Sermons

Summary: The only way out of the wilderness in to be lifted up and out in the power of God.

We Americans have a common problem. Most of us want to be self-sufficient, have a plan and a backup plan with a backup plan and always be right. We have to be in control. We are told all our life to be this way. Either we make it happen or suck it up and either way we have exercised some level of control.

Most of us still prefer to give than receive because receiving is perceived as indication of a weakness in our abilities and to some people their character. I have known people who did not want charity or resisted almost to the last breath before giving in and receiving it. Oddly, charity in the Bible means love so they were fighting against receiving love.

Yes, we are changing some into a more give me, give me society. We have gone from “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country” mentality to the exact opposite. Still there are many who will give you the shirt off of their back and go hungry before they will ask for help.

Rugged individualism, initiative and personal accountability are good traits in and of themselves but can be overdone. Frontier life was tough and those qualities helped transform the country, but people put as much or more faith in God than their own abilities. They saw what they had as God-given and sought Him for direction and blessing. That outlook as changed drastically since WWII. We trust in many other things, but mostly ourselves as the masters of our destiny.

More and more we are finding that we are not very good masters of our destiny. As the Bible predicted we are seeing more and more people dying of fear. Heart failure is not only the blood pump that is predicted. Negative stress is often rooted in fear since two people can undergo the same situation and intensity with one improvising, adapting and overcoming and the other dying of heart failure though not presenting any of the markers.

People lose heart as well. Suicides are abounding from fear. Some fear the environment and think they should check out rather than suffering from their perceived issues of global collapse that are not grounded in fact. Some have been so bullied they fear to go back to school or face life. Some fear economic collapse. Some fear debilitating diseases they do not have just because it is something that can happen to an older person. I just read of a double suicide because they were afraid they had the Corona virus, which upon autopsy it was found that they did not. Their heart to go on failed for fear. Some lose a loved one and fear they cannot go on so they commit suicide rather than allowing the grief process to carry them on. Myriads of things people fear are causing them to lose heart.

2 Corinthians 1:8  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 

9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 

10  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 

11  Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 

Someone once asked if I wanted be a pastor because of the prestige of it. I laughed and asked him what decade he was living in. There was a time when prestige was available if you were a pastor, but these days often you have a target on your chest and back as you catch flack coming and going with much of it being “friendly fire” from those who should be on fire from God for ministry rather than trying to fire you.

Often we read the Word and we see all the wonderful things that were done by the Apostles and we think it would be grand to be like them. As a new Christian, I asked to be like Peter and Paul. I was looking at the great things they did not realizing that along with that there were plenty of not so desirable things in their lives. Had I really paid attention to Paul’s resume in 2 Corinthians 11 and how most of the Apostles died and suffered before they died I might not have made the prayer request or entered the ministry. Think about that if you want to be a minster only if you think it will be without issues. It is not all prosperity and peace.

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