Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Abraham because of a spiritual panic attack moves to Egypt. You always bring back mementos of your time in Egypt, good and bad. Abraham found God was faithful even when he wasn't. But he also brought Hagar back with him, a bad example to his wife and Lot.

A Spiritual Panic Attack

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Experts say that anxiety and panic, to a certain extent, are a necessary part of our survival. But a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. It is caused by a release of adrenaline with no obvious cause. Adrenaline is the fight or flight hormone.

I want to talk about a different type of panic attack, not a medical disorder, but a life event that if you don't man up and overcome it, it will cause you unnecessary suffering.

You will miss opportunities.

You will live in the land of cannot instead of the land of I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

You will develop an attitude that avoids challenges.

What you feed grows, what you starve dies. Don't nurture your fears.

Many Christians lost their cutting edge when they ran from a risky situation, and then until something happens they become runners. David faced a lion and a bear that attacked his sheep he successfully fought them off, and they prepared him for the day he faced the giant. Most people if a lion attacked a sheep would simply send back a report to dad, "sorry dad, we lost a lamb today." You see there is always an element of danger if you are going to step out in faith.

If we use tithing as an example, there will come a day where you may have to make a choice between paying tithes or some other bill. You may face a spiritual panic attack about the situation. Faith is not the absence of fear, but stepping out despite fear.

When your finances are threatened tithing is the first thing some people stop doing and it should be the last.

Let me tell you why, it creates a cyclical problem, and money is the least of the giants you will face in your life. The real issue is not the money, but how you train yourself to deal with threats, running, and not doing what God wants you to do is not the right answer.

Or you may feel like you are supposed to go on a Missions trip, but you don't have enough money in the bank now to pay for it. That is called stepping out in faith. When Jesus called Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water with him, do you think the water looked like concrete or pavement? No it looked just like water had always looked, every other day of that fisherman's life. He had to trust God that the impossible would happen.

A few minutes later, you know the story, Peter looked at the winds and waves, his faith faltered and he began to sink. What do wind and waves have to do with walking on water? Do you think you can walk any better on water when there is no wind or waves? The point is that Peter began to think it was impossible and that is when he sank. To his credit at least it can be said he got out of the boat, the other 11 did not. It would be a truly sad truth if that example illustrated a principle that only 8.5% of God's people will ever really step out in faith. (1/12 = 8.5%) Living by faith, means taking risks, and trusting God when circumstances strongly suggest otherwise.

Consider the contrasting lives of these two groups of people:

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Pr 28:1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

I want to talk for a moment on the power of a threat, then we will look at the life of Abraham, and observe the effects of yielding to a threat, and finally how to get back to the place of overcoming in the place of threats.

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Ps 78:9 The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, [Yet] they turned back in the day of battle.

They were archers, they were armed, they turned back in the day of battle. The Iraqi's ran and abandoned their vehicles in the first gulf war. The unfortunate truth is that at the first sight of trouble, many Christians also run, and quit and cry. I like the words of the old hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers,"... "Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose." The idea is that your faith/courage should rise to the level and beyond of the trouble you are facing. We shouldn't be turning tail and running. We shouldn't be intimidated to tell others of Christ. We shouldn't turn back in the day of battle, yet many do.

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