Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 20:1-4
Ask yourself the question: have I ever felt overwhelmed by issues of life? For most of us the answer is yes, but thankfully through God's Word we given overcoming power!
What does being overwhelmed mean: "to be submerged under the weight of something...to be overtaken by a superior force...and to be overpowered by your thoughts and feelings." We can be overwhelmed by many things: busyness, work, fear, rejection, concern, the future, gossip, and pain.
Jehoshaphat felt overwhelmed because a great multitude came to battle aganist him. He was consumed by his fear, but Jehoshaphat responded well to this, let's look at the things he did NOT do:
1) He did not panic
2) He did not run away, give up or quit
3) He did not try to avoid dealing with the situation
4) He did not try to fix everything himself.
Instead Jehoshaphat did the following:
1) He sought the Lord
2) He proclaimed a fast
3) He prayed and got others to join with him in prayer
4) He put things back into God's hands
We can learn a great deal from how Jehoshaphat responded to his situation. When we are feeling overwhelmed we must take our fears and thoughts to God, He can handle them! We have release to Him our troubles and pray. We need to seek others to pray with and for us, and proclaim a fast to refocus ourselves. We cannot turn to our own devices and ideas, God wants to handle our overwhelming situations!
Scriptures: Joel 2:23-25, Acts 1:8. Acts 2:1-6, Acts 2:41, Acts 2:36, Acts 2:43
Pentecost was a specific time and it had a specific purpose: the harvest. The Bible tells us that on the day of the Pentecost 3,000 souls were added to the church!
For the harvest we need two things: the former rain and the latter rain. The former rain is the planting time, the sowing of the seed and nurturing. The latter rain is the maturing of the crop, and the growth. The harvest needs rain and man cannot make the rain. We need God to bring the rain into our lives! The power of Pentecost gives us the ability to bring in the harvest.
Pentecost gives us:
1) Worshipping power- worship demands participating that involves sacrifice and an altar in our lives. God seeks true worshippers and when we truly worship it becomes contagious to those around us.
2) Warning power- This world is like a house on fire and the message of Pentecost was a message of warning: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ," Acts 2:36. We need to warn the world what sin will do in their lives and what God can to redeem them!
3) Witnessing power- The Holy Spirit implants Godly attributes into our lives and empowers us to overcome human pride with boldness and zeal. It gives us confidence to overcome our fear of failure or lack of acceptance. It gives us the courage to overcome the presence of evil.
Scriptures: Proverbs 14:4
Life has some messy thankful tasks, such as: diapers, dirty dishes and oil changes. They are messy tasks to perform, but we are thankful we have them in are lives. It means we've been blessed with family, food and transportation! Many times a productive life is a messy life.
This verse from Proverbs reads: "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." An ox is a large, powerful cow that is used for work. An ox is messy, smelly and can mess up a barn, but an ox can also fill up an barn with the production of the fields. The ox has a servant's nature.
Many times people say "cleanliness is next to godliness." It is nice to be clean, but it is better to be useful! Jesus said: "lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest." The fields are messy, dirty, smelly and also productive. In the fields people have problems, but servants go the fields. Jesus said: "take My yoke upon and learn of me...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
But what about a clean barn? The barn is the church and the only way to have a perfect barn is to keep out all the animals. A perfect church is an empty church! People are messy, troublesome and loud. How do you avoid people problems? Keep your life free of other people, but a life empty of people is useless to God! Living for ourselves causes our lives to lose meaning. What about the other oxen? The other servants?
Let us have the nature of the ox, a servant's heart: patient, graceful and forgiving, endurance and the ability to love the unlikable. We do not want a clean barn, we want a productive barn! Its time to go to the fields, because the harvest is ready!
Scriptures: Exodus 15:22-27
Israel had just passed through the Red Sea and Pharaoh's slaves were now free people. Their enemy was destroyed and they had just finished a victory dance. Then they traveled three days into the Wilderness of Shur.
A wildnerness is a place you are not sure you want to be and the name Shur means: "wall." There was a wall behind them: no going back. A wall around them: nothing but the unknown. They walked into a wall: no water. Also there was a wall of security, because God never sends you to a place where He will not provide.
Israel was a redeemed people and God sent them to Marah, which is translated to mean bitter. Marah was a camping ground, not a place for them to live. Some things are bitter so that we do not stop! We must continue on to the promise land!
There is nothing wrong with being thirsty: its a natural desire. But we cannot let the natural impact the spiritual, we must remember we are redeemed! God can transform life's bitter encounters and can sweeten the bitter waters. Through life's travels we will come sometimes to Marah, but we must remember these are only camping grounds, not building grounds.
There is a remedy for bitter waters: first we must cry out to God in prayer, second God will give us something to focus on, and finally whatever God directs us to do it must be done. Its time to take our focus off murmuring people and bitter waters, and follow's God's direction and let Him provide. Remember you are redeemed!