Getting Fearless

Our Bible Study is at it again.  Reading Fearless by Max Lucado, we have all been examining our lives in new lights.  

Before beginning our book study, Melissa played an excerpt from her pastor’s sermon last week.  After retelling the story of Jairus and his daughter, he said, “If you impose your sense of time on Jesus, you will never truly feel loved, and it will mainly be your fault.”  He highlighted the fact that God knows best, and we don’t often see how something may be good for us in the long run.  ”If something seems unconscionable, then you can put all the pastors in the world together, and God still could still be working on something no one would ever know, all going on behind the scenes, in his wisdom and timing.  Jesus is trying to say, ‘Look at me.  Trust me. I know what I’m doing.’”

Last night, this is what I got out of our chapters, 4-6:

  • Keep every thought captive until you know if it’s a good or a bad one. Squelch the bad ones.
  • We have a choice of whether or not let a thought become worry.  We crave the feeling of control, the selfish thinking that it’s all about me, my control, how I can handle this.
  • We should have no concern for what is out of our control.
  • Matthew 6.25-34:  25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
     
    Jesus is telling us that life is more than worrying, He reasons that God values you, He reminds us that worry has no purpose, and God knows our every need anyways.
  • John 6.1-13: 1 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
    It was the all-familiar the miracle of the loaves and the fishes…the feeding of the 5000. How did Jesus use the disciples’ predicament to expand their spiritual vision?  It was almost like Jesus was just trying to tell them, Hey guys, I can provide.  Verse 6 reminds us that trials are tests, and God has a purpose behind each one.  He knows what He’s doing whether we have a clue or not.
  • John 15.7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Remember, He is the vine, and we are the branches.  In that mentality, we abide or remain in Jesus by remaining faithful, truthful, and mindful, ever drawing from the Vine.  He makes us a promise in this Scripture, and we need to realize that His ways are higher, His plan is better.  If our heart is in the right place, our desires are likely in line.
  • This is a POWERFUL acronym to face fear, thanks to Max Lucado. Just remember to be PEACEFUL
    P ray, first (1 Peter 5.7)
    E asy, now
    A ct on it
    C ompile a worry list
    E valuate your worry categories
    F ocus on today
    U nleash a worry army
    L et God be enough
     
  • Genesis 22.1-18, Hebrews 11.19 Just think on this – What do you think of God’s test of Abraham? How do you think he tests you regarding your children?  What conviction allowed Abraham to successfully pass this difficult test (Hebrews 11.19)?  Do we put this much faith [and trust] in the promise of God?  Read those 18 verses.  Really read them.  Picture this scenario in your head – a man promised to have a child had a child at an old age, with a promise that from this seed shall come many nations.  Then God says, “Hey Abraham, you need to take your only son Isaac to the mountain and make him a sacrifice for me.”  Rewind.  What?!  But what about God promising Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age?  Isaac was the promise.  How could so many seed come from their only son if he was dead?  What in the world would Sarah say she Abraham came back from the mountain without his son, only a story to tell.  Did Isaac battle, or did he know to be obedient to God?  Of course we all know God was just testing Abraham – yes, in a drastic, near appalling way – yet Abraham came through as Gold.  So back to the question -What conviction allowed Abraham to successfully pass this difficult test? (Hebrews 11.19 : Read the prefacing content as well: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.)? Do you use this much faith in the promises of God?  Honestly, sometimes we don’t.  But we have no reason not to.  Work on that.
  • Max Lucado tells us that In storms, Jesus does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention. I love this one because on a personal note, I may or may not have a liver tumor, every day I wait for a transplant, my abilities are limited, and I just don’t feel like quite a winner right now.  But I have to flip through my Bible and remember that Jesus did is very best miracles in the very worst of storms.  When we are drowning, sinking fast, we are losing all we have.  When all but our very breath is gone, we are forced to see what has been there all along – Jesus – and focus on Him.  It’s a beautiful, humbling, trusting paring away.  In some situations, all the friends and family and money in the world won’t make it better, but when we are at that point in our lives, Jesus can have our keenest attention to whisper his love into our ears, to gently grasp our open hand and say, “Follow me.”
  • We aren’t oblivious to the overwhelming challenges that life brings.  We’re to counterbalance them with long looks at God’s accomplishments… Do whatever it takes to keep your gaze on Jesus… We need to know what it takes to redirect our vision there, where it should be.
  • FEED YOUR FEARS, AND YOUR FAITH WILL STARVE.  FEED YOUR FAITH, AND YOUR FEARS WILL.
     
  • Jesus could have calmed the storm long ago, too.  But he hasn’t.  Does he also want to teach you a lesson?  Could that lesson read something like this: “Storms are not an option, but fear is”?  Jesus stopped Jairus – in his haste to have his daughter healed – to heal and minister to the woman with the issue of blood.  By the time Jesus finished with her and went with Jairus to his home, Jairus’ little daughter was dead.  ”What must have you been thinking Lord?! The woman was sick for a dozen years, what would have an extra day been? My daughter was dying.  You knew that!”  Yes Jesus did know that.  But he also knew that God’s power  could raise the girl from the dead, and he showed that.  Would Jairus have believed his daughter would be dead when he got home?  Probably not.  Did Jairus start to panic when he got home and saw it was, in his mind, too late?  Probably.  Look at Lazarus, dead 4 days when Jesus finally arrived to his grieving friends, Martha and Mary.  ”Surely Lord…??”  How many times to we ask that.  How many times do we scream at the timing of the Lord and tell him He’s got it all wrong?
  • Matthew 28.28-20:  18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. How does Jesus describe His position in v18?  What promise does Jesus give us in v20?  How should this help us battle our fear?  No matter what, we know that God is here.  Jesus promised, I am with you always.
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