extremely poor. I wonder what kind of scores Christians would have if they were tested on their knowledge of God? Do you spend more time getting to know television programs or personalities than you do getting to know God? Could you tell me more about you local sports teams than you can tell me about God?

Getting to know God takes time and it takes a plan. Are you really eager to know him? Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God. . . ” (John 17:3). Everything hinges on your knowledge of God.

If you really want to know him, I urge you to make a structured plan that gets you into his Word on a daily basis, and leads you into a prayer life of praise and intercession. You get to know someone by spending time with them and it requires a commitment on your part. If you feel you don’t know how to begin, I have written a Bible study entitled “A Guide on Getting to Know God.” It gives you some practical suggestions on how to do that. We can send you information on this study or you can find the information on our website.

The important thing is that you pursue God, that you go after him! Just going to church on Sundays is not enough, no matter how good your church is.

You must personally hunger to know him and pursue him, as a deer pants after water.

When you do, I promise you this: You’ll start to trust him. You’ll trust him more and more all the time because to truly know God is to trust him. Once you start to give him the controls of your life, everything will fall into its rightful place. You’ll find the answers you’ve been looking for. The fear of trusting God will vanish.

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The Fear of Trusting God

Jun 22, 2017

PROGRAM D-7864

In examining the fear of trusting God, it is clear that if we truly believe God is who he says he is—the only true God with all power, wisdom and authority—and we believe that he cares for us individually and desires only the best for us, then the only logical conclusion has to be that he is totally trustworthy.

Why is it that you can’t easily let go and trust God? Well, you have three enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil, and you are getting all kinds of conflicting signals from each of them. The world tells you to “Do our own thing;” “Find yourself;” “Do what feels good;” “Go for it!” The flesh says, “You deserve happiness and you have a right to run your life the way you want to!” The devil says, “If you trust God, you most surely will be left to some terrible life. You’ll be miserable and alone.”

If you listen to these voices, then fear takes over and you become convinced that totally trusting God is too risky. Trust is meant only for those few people who somehow have the courage to go into “full time Christian service.” Without realizing it, you have decided that you can trust yourself better than God.

If that’s true, then the fear of trusting God is robbing you of peace, contentment, and is keeping you from the joyful, fulfilled life that you long for. Overcoming the fear of trusting God begins with a recognition of who God is—having a true understanding that he is much smarter than you are, cares about you and loves you, and desires to give you good gifts. This leads you to understand that the only sensible thing to do is to abandon yourself to his care and trust him completely in every area of your life.

God does not negotiate with us. We come his way—through Jesus Christ—or we don’t come at all. But once you really comprehend how totally trustworthy God is, you will be glad to yield to his lordship. It takes the monkey off your back: You are no longer responsible for managing your own destiny. Someone far more qualified is now in charge—the God of all ages—and you can be absolutely sure that his plan for your life will be better than your own.

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The Fear of Trusting God

Jun 21, 2017

PROGRAM D-7863

Do you believe that the God we Christians worship, the God of the Bible, is the only true God; that he has all power and authority; that he has all wisdom and knowledge; that he is holy and perfect and does not make mistakes? Certainly, this is what the Bible tells us, but do you truly believe God is like that?

It may be that you have given intellectual consent to the Bible’s teaching about God, but your belief has never become a gripping reality in your everyday life.

If you are convinced that God’s character, power, and personality are as stated, the next important issue to understand is how this God feels about you. After all, you are but a speck in this great mass of humanity—do you make any difference to God?

Let me remind you of a few Scriptures which tell how God feels about you individually. Matthew 10:30 tells us “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Every time you brush your hair and see the hairs in your brush or on the floor, you should be reminded that God has just recomputed all those lost hairs, and he’s keeping a running total at all times! Who else would care how many hairs are on your head? We read that he cares about worthless, colorless sparrows and knows each one that falls to the ground. Can you not believe God cares even much more about you?

We read in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Did you know that God delights in you and sings over you? Isn’t that incredible?

There are many passages in the Bible that tell us clearly that the God of all the universe cares about each of us individually, knows us intimately, and wants only his highest and best for us. His plans for you are good plans.

If you’re with me this far—if you believe that God has all power, wisdom, knowledge, and authority and, in addition, he loves you and cares about your good—here’s the next logical conclusion that those two principles and beliefs lead to: God’s plans for you are always superior to any other plans. You can trust him and his plans for your life without any hesitation. Not only can you trust him, but it is the only logical thing to do. Why would you want to trust anyone less—even yourself? If your trust is in anyone besides God, you’re settling for so much less than is necessary.

If you’re afraid to trust God, then something must be wrong in either your understanding of who God is or how he feels about you, or your belief is just a head belief and it hasn’t yet changed your heart.

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The Fear of Trusting God

Jun 20, 2017

PROGRAM D-7862

Do you find it difficult to truly trust God with all aspects of your life? I believe this fear of trusting God is very real with many Christians. It was with me for ten years: I refused to allow the Lord to control my life because I was afraid he would punish me for past failures or take my life in a direction that would be miserable and make me unhappy.

I’ve discovered in the many years since how foolish I was to fail to trust God, and I’ve begun to understand that I didn’t trust him because I didn’t clearly understand the nature of God. When we have a clear understanding of who God is as Scripture tells us, we really have two simple options—to believe it or not to believe it. If we believe God is who he says he is, trusting him becomes the only logical thing to do. Nothing else makes any sense. To fail to trust him is to say, by our actions, that God cannot be who he says he is; it is, in effect, to say that he is not trustworthy.

What are these basic characteristics of God that should lead us to trust him? We learn from Scripture that our God is the only God. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord says, “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one” (Isaiah 44:6,8). So first, we understand that we are worshipping the true and only God.

Secondly, we need to understand his power. He is the Creator of all that ever existed. He said, “I am the Lord, the maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself. . . .” (Isaiah 44:24). God spoke and the worlds came into being, created out of nothing.

The Psalmist said, “I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths” (Psalm 135:5-6).

Thirdly, our God is holy and perfect. He does not make mistakes.

Can you honestly say that you believe the God you worship is the only God, the Creator, all-powerful and wise, holy and perfect, and that he makes no mistakes? Please don’t glibly answer that question; give it some thought. If you say that you do indeed believe God is who he says he is, it leads to some inevitable conclusions and decisions you must make.

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The Fear of Trusting God

Jun 19, 2017

PROGRAM D-7861

What do you think is the underlying predominant reason that so many Christians today are not living victorious lives and are not effective for Jesus Christ? Why are so many of us consumed with fear and anxiety, with doubt and despair? Think about it for a minute.

As I look back over my life and observe many others, I’ve come to this conclusion: The basic problem many of us Christians have is that we’re afraid to trust God. True, we’ve accepted Christ and his salvation, but to trust God with every aspect of our lives strikes fear in our hearts. Because of this, we never know the triumphant, joy-filled life God has intended for us.

For ten years in my own life, I fought the Lordship of Jesus Christ, ran my own show, and wasted precious opportunities for God because I was consumed by this fear of trusting God. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but later I realized that underneath my rebellion against God’s control in my life was a basic fear that I couldn’t trust him.

Could that be where you are right now, scared to death to really, totally trust God? Are you hanging on to the controls of your life as if to say that you think you can engineer the circumstances and events of your life better than God can?

What I finally had to face was that my fear of trusting God was a result of my misconceptions of God’s character and nature, and of his intentions and motivation. I was operating under the fear that God would punish me for past failures by depriving me of future happiness, and I was afraid he would direct me in paths that I did not want to take!

I’ve come to understand that fear of trusting God is simply sin—the sin of unbelief. There really is no greater sin against the Holy God than to treat him as though he cannot be trusted.

Through various events, God began to break through to me. In the years since, I’ve begun to learn to trust God. What changes! What a transformation has occurred in my life! I look back and wonder, “Why did I not trust him sooner?!”

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No One Is in Your Life by Accident – Part II

Jun 17, 2017

W-1680-Part II

Life would be easy if we didn’t have to deal with people! Would you agree with that? People are the sandpaper of our lives. Far more than any other single thing we deal with, people cause more difficulties and are less controllable than anything else. Yet life would be boring, lonely, and unfulfilled if we didn’t have lots of people in our lives.

We all have two types of relationships in our lives: covenant relationships and contractual relationships. Having previously examined covenant relationships, I will now look at the other kind of relationships we have—contractual relationships.

Contractual Relationships

The contractual relationships of our lives are those which, though sometimes important, can indeed be filled by someone else. Our role is an important part of their lives, but guess what—if we walked out tomorrow, somehow they’d survive without us. For example, your church is a vital part of your life; however, when it’s time for you to move on to another church or another job in the church, someone else will come along to fill your role.

We owe a lot to our contractual relationships, but they should never have as high of a priority in our lives as our covenant relationships do. If we get the priorities reversed, it can cause a great deal of harm and stress.

Do you have some really good friends—the kind who build your faith and encourage you in the Lord? I hope so. Those good friends are not in your life by accident. You have a responsibility to them. In Proverbs 17:17 we read, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” A good friend is loyal and is there when things are tough. Have you been that kind of friend?

 At all times includes those times when a friend may not be giving us what we need in the relationship. But if we’re the friend we should be, we will love at all times, even when it is not reciprocated. At all times includes the middle of the night, or in the midst of a busy schedule. Can you think of some good friends who need a listening ear or a helping hand? It’s not an accident that God has put you in their lives to help them.

In Romans 12:15, we see where we are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Do you know a friend going through a rough time? Perhaps you are there in their life to cry with them. Maybe you have a friend who has just had something wonderful happen. Have you celebrated with that friend? This is your responsibility; this is one reason they’re in your life.

In Proverbs 27:6 we read, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted. . . .” That sounds strange, doesn’t it? A good friend wouldn’t wound us, would they?

My friend was telling me of a woman in her Bible study who was complaining that God didn’t seem very close to her anymore; she couldn’t pray like she used to. She kept talking in these vague generalities, so my friend, Nancy, continued probing with love and gentleness. Finally, this woman confessed that there was an area in her life where she was being disobedient to God. The next day she called Nancy and said, “Thank you for not letting me get by with my weak excuses and forcing me to face myself. I didn’t like it at the time, but I needed to get that out in the open.”

Nancy wounded her, gently and with great love and concern, but in so doing she helped her to get things right with the Lord and restore fellowship with him. Now, you have to earn your right to be a friend who wounds. We can do great damage to a friendship if we do this kind of thing in the wrong way at the wrong time. I have friends who have earned their right to be a friend who wounds, and how I thank God for those friends! Those are wounds that can be trusted.

Think about your good friends today and ask this question: What is my purpose in their lives right now, and what is their purpose in mine? They’re not in your life by accident!

I well remember when I had a very difficult boss in my life; all I could think about was how quickly I might find another job and get out of there. For one year I tried my best to “fly away and be at rest,” as the Psalmist puts it, but nothing worked. Finally, that inner voice of God’s Spirit clearly said to me, “You’re here for a purpose.”

I thought, What purpose could be served by working for this very difficult, humiliating, and intimidating man? But I began to pray differently: “Lord, I believe that no one is in my life by accident. I accept this difficult boss. Please help me to see him through your eyes.”

What a difference it made when I finally stopped rebelling against him being in my life and truly accepted it for some good, good which I could neither see nor understand at the time. But now I can tell you that the next two years I worked for him prepared me to be self-employed, which in turn enabled me to start and run this ministry. Over the past thirty-three years, God has chosen to grow this ministry from one station to over 400, and I could have never done that without the freedom of being self-employed. God was using this difficult man to prepare me for his work, though it is only in retrospect that I can now see that.

Who is that difficult person in your life? Can you trust God that he has that person there for some good reason? Can you put that person in a different frame—a positive frame—and start praying for that person? When you do, God is then able to work miracles for you and turn that pain into gain for you.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Paul gives some practical instructions for us as to how we should treat three specific kinds of people: “Warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak.”

Idleness is never acceptable to God. Ecclesiastes 10:18 says, “If a person is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks.” Idleness leads to disaster.

Are there some idle people in your life? If so, ask God to give you an appropriate opening to lovingly warn them of this problem. If you can help them overcome that tendency, you will be doing them a great favor. Physical laziness will lead to deterioration of assets and property, loss of income, and loss of jobs or career opportunities. Spiritual idleness will lead to moral failure, loss of fellowship with the Lord, and lost opportunities to do eternally significant things. Those idle people are not in your life by accident. It could be that the Lord wants you to warn them of the dangers of idleness.

Timidity can be very painful. Frequently timid people avoid contact with others simply to eliminate the uncomfortableness they often feel around other people. You’ll notice they hang back in a group, are reluctant to say anything, and are often the last to come and the first to leave a function. They appear to be loners, and many times people leave them alone because they think they want to be alone. In fact, they may even claim that they prefer to be alone.

But often deep inside they are longing for someone who will be persistent enough to get to know them and to include them in the group. We can encourage those who are timid by watching out for them, learning to include them, and trying to make them comfortable in our presence.

Psalm 41:1 says, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” And Psalm 82:3 states, “Defend the weak and fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”

Who are the weak whom we are supposed to help? First, those who are weak in body. God is honored when we help those who physically can’t do everything for themselves like we can. As I watched my mom and dad in their latter years before going to be with Jesus, I gained a new appreciation for those who are there for the weak and helpless. What a ministry that is.

Most of us have someone in our lives who fits that category. How much do we do for those who are physically weak? We can visit nursing homes, help handicapped we see in public areas, offer to go shopping for someone who is elderly, just to mention a few. Help those who are physically weak.

The weak are also those who are poor. That means giving some money to people who have less than we do. I imagine you can think of someone right now who fits that description. Why not give them some money? It doesn’t have to be a large amount, but give them something. You’ll be greatly blessed.

I remember when a friend in our Sunday school class was out of work and needed money to move. We had been praying that God would send her the money, and at church that day she was sharing her need with a friend in a conversation. Someone else overheard her and, even though they didn’t know her, that person wrote her a check to cover her moving costs. Right there on the spur of the moment, she reached out a helping hand to one who was temporarily financially weak. I am certain she was even more blessed than my friend who received the money.

In Romans 14:1 we are told to “accept the one whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” The person who is weak in faith is not a second-class Christian. This is the first thing we need to understand. How easy it is for us to judge those who are weak in faith instead of to help them. We can help those who are weak in their faith more by example than we can by words. Love them, don’t condemn them. Pray for them, and then watch God work some miracles.

I hope you’ll remember the title of this message: No One Is in Your Life by Accident. When you start to believe that, God is going to show you marvelous reasons why he has put people into your life. You’ll be able to accept the difficult relationships much better, and appreciate the good ones so much more. You will find yourself reaching out to many people with the encouragement that God has given to you.

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