Moving forward beyond FEAR
The Extraordinary Life
Weekly Devotional Email
For Sunday, January 29, 2017
John 10:10 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Dear Church Family,
All of us are broken.
All of us are broken in one way or another. Whether that brokenness shows itself in our family, in our relationships, in our financial situation, in our emotional state…we are all broken. What God would want us to consider is that in our brokenness the road to comfort goes through pain and grief.
We carry hurts, we carry betrayals, we carry burdens…and all of this carrying can be downright devastating. What can happen over a period of time is that when we carry this burden for so long, we then begin to identify with our burden rather than our Savior. And then oftentimes rather than admit that we have pain and grief in our life, we try to escape our burdens.
We try to escape through food because this pain and grief make me feel so bad that I’m going to indulge in a galloon of ice cream or overeating when I’m not hungry. We try to escape through gossiping – because it’s easier to talk about others than it is to be vulnerable about ourselves. We try to escape through jealousy – because if I can’t be happy because of pain and grief in my own life, how dare someone else be happy? We try to escape through alcohol or drugs – because this pain and this grief is too great to bear and so I need something to take the edge off, I need something to dull the pain.
Coming face to face with our hurts, our grief, our pain, our mourning leads to comfort.
If you choose to deny the pain in your life, you are choosing to refuse God’s power to help you. Admitting the pain in your life is not admitting that you are losing or that you are a failure or that you’re not cut out for this walk of faith…Admitting the pain in your life is the first step to receiving God’s power and comfort to help you heal.
We will never find healing if we cannot first confront our pain. And, unless you’ve lived a perfect life, it’s a sure thing that you struggle with some kind of issue. The question we have to ask ourselves is how bad does the hurt, relationship, pain or memory have to get before you are ready to face your denial and admit you cannot handle it by yourself? Fyodor Dostoyevsky in his classic ‘Crime & Punishment’ said this “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer to God!”
This Sunday in our study…
This Sunday we address the powerful force of ‘fear’. There is a legend from India that tells about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That took care of his fear.
Until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was content, till one day he met a tiger.
And so, once again, the magician changed him into what he feared.
But when the tiger came complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help.
“I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.”
How many people do you know in your life that have the strong exterior, yet at the heart of it, they tremble inside with fear?
Why is it so hard to give up control of our lives to God? What are we so afraid of? And, how is fear dealt with when living ‘The Extraordinary Life’?
Max Lucado tells of a small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of Jesus. Behind a high altar in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit by silver lamps. You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient church. You can also enter the quiet cave where a star embedded in the floor recognizes the birth of the King. There is one stipulation, however.
You have to stoop.
The door is so low you can’t go in standing up. The same is true of the Christ. You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savor, you have to get on your knees.
The pathway to The Extraordinary Life…
Jesus gives us the pathway to this life in His sermon on the mount. This week we focus on Matthew 5:5.
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Bible Verses we’ll study together on Sunday…
Isaiah 44:22 NLT
I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.
Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV)
36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
I John 4:4 (NLT)
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
I John 4:18 (NIV)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Questions for Personal Growth and Discovery…
- Are there any significant fears in your life? What are they?
- Typically, how do you try to get over your fears?
- How would you define ‘meek’?
- Is meekness the same as weakness? Why or why not?
- When was the last time you trusted God with a scenario in your life? What steps did you have to take in order to trust Him fully?
Making the most of this study…
As we continue this study here are some ways to make the most of this study:
- Read Matthew 5:1-12 daily over the next few weeks.
- Memorize our theme verse for this new study listed above (John 10:10 NIV).
- Prepare your heart for next Sunday’s message with this weekly devotional email (if this was forwarded to you by a friend or loved one and you would like to be included, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office).
- Have questions during this study? Email them to email@example.com or text them to (541) 530-4912.
- Resolve now to be with each Sunday in our study ‘The Extraordinary Life’.
- Pray that God will help us understand the truths found in Matthew 5 that he will enable us to live the extraordinary life that He intends for us to live.
This Sunday I’m praying that God would work in your life!
God bless you!
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