This week, I received several phone calls concerning problems which have surrounded friend’s lives.  The horrific circumstances don’t seem fair or just.  My friends are faced with problems that don’t appear to have any answers.

We’ve all been there.  Most of us don’t walk from these times with our heads raised high.  In fact, I wish I could remember the advice I gave them today the next time I’m walking through a deep valley of despair.  I shared with my friends that often God’s plan for our lives isn’t readily visible to us until years later.  It was good advice and I truly believe what I said.

However, the problem with problems is that problems are often so overwhelming that the problem is all that I can see.  Faith, trust and God’s love for me are thrown quickly out the window as I stew in unbelief and piercing pain.

An additional problem with problems is that loneliness accompanies the tossing away of our belief in a good and loving Lord.  Once you have tasted the love of God, there is not a more debilitating pain than trying to survive without the assuring knowledge of God’s love.

Slowly, we emerge from the fog of our problems back into the arms of our Lord and Savior.  Years ago, I read a unforgetable book by a man who had spent years in a Soviet prison.  As a Christian pastor, he was imprisoned as a lunatic.  He was treated with mind-altering drugs.  The book contained letters that were written during his time in this drugs-induced imprisonment.

I don’t remember the name of the author but I remember one sentence that he wrote.  He said that many of the things he wrote while in prison weren’t theologically correct.  Many were written through drugged, fear-filled nightmarish days.  “However,” he said, “the important thing is not how I felt during the time of my imprisonment.  The important thing is that I loved Jesus when I went into prison and I loved Jesus when I came out.”

Often the problem with problems is that we believe that we are the doubting, fearful people without understanding that we were drugged by fear and doubt.  We cannot accept that the important thing is that we loved Jesus when we faced an awful circumstance; and we still love Jesus when as we walk through the other side.  What we say or think in the middle is not significant.  The beginning and the ending are the important thing.

Depression and fear strike all of us.  Who is your Savior when you enter the battle?  Who is your Savior when you emerge from the war?

God’s Plan is to Save You from Evil

Genesis 14:13

 

Central Theme:  God’s plan is to save you from evil.

Introduction—Show something that represents evil to you.  It could be a picture of a movie poster or a toy gun.  Anything that you feel represents evil.  After showing the object or picture, explain that part of God’s plan for you is to save you from things that are evil.  (I showed a very ugly chick mask that my son had sent to my husband for Father’s Day.)  Have a member read Exodus 14:13.

 

       I.     There are several problems with evil.

 

              A. It may be that evil doesn’t always look ugly. 

                   1.  Some things that are really evil look like fun.

              2.  You see T-shirts all the time with ugly evil faces and people are wearing them.  They obviously don’t think that they are evil looking.  So evil may not look like evil.

          B. Or if you know it is evil, evil makes us afraid.

              1.  When you are afraid, you don’t want to take action.

              2.  You are paralyzed and cannot move, think or do the right thing.

      II.     Tell about how the children of Israel were leaving Egypt and Pharaoh’s army came after them.  They were facing the Red Sea on one side and the Army of Pharaoh on the other side.  When Moses and Israel were faced with the evil of Egypt‘s army,

          A. They knew they were faced with evil.

              B. They were paralyzed and did not know how to take action.

                   1.  They begged Moses, “What are we going to do?”

                   2.  Moses said, “Do not be afraid.  God will save you.”

 

     III.     God’s plan for you is the same as with Israel.

              A. You do not have to be afraid.

              B. You can trust God to save you—every time.

 

Conclusion–God’s plan is to always save you from evil.  Do not be afraid.  Look to Jesus for he will drown your enemy if you will trust him.

Who Me?  I’m not a scared

Mark 4:39 and 40

Central Theme:  Jesus releases us from fear.

 

Introduction

       1.     Think about the time that you were the most afraid.

       2.     There was a time that I was afraid of everything.

       3.     Jesus taught we that I do not have to be afraid.

       4.     If you have ever been afraid and there was no reason, you are not the only person. 

       5.     Have a member read Mark 4:39 and 40.

 

       I.     Jesus said to his followers that they had not need to fear because he was with them.

 

              A. Jesus wants us to trust him, just like he wanted his disciples to trust him.

              B. Most of the time when we are afraid, we do not need to fear.

              C. I had a bad dream the other night about my son’s family.  I had fear but there was not need to fear.

                   1.  I needed to trust and pray–not fear

 

      II.     If you look at fear you will understand why Jesus rebuked his followers for being afraid.

              A.  Fear makes you so concerned you cannot think about anything other than what you are afraid of.

                    1.  I know of a lady, name Hazel who was afraid that Susan, who gave her a ride to home from church, wouldn’t take her home because Susan had to make two trips.  Hazel was in the second trip.

                    2.  She kept asking, “Is she coming back for me?”

                    3.  She could not think of anything but her fear.

                    4.  She said, “I not coming back because Susan left me.”

              B. If you are afraid, you cannot do your work.

                   1.  Some times I get afraid that I will not get my work done.

                   2.  That does not make me a better worker but a worse worker.

              C. Fear makes you believe things that are not true.

                   1.  My friend Hazel really believed Susan was not coming back   for her.

                   2.  She would not listen to reason.

 

     III.     Fear can be our greatest enemy.

 

Conclusion–Jesus told his disciples that they did not have to be afraid of the storm.  The storm was real they just did not have to fear it.