Also view us on FACEBOOK:

View us on FACEBOOK: http://on.fb.me/1Ps6aEG

Sunday, 17 August 2014

'ANXIETY AND TRUST'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

_______________________________________________________
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, August 17th, 2014:
 ____________________________________________

Anxiety and Trust’
 
            Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

            This program is brought to you by Good News Christian Ministries.

            You can find Good News in the morning on the internet at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca. There you can hear past episodes and find interesting articles.

            This morning I want to talk to you about Anxiety and trust.

            I am going to take you to a passage of scripture found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah 30:8-22. Isaiah was a prophet 

            Here is the background to this scripture that was written about 2700 years ago.  Israel is in danger. Israel seemed to go through these cycles. When Israel was faithful to the Lord God  kept them safe. Then they would turn from the true God, and they would allow idols and altars to infest their land. God would warn them. God would send prophets to let them know that this is not going to work.

            But usually they would not listen. They would continue their ways of worshipping false gods, and promoting injustice. Then an enemy would overtake them. After a while they would repent and God would deliver them.

            Well they are in one of those phases where they have turned away from God. The enemy is at their borders. God is calling them through is prophets to repent and turn back to them.

            But they say, we have a better idea. Let’s make an alliance with Egypt. Egypt has chariots and horses, and if we make an alliance with them and pay tribute to them, then we will be safe.

            That is the shorthand of the background. With that, let me read the scripture to you. I am going to read the first part of this passage in a translation called The Message – it takes a lot of interpretation license but tells the story better. I am going to read the second part of this passage from the New Living Translations – because it is a more accurate translation – which will be more important for our purposes latter on.

Isaiah 30:8–14 (The Message) – VS 18
8–11      So, go now and write all this down.
            Put it in a book
            So that the record will be there
            to instruct the coming generations,
            Because this is a rebel generation,
            a people who lie,
            A people unwilling to listen
            to anything God tells them.
            They tell their spiritual leaders,
            “Don’t bother us with irrelevancies.”
            They tell their preachers,
            “Don’t waste our time on impracticalities.
            Tell us what makes us feel better.
            Don’t bore us with obsolete religion.
            That stuff means nothing to us.
            Quit hounding us with The Holy of Israel.”
12–14     Therefore, The Holy of Israel says this:
            “Because you scorn this Message,
            Preferring to live by injustice
            and shape your lives on lies,
            This perverse way of life
            will be like a towering, badly built wall
            That slowly, slowly tilts and shifts,
            and then one day, without warning, collapses—
            Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery,
            smashed beyond recognition or repair,
            Useless, a pile of debris
            to be swept up and thrown in the trash.”

NEW LIVING TRANSLATION

God Takes the Time to Do Everything Right
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.
They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’
But the only swiftness you are going to see
is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you.
Five of them will make all of you flee.
You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.

            Now I need to tell you that I like you have not put my trust in the chariots of the Egyptians lately. But never the less, I do find myself in the same boat as the people of Jerusalem from time to time.

            Imagine if you lived in Jerusalem at the time of Isaiah. The walls are high and thick but within the walls the fear is palpable. The enemy is rumbling. The enemy is stirring. Now the walls have not been breached in recent memory, but the army that is coming is bigger and badder than anything we have seen in our life time. The walls that have served us well in our lifetime – well we are not sure that they can hold, that we can survive.

            And worse than that everything we are hearing from God lately seems negative. Well we are not sure if it is God or not. To tell you the truth the people who we are hearing it from, well they are really annoying.

            After all if I followed what they said, it would cost me money. But I could deal with that, but they want me to get rid of the little silver idols that are in a couple corners of my house. I like my idols. I need my idols, especially when I am feeling stressed out. They bring me comfort.

            But I got to say, they are bringing me a lot less comfort than they use to. The anxiety, the fear, the uncertainty they overwhelm me.

            But I know what we need to do. We need a strategy. The enemy is coming – if we could just deal with the enemy then we would be ok. Everything would be fine.

            I know what we need to do. I am worried about the fact that we are not going to be strong enough to deal with the enemy. So what we need is more strength. Maybe we can buy strength.

            The Egyptian Army is pretty impressive. They have horses and chariots and everything. If I were to make an alliance with them, well then they would help me with enemy. Now, I know that back in our history that they enslaved us. But I won’t let that happen. And I know that they will demand tribute for protection. I know that there is nothing saying that the protection money won’t go up and up every year. And if we stop paying it, they might attack us, but at least it deals with the immediate problem.

            I know it is not perfect, but it is the best strategy I can think of.

Here is what God says,

Isaiah 31:1 (NLT)
What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help,
trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers
and depending on the strength of human armies
instead of looking to the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.

            But at least our friend in Jerusalem would feel like he was doing something. We all trust something. But God says to the people of Jerusalem, trusting in horses and chariots and armies, creates sorrow.

            Can you imagine the kind of anxiety that the people of Jerusalem would be feeling as they lived inside the walls. There are rumours of an army that is coming.  Food is in short supply. Life is harder because everyone around you seems anxious.

            The crazy thing is that a lot of you will not have to go too far in your imagination to get at that anxiety. Oh, you don’t have an army bearing down on you, but some of you are under so much stress at work that it feels like an army is against you. For others of you, you know what it is like to feel the anxiety that comes with marital discord. For others you live in constant fear because of something that has happened to you earlier in life. I could go on, but most of us live with a fair amount of anxiety.

            Here is what you need to know, anxiety can be your friend. Because in anxiety can be God’s sign post. It can show you what your soul hungers for, and what your soul finds security in. It can show you what your  soul is thirsty for. Anxiety is the megaphone of the soul. It lets you know what your soul is saying.

Music (Fear not? – Trust)

            Some of the most peaceful, joyful people I have met have been brothers and sisters in Christ from very poor countries. I know this one pastor from Egypt who knows what it means to have his life threatened, and he knows what it means to go without. And yet there is a peace and a joy in that man’s life that is incredible.

            I know another man from Sierra Leone. He came through the war where the rebels were cutting off peoples limbs. He lives in one of the poorest country in the world. Yet you meet this guy and there is a genuine smile on his face and there is real peace and joy in his life.

            I have also sat with millionaires who are really stressed out. I have sat with people who have everything and their anxiety is through the roof. I have had periods in my life where my anxiety has been through the roof.

            And when I look at my friend from Egypt whose life has been in danger, that danger has caused him to turn towards to Lord and he has found the Lord to be sufficient.

            When I look at the lives of those who are living in high anxiety, I often see us turning towards our equivalent of Egyptian horses. If we are worried about finances, then we need to figure out how to make more or save more. If we are worried about job security we need to figure out a way to minimize the risk.

Here is what God says.

Isaiah 30:15 (NLT)
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.

            God says, you have a choice. If you will return to me you will be saved. If you will trust in me and put your confidence in me you will have the strength to do what you need to do to live well in the face of the enemy.

            But he says to Israel, “You would have none of it.”

Isaiah 30:16–17 (NLT)
16 You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.
They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’
But the only swiftness you are going to see
is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you.
Five of them will make all of you flee.
You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

            And the same thing happens to us, when we refuse to trust God with our issues. We implement our strategies, we trust in our own abilities and the cycle of anxiety continues in our lives. The sleepless nights and the worried filled days continues. Then we make decisions based on fear, which are often bad decisions.

            Often in our fear, we wall ourselves in, and others out. We hunker down and hope the storm flies by and all the while are souls shrivel. Our hearts grow cold. What a description

You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

            Where is God in all this,
Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)
18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.

            The Lord is longing to show you his compassion and love. He is waiting for you to turn to him, and put the full weight of your life on him. He is waiting for you to trust him.

Isaiah 30:19 (NLT)
19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.

            God is waiting on you to trust in him.

            So the questions are, will you trust him with your reputation? Will you trust him in your finances? Will you trust him with your career? Will you trust him with your future? Will you trust him with your life? Will you trust him with your death? Will you trust him with your eternity? Will you trust him with your family? Will you trust him with your kids? Will you trust him will all of your life?

            Now if you have been around the church for a while, and if you have given your life to Jesus, then you will know that the right answer to all of those questions is, “Yes, I will trust him.”

            But sometimes knowing the right answer, even telling God the right answer, doesn’t do it.

            So what do you do with the anxiety and fear that is in your heart. I would encourage you to think of it as God’s built in way, of allowing your soul to talk to you. Anxiety is the soul’s megaphone.

            This is sometimes where we need Christian Counselors, or Spiritual directors, or spiritual friends, or people with pastoral gifts. Sometimes just taking up the discipline of journaling will help. But sometimes it is hard to hear what our own soul is saying to us.

            Our fears speak so loud that we can’t seem to hear what our soul is hungry for, and what our soul is trusting in. Some people find journaling a helpful way of hearing their soul.

            But in the middle of your anxiety and fear, God wants to teach you about himself and yourself. God will give you over to your own anxieties until you come to him with your anxiety.

Isaiah 30:20–22 (NLT)
20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.
22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols
and your precious gold images.
You will throw them out like filthy rags,
saying to them, “Good riddance!”

            As you start to listen to what your own soul is saying, God is going to teach you. You are then going to hear what God is saying, you are then going to hear him directing you.

            As you do that, you are going to see the idols in your life. Those idols can be made of gold or silver like in Jerusalem, or they can be made of comfort and pleasure and security and significance and a whole lot more materials.

            As you see what God is offering you and what they are offering you, you are going to throw them out and say, “Good riddance.”

Isaiah 30:23 (NLT)
23 Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock.

            The passage goes onto say of what the blessing of God will look like in the life of Israel. I don’t know what the blessing of God will look like in your life, but it will be good. He will take care of the enemies of your soul and he will do what is good and right both now and to eternity.

            But that all starts out by answering the question, what is my soul saying to me?

            And when you answer that question, are you willing to turn to God with that. Are you willing to trust God for that? Are you willing to deal with the idols of your soul.

            Here is what you need to know. The answer to those questions will dictate your journey into the future.

Let’s Pray:

Lord, for many who see what their soul is saying and the anxiety is overwhelming, I pray, Lord, that you would reveal their soul to them, what’s their soul saying to them. And Lord, that you would show them how faithful you are to them.
Lord, I ask these things in your name. Amen.

            Thank you for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers.  Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca

May you know Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

MUSIC –

- Rev. Brent Russett
Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa
___________________________________________________
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

No comments:

Post a comment