Fear or Trust: Your Choice

Have you ever been afraid? I was told once that fear is simply: False Evidence Appearing Real. (F.E.A.R.)  There is much truth in that acronym. Most of the things we fear rarely comes to pass. And yet we continue to worry and be afraid. Why do we do this? The Psalmist said, “What time I am afraid I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) Trusting God helps chase away fear. So, what stops us from trusting the Lord more?

Maybe we “fear” because of the number of overwhelming things that are important to us.  We worry about personal issues like family problems, health, finances, and our children. We worry about worldly issue’s like the economy, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, Russia and North Korea. There is no shortage of things to worry about. And when we worry we usually become afraid.

Thank God for the antidote to fear which is “Trust!” Did you know that you cannot Trust God and fear at the same time? Those two things cannot coexist at the same time. One replaces the other. Where one is, the other cannot be. To choose to fear is to choose not to trust.  To choose to trust is to choose not to fear.  It really is that simple.

But how do you learn to trust God?  You must walk with Him. You have to know His Word. You have to apply his principles to your life.  Both trusting and fearing are acquired tastes. You learn both traits over time. The more you trust the less you will fear and the more you fear, the less you will trust.

Life is about making choices. The next time something happens and you must make a choice, choose to trust.  I close with three great scriptures about fear and trust:

  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
  • For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
  • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear must do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18

Today, I choose “trust.”  What about you?

 

Pastor Scott A. Carlson

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Strangers

Have you ever felt that you didn’t belong, that you didn’t fit in?

That is great!  Why? Because you aren’t supposed to belong or fit in.  The apostle Peter urged us to remember we are at best strangers and temporary residents of this world.  In other words, we don’t belong here. And if we don’t belong here, we need to stop trying to fit in.  Jesus even said in His prayer in John 17 that we are not of this world. So why then do we try so hard to belong and to fit in?

An amazing thing happens when a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ.  His residency changes. God changes our address and this place called earth is no longer called our home. We have become new creations, the past is gone, everything is made new!

I wonder how Daniel and his three friends felt when they were escorted off to Babylon? They were to never see their homes again. Yet they knew they didn’t belong in Babylon.  And even though the King tried to get the young men to adapt to their new environment, the boys from Jerusalem would not compromise.  They never forget who they were and whose they were.  They were strangers in a distant land, but more importantly they were citizens of their heavenly calling.

Even when they spent time in the Lion’s den or the fiery furnace, they were not alone.  Jesus was with them. And Jesus is also with you. Maybe you feel like a stranger in this world.  Honestly, that is a good thing. God is still reminding his children that they do not belong to this earth. You have been called to a higher calling and a more pure residency.

During the month of September, I will be preaching a 4-part series entitled, “Strangers.” We will be looking at the calling and service of four very special young men who would not compromise their faith. How do you stay faithful to God in a hostile world? How to stay faithful to God when home seems so far away? The mini-series will answer these questions.

In the meantime, stop trying to fit in! You belong to another world!!

Pastor Scott

 


Stuck In A Rut? (A study in the book of Malachi)

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? I sure have. And then I realized, “My truck has four-wheel drive.” After I put it in gear… I was free.

Wouldn’t life be grand if God made us to be 4-wheel drive compatible in life?

Well, in a sense He has. Before sin came into the world we had this capability, but ever since the fall of man we have been at a disadvantage. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God like it was before the fall. But even with our new nature, we often still find ourselves stuck in ruts spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. How do you get unstuck? Often people find themselves in a spiritual rut. Things that once were exciting, like coming to church, praying, reading their Bibles amongst other spiritual disciplines, now seems like a chore, a drudgery, and even boring. Maybe you find yourself in such a position.

Beginning Sunday, July 30th – August 20th we will be going through the book of Malachi to get answers on how to get unstuck. Following the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel became a divided nation. The Northern tribes called themselves Israel while the two southern tribes called themselves Judea. History teaches us that the Northern kingdom was always in turmoil for not following the Lord. Finally, they were conquered and taken away by the evil nation of Assyria around 722 B.C. They never survived as a people. The Southern Kingdom finally fell around 587 BC. They, for the most part, were taken into captivity by the Babylonians during the years 597 to 582 B.C. But God was not through with His people. Around 539 B.C., Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylonia. About one year following that victory he gave the Jewish people permission to begin returning to their homeland of Judea. God sent several prophets to the people at that time, like Haggai and Zechariah. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament tell about the hundred-year period that followed the time of the exile. Sometime between 500 and 450 B.C. a priest named Ezra encouraged the people to return to their Jewish traditions and to obey the Law of Moses. He went so far as to force Jewish men to give up their foreign wives (Ezra 9,10).

The final prophet of the Old Testament era was Malachi and he ministered during the 5th Century. Most believe that his book was written around 430 B.C. So in reality, Malachi ministered not so much to those who returned from exile but more to the children and grandchildren of the people who returned from exile. What a difference a generation or two makes! Here was the generation of promise. They didn’t know the struggle of their parents and grandparents. Nothing could stop them…except maybe themselves. Soon after the deaths of the former generation they once again started taking God for granted and began to purse their own selfish desires. The prophet Malachi gave strongly warned them to avoid being spiritually stuck and called them back to an authentic walk with God. In this very short 4-Part series, I will lead us in some practical ways to revive our personal walk with the Lord. Instead of trying to get what our parents and grandparents once had, let’s look up and see what our Father in Heaven has for us. Our greatest days of faith are just ahead.

Until the whole world hears,
Pastor Scott