Posts Tagged ‘help’

As I listened to a sermon this past week something stuck in my mind.  The speaker talked about how we think, and said, “Today the focus is on self, which is all about relief, instead of victory in spite of their circumstances.”  He also mentioned the fact that we are today a medicated society.

I’ve pondered that for a few days now.  “relief instead of victory.”  At first, I didn’t get it.  I thought relief would be victory.  Then, I thought deeper, and realized what he said is actually true. 

We are a society who want quick fixes.  We take a pill for just about everything that ails us.  And, we don’t want to wait for anything.  We have fast food, instant coffee, microwaveable meals, instant soup, phones on our ears, fast cars, instant news, the Internet, instant messaging, and fast texting. 

Everything is speeded up in our lives today, and when we have problems we want quick fixes.  We don’t think we should suffer at all.  We look for that magic bullet that will fix everything.  We buy the latest self-help books, videos, tapes, CD’s and DVD’s.  We go to the latest guru or therapist.  We simply want quick relief.  We pop whatever pill is in vogue. Have you noticed all the television ads for prescription drugs lately?  It seems there is a pill for every thing imaginable that could happen to us.  But, you’d better not listen to the disclaimers or you will not take anything. 🙂

We have problems with relationships, and we want things to be instantly fixed.  But, it doesn’t work that way.  So many times people turn to the wrong things for relief. 

I know a girl who lost her fiance in an accident.  This girl is in her 30’s I believe.  She took it very hard, and rightly so.  It is not bad to grieve, but how you handle it is another thing.  Two years have gone by.  

She desperately wanted relief from the pain of losing the person she loved and  was about to spend the rest of her life with. So, she began drinking even more and did not get the relief she desired so began medication for depression.  Alcohol and anti-depressants are a bad and dangerous mix.  She still hasn’t found the relief she wanted. 

What this person needs is victory.  But, how can she find that?  First, she needs to become a Christian.  Then, as she studies and learns from the Bible she will find that God will comfort her and give her a supernatural strength to get through the tough times. 

1Co 10:13 NASB  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

This verse is talking about trials and temptations that come into all our lives.  If we are Christians God will be in control of the situation and will not allow it to overwhelm you.  He will provide a way for you to endure.  Isn’t that a wonderful promise?  I loved it when I first found that verse.

Now, that would be victory for this girl!  We are not to eliminate the bad circumstances that come our way in life, but instead learn how to live through them with Christ at our side.  I’m sad to see this poor soul suffer when she could be praising God, and get on with her life.  God has something for her if she would only realize she needs to turn to Him.

Another example of how people want relief instead of victory is of a Christian married couple who have had many problems and they end up with a divorce.  Why does that happen?  They want relief from the misery they live in.   Relief instead of victory is not the answer. 

Victory would be if that couple who are Christians would get into the Word and apply it to their lives.  They could change how they see and treat each other.  They could fall in love all over again.  They could with God’s help have victory if they would only do it God’s way.  The man needed to become the leader in that home and the woman needed to step back and be submissive to her husband instead of trying to run him and bad mouth him all the time.  You see there is a difference between relief and victory.

Eph 5:22-25 NASB  Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.  (24)  But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

God knows everything.  Nothing happens to us that He doesn’t allow.  Everything that comes our way is passed through God’s grid.  Nothing happens by chance.   God is Sovereign, and He can allow bad things to come into our lives.  But, there is always a reason.  He is either teaching us or chastising us.  He wants us to grow more in the likeness of Christ as we mature in the faith. 

Rom 8:28-29 NASB  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  (29)  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

Well, I guess it comes down to this.  We have a choice.  Do we want to live our lives our own way, living by emotions and feelings.? If we do we will find ourselves full of stress and anxiety and looking for relief, not victory. We will turn to medication, or something to numb our brains, perhaps alcohol, or illegal drugs.  We will say, “God, please just take these horrible feelings away.  I’m tired of the suffering.”  Instead we should say, “God, you know how I feel.  Please give me the wisdom to learn how to live in a way that I can handle adversity with you at my side. Help me Lord to see the lessons in this that you want me to learn.  Help me to judge my own heart and expose any unconfessed sin so that I may confess it and repent of it.”   

Or, do we want to live our lives God’s way.  Obeying everything He commands us to do in the Bible.  If we choose God’s way we will have victory in all our trials and tribulations.  God truly is good and I’m so thankful that He has given us the Bible as a standard to live by.  We live in an age where people want to say the Bible is out-dated, and that it is too hard for any of us to really understand.  Yes, we hear that. But, that is not true.  God is not a God of confusion, but of logic, and reason.  He is rational. 

The key to not merely find relief but to gain victory is when we choose God’s way and our focus is turned from ourselves and toward Christ.  Do you see that?

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 Pic094

In our PD-Overcomer’s group we’ve been talking about some of the road blocks that stand in our way of clear sailing on the road to complete recovery from panic attacks and anxiety. 

Some of the road blocks that we mentioned were:  complacency, past experiences, lack of trust, sin in our hearts, following emotions instead of intellect, lack of assurance, trying to please others, and not being perfect, negative thinking, bitterness, unforgiveness, anxiety, fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief. 

Wow! That is quite a list isn’t it?  And, those are not the only things that can stand in the way.  But, if we take a closer look at all of these things we could boil it all down to sin and disobedience to the Word of God.  So, first, we need to do business with God and get right with Him.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.  The more positive side.

As I’ve thought about this, it has become clear to me how much greater we have it then those who do not know Christ as their Lord.  Have you ever thought about that? 

We have the Word of God to stand upon.  We have the Holy Spirit actually living within us.  We have the power of prayer.  We have God Almighty as our Father, and we have Jesus Christ, our Brother, Intercessor, and Lord.  That is only some of what we have in Christ.  Unbelievers don’t have any of that.  Therefore, we can be different in our lives and be overcomers!

The key to becoming an overcomer of fear and anxiety is an intimate relationship with God!  Remember that!  Strive for it!  Make every effort to accomplish it!  It is so very important.  Get your eyes on Jesus and the things in the Word.  Get you eyes off from yourself, your feelings, and things of this world.  Those are strong words, but I am speaking from my heart and truly believe them.

I’d like to recommend a couple of books that have helped me see God more clearly:

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, by Noel Piper.  This book consists of several short bios of Christian women who have really gone suffered and struggled for the sake of Christ.

They are:  Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare.  I’m not quite finished with the book yet, but I’ve really enjoyed reading about how these women faced the trials and tribulations in their lives.  It makes me feel as though I haven’t gone through anything at all.  🙂

Knowing God, by J.I. Packer:  This is a book that I’ve been reading now for some time.  I’ve read it through once and then hit and miss again.  There is so much in it and if you want to get to know God better I highly recommend this book.  It is also one of John MacArthur’s favorites.  It isn’t really easy reading, but it has helped me lately understand who my God really is.

I’m praying for all of you that you will not settle for less than complete recovery.  I want you tol realize that God does have a purpose for everything that is happening in your lives. And that you will trust Him to walk you through your trials and bring you out on the other side.

Mat 19:26 NASB

26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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Spring Colts

We’ve looked at several things that Paul and Kim, the people in our examples had to understand to conquer fear and panic.  Remember that Paul was afraid to cross bridges and Kim was afraid to drive or ride in cars. We started to look at some important facts that Paul needed to understand and consider in order to conquer these problems.  They will help all of us.

1.  His fear was real.

2.  His fear was wrong and sinful.

3.  His fear was not of bridges; it was a fear that had become associated with bridges.

4.  Paul’s real fear was of the experiences.  (The cause of fear)

5.  Here is the key to becoming an overcomer.

6. There is not some mysterious thing going on.

7. The devil made me do it!

Now we will move forward to some other things to think about:

8.  Normal anxiety is good.

There are times when “normal anxiety” is good for us.  Think about that!  Just knowing that takes some of the pressure off.  We need to understand normal anxiety or tension, and use it for good instead of fearing it and trying to remove it. 

When is anxiety good?  Well, suppose you had to get up and give a lesson in front of people at church.  When we do something like that we all feel “nervous,” or “anxious.”  This, believe it or not, is not bad.  What happens is our adrenalin flows in anticipation of when we get up there and speak and we have those butterflies in our stomach, our mouth goes dry, and our hands become sweaty.  Have you ever noticed that many speakers have a glass of water nearby for them?  That is why.  I think most of us have experienced this.

For you and I, we would think we were about to have a panic attack.  This is because we relate those feelings to a panic attack.  In fact, they are normal feelings when we are in those situations.  The good thing this does for us is cause us to be more alert, and more on target with our talk.  It gives us that energy and edge we need to make our talk interesting, and keep the attention of those whom we address. 

I’ve experienced this myself since I’ve had panic attacks.  I’ve had to lead groups now and again and it seemed every time I’d get nervous before doing it.  But, I learned that once I got going with my lesson I’d settle right down.  It was that extra energy that made the lesson interesting and made me more animated and outgoing.  I’d even think of things that I hadn’t planned in my lesson.  I credited the Holy Spirit who helped me, and that is true also.  We must make sure we do all things prayerfully.

The tension the body creates when we are about to do something is good tension.  We need to realize that and harness it.  It helps us to do a better job.  It is only when we feel these anxious feelings and tell ourselves that we will have a panic attack that fear takes over and this good tension spirals out of control.  With understanding we can handle and control our normal anxiety.

The situation might be something like meeting a certain person, or going on a trip, or talking to the boss about a raise, or any number of things.  We get nervous and tense.

Another example of tension that we need but need not fear is going to a job interview.  A few of you face that situation right now.  Know that it is okay to feel that kind of tension as you prepare to go.  Do not interpret these feelings as a panic attack coming on, and then let your mind spiral into the fear thoughts.  You need to recognize what is happening and pray to God to help you with the interview. This tension will help you give a good interview.  Don’t be afraid of tense feelings if you are facing something. They are normal!  We must be alert, not overly relaxed, or not overly tense. 

When  need to keep our mind focused about the task at hand and the subject matter and not on ourselves.  When we drift out thoughts to ourselves, and think about “how well am I doing?” “How do I look?” “Do they like me?” then we have opened the door to the possibility of panic.

I often think about my level of tension like a car.  When I’m home I’m more relaxed and I think of it as being in “low gear.”  When I go out and get around people I often feel like I’m in “high gear.”  I’m revved up and ready to go!  I’ve often wondered why, but now realize that it is normal to feel that way.  My body gets ready for what ever I will face.  It is great to know that I’m not “strange,” with how I feel.  When I’m around new people especially I sometimes get giddy and think of all kinds of cute things to say.  That is nervous tension being released.  It can be used for good.

Jay Adams says,in The Christian Counselor’s Manual, Zondervan, 1973, “Normal anxiety is good and needs to be understood and used rather feared and removed.  This God has provided to enable men to live responsibly.  It is only the fear spiral–and at its end the debilitating panic–that is wrong and must be overcome.  Indeed it is through this normal anxiety preparation that God will give courage to face and conquer the problem.” 

9.  Courage:

Christians need courage to face this problem.  This courage will come out of our faith and trust in God and His Word.  We have many precious promises in the Word that we can cling to and know that God will be faithful.

Keep in the Word and prayer and God will renew our minds and help us be in control of anxiety.

10.  Understanding:

We have looked at several things that we need to understand in order to conquer those awful panic attacks in our lives.  There is hope, and with understanding of how the good Lord made us and how we operate, we can learn how to control our feelings and be overcomers!

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J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918)

Words: J. Wil­bur Chap­man, 1910.

Music: Hy­fry­dol, Row­land H. Prich­ard, 1830 (MI­DI, score).

Rowland H. Prichard (1811-1887)


This past Sunday we sang this song in church.  This song was written almost 100 years ago and yet these words are so pertinent for today. God never changes!  Each line is loaded with great theology.  I’m thankful for those dedicated Christians of long ago who left us with such wonderful insights into the Word and put them in song.  I hope this encourages you as much as it has me.  – Bonnie

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Refrain

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Refrain

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Refrain

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Refrain

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
[or Jesus! I do now adore Him,]
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Refrain


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