VIDEO On Fearing the Future

BY SCOTT SAULS | MARCH 20, 2020

As I write this, the world is overcome by uncertainty and fear. Some fear for their financial future, others, for their health. Some fear for their loved ones, others, for themselves. It’s quite remarkable, isn’t it, what the spread of a microscopic virus can do to alter the landscape?

Whatever our situation at this time, and whether or not COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our lives or not, one thing is certain: we all will die. In fact, we are all — each and every one of us — DESTINED to die, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

And yet, whatever our situation, the people of Jesus possess in them a hope that transcends the awful, ubiquitous reality of a mortality ratio of 1:1. At our church, this hope is echoed loudly in the lyric of a hymn we cherish. Regarding the New Heaven and New Earth that is ahead of us, we sing:

“No chilling words nor poisonous breath
can reach that healthful shore, (where)
sickness, sorrow, pain, and death
are felt and feared no more.”

“Felt no more” sounds wonderful when we’re talking about sickness, sorrow, pain, and death, does it not? This, of course, is an impossibility in the world in which we now live. However, based on the great and precious promise of God, there is even now — this very moment — the possibility of “fear(ing) no more” when it comes to sickness, sorrow, pain, and death.

We are told that at the end of days, when King Jesus returns for a second and final time, he will make all things new. Our future, from that point forward, will represent an utter, complete, everlasting reversal of sickness, sorrow, pain, and death. As John, the beloved disciple, has written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away, and everything made new” (see Revelation 21:1-5 for the full accounting of what awaits us).

As the pastor of a marvelous church that is filled with people — including many elderly, “Greatest Generation” people who make up about 15% of our fellowship — as well as other, younger saints who somewhere along the way received news of a terminal diagnosis, who have accessed these promises of God that cast out fear.

What follows is a brief telling of how those afflicted saints, young and old, are made to FEEL some of the worst of what a fallen world throws at people, but without FEAR because of the perfect love that holds them. I hope that their stories and perspectives offer you similar hope as they do to me.


Over the years, I have walked alongside men and women who have faced death with bitterness and despair. I have also walked alongside men and women in the same circumstances, but with a settled peace in their hearts, joy on their faces, and certain declarations about how their best days are still ahead of them.

At Christ Presbyterian Church, the family of believers in Nashville that I get to serve as pastor, there are scores of people who have endured deep sorrow and loss and who have done this exceptionally well. It’s not that these men and women have denied suffering or somehow swept its awfulness under the rug. Instead, they have looked suffering square in the face with the same gusto as the Apostle Paul when he says, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55), and, with similar conviction:

“We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

One such person was a man from our church named John. John lived a full and beautiful life as a faithful husband, a loving father, a true friend, a gifted artist, and loving servant of our church. At an age that seemed far too premature, John was diagnosed with ALS, a condition that incapacitated him physically, confined him to a wheelchair and breathing machines, and eventually took his life.

I would sometimes visit John in his home during his decline. For me, these times with John gave new meaning to Paul’s reflection on his own suffering—that, although the “outer man” may be wasting away, the “inner man” is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

John did not give in to despair as his body wasted away from disease. Rather, he faced his situation with remarkable joy, thankfulness, and poise. Though frustrated by the pains and losses associated with his illness, he didn’t allow himself to be defined by them. Though he was in great pain, John never grew cynical. When he ate through a straw and food dripped down the side of his face, instead of cursing he would crack a joke. When his nurses and helpers arrived to treat his physical needs, instead of demanding that they do this or that, he invited them to join him for Bible study. When I and others went to his home to pastor him, he would end up pastoring us.

John’s attitude and lightness of being, especially considering the suffering he was forced to endure, made such an impression on me that I finally asked him how he could face suffering with such an admirable poise. His simple and immediate answer was:

“Well, that’s easy. I’ve been a Bible reader all of my life. Somewhere along the way, I guess it all sunk in.”

When John said these words to me, it gave new meaning to something Charles Spurgeon once said, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Horatio Spafford wrote the hymn It Is Well With My Soul after several of his children were lost at sea. He was a man who knew suffering. That hope-filled hymn was born from pain. Whenever we sing that Scripturally-rich song together at church, I look around to see how it is impacting our people. Almost without fail, those who sing the hymn with the most gusto are the sufferers. This includes people like John with his ALS, Rob with his newfound widower’s status, Jan and Susan and Al with their cancer, Sarah with her chronic fatigue, scores of men and women with their anxiety and depression, and the dozen or so mothers and fathers who, like Horatio Spafford and his wife, have endured the unthinkable experience of burying their own children.

What enables these afflicted souls to keep singing? What empowers them to keep hoping, to keep believing, and to keep pressing forward in the face of gut wrenching, heart-breaking, life-busting circumstances? It is the truth that they have discovered in Scripture, and it is the animating work of the Holy Spirit pressing this truth into their hearts and lives.

God is who he says he is, a good Father who will never allow us to be separated from his love, because the Bible tells us so (Romans 8:31-39).

Jesus is a faithful Savior and Friend, and he is making all things new in spite of the way things may seem…

…also because the Bible tells us so.

Kristene DiMarco – It Is Well (Live)

How Do You See Your Future?

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II
30 November 2010

Fear of the future phobia is a very common phenomenon. Your future is that particular part of your life which you have no definite idea. In fact, it is one of the major human characteristics of the fear of the unknown and the unseen. Now the question is why should you be afraid of your future? This is principally because of the unstable present and the struggling past years of life. With today’s uncertain time in wake of high unemployment and the still sinking housing market the future can be really scary.

During the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, a group of social analysts gazed 100 years into the future and tried to forecast what the world would be like in 1993. Some of their predictions were:

* Many people will live to be 150.

* The government will have grown simpler, as true greatness tends always toward simplicity.

* Prisons will decline, and divorce will be considered unnecessary.

They were wrong on all counts! So, what does the future really hold? We don’t know, but one thing is certain and that is, change is constant. Some people do have a hard time dealing with change.

We know that the social analysts at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair were wrong from our observations. We judge our situation for ourselves when our life turns upside down and everything seems out of control.

We can give way to fear and panic, or we can choose to have faith that our future has a light at the end of the tunnel.

Existence has become a matter of competition where you can be afraid of failure, but there is also a fear of success.

Every time you stand up you grab the future in your palm. For some people it seems as though that every time they stand up to grab the future it slips out of their hands, which for them, could lead to a fear of the future phobia.

Fear of the future phobia is quite alarming. The fear of what may happen in the coming years can drive people in such as state that become frozen in place or develop various medical conditions which could include mental illnesses.

What may happen to you in the coming years and where you may see yourself standing in the future are some of the most important questions you may have in your mind.

Until and unless you find yourself stably positioned in your life you become too worried and excited. The thought of what might happen in future can even cause death.

When you sit down to talk about your future phobia you have to take into consideration the three stages of your lives, the past, present and the future.

You always learn from your past for a better present. When you are able to analyze the present properly, you can arrange and prepare yourself for the future.

Future phobia is especially intense with those who have just started a new business with zero revenue, zero consumers and zero start up funds or when the bottom drops out of a business.

The businessperson may have invested everything he had and then suddenly he starts being afraid of future failures in life.

What Can You Essentially Do To Avoid Fear Of The Future Phobia?

• Firstly, in order to rid yourself from phobia you should try to understand your own potentials and eliminate your phobia with help.
• You should create the future you desire in your mind through the process of visualization.
• Plan for your future achievements. Your effort should make your dreams turn into reality.
• Believe in yourself and try to be successful in life.

Future phobia is most common among the teens. Teens are in most cases adventurous and always ready to discover the undiscovered and see the unseen.

Now mad enthusiasm can lead to utter destruction if not systematically handled and programmed.

The young generation needs an appropriate guideline to succeed in the future. It is very important to remember that resource without experience and knowledge can often prove to be damaging.

Moreover, for some once they fail it is very difficult for them to stand on their feet and thus they quite easily slide themselves into fear of the future phobia.

This country was built by men and women who overcame great obstacles to give us the Republic we now have. If they could overcome great obstacles with much fewer resources than we have today, then we too can overcome the many obstacles that face us and keep our Republic.

You can be stuck in the past or frozen in place or you can get up on put one foot in front of the other, walk up to the door, put your hand on the door handle, turn the handle, open the door, walk through the doorway toward the future and close the door to your past behind you, freeing yourself.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/how-do-you-see-your-future/

VIDEO The Past, Our Biggest Enemy

Posted on  by Messes To Masterpieces

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14

Is there one thing that will disqualify anyone from making it to Heaven aside from committing blatant sin? The scripture says that nothing can separate one from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). Is that true? Is it really impossible to be separated from God’s love?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Romans 8:38

But, what about the things not mentioned? Is something missing in the list? The present is mentioned and so is the future. But, what about the past? The Apostle Paul does not include the past as something that cannot separate one from the love of God. That means the past can. Our past is more powerful than we might imagine. Let’s take look into this.

The Conscience & Dead Works

The past is a powerful thing. It can be a well of pleasant memories of our childhood with family and friends. It can bring back thoughts of places we have been and experiences we have encountered. On the other hand, the past can be a difficult place to navigate. In fact, the New Testament writings when referring to the past many times paints it with colors from a dark, foreboding palette: (Rom 11:30Gal 1:1323Eph 2:2-311-12Phm 1:11I Pet 2:10). These actions of the past are referred to the Apostle Paul as “dead works” (Heb 6:1 & 9:14), acts we all have committed of which we are ashamed and not particularly proud.

Why is this? When reminiscing about the past why do we tend to concentrate on the negative and not the positive? It is as if an internal switch defaults in the down position. This is no doubt a result of the law of sin resident in our members (Rom 7:23-24). So, when dealing with the past we come out of the runner’s block in life already disadvantaged because of the law of sin that seeks to always overrule our spirit (Gal 3:35:17) that includes sinful thoughts and past sinful actions.

It is reported by a pastor of a church that a young man in his congregation experienced deep personal difficulties and struggled with his faith in God. The man spent many hours in counseling with his pastor over these unresolved issues. It was a fruitless exercise. The man was never able to mature in faith and eventually drifted away. Why? The young man confessed that he was abused as a child and could not believe and come to a deep understanding of how God could truly love him. And understanding God’s love is what he needed to truly heal him. The past. The past can separate one from the love of God. 

This is why the Spirit impressed upon the Apostle when writing the letter to the church in Rome to NOT include the past as a condition of separation between God and his love. When one truly commits their life to God and is born of water and Spirit (repentance, water baptism and infilling of the Spirit – “born again”) their past life is washed clean. God forgives and forgets the prior past-life and puts one on a course with a new life in Him, assuming no reason for one to revert back to it. Jesus makes all things new and starts afresh a life journey filled with His riches, gifting’s and blessings (Mat 13:44-46Luk 12:3215:20-24Joh 17:20-23Rom 11:33I Cor 12:8-11Eph 1:7-12,18-232:7 & Col 2:2-3). 

The Past & Who Is In Control? 

The past is also peculiar and somewhat enigmatic. The past on one hand can control us, yet on the other, it can be something else. What? The past can be something that only we manipulate that no one else can. Not even God if we so choose. We can be its arbitrator, judge or liberator. We cannot always control our present and less so our future. However, we can control our past by awakening it and repressing it at will. We can “bring up” the past on one hand and forget about it on the other – at will. Our will. That is control fueled by self-centered power. We can take ownership of the past because in doing so we can willfully control it. It is a piece of us that hinders and stymies the work and will of God in our lives because by manipulating our past we are in control and not God. And that is a big problem. A problem big enough that Jesus gave a warning:

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 

Looking back (to the past) disqualifies one for kingdom work. It is a disqualifier and debilitating. Is this a hopeless situation? No, not with God. Because Jesus offers us new life, a new future and new beginnings. The key is to relinquish the past and move forward, by faith and trust in the Lord and in His word. Jesus came to heal us of our past – past mistakes we have committed (and we have all done them), past failures (even those), things done in the past to us, unpleasant thoughts from the past, all of these things Jesus can and is willing to give us victory over. Yes, he certainly can. And then we have the enemy to contend with in all this which brings us to the next subject. 

The Past & Oz Behind The Curtain

The enemy knows how powerful your past is. He understands that if he can interject or resurrect past unpleasant thoughts into your mind (yes, the devil has the capacity to do that – 2 Cor 10:5) he can at worst control you or at best stymie your spiritual growth and development.

Before we go any further, it may be in order to get a better understanding of this adversary we are dealing with. Demonic spirits are past-bound spirits with no hope and no future. Demonic spirits were in the past a part of God’s angelic heavenly host. They partook of the wonders and splendors of Heavenly glory (Jude 1:6). No more. They rebelled, were kicked out of heaven and driven to earth as fallen creatures (Rev 12:7-9). Their only hope, their only means of even the slightest relief before their final destination of eternal torment in the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) is to latch onto another God-given spirit that does have hope and a future. And that God-given spirit lives in you. The devil and his cohorts find relief by accusing, oppressing and possessing humans who have a spirit with hope. What is their diet? Dust (Gen 3:14). What are you made of (Gen 2:7)? This explains the conflict. 

Someone may ask the question: “Well, what about the pigs (swine)?” Okay, lets diverge here and talk about the pigs.

So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. Matthew 8:31 

God created swine (pigs) for a purpose and for a reason. They are farm animals and make good pulled pork and bacon. And even a pig retains its original God-given purpose. Fallen angels did not. They are dead spirits. Devils even seek to find relief possessing a farm animal living under God’s provision and favor. Okay, let’s move along.

The enemy completely understands he cannot control a person with a “made up” mind, a mind focused on God, His Word, totally surrendered to God’s will and unequivocally trusting in God’s person. The devil has lost the battle with that individual who lives no longer in the past and lives instead in the promises and hope of His Person and Word. A believer set free from the shadows and vestiges of the past is unstoppable when infused with faith, hope and love. This is not the case for those bound by the past, those whose lives are directed by its sinful reminders whether true or untrue. This is a place where the Creator of the heaven and the earth does not want you to be for he came to heal and set you free of your past:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; Isaiah 61:1

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. Matthew 4:16

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17 

In Conclusion

Left untempered and unrestrained, our past may be our biggest enemy. By God’s grace and His promise of new life, the past can be a distant memory God has healed and made whole. But, someone may ask, “You don’t know my past? You do not know what I have experienced in life, the things I have done or the things done to me”. No this blogger does not. But, there is someone who does. Jesus experienced more shame and pain than any other human that ever walked this earth. And Jesus can be touched by your pain and shame because he has been there (Heb 4:15). Someone made the following statement: “Get yourself a good prayer life because no one understands your pain better than God”. 

The enemy wants your hope. The enemy wants your future because he has none. It is said that the devil does not care about your past or your present, he just wants to steal your future. Don’t let him. Jesus has something more powerful for you than what a future-less, hateful and destructive end the enemy hopes for your life. What is it? It is the New Birth of water and Spirit (Joh 3:1-15 & 7:37-39). A new life, a new beginning and a entirely new bright future eons away from your regretful past.

Secure your future and destiny. The past can be over and done. Jesus is the only way to life beyond the grave. If you are reading this let it be known He loves you too much to let you go before telling you YOU are of worth to Him. Your soul is of great value. How do we know? Jesus Christ laid down his life on a cross to take your sins away. Even the ones from the past – Forgiven Forever. Call on him in heartfelt repentance, forgive, ask for forgiveness and he will begin a work of healing in your life and in your heart. May Jesus be your new beginning and leave the past behind. May God Bless You!

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Past – Our Biggest Enemy

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