I rarely get to sleep in as I like to be up early in the morning during the school week to be sure the kids are prepared for their day. As well, Sunday mornings I start out early once again so I have time to read my Bible and prepare myself for worship. Only on Saturdays do I have an opportunity to catch a few extra winks; however, some weeks the schedule doesn’t allow for it. Since the school year is almost over, I had this great idea – I thought perhaps I can sleep in a little. Wouldn’t that be nice?!?
Today, I was delivered some news. My daughter handed me her schedule for practice. Looks like the very week school ends, practice begins. Not only is practice Monday through Friday, but it’s also on Saturday. I went from having this hope for a day or two extra to sleep in, but instead I have no chance to sleep in until the middle of October. The plan has failed.
We often make plans, but things don’t go as we plan. This can be frustrating and even discouraging. Remember that God has a great plan and He understands the big picture. Our thoughts and ways are very different from God (Isaiah 55:8). Our plans fail again and again; however, His plan will always be seen to completion (Philippians 1:6). We may try to plan our steps, but God determines them (see Proverbs 16:9). In this world, there will be suffering. We are promised it. There will be things we don’t understand. It’s guaranteed. Today, remember to rest in Him. Allow yourself to feel His loving embrace as you cling to His promises and trust in Him. Remember that though we stumble, we don’t completely fall for He holds us up (see Psalm 37:23-24). Today is going to be a good day!!
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” – Psalm 18:30 [NLT]
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 [NIV]
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
The Psalmist described arriving at a safe house. He said God was a safe house, a sanctuary. He further said that when you arrive, you relax. You relax like you are at home. You feel safe. You feel peace. You are never sorry, NEVER SORRY that you knocked at His door, that you approached Him. You realize that “without (God), nothing makes sense” (Psalm 18:24 MSG). But with God you have all you need.
To be able to relax is a good feeling. Too often people are tense because of stressful situations or environments. People are worried about bills, dealing with family issues, trying to age slowly. People are always on guard, worried, looking over their shoulder. If you turn on the television or walk through any shopping center or mall, you will find many methods advertised for peace and relaxation. Drink this tea. Use this machine. Try this lotion. Get this organizer. Buy this home security system. But we can do all these things and more and yet still not relax.
The Psalmist understood that when you approach God, who already has His arms stretched towards you, it is then that you encounter the peace—the Prince of Peace. And when you encounter God and you accept Him into your life, you can kick off your shoes (no pun intended) and relax. I’m not saying life won’t be filled with trials and struggles, but that you’ll feel a peace you never felt before in life. As the Psalmist said, “You’re never sorry you knocked.”
“God’s a safe-house for the battered,
a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax;
you’re never sorry you knocked.”
-Psalm 9:9-10 [MSG]
This past week I moved, because I wanted for my children to be in a safer area. We all have needs and one need that we have is a sense of security. We want to be safe and we want to know that everything is going to be okay. At the same time, we actually have no control over the things that could very well threaten our security. We can prepare. We can try to prevent certain things from happening. However, the only security that we have is in Jesus and in the promises found in His Word.
Last night, after not even a week at my new place, I woke up in the early morning to hearing loud shouts, mostly curse words. I looked out the window to find some young man running around nearly naked screaming. The man was ripping the boards off of a neighbour’s fence, tearing it apart and tossing it feet away. He then went houses down the street and took a patio chair, tore the cushion apart and tossed that as well. He was making animal noises, grunting and yelling as he was doing all of this stuff.
Even though I spent ten years working in the medical field and dealt with mental health patients, I was a bit fearful. This wasn’t in some institution– this was outside my front door. As I think about this now, anything could have happened. The police came for the man, who happened to try some new, popular form of marijuana that is currently in the area, one that causes people to go crazy.
This event shows that bad things can happen anywhere. We cannot run and hide, thinking that if we are in a certain area we will be safe and secure. We could spend our lives not driving because we are afraid we will get in an accident, and a car could run up onto the footpath and run us over. We can put safety helmets on our children so when they fall, they won’t get hurt, but the child could get hurt elsewhere.
The only true security that we have is Jesus. He promises no matter what to be with you. He promises forgiveness, peace, salvation, treasures in heaven, life abundantly, healing, reward, blessings, cleansing, great joy, comfort, justice, rest, love, friendship, power, companionship, etc. You can purchase a home security system, practice all of the safest health measures, reside in a particular area, and read all of the safety findings found online, but nothing– NOTHING– will provide you the security you need except for Jesus.
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
– Psalm 18:2 [NASB]