When you feel helpless and overwhelmed

What to do when you feel helpless and overwhelmed.

Psalm 55 Psalm 55, verses 4-8 could have been written by anyone who is navigating the insane stress of today.  

4 My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. 6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.  8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

The writer KNOWS his situation is out of control. He can’t fix it. He can’t even stand to think about it. The only hope is to flee.  Have you felt like that?  So what do you do?

 

1. The first step is to realize that you are not alone.  You are not unspiritual.  Your attack is not strange.

1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

Your problem is not unique. King David — described in Scripture as “a man after God’s own heart” — frequently felt anxiety, judging by the number of Psalms that speak of terror, grief and fear.

Many believe that if they were strong in God that they would not suffer severe attacks.  They believe the devil should leave them alone.   Assuming that the devil will not attack you because you are spiritual is like assuming the bull will not charge you because you are a vegetarian.

 

2. Cry out for higher ground and get to higher ground.

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

We can’t get there unless the Lord LEADS us there. Contrary to what some contemporary religions teach, the solution is NOT inside yourself.   You need a Rock (Jesus) for shelter from the storm — a sheltered place HIGHER than the flood waters. A safe place higher and stronger than ourselves.

The guidance you get after you cry out may be exotic, strange and lack any logic or potential…do not dismiss it, it is the road to safety and victory.

3.  Look at your past victories and your future victory.  Tell the giant: You will be like all the rest of my past threats.

Psalm 119: 95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me,  But I will consider Your testimonies.  David said I have been in these helpless places before and God won every time.

Hebrews12: 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus gazed at both at the past (He knew who He was and where He came from)  and the future for His resolve to win on the cross.

1 Samuel 17: 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”  34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

Tell your crisis right now…you are going to be like everyother attack!  You will be defeated and become another trophy of God’s grace!

 

Today some very dark news came out about America’s future. What should you do?

 

Today some very dark news came out about America’s future.  The numbers are not good.  The vital signs of an already weakened nation have gotten worse.  These grim report have touched off a flurry of experts.

The messages are meant to shock us into reality.  The message is that most of your dreams are dangerous delusions that will waste your life.  Love will be rare and few if any will be there to take care of you.  Their point is the sooner you get used it the sooner you will be able to cope.  It is reminiscent of the proverbial phrase over the entrance to hell “All who enter here abandon hope.”

Out of all the voices that spoke there are two that I want to mention to you.

The first is from the Nobel prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz.  He says that there is no American Dream.  He says we are not the land of opportunity.  He backs up his statements with a ton of research.  We rank 8th among industrialized nations in opportunity.  In fact, it was easier to get ahead in Old Europe than it is now in the United States.  He said, “”The nature of our growth today is markedly different than in the decades after World War II,” he says. “There, we had shared prosperity. More recently, what we’ve had is exactly the opposite. … Right now, most Americans are worse off than they were 15 years ago. There has not been shared prosperity.”  Bottom line: If you are born poor in America, you will die poor.

The second is a graduation speech by Wellesley High teacher David McCullough Jr. who said this to graduates, “You are not special. You are not exceptional.  Contrary to what your soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special.”

In an atmosphere like this hearts are crushed.  Such is the case of one American businessman that I want to mention to you.  He was wealthy at a young age.  Then this recession hit.  He lost everything and in a dangerous gloom he wrote this letter to a friend. “I am at the end of my rope, my business has  crumbled, my communications with colleagues has faltered, and even my . . . wife and our children are estranged from me. It was all my fault.” He was even contemplating suicide.

Finally he committed himself.  In the medical facility he would walk the corridors  aimlessly sinking ever deeper into despair.  One morning he was making his rounds at 7AM when something happened.  He let out a desperate prayer for help.  In that moment he heard people singing a hymn from his childhood.  “Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you All you need he will provide God will take care of you.” 

“Suddenly needing to be heard, I cried inwardly, ‘Lord, will you take care of me? I can do nothing for myself!’ . . . I felt I was passing out of darkness into light.” The words “only believe” came to him. It was no longer about his own efforts, but God’s. “In the midst of failure to believe, I was being helped back to believing.  At that time something happened to me which I cannot explain,” he said later. “It was a life-changing miracle, and I’ve been a different person ever since. I saw God in his glory.

That man was J.C. Penney who in the grinding depths of the depression lost it all and then heard the voice of death.  Resurrection power swallowed up the spirit of death and this man went on to break all of the predictions of impossibility and the despair of his generation and build an retail empire based on the Golden Rule.

Isaiah 1:19 echoes down the centuries to us today: “If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land.”   No matter what, if we are willing and obedient, God will overrule every circumstance.  The words of economists, doctors, teachers,  may be accurate but they are not final.  Don’t you dare let a dream die because of this economy.  Don’t you dare let some man with some statistic tell you what your future will be.  Look at the last days and defiantly declare, The end times are not happening to me, I am happening to the end times!

The Future is not what it used to be.

The resurrection of Jesus changed everything about  tomorrow.  It is now a sacred trust. A stewardship where God expects us to think big and bring forth much fruit.

Here is what we must do with our tomorrow:

1. Do not manipulate or devalue your tomorrow through worry or arrogance.  Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

James 4: 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

2. We must not allow a portrait of fear of tomorrow control us or we will lose our destiny.

1 Kings 19: 2,3 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life,

3. You must clean yourself up for tomorrow.

Numbers 11:18  Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat.

Joshua 3:5  And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

Joshua 7:13  Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”

4. Do not scoff at God’s tomorrow out of unbelief!  2 Kings 7:1 Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’” 2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”

5. God will fight your battles.    2 Chronicles 20:17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

The Best of God in the Worst of Times

Why are young Americans still dying in a war that our leaders do not seem to want to win?  What will the open sewers of TV, video games, music and movies flood on our children next? How can anyone survive and raise kids in a hell of decaying crack houses and in the crossfire of gang massacres?  How do Pastors keep the doors of their church open when attendance and giving has dwindled to almost nothing?  When will God pierce the darkness and send true national revival?” 

These are only a handful of questions that eat away at believers in America.  Stress and fear are howling constantly at our doors. It does not matter where you live!  It touches you even if you are miles from any ghetto or war zone.  How do you face this?  What is the best move you can make right now in this hell we call modern life?  

Matthew 24:21-22 says, 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”  This is one of the scariest predictions that Jesus ever made.  What is even more chilling is how much it seems that we are in that very time that Jesus predicted!

Modern problems are now supernatural. To hold a family together today requires supernatural help.  To keep one’s sanity in the dizzying pace of today demands an emotional foundation that is superhuman.  Some even suspect that their problems are so deep that they have run off the map of the Bible.

Hold on a moment. Believe it or not this can be the greatest time of your life.  Despite all the bad news and the threatening conditions you can do things now that you never thought were possible. This is no hollow boast. My bold confession is based on a spiritual law in Isaiah 60: 1-5.   

Isaiah 60:1-5, “1 Arise, shine; For your light has come!  And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 “ Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.” 

 When evil does its worst, God will do His best. When Pharaoh raged Moses appeared. When Goliath roared David came forth.  When the world seemed hopelessly locked in the grip of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel leveled him with prophetic authority. Ruth and Boaz, the greatest love story of the Old Testament came in the darkness of the time of the Judges. Isaac obtained a hundredfold harvest in the midst of a grinding drought.  When the New Testament Church seemed doomed, their chief persecutor, Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle.

God will make grace, power and miracles available at this time in history that were never available before.  It is His law to surpass the evil of each generation with goodness.  If you want to know what the heart of this letter is, it is all about enforcement.  God wants you to enforce Heaven over 2011.

Here is the formula, it is a fresh revelation of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Step one:  Inner victory (trust in the Lord with all your heart).  There is nothing more important to those you love and to you in this New Year than your inner victory.”  Think about it.  If your emotions are under a wicked siege, if your body aches, if your mind spins in a whirlpool of stress and confusion, what good can you be for God or anyone else?  You must totally, completely and utterly trust God.  You cannot win without this inner victory.

Conversely, you cannot lose if you have inner victory.  The military has two words for inner victory:  Morale and Entrenchment.  The first refers to the unshakable confidence armies’ gain from specific elements.  First they must have a general they trust, then weapons and supplies that are superior, training that is excellent and a battle plan that is effective. 

This is why Christian morale is the highest morale possible.  It comes from Heaven.  Our General is Jesus Christ.  Our weapons are mighty through God. Holy Spirit coaching is the best training in the universe! The plan of God cannot be defeated!  The best news of the universe is that the one who loves you the most is also the one who has the most power.

Entrenchment is when an army digs in and becomes impossible to defeat.  Sun Tzu said, “The warriors of old first placed themselves beyond the possibility of defeat and then waited for an opportunity to attack.”  Good armies take the high ground.  They secure themselves against traitors and spies.  They get into a position of strength that is so clear that they know, even before the battle begins, that their enemy cannot defeat them.  Entrenchment is automatic in the life of a committed believer… that is why Paul calls us “More than Conquerors through Him who loved us.” 

Before you enforce Heaven over your situation, you must enforce it over your soul.  Heaven within must be more real than the hell around you.  You will not be poor, sick or defeated.  You will see the power of God revealed in all of the threats and lies.

Step two: Make no small plans but big ones based on the voice of God (lean not on your own understanding):  As you survey the landscape around you it is hard to imagine abundance and breakthrough in a time of such anger and shortages.  It is very tempting to make small plans and devise doable goals that are shrouded in fear.  Let’s make it simple.  There is something that our tired flesh wants to do and then there is the vision that God believes you can do.

Our flesh hates to be stretched or challenged, this is why we usually only have only as much victory as we think we need to get by.  This is not enough victory or more accurately, it is not true victory.      1 John 5:4 says, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.”

The real threat is that you would be deceived into small plans when you are supposed to have big ones.  We always enlarge the threat of failure and diminish the damage of not trying.  Regret is the real cancer of life.  When you look back on your life, you hardly ever regret trying something that was seemingly impossible.  What brings us pain are those memories of lost opportunity and the gnawing feeling of what might have been if we had just tried one more time.

Heaven wants expression.  Our heart must not just mouth the words, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” our life must match it with plans that are born from prayer and we must act on those plans with fierce boldness!

3. Do not waste energy figuring out how to do it but follow the voice of God step by step (in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths) 

 Paul once asked the Galatians a poignant question, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”-Galatians 3:3.  You are under attack by the devil.  Why is that?  It is because you gave your life to Jesus and you belong to the army of light!  So if you have supernatural problems created by a supernatural decision how can you expect to solve it with natural wisdom?  You began this journey in the Spirit and that is precisely how you must finish it!

All you need now is guidance. Guidance is automatic after the first two steps are obeyed.  “He will direct your paths.”  You will know what you need to know when you need to know it.  This is the year that you will see strange and wonderful guidance. When you obey, it will unlock the resources you need.  You will watch many human endeavors fail but your project will thrive. You will see many around you succumb to disaster while you are mysteriously protected! 

The sum of the whole matter is that the Heaven within you wants to come out and dominate the hell all around you.  Anchor your soul in an unshakable trust in God.  Embrace a life of rich vision.  Take the steps that the Holy Spirit gives you to take… one by one.  Watch a supernatural life unfold right before your eyes!

The Best of God in the Worst of Times

Why are young Americans still dying in a war that our leaders do not seem to want to win?  What will the open sewers of TV, video games, music and movies flood on our children next? How can anyone survive and raise kids in a hell of decaying crack houses and in the crossfire of gang massacres?  How do Pastors keep the doors of their church open when attendance and giving has dwindled to almost nothing?  When will God pierce the darkness and send true national revival?” 

These are only a handful of questions that eat away at believers in America.  Stress and fear are howling constantly at our doors. It does not matter where you live!  It touches you even if you are miles from any ghetto or war zone.  How do you face this?  What is the best move you can make right now in this hell we call modern life?  

Matthew 24:21-22 says, 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”  This is one of the scariest predictions that Jesus ever made.  What is even more chilling is how much it seems that we are in that very time that Jesus predicted!

Modern problems are now supernatural. To hold a family together today requires supernatural help.  To keep one’s sanity in the dizzying pace of today demands an emotional foundation that is superhuman.  Some even suspect that their problems are so deep that they have run off the map of the Bible.

Hold on a moment. Believe it or not this can be the greatest time of your life.  Despite all the bad news and the threatening conditions you can do things now that you never thought were possible. This is no hollow boast. My bold confession is based on a spiritual law in Isaiah 60: 1-5.   

Isaiah 60:1-5, “1 Arise, shine; For your light has come!  And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 “ Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.” 

 

When evil does its worst, God will do His best. When Pharaoh raged Moses appeared. When Goliath roared David came forth.  When the world seemed hopelessly locked in the grip of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel leveled him with prophetic authority. Ruth and Boaz, the greatest love story of the Old Testament came in the darkness of the time of the Judges. Isaac obtained a hundredfold harvest in the midst of a grinding drought.  When the New Testament Church seemed doomed, their chief persecutor, Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle.

God will make grace, power and miracles available at this time in history that were never available before.  It is His law to surpass the evil of each generation with goodness.  If you want to know what the heart of this letter is, it is all about enforcement.  God wants you to enforce Heaven over 2011.

Here is the formula, it is a fresh revelation of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Step one:  Inner victory (trust in the Lord with all your heart).  There is nothing more important to those you love and to you in this New Year than your inner victory.”  Think about it.  If your emotions are under a wicked siege, if your body aches, if your mind spins in a whirlpool of stress and confusion, what good can you be for God or anyone else?  You must totally, completely and utterly trust God.  You cannot win without this inner victory.

Conversely, you cannot lose if you have inner victory.  The military has two words for inner victory:  Morale and Entrenchment.  The first refers to the unshakable confidence armies’ gain from specific elements.  First they must have a general they trust, then weapons and supplies that are superior, training that is excellent and a battle plan that is effective. 

This is why Christian morale is the highest morale possible.  It comes from Heaven.  Our General is Jesus Christ.  Our weapons are mighty through God. Holy Spirit coaching is the best training in the universe! The plan of God cannot be defeated!  The best news of the universe is that the one who loves you the most is also the one who has the most power.

Entrenchment is when an army digs in and becomes impossible to defeat.  Sun Tzu said, “The warriors of old first placed themselves beyond the possibility of defeat and then waited for an opportunity to attack.”  Good armies take the high ground.  They secure themselves against traitors and spies.  They get into a position of strength that is so clear that they know, even before the battle begins, that their enemy cannot defeat them.  Entrenchment is automatic in the life of a committed believer… that is why Paul calls us “More than Conquerors through Him who loved us.” 

Before you enforce Heaven over your situation, you must enforce it over your soul.  Heaven within must be more real than the hell around you.  You will not be poor, sick or defeated.  You will see the power of God revealed in all of the threats and lies.

Step two: Make no small plans but big ones based on the voice of God (lean not on your own understanding):  As you survey the landscape around you it is hard to imagine abundance and breakthrough in a time of such anger and shortages.  It is very tempting to make small plans and devise doable goals that are shrouded in fear.  Let’s make it simple.  There is something that our tired flesh wants to do and then there is the vision that God believes you can do.

Our flesh hates to be stretched or challenged, this is why we usually only have only as much victory as we think we need to get by.  This is not enough victory or more accurately, it is not true victory.      1 John 5:4 says, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.”

The real threat is that you would be deceived into small plans when you are supposed to have big ones.  We always enlarge the threat of failure and diminish the damage of not trying.  Regret is the real cancer of life.  When you look back on your life, you hardly ever regret trying something that was seemingly impossible.  What brings us pain are those memories of lost opportunity and the gnawing feeling of what might have been if we had just tried one more time.

Heaven wants expression.  Our heart must not just mouth the words, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” our life must match it with plans that are born from prayer and we must act on those plans with fierce boldness!

3. Do not waste energy figuring out how to do it but follow the voice of God step by step (in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths) 

 Paul once asked the Galatians a poignant question, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”-Galatians 3:3.  You are under attack by the devil.  Why is that?  It is because you gave your life to Jesus and you belong to the army of light!  So if you have supernatural problems created by a supernatural decision how can you expect to solve it with natural wisdom?  You began this journey in the Spirit and that is precisely how you must finish it!

All you need now is guidance. Guidance is automatic after the first two steps are obeyed.  “He will direct your paths.”  You will know what you need to know when you need to know it.  This is the year that you will see strange and wonderful guidance. When you obey, it will unlock the resources you need.  You will watch many human endeavors fail but your project will thrive. You will see many around you succumb to disaster while you are mysteriously protected! 

The sum of the whole matter is that the Heaven within you wants to come out and dominate the hell all around you.  Anchor your soul in an unshakable trust in God.  Embrace a life of rich vision.  Take the steps that the Holy Spirit gives you to take… one by one.  Watch a supernatural life unfold right before your eyes!