Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

Lessons Learned/Practical Application
by Kimberly Northrup-Vaughn

God has accomplished great deliverance in my life. I still have so far to go, but He has delivered me from the pits.  I praise God for what I have been through because it brought me to such desperation that I was willing to seek God with every ounce of my being in order to find my way out.

From my experiences and the WORD OF GOD I believe that we can all be free. By this I do not mean that we will never again struggle with fear or anxiety or panic attacks. However, I believe completely that this means we do not have to live with these things controlling us or being a controlling factor in lives. We don’t have to live with them hanging over our heads. Why am I so confident of this? Because in His Word God makes it clear that He wants to be the only One that has power over us.

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13)

While this last passage in particular addresses the love of money, the principle remains the same – We can only have one master. If fear and anxiety rule and control us, then are we really allowing God to have control over us?

Jesus also promised that those who gave their lives to Him could have an abundant life.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)

In Jesus we are not meant to simply exist and survive, but we are meant to THRIVE – to be truly alive!

With all of that in mind, here are some practical things I have learned, and I believe these things can help you along on your journey too:

1.  If we go to the Word of God and our anxiety only gets worse (as I’ve heard some of you all say, and as I experienced.), this is not from God.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We have to remember that we have an enemy (Satan) that is looking to discredit the authority or power of God’s Word. He does not want us to be free. So it is only normal that we who are seeking to be free would encounter obstacles of anxiety when we go to God’s Word. After all, if we become free from the power of anxiety in our lives, Satan has a lot to lose and God has a lot of glory to receive.

So don’t let increased feelings of anxiety to stir you away from God’s Word. Instead, let it make you all the more determined – Look into God’s Word until you find peace!

2. The Word of God is SO important to us in our struggles.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) “He sent forth His Word and healed them.” (Psalm 107:20) 

No matter the struggle or issue, all the answers and help we need are in there. We can be familiar with all the stories and verses, but we need to always go back with a heart and mind that are willing to learn something new. The Holy Spirit is always ready to bring us to new levels through the Word, even through verses we have heard a million times.

3. We can’t just be encouraged by the Word – we have to apply it. Not just with areas of anxiety, but also with other areas where we are struggling.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)

When we apply the truth, God shows us over time how He is faithful to accomplish His Word. As we take steps of faith in our lives and see that God remains faithful and true, it encourages us to take more steps.

4. We who are in so much bondage to anxiety and fear need to make the Word our lifeline. Carry Scriptures around with you. Make them always in front of you. Tape them on your cabinets and bathroom mirrors, in your car, or wherever else you will see them frequently.

5. Don’t just focus on Scriptures about anxiety and peace. Focus on Scriptures about God’s character. Like Psalm 145:8-9.  We need to let it sink into our hearts and minds how good and loving and powerful our God is!

6. Find ways to get in-person Christian fellowship. Maybe your first step of faith is inviting someone from your church over to your house to visit you, even if that means them coming to your bedroom, if you are stuck in your bedroom. Even if it’s just a pastor. One of the ways that God shows us His love is through His people. When we experience God’s love, that helps to cast out the fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)

7. We need the body of Christ. Don’t allow pride to keep you from asking for prayers as much as you need it (not just in this group, but with other Christians you know too). Sometimes we’re tempted to think, “Oh they’re sick of hearing from me – they don’t want to hear this.” But that is from the enemy. The Bible makes it very clear that prayer plays a crucial part in certain trials and spiritual battles.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

8. Be desperate and be honest with God.

 “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea.” (Psalm 102:17) To be destitute is to be needy – We show we have great need of God when we go to Him for more than a quick prayer. These quick prayers make Him out to be more like our wish-granter rather than our soul-fulfiller.

9. Ask God for wisdom – in everything.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Stop analyzing things and trying to understand things on your own. Our own wisdom hasn’t exactly put us where we want – we might as well give it up and trust God’s wisdom. It is FAR BETTER than our own!

 “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8&9)

10. “But when he asks (for wisdom), he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6&7) 

Keep on asking God to help your unbelief, as you encounter it. Jesus honored the man that cried out

“‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24)

Be the “persistent widow” (Luke 18:1-8) in asking for the Lord to help your unbelief.

JESUS is the ultimate healer and deliverer. Every single one of us can be FREE, as we allow the blood of Jesus to touch every crevice of who we are!

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(I originally wrote this for our PD-Overcomers group.)

One thing we all have in common in this group is anxiety.  In fact , if you have panic attacks you have extreme anxiety.  Another thing we have in common is that most of us are Christians.

I’ve been asked many times if Christians should have anxiety.  That is a really good question and one I’d like to attempt to answer.  In order to do that we  need to go to the Bible and see what God has to say on the subject.

I’ve read many books and articles, and listened to tapes on anxiety.  I’ve read the secular along with Christian views.  People say different things, but the one thing I know is that God’s Word is the authority and that is where we must start if we are going to get a handle on this dreadful malady.

Anxiety:  What is it?  Is it a feeling?  Is it nervousness?  Is it fear?  Is it stress?  Is it panic?

I believe it is all of those things in different degrees.  Where does anxiety start?  It starts in the mind.

Who has anxiety?  Everyone at some time or other.  Unbelievers and believers alike. In today’s world it seems everyone is anxious about something.  Just look at the magazine covers in the grocery store.  See how many times you see a title about anxiety or stress.

Or, listen to television news and see all the things going on in the world that make people anxious and fearful. If you listen to the talking heads too long you will certainly become stressful.

What does anxiety do to us?  Anxiety effects us physically.  It can make our blood pressure rise, it increases our heart rate, it makes our palms sweat, it makes us irritable, jittery, and nervous. It can lead to health problems like hypertension.

Anxiety makes us afraid.  It is our enemy.  Fear is our enemy and it is a liar.  It tells us things that are not true and convinces us they are true.  It upsets our life, hurts relationships, and hinders us from being all that God wants us to be.  You can readily see why the enemy grins when he see us full of anxiety and fear.  He has got us right where he wants us.  We are like putty in his hands when we are full of fear.  He is in control and takes us over.  He pulls us along like a dog on a leash and never lets go of his grip.  He gets us to think unhealthy thoughts that tear us down.  He has a hay day with us.  Fear is an ugly four letter word.

Where does fear come from?  Well, way back in the Garden of Eden there was no fear. Everything was peaceful and tranquil until Satan, the serpent, came along and deceived Eve and she ate of the forbidden fruit.  She disobeyed God and sin entered into the world, along with fear.  If you remember, Adam and Eve hid out from God.  What did they do that?  They were afraid.

Gen 3:10 NASB He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

When sin entered the world, Adam’s conscience was opened and he was aware of things he never realized before.  He lost his innocence. That was the beginning of fear and it continues today.  It is part of the sin nature that we acquired as a result of the original sin.

Not all fear is sinful though.  God has put in our hearts a certain kind of fear that protects us.  It is the fear of stepping off a cliff.  Wouldn’t you agree that is a good fear?  Another good kind of fear is the fear of the Lord.  It is the beginning of wisdom.

Psa 111:10a NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

Pro 1:7 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Pro 9:10 NASB The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Isa 33:6 NASB And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.

So you can see that the fear of the Lord is something we should treasure.  We need to have the fear of the Lord in our hearts.  Do you?

But, I’m not going to talk about those kinds of fear right now.  I’m going to write about the debilitating kind of fear.  The kind that ruins lives, marriages, careers, and families.  That kind of fear has to be dealt with.  Worry, fear, anxiety, nervousness, stress; they are all the same and do destructive work in our lives.

 

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Check out the messages by Pastor Bob in the Sermon section of this site.

If you want to hear the Word taught verse by verse so you can get a good understanding of how God wants us to live, these are for you.

http://hatchcreek.com/sermons/

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February2008 001

Previously we talked about how different we are in God’s eyes when we are not saved and when we are saved.  We saw from the Word there is a great deal of difference.

Now that we are believers are we living like a believer, or are we still living like an unbeliever?

If you are not living as a believer, then you must examine yourself as the Bible says.  If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not you are truly born again, please write to me privately, and we will go over it together.  This is very important because the things we will learn will not work for the unbeliever. 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

“When you see our situation the same way you would if you were still an unbeliever, you are failing to realize what a great gift God has given you.”  (Wayne Mack, The Fear Factor, Hensley Publishing, pg.18.)  That gift is the Holy Spirit and all the resources God has.

You see we don’t have to live the same as before.  We don’t have to carry all our old baggage with us when we become believers.  Take a look at your own life.  Can you see any changes in your before and after picture?  Did you have panic disorder before you were a Christian?  I did.  When I became a Christian I did not know that God had made a way for me to be rid of fear.  But, it was still true.  It took me many years of Bible study to learn this.  That is why it took me so long to get better. 

When we become a true believer something wonderful happens to us.  God creates in us a new person.  We are not the same.  It is a supernatural work that the Lord does. We don’t look any different in our bodies, it is a spiritual new birth.  God gives us the Holy Spirit to come and live inside us.  Knowing this gives us the hope we need to be overcomers of any situation that comes up in our lives.

The world teaches us that the key to success is to “believe in yourself.”  Have “self-confidence” and good “self-esteem.”  Well, no matter how much you believe in yourself, and feel good about yourself it just won’t hold up.  We are not that powerful.  We cannot stop things from happening in our lives.  God is the only one who can control everything.  Isn’t that true? 

Look at the verse below.  It plainly says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.  The old things passed away and brand new things have come.  Isn’t that amazing?  We are actually new creations in Christ! 

2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

I love that verse because it tells me I am now different.  It is possible for me to change.  It gives me hope.  I want you also to have that hope.  You can change too.  Fear and anxiety, or whatever other thing plagues you, don’t have to dog us all the days of our lives.  We can be victorious.

Here is a story to illustrate this:

Suppose there was a very poor person who had a job but didn’t have any way to get there.  So, everyday, that man had to get up extra early to walk the five miles to work.  Then, after putting in a full-days work he had to walk all the way back home.  He was exhausted, and all he could do was eat some soup and go right to bed to be ready for the next day.  He didn’t have a home life with his wife and children.  All he did was toil and rest.  Sounds like a pretty boring existence doesn’t it?

Then one day along came a rich man who saw this man’s plight and said to him, “Here I will give you this brand new car.  It has a full tank of gas.  Oh, yes, take this, it’s a gas card so that whenever you need a refill you can fill up the tank.”  The poor man was very grateful and carefully parked the car in his driveway.

The next morning he got up and walked to work again and then walked home that evening as had been his habit. He continued on this same way ignoring the wonderful free gift the rich man had given him.  Oh, he would take the car out on Sunday and drive it to church and back but that was it.

What is wrong with this picture?  It is plain to see that the poor man was not taking advantage of the free gift that was given him.

Isn’t that how some of us live the Christian life?  We have been given so much from the Master, but do we really apply it to our lives?  He has made us a brand new creation spiritually in Christ. Not only that, He has given us the fuel to run on, the Holy Spirit.   That is similar to how the gas in the car gives the car power to run on.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to do whatever God asks us to.

But, we too, can be like the man in the story and not use what has been freely given us.  It might be because we don’t realize what we have.  Or, it can also be like the man who was so used to walking to work that he could not change his habit.  We have many old habits that need changing, and God has given us the power and the ability to change them through salvation and the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes we are like the man in the story and only show our spiritual side on Sundays when we go to church.  We go, sing songs, listen to a message, and go through the motions, but then just leave everything there behind us. When Monday morning comes along we act like we leave our spiritual side at home.  What a waste!  If we do this we need to examine ourselves and see if we really are in the faith. 

Being a Christian is far more than a Sunday habit.  We need to be in the Bible everyday, pray, and meditate on the Word.  Then, we can activate the power in our lives to conquer fear and anxiety.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

That is another amazing and wonderful scripture.

Blessings,

Bonnie

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