Running To Restoration, Not Away From Fear

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore”

~ Bob Goff

From Carly,

Fear.

I realize it’s hard to talk about this topic since most people are afraid of being vulnerable. Maybe they’re afraid of saying something they shouldn’t, something that would make them look broken inside or just different.

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How “Creed II” and Philippians 3:8 Connect

“He’s got nothing to lose! As a fighter, when you got nothing to lose you’re dangerous!”

~ Rocky Balboa, Creed 2

From Caleb,

I want to take a second not to answer a question, but rather to share something that has been on my heart recently. I hope this challenges you, spurs you on in your faith, and encourages you to share about the goodness of faith in Jesus Christ and make more disciples.

In the movie Creed II, Adonis Creed is the son of former fighter Apollo Creed, whom Ivan Drago killed in Rocky IV. Ivan Drago’s son, Victor Drago, comes to America from Russia to fight Adonis. This was such a big deal because Victor’s father had killed Apollo Creed in a fight years ago.

Rocky, former fighter and trainer to Adonis Creed, knew that in his young ambitious ways, Adonis will jump on the fight, even though Rocky knew it wasn’t the wisest decision. Rocky warned Adonis by reminding him that Victor had nothing to lose, and because of that he was a dangerous fighter. Adonis was angered by Rocky telling him this, because he implied that Adonis wasn’t a dangerous fighter. This scene in a way rocked me.

As followers of Christ we must identify ENTIRELY with Christ; He IS our identity.

It really got me thinking: it’s the same way with Christians and following Christ. Jesus called anyone who wanted to be a one of his followers to give away all that he had and follow him (Luke 18:22). We need to be ready to sacrifice everything we have because this life we live isn’t ours. As followers of Christ we must identify ENTIRELY with Christ; He IS our identity.

We Should Fear Nothing

Christ is our identity; when we allow that to fuel us, we will fear nothing. When he is our complete identity, we have all that we need and ever will need. Accepting this, cherishing this, and making this your identity is the exact thing Christ calls us to do. We are his, and just as Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

When we accept and live in this true identity as Christ followers, we are “dangerous” to the world around us, because then we will have nothing to lose; we have all that we need. Then, we will truly able to make an impact and be effective in evangelism. This is how Christ designed it to be; however, sometimes we get distracted and manipulated by the world into thinking that we have something to lose.

The world wants you to think that you have so much to lose: your family, your friends, your possessions, your money, your job, or even your life. God tells that all the world has to offer is worthless compared to knowing Christ and serving in his mission (Philippians 3:7-8). But again, the world wants to convince us otherwise. When we accept the truth that when we find our true identity in Christ we have nothing to lose, we are dangerous to the Kingdom of Darkness. But what happens when we start to believe we have something to lose?

What’s the result of thinking we have something to lose?

When Christians think they have something to lose, we end up losing sight of Christ’s mission. We lose our heart for lost people and for the mission of reaching the nations. To those around us we appear as just an ordinary Joe-shmoe; we lose the fire that obviously marks us as a follower of Christ.

To be dangerous for the Kingdom of God we must remember we have nothing to lose; this world has nothing to offer us. Stay focused, having eternity in mind, so that we can always be ready to share about the goodness of Christ.

How Trials Will Grow You

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:5

From Carly,

During the writing of Psalm 42, most believe it was the time of Absalom’s rebellion, and David, the potential author, was facing the consequences. David’s enemies persecuted him, spitting lies and forcing doubt into every area of David’s life.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to dehumanize the “heroes” of the Bible. I think they’re better than me. No temptations, no mistakes. The perfect example to live by.

I may be right about one thing. They’re a great example of how we should live. Though David lived many years devoted to the Lord, seeking and serving wholeheartedly, he also went though seasons of doubt, fatigue, grief, and sin.

The wonderful thing about tragedy is that what results from such mess, turns out to be the most beautiful story of healing and spiritual maturity. You’ve heard it before. The Lord puts us through trials to come out the other end changed. Of course, as Christians we know this, but no one is battling for the first spot in line to face impending tragedy and persecution. Tragedy doesn’t just come and go in a weekend, it usually doesn’t even stay for a week. When faced with such important trials, they can rule your entire life, wreck your worldview, causing doubt and fear to fester.

At the time, David was facing such oppression and desperation, that doubt began to win.

“My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'”

Psalm 42:3

He was questioning whether the Lord was with him or not, whether he would come out of this situation sustained with the life-breathing hope and salvation he once had. I’m guessing we’ve all been in David’s position, or a similar circumstance, at one point in our lives. We always pay attention to the aftermath of such devastation, but what matters most to our God, is how we handle things during the oppression. 

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

Psalm 42:1-2 

David thirsted, hungered, longed for the Lord. To be near Him, to be healed by His presence. This is how he dealt with his grief. Though times were tough and nothing made sense, he knew the only way to get out meant full reliance on the Lord. Nothing more, nothing less.

Doubt can creep up, fear can envelope our soul. It’s what we do during those times that matters the most. Do we solely seek the Lord in our suffering, or do we cower in our misery and surrender to the pain?

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:11

What tenacity it took to realize his soul’s depravity. To repeat the very words he proclaimed previously. He commanded himself to place his hope and trust in the Lord once again. He vowed to praise his Savior and God. What an example. If David wrote this, we catch a glimpse of how entirely human he really is, not the perfect biblical hero without fault. David was just like you and me, faced with inexplicable tragedy during his short life. If he can resolve to hope in the Lord, to destroy his once-doubtful soul, then we can too. In fact, I encourage you to hunger and thirst for Jesus as much in peaceful times as you do in turmoil. May not only the aftermath, but also the time of oppression be what grows you, what causes you to lean on Him. 

Bible Idiots On-Demand Event

Bible Idiots Simulcast Event: “Understanding What We Believe”

Check out the Bible Idiots!

At Grounds4Faith we know that the world around us isn’t making being a Christian any easier, and as a Christian, it is vital to understand why you believe what you believe. It is crucial, now more than ever, that you are grounded in your faith. That is the very essence behind our organization’s name.

Understanding why you believe what you believe can be a hard task for teens and even adults. With that in mind, the Bible Idiots, AKA the Danielson Family, (Check them out here) has compiled some of the best speakers such as, Jim Daly, Erwin Lutzer, Alan Robertson, Joni Earekson Tada, Dr. Frank Turek, and many others to help answer these questions through an awesome simulcast event! Learn more about it HERE.

Join the comedic Danielson family, as they take an entertaining look at reasons to believe. Then contrast it to a wide variety of views from people on the street. THIS EVENT IS COMPLETELY FREE; however. the video session will only be available January 22 – 28th.

Get YOUR Church Involved

You can get your church involved in hosting this free event! All you have to do is talk to your pastor, tell them to go to the event website (shown below), click the “Sign Up Here” button, and then complete the form. Remember, the video session will be available January 22 – 28th, so hurry!

Visit www.bibleidiotsevent.com for detailed information!

Giving Thanks for Grounds4Faith

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8

From Caleb,

In the States, it’s almost time for the Thanksgiving holiday. With that in mind, I want to give praise and thanksgiving back to the Lord. HE IS SO GOOD!

For a long time, I planned on going overseas to a country I had been praying over for a couple of years. I thought it would finally be my time to go overseas to the country I longed to be in. It was around May of 2018, I opened my email, ecstatic to read one I had recently received from the missionary I had been in contact with; unfortunately, my excitement quickly dissipated.

They said that they wouldn’t be able to have me in December like we had planned earlier that year. I was crushed. I hit my knees in prayer, asking that the Lord would use my time here in the United States for his glory since it clearly wasn’t my time to go.

Since then, I have seen the Lord do mighty things. Christ has allowed me to publish my first book, begin drafting a second book, and start Grounds4Faith and its many other aspects. Not to mention, I have been able to have countless gospel conversations with people because of the reach of Grounds4Faith.

All along the way, Christ has constantly encouraged me through the people around me. I want to be honest with you all, when the ministry first began, I was concerned about numbers of every: how many of “this” did we have, how much of “that” did we do, how many people were there, how many “views” did we get, how many likes do we have?

The numbers used to greatly concern me, and I used to base our success off of that. Time and time again, when numbers looked “bad” to my prideful human eyes, God would send someone along to redirect my focus by showing me how he had been working around me. After numerous times of this happening, I stopped thinking about the numbers, and I asked the Lord to open my eyes up to all the things he’s doing around me.

It has been so liberating to see all that he is doing and how he is moving. God isn’t concerned about the numbers I generate, he’s concerned about me being faithful. The Lord has blessed me significantly through everyone around me that has continually encouraged me through God’s word. God is on the move all around, and I am thankful that he chooses unworthy people, like me, to be a part of his amazing plan. 

Everything that has happened and continues to go on through Grounds4Faith is all the Lord’s doing. To him, all thanks is due. May all the glory honor and praise be to Christ Jesus. Amen.

Give thanks back to the Lord in all things. Being thankful to God is not just a once or twice a year thing, it’s an everyday thing.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

~ Psalm 100:1-5