Archive for July, 2014

I was scared of the facts. I could feel the fear whelming up inside me. I had an appointment with my vascular surgeon later that morning in which he was going to give me the results of a battery of tests that I had been through the prior week. I already knew I had one abdominal aortic aneurism, but did I have any more? Did I have any artery blockages?

Unlike other times in my life, I wanted to face the facts. Although I was still scared, I didn’t want to have an unknown problem that could later kill me without warning. Bad news now was better than living in ignorant bliss. I could at least try to deal with a problem that I knew I had, rather than ignoring the problem out of wishful thinking.

And the facts were good! No new problems. Just a non-invasive procedure to correct the one aneurism next week remains. Hopefully, then, I will be good for another 20,000 miles.

Why We Are Scared of the Facts

We are often scared of the facts because they can make us feel bad. We tend to want to cling to our fantasies that all is well and avoid the pain of reality (Proverbs 14:6).

Sometimes this strategy works well for us. Nothing really bad happens because we refuse to face the facts.

Other times, we can actually die by not facing the facts. My brother almost died three months ago due to an unknown abdominal aneurism. He had no warning it was coming.

Because of his experience, I did have warning and I would have been foolish if I had not been tested for one, since they run in our family.

Why We Should Face the Facts Anyway

Just as we should face the facts about our physical condition, we should also face the facts of our spiritual condition.

But we often don’t want to. We hate to be corrected. We want to hang on to our self-image of being a pretty good person and not needing much change. In fact, we hate change!

But God says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterwards there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11, NLT).

Facing facts is a major way that we are transformed. When we run from the reality of our sins and false dependencies, we fail to deal with the problems that could kill our souls.

The spiritual sins of idols and false beliefs need to be confronted before they ruin our lives. That is why Paul said, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

And the facts about us are a mixed bag. On the one hand, we are precious, loved, and special to God all the time. These facts never change although our performance does.

But on the other hand, the facts of what we really depend on to make it through a day can be disturbing to us as we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal them to us.

So, what facts are you scared to face? Are you ready to go to heaven today? Find out if you are by making sure you have depended upon God’s promise in John 1:12, which says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.”

Or, are you scared to face the fact that you may be largely wasting your life, not experiencing the intimate love relationship that God offers you? If so, tell the Lord of your desire to face facts and cooperate with him to take steps to experience this powerful, intimate relationship with him.

May we all choose to face the facts and not deceive our self any longer. May we trust God to give us the strength to face the facts, no matter how scared we are (Philippians 4:13).

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“Don’t worry about tomorrow!” were the words that stuck in my mind this week as I went through a series of pre-op tests in anticipation of a non-invasive surgery for an abdominal aneurism. I was sorely tempted to not just focus on doing what I was supposed to do for the medical staff, but to also worry about what they would find.

Then, God’s words came to me. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its’ own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34, NLT).

Why Not Worry About Tomorrow?

Worry is defined as fretting, over-thinking, and getting stressed about something.

In my case, the test results were clearly tomorrow’s problems for me. I didn’t have the facts today to address tomorrow’s test results. So, I refused to allow myself to worry about what they could find – like another aneurism or some artery blockage.

Also, my health is God’s responsibility, not mine. I cooperate, but he provides health. When I worry, I often go beyond trusting God to provide health to trusting in my self to provide health through my problem solving (worry). This disobeys God because he says, “Trust in Me with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

He wants us to trust him to provide what we desperately need, like health (Matthew 6:25-27). Yet we often stay committed to trusting in good circumstances and our ability to worry ourselves into peace of mind. Yet, so many of life problems are beyond our abilities to worry ourselves into a satisfying solution.

Another reason not to worry about tomorrow is that we burn up energy that God has given us to address today’s problems. We then become “weary and heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28-30) because not only are we carrying today’s problems, but tomorrow’s as well – and his promise is only to give us the strength for today’s problems. “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

How Do We Not Worry About Tomorrow?

We worriers are often good meditators. We can chew on a problem, analyze it 16 different ways, and come up with a good application- yet we often chew on lies and guess at our information. Wouldn’t it be better if we pondered what was “true, noble, reputable, authentic, …things to praise, and not things to curse” (Philippines 4:8, MSG)?

We need to meditate on what God says to us.

These are some things God has to say to us regarding worrying about tomorrow:

  •  “I will keep you from being shaken tomorrow” (Psalm 16:8, paraphrased).
  • “I will help you not to be troubled or fearful tomorrow” (John 14:27. paraphrased).
  • “Even if your reliance on Me fails, I will still help you” (Psalm 73:26, paraphrased).
  • “I will help you, strengthen you and uphold you in whatever happens tomorrow” (Isaiah 41:10, paraphrased).
  • “No matter what bad things happen tomorrow, I will make sure that they will result in bringing you a net good” (Romans 8:28, paraphrased).
  • “I will answer your prayers for protection for tomorrow’s problems” (Psalm 34:4-7, paraphrased).

Let’s take God at his word. Let’s not worry about tomorrow.


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When Life is Scary

I admit I was scared! My blood pressure proved it. It had soared in the surgeon’s office.

I was there to determine what my options were for dealing with an abdominal aneurism. Some kind of surgery seemed to be the direction that we would be heading.

And I was scared! I had had open-heart surgery nine months ago and nearly died of an aneurism. In addition, my brother had an abdominal aneurism burst on him two months ago and he nearly died. So, I was scared of aneurisms.

But the appointment turned out well. I came away encouraged. The surgeon plans to do non-invasive surgery with a very low risk for failure.

Then, my blood pressure fell back to normal. I rejoiced that we were going to deal with this ticking time bomb in the next three weeks.

So, what do we do when we have to face life’s scary situations? Do we just sweat it out until the circumstances get good again? What happens if they don’t?

One thing I did was to rally as many people as I could to pray for the surgeon’s visit. I also went to my faith bank account to draw out truths that I could rely on.

One of these truths was, “He will not fear bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). I reasoned that even if I did receive bad news, he would give me the strength to face and deal with it (Deuteronomy 33:25). I also reasoned that he could still use bad news for my good (Romans 8:28).

I was also comforted that this latest scary situation was part of a larger spiritual growth process that God is taking me through of stripping away many of my idols.

What might you ask would be my idol in the situation? My indestructible body, of course, that really is destructible. Instead, he wants me to depend on “Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). He wants me to depend on his presence and his help to live until my assigned time is up and I am escorted into his presence in heaven.

Now, this is a hard thing for me to do. My idol has provided me with such good health for so long. Now God wants me to grow up in this area and find my physical security in him and whatever he chooses to provide.

So what scares you? What unsure thing are you clinging to? Can you see yourself instead clinging to Someone who offers himself as your strength, your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your refuge, your shield, and your stronghold (Psalm 18:1-2)?

Life is going to be scary for all of us at times. What will we do in these times? Rely on good news? Or, will we seek God to give us good news and/or the strength to deal with bad news?








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I have been through several health challenges in the last nine months. Yet, I am nearly recovered from all of them. God is good and a healer of all my ailments.

Nevertheless, I was surprised to receive another health challenge on Friday.

As a precaution because of my family history, I had a sonogram done to detect any abdominal aneurism. And wouldn’t you know it, I did have one! This can be life-threatening if it dissects- which it could at any time. And one did nine months ago in my heart area that nearly killed me. What a bummer! When will these challenges cease?

Fortunately, through the miracles of modern medicine there is hope that minor surgery can correct the problem-yet this remains to be determined.

As a result, this week I was tempted to throw away my confidence- a confidence that depends on God being good, loving me, and in complete control of my circumstances. How could such a God allow me to have challenge after challenge? I was fighting to maintain my faith in God.

Why shouldn’t I throw away my confidence in God? Has he acted trustworthy towards me?

Then, God brought these verses to mind,

“Do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

God does not want me to throw away my confidence in him. He wants to use this tough time to build endurance and perseverance in me (James 1:1-2).

For he tells us that perseverance is fundamental to our ability to grow in godliness. “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness” (2 Peter 1:5-6).

He wants us to grow in our confidence that he is good, loves us and will work all our circumstances out for our good no matter how bleak things look.

But it’s a battle.

Peter threw away his confidence in Jesus to help him to walk on water and was chided for not depending more on Jesus (Matthew 14:29-31).

 However, the same Peter also showed his confidence in following Jesus by saying, “To whom shall we go, you have words of eternal life?” (John 6:68) when few followed Jesus.

Here are some thoughts about how to win the battle for confidence.

We have a supernatural enemy in Satan who often suggests ideas that question God’s goodness and power. We need to be alert for these ideas and rely on God’s help to identify and extinguish Satan’s flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16).

No one promised us a rose garden. The Christian life is not easy if we aren’t going to throw away our confidence in God. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Finally, we need to use our fears and sadness to discover what we are relying on, false hopes or God’s truth. Are we relying on perfect circumstances, or God’s purposes always working for our good in our circumstances?

If we are relying on false hopes, we need to ask God to help us to put off their control of us. If we are relying on God’s truth, we need to ask him to strengthen us to grow in our confidence in him and to thank him for his work in us (Ephesians 4:22-24).



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