Category Archives: Biblical Insights

I am Not a Hostage

What if God is more interested in what He can change in you through your situation than in changing your situation.

Our chains can be used to advance the kingdom and bring others to Christ. We grow the most and learn to empathize in our place of hardship. If everything were easy we wouldn’t be pushed to grow.

Some of the stuff happening in your life doesn’t feel good that feels, like it may take you out.

Paul said it looks like I am chained to these guards, but they are actually chained to me. He sees how God is using his difficult situation to minister to the guards.

Paul says I have been put here and that am not a hostage to what I feel or what I want. I am out here for the defense of the gospel. He was put there by people as a punishment, but God used it for good.

Stop worrying about stuff that God has already worked out. If he is going to stay up on the night shift, we might as well get some rest and trust that He has everything under control. We must walk by faith not by sight.

Paul says not only am I not a hostage to what I feel, to my plans or expectations, but I am a weapon to be used by God to advance the gospel. The important thing is that the message of Christ’s love and redeeming power is preached and that the purpose of God is advanced.

Whatever you define as the important thing in your life will define your joy. If it is your personal success, wealth, or what others think of you, than those things will define your joy. They will not for fill you in the way serving God will.

Philippians 1:12-26

Advertisements

Hope from the Bottom

In the pit of our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, we were at our very bottom. We know the feelings expressed in

2 Corinthians 1:8–9

“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God.” The verse goes on to say, “God … alone could save us … and we expect him to do it again and again.” The penalty for our sins was paid in full by Jesus on the cross. The hope of a new life is freedom from our bondage!

Hope in the Dark

WAITING ON GOD

THREE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE HURTING

1) LISTEN

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he [God] will say to me … Habakkuk 2:1

wp-1534741272274.jpg

2) WRITE

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets …” Habakkuk 2:2

wp-1534741570473.jpg

3) WAIT

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingerwait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”Habakkuk 2:3

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slowdo not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” Habakkuk 2:3 TLB

wp-1534741650175.jpg

  • If it’s not God’s time, you can’t force it!
  • When it is God’s time, you can’t stop it!

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—”Habakkuk 2:4

wp-1534741820706.jpg

But the Lord is in his holy temple. …” Habakkuk 2:20 NLT

wp-1534741989179.jpg

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.
Experience the Scriptures referenced in today’s message and much more by downloading the free YouVersion Bible App for your smartphone or tablet at www.bible.com/app.

  • What’s it like for you to wait and listen for God to respond to your pain? What could you do to make more room for listening?
  • What are some answers God has given you in the past that you can write down as an anchor for the future?
  • Share about a time in your life when you either waited on God or tried to force His timing. What did you learn?
  • Let Pastor Craig lead your conversation: www.life.church/groups

Worry & Anxiety

Do you worry? Most of us do, and yet Jesus tells us very clearly we have nothing to worry about. In fact, He tells us it is counterproductive! We don’t need to worry because we know how our story will end. If our hope is assured (see Heb 11:1), we shouldn’t be concerned about the sorrows of today or tomorrow. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow,” said Corrie Ten Boom; “it empties today of its strength.”

How do we protect ourselves from worry? The answer is faith. When our hearts are fixed on God, we see life from an eternal viewpoint. We are able to put God’s goals first. The question we must keep asking is, “Where is my heart?” If my heart is fixed on worldly things, I will always worry because the world’s treasures are uncertain. If my heart is fixed on God, I will rest in His power and strength.

Great faith can cancel out worry.

The Answer to Anxiety Rejoices in God’s Plans

The Bible is clear that God’s people deal with anxiety. The Psalmist acknowledges that even when the Lord is your hope, the cares will still be many! All through Psalms and Proverbs there are acknowledgments that God’s people know what it is to have cares in our hearts.

It is humility that brings hope to the anxious heart, and this humility that brings relief from anxiety rests in God’s gracious and good plans.

Can you be confident that He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you?

God is described by Peter as the God of all grace. I don’t deserve for the Lord to take care of me in such a way that, at all times, it is something good that is being worked out in the details of my life.

And yet that is what He does. Because He is gracious and good, I can have this confidence – whatever suffering I am going through is temporary. Even if it is for a lifetime, it is still a little while.

What awaits us is eternal glory in Christ – who will Himself restore us, confirm us, strengthen us and establish us.

The Old Testament book of Job tells us of a man who lost everything. We know that the Lord was using his faithfulness to demonstrate to Satan that Job’s reverence for the Lord wasn’t dependent on the things in his life that he had been given.

We read about this purpose of God’s in Job’s life, but Job lived it – he didn’t have the book of Job to tell him of the things that we know by reading in Scripture.

Amazingly, due to God’s work in his heart, he was able to say that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” – but “blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job was able to say, “I trust Him.”

You humble yourself when you acknowledge God’s sovereignty and rejoice in it. You must be willing to admit that He has the power and the right to do what He will do. Whether this looks like giving or taking away in your life, you must be willing to say this to Him with a heart of praise.

This is not fatalism or resignation, but praise.

We have not humbled ourselves until God’s sovereignty is sweet to us.

Do you rejoice in the knowledge that you are not in control, but He is?

Will you humble yourself by taking all those things represented in the word anxieties, bag them up, and cast them onto Him, knowing that He cares for you?

If you would like to find out more about this topic, we invite you to listen to the episode of the Straight Truth Podcast called “Answering Anxiety” on YouTube https://youtu.be/gPgK0tbUesc or Vimeo https://vimeo.com/252726922  You can also purchase the book “Answering Anxiety” by Richard Caldwell

The Greatest Counselor

wp-1534251128688.jpg
In times of struggle, we often seek a counselor — a trusted friend or a confidant to talk with about our troubles or from whom we seek guidance and direction. The disciples saw Jesus as their counselor, and were worried when He said He was leaving them. It was then that Jesus promised the ultimate Counselor — the Holy Spirit.

Like the disciples, we are given a Counselor to teach and remind us what Jesus taught (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is available 24/7 and is absolutely free because Jesus paid His “fee”. He gives us the ability to understand our issues from Christ’s perspective and He exposes the false promises of the world. He offers us “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:10-16).

Do you take advantage of the best counselor in heaven or earth? He is available to you when you trust Christ for your salvation.

wp-1534251067432.jpg

 

 

What do you focus on?

From experience, let me tell you that when you set your mind on yourself and when your focus is on earthly things—worldly stuff, chasing bling, popularity, and fame—the inevitable result is worry, anxiety, guilt, envy, greed, unhealthy competition, pride, lust, insecurity, fear, and discouragement.

But when you “set your mind on things above” and when Jesus is your focus and you choose to move through your day with an others-centered focus like he did, then all that other junk gets replaced by hope, confidence, humility, love, laughter, patience, security, and unexplainable peace.

Hope in the Dark

Life Church

HOPE IN THE DARK—1

WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

WHY DOESN’T GOD SEEM FAIR?

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? … Habakkuk 1:2-3

Habakkuk: to embrace or to wrestle.

Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails … Habakkuk 1:3-4

HABAKKUK’S PROBLEMS WITH GOD

1) You don’t seem to really care.

2) You aren’t doing much when you could.

3) What you are doing, doesn’t seem fair.

GOD’S RESPONSE

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5

“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people … 9 they all come intent on violence …” Habakkuk 1:6-7, 9

A committed believer can both WRESTLE with honest questions and EMBRACE a genuine faith in God.

Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? Habakkuk1:12-13

“What if honestly acknowledging your doubts is your first step toward building a deeper faith? What if embracing your secret questions opens the door for a maturing knowledge of God’s character? What if drawing closer to God, developing genuine intimacy with him, requires you to bear something that feels unbearable? To hear him through an ominous utterance, to trust him in the moment of doom, to embrace his strength when you’re weak with a burden? What if it takes real pain to experience deep and abiding hope?”From Hope in the Dark

Talk It Over

Read Habakkuk 1:2-4. Describe a time when you found yourself wrestling with God.

During a time that was (or is) difficult, how did you (or do you) continue to embrace God in the middle of the trial?

Who do you have around you to pray with you and support you? How can they be praying for you right now?

Walk in Truth

Walking in Truth

“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)

This beautiful metaphor, “walking in truth,” is found only in the two one-chapter epistles of John—here in our text, and in 3 John 1:3 and 4.

This principle should indeed characterize our daily lives, since our Lord and Savior is Himself “the truth” (John 14:6), the Word of God that we believe is “truth” (John 17:17), and the Holy Spirit who indwells our bodies is the very “Spirit of truth” (John 15:26).

The New Testament also uses other characteristics of the Christian life under this figure of walking. When a person is born again through faith in Christ and testifies of this by following the Lord in baptism, he or she is said to be raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Then, since the Holy Spirit has come to indwell our bodies, to comfort, guide, and constrain us as needed, we are exhorted to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Furthermore, we are commanded to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). This is not erotic love, of course, or even brotherly love, but unselfish agape love that sacrifices its own interests for the needs of others.

There are still more such exhortations. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). Furthermore, we are to “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7).

All of these and other similar admonitions can be summarized as simply following the example of Christ. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). “He that followeth me,” said Jesus our Lord, “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). HMM

You Say

Lauren Daigle – You Say Lyrics

From the album Look Up Child

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low

Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved

When I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong

When I think I am weak

You say I am held

When I am falling short

When I don’t belong

You say I am Yours

And I believe

I believe

What You say of me

I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet

You have every failure, God, and You’ll have every victory

Oh, I believe

Yes, I believe

What You say of me

Oh, I believe

Publishing: © 2018 See You At The Pub & CentricSongs (SESAC) / So Essential Tunes & Fellow Ships Music (SESAC) / Flychild Publishing & So Essential Tunes (SESAC)

Words and Music by Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury