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Facing The Future with Confidence - How to Face the Future in Times of Uncertainty, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2023 6:00 am

Facing The Future with Confidence - How to Face the Future in Times of Uncertainty, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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March 21, 2023 6:00 am

What is it that causes you to fear? The wars in the Middle East? The economy? Your job? Well, if you want to know how to face your fears with confidence, and the peace that comes only from God, join Chip as he shares God’s prescription for living in uncertain times.

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I want you to stop and think a minute right now, specifically, what's the greatest fear that you have in your life?

What makes you paralyzed inside about what might happen? Today we'll learn from God's Word how to find peace and hope to face our greatest fears. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in this program, Chip continues his series, Facing the Future with Confidence. He picks up where he left off last time in the book of Joshua, highlighting the story of a man who had a lot of reasons to be afraid. Hear how instead of caving to his fears, he trusted in God's goodness. And be sure to stick around after the teaching as Chip shares some deeper application we can learn from this Bible character's life.

You won't want to miss it. Okay, let's get to the second half of Chip's message, how to face the future in times of uncertainty. Courage isn't the absence of fear. Courage is being scared to death and saying, you know, well, I tell you what, to give the way I used to give now is a scary thing. Sure, it's scary and do it. To take a stand publicly at a time like this is pretty scary.

Well, sure, it's scary. And then you do it. To make Christ the number one priority in my life, in my school, in a way that lets people know it's not about just going to church or being religious, but it's about what I think and how I act with the opposite sex and what I put in my mind and what's important to me. It takes courage.

See, courage is going beyond knowing what's right and having the sheer guts to get up and pull the trigger and do it. And I would dare say, without being judgmental because we all struggle, the Church of Jesus Christ in America is in a courage crisis. We got 25% of the population of America saying, I'm born again. I believe in God. I believe in His Word.

I believe in Jesus. We've got the highest divorce rates in the world, highest murder rates in the world, and the average evangelical believer gives 2.5% of their income. We've got a major disconnect.

You know why? We've got millions of people who understand in their head, this is true, this is right, and I say I believe this, but when it gets right down to having the sheer courage to get up and live and speak and align their priorities in a way that reflects Scripture, they go back to the dugout and they never have a reel at bat. It's when you're courageous that it's risky, but it's when you're courageous where you see the hand of God and the Spirit of God. I'm going to spend the next portion of our time talking about how do you experience that?

How do you get that strength and how do you get that courage? And here's what I want to tell you. This passage, I'm teaching it, and I'm down here trying to listen to me and say, God, will you help me put this into practice? Because I'm in over my head. And I'm thinking up early in the morning and talking with God and saying, Lord, what am I going to do?

What am I going to do? And you know what He's saying? Trust me. Am I with you? Yeah. Is this my agenda or is this yours?

It's yours. Okay. You know what I expect you to do Monday, Chip? What? Be strong.

Okay. What's that mean? Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't whine. Don't cry.

You can cry out, but don't cry. And then I expect you to be courageous. And I expect you with your words and with your time and with your money and your life to model what it looks like to be a courageous man of God. And tell you what, you do that, I'll take care of the rest.

Now the big question is how? God didn't bring you in this building on this day for just like no reason. And He didn't bring you here so that at the end of the day you can say, well, I know how God helped Joshua during an uncertain time. It's in verses one through nine.

Now that's fine. He brought you in this building on this day to speak to your heart so that you would understand how you could be strong and you could be courageous so that you'd be like a spiritual salmon swimming upstream in the wave of other Christians, particularly an entire world that is biting their fingernails and mostly worried not about what's going to happen in the world, but what's going to happen to them. Because at the end of the day, that's really what's going on out there. Let me give you three principles where now we're going to see out of Joshua the very things that Jesus told His disciples. And what I want to kind of do is give you a to-go package, all right? I want to give you something that all during the week you can say, this is how to be strong and courageous. And by the way, as you listen, I want you to think of the whiteboard of the one or two top fears. And I want you to go back to that whiteboard in your mind while I'm talking and ask God the Holy Spirit to show you what it looks like to be strong and courageous with your fears, okay? With that, let me give you the three principles, three ways God gives us from this passage to live confident lives.

That's where we got the title. This is how you face the future with confidence. Number one, it's believing God's promise for our future is the key to overcoming our fear of the unknown. It's believing, and by that I don't mean intellectually, believing to the point of action that God's promise for our future, it will give you the power to overcome the unknown. We get that here in verses three and four. And Jesus spoke very familiar words.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, He said to the fellas the last night was on the earth, right? Trust in God. Trust also in me. In my father's house are many rooms. If it weren't so, I wouldn't have told you. I'm going there to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and I will take you to be with me that you may be where I am. You know those early apostles, what was their fear? What was their fear?

Wasn't it the unknown? I mean, how's this going to pan out? The Romans, they're chasing us as it is.

The Jews, they'll probably kill us. That's why they went ahead. What did Jesus say the last night? Your future is secure.

It's a done deal. Jesus said it over here. God said to Joshua, look, Joshua, yes, the Jordan is a flood stage. It's wider than ever before. It's deeper than ever before.

It's impossible to get across. I want you to know on the other side, it's a done deal. Here's what God helped me see. Chip, do you believe in heaven?

Oh yeah, I teach it all the time. Oh, you do. Yeah. So if I would choose since I'm God and I'm good and I'm sovereign and I'm in control and I love you and I always have your best, even if I would choose to take your wife home and take her to heaven, do I have the prerogative to do that?

Well, yeah. So worst case scenario, let's play out the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is I take your wife to be in heaven. You live out your life.

I give you strength with your children. I do an amazing thing in your life. And then later on you die and you're with me and you're both with me in heaven. Let me get this right, Chip.

That's the worst that can happen. That's right, Lord. And what are you afraid about? Unless, Chip, you're really not concerned about me and you don't have an eternal perspective and it's not about me and it's not about heaven and you just say you believe that and it's just a little intellectual game you play, if that's real, it's a done deal, right?

Can you trust me? And when you start doing that, it produces a strength and a courage. Until you die to this world, until you really die to this world, you're really not worth much to God. I remember being in China, Pastor Lam, 25 years in concentration camps and then another 20 years in prison.

Seventy-eight years old. We went through back streets and he has an underground church of about 1,000 people and we spent some time praying and talking with him. He said, yeah, two nights ago they came and they roughed me up again and they got in my face and they tried to threaten me and he said, I just laughed at them. I said, you put me in prison, the church grow. You put me in concentration camp, church grow bigger and bigger.

Go ahead and kill me. Watch what God does. You know what Pastor Lam knows? Worst case scenario, he's going to heaven.

You know what? I meet some Christians that they think going to heaven might be just the worst thing that could ever happen. The way they prioritize their time, their money and their focus, you would think the worst thing that could happen is they could die and spend eternity in the presence of God with Jesus. That old little hymn, This World Is Not Our Home, we could use to get introduced to that at the heart level.

And until you draw the line on that and believe it, you will be paralyzed by fear and you will spend all your life trying to hold on to that which Jim Elliot said you cannot keep and failing to give that which you cannot lose. The key word here is hope and it is a biblical hope. You know, we hope it will be sunny tomorrow, at least I do. We hope the economy will bounce back. That's the way Americans use the word hope.

That's a fine word. We mean wishful thinking. When the Bible uses the word hope, it is about a future event that is unchangeable and that will happen because God said it based on His word and His character. The fact that Christ is returning, biblical hope, anchor of your soul. The fact that if you are in Christ, you can know a hundred percent of the time, any moment when you die you'll be with Him, that's hope.

That's hope. That changes your perspective in how you live. The second key to developing strength and courage is appropriating God's power for victory to overcome your fear of failure. We see it in verse 5, verse 7, verse 8. God said I'll give you power.

You go into battle, no one's going to be able to stand against you. Did you notice how God told Joshua to learn to appropriate it? This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. Do you know what He was telling him?

He was giving him the means, the how-to of gaining spiritual power. See, I believe with all my heart because I've been there that the average Christian really wants to break that habit with their tongue. The average Christian that has an addiction with alcohol or drugs, you know, they don't want to do it but they just keep going back. The average Christian that has been sucked in over to porn on the internet and finds himself when no one's looking, you know, really checking out the magazine stands as they walk out of the grocery store or logging on late at night, they don't want to be there.

The average Christian that's having all kind of conflict in their marriage and outbursts of anger and just, oh, I'm tired of living this way, they don't want to live that way. But the average Christian does not know how God gives them the power to live the life they already possess. Now I found it out by an accident. Now it's all through Scripture, I just didn't know about it. I was a Christian about two, two and a half years and I came to a conclusion. Somehow miraculously God cleaned up my language. I didn't open a Bible until I was 18, played basketball and baseball in high school and college and so I ran with a group of guys that we talked in a certain way and lived in a certain way and wow, I just started reading the Scriptures in the morning and the night and God cleaned up my mouth and I saw multiple changes but there was one about two and a half, three years into my faith that I realized, I mean I just came to the conclusion, I guess you can't lick this.

You have it forever. And then I got around some older Christian, some older Christian men and I would poke around to try and find out and I realized, huh, they're faking it too. And most men, whether they're 14 or 24 or 84, will tell you that the battle of your life and your spiritual life is to overcome lust. I mean we're bombarded by the media and it doesn't mean we don't love our wives and on and on and on but I'm telling you that I'm a Christian and I'm in the Scriptures on a regular basis and I don't like what I'm thinking and I don't like how I'm looking at women and I don't like the guilt and I don't like the condemnation and I promise God I'll never do it again and I do it again and on and on and on and I can't lick it. And so I just realized I'll be like all the other Christian men I've met, I'll fake it.

You just kind of be nice and you feel guilt when you pray and there's no sense of power and you just live this double life. I had my roommate going to a parachurch camp and he was going to live on a college campus and he had to memorize 60 verses, the navigator's topical memory system. He had to have them memorized, know them flat cold completely before he could get in. And at that time being the loving, committed, pure motive roommate that he had, I decided for absolutely no reason other than if he could memorize 60 in four months I bet I could do it in two.

I mean, my motives were 100% carnal. I'm going to show him up. In fact, he spent $5 back then and got these little cards and when he left the room I took all of his cards and I wrote down all the verses and I thought two or three verses a week, I'm going to memorize one every day. And by day number four I'd already forgotten verse number one. So I thought, okay, I'm going to memorize all these and I'll review them every single day so I can get them down cold. Well, I had a psychology professor who God placed in my life to really help the sanctification process bloom. He was so boring I had almost an hour every other day to review my verses behind my psychology book. And so at day 28 I got 28 verses down cold and I've never memorized a verse in my life. I don't know anything about your mind being renewed.

I don't know how God takes the Spirit and the Word of God plants it in your heart and transforms your life. I don't know any of that stuff. All I know is I'm on my way to where all the basketball players ate lunch below the girls' dorm and had five or six hundred girls in it and we would sit as a basketball team and they would file by and we'd rank them one to ten. And I'm ashamed of it. I mean, it was just, okay. And so I'm on my way over to the dorm and this verse comes to my mind, make no provision for the flesh. Make no, make, make no, make no, and then I'm sitting here and love not the world and the things that are in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes. And I decide I'm not going to go to that dorm and I start walking to the other cafeteria and then I meet this co-ed who's a very, very lovely, godly, committed and beautiful girl. And the long and the short of it is I had about a fifteen-minute conversation and I looked her in the eye and I wasn't thinking about anything else and as we parted, I had an, God did one of those aha, I didn't lust.

And I found there's a correlation. You know how God makes you strong? It's not by trying harder. God takes the written Word of God by the Spirit of God as you meditate on it and he makes it the living Word of God and he gives you power to think and to act and to love and to respond in ways that only Jesus could if he lived inside you. And he does by way of the Holy Spirit. And my experience is that the reason we're not strong and courageous is the average believer is tipping God when it comes to Scripture. And you know, it's like a little bit of this or a little bit of that.

You must be men and women who live under the book and you don't read two or three chapters so you don't feel guilty and it's not a chapter a day to keep the devil away. This is about a heart relationship where you want to spend time with God and you carve it out and you get a cup of coffee and you read and you think and you pray and you pray verses back and you struggle in this area and you find a promise about that area and then you memorize it and then God brings it to your mind and he breaks the power of sin and he changes you and you go, wow, you're transformed because everyone who is in Christ is what? A new creature. The old things pass away.

Behold, all things present tense continuing are becoming new. You don't have to fail. God doesn't want you to fail.

He wants to use your life. The first key has to do with hope. The second key has to do with faith. Biblical faith isn't believing a set of ideas. Biblical faith is believing God to the point of acting on the truth. It's believing God to acting on the truth. God's Word says this. I don't feel like it.

I'm afraid. The implications are this and you step out and the moment you step out, you get grace. And he'll give you courage at work. He'll give you courage to take risk with your time. He'll give you courage to let go of finances.

He'll allow anger issues to dissolve. Because God is looking for a people, regular, ordinary, not superstar people who will believe that there is an unshakable hope and so life and death can't touch him. People who believe that the same power that raised Christ from the dead literally dwells in them and by faith they choose to live on the basis of Scripture and they experience transforming grace. And then finally, if you want strength and courage, we recognize God's presence with us is the key to overcoming this fear of abandonment. How many times in those nine verses did he tell Joshua, I'm with you. I'll be with you like I was with Moses. And do you remember what John 16, what Jesus said? Remember the disciples? The very last night, what's he saying to them?

It's better that I leave you, right? Because when I go there is another, another of the same kind, a paraclete, a comforter, the Holy Spirit. And what's he going to do? He's going to come and he's going to reveal all truth to you and he's going to guide you and he's going to lead you. And back when, you know, it used to be where if Jesus was over by the fire and Peter, James, and John wanted to talk with him, if he was talking with Bartholomew, they had to wait their turn.

Jesus says it's going to be better. I'm going to come in and not only be with you but by the Holy Spirit I'm going to dwell in you and he will reveal the truth to you and I will guide you into all truth 24-7, 365 days out of the year. The Spirit of God, the moment you pray to receive Christ will come into your life, seal you with the Spirit, adopt you into his family and he will be with you. You can pray in the car. You can pray at church. You can pray as you're walking. You can pray during a meeting. You can talk with God every moment of every day and practice the presence of God.

You will never be alone ever again. And once you begin to experience that, there's strength. There's courage. Hudson Taylor was right.

God plus even one is a majority. And what this is really talking about is love. It's the final keyword. Isn't it interesting, dads, remember when you're trying to teach your kids to swim? Remember that? I did it in some not very smart ways. I had my kids get on boards that were way too high early on.

It's a joke in our family. But you know what I learned? I learned if I would get them on the board and I would jump down into the water and say, come on, honey, come on, it's okay, son, go ahead. And if they could see me even though they were fearful of the water, if they knew I was there, I'm four for four. Every one of my kids did this. And when they did, they went under just for just a second and then I put my arms around them.

Why? I'm their dad. I love them. I will be with them always.

I will never ever leave them or forsake them. And I'm just a human dad. There are some of you that God is waiting for you to jump into the water of ministry, to jump into the water of impact, to jump into the water of obedience, to jump into the water of taking a high risk venture at work for His kingdom, to jump into the water with your heart and your life and your soul and all that you have. And here's what He says, I'll get you. I'll get you. I love you.

I'm for you. I died for you. The same power that raised Him from the dead not only dwells in you, but He that spared not His own son, how will He not with Him freely give you all things? You see, when you have a hope that can't change and you live by faith that's acting on God's Word and there's a God who's all powerful, all knowing, sovereign and you're the object of His affection, you can be strong regardless of your circumstances and you can step out when you're scared to death. And as you do, you will meet God.

And my premise and I think the truth of Scripture is the Lord is waiting for a generation of Christians beginning with the person who's sitting in your seat, since you have 100% control of that person's thinking, to step out and believe that He wants to fulfill divine purposes first in you and then through you. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and the message you just heard, How to Face the Future in Times of Uncertainty, is from our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. In this age of information, it often feels like the more we know, the more anxious we become. So where can we find stability in these uncertain times? What can we put our trust in? Through this six-part study, Chip explains why God is our dependable rock and refuge no matter the storms that come our way. Discover how that certainty can motivate us to tackle our most challenging circumstances and propel us to a more joy-filled life.

And to help you better understand what that looks like, we have a really special offer I want to tell you about. During this series, we want to give every listener a copy of Chip's well-known book, I Choose Peace at No Cost. This tool will encourage you to lean on God through the highs and lows of life. To get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or text PEACE to 7-4141. That's the word PEACE, P-E-A-C-E, to 7-4141.

This is a limited time offer, one book per customer, while supplies last. Well, Chip's joined me in studio now, and Chip, today you wrapped up your message with a really clear challenge. You said, The Lord is waiting for a generation of Christians to step out. And this idea of Christians living like Christians should be a top priority for the 21st century church.

Dave, I agree. I think one of the most urgent needs, not just in America, but Christianity today is what I would just call a discipleship deficit. I mean, the research is in right now and it's sad, is that the majority of very sincere people, even Christians who call themselves Christians, actually don't live like Christians. And for some of them, it's ignorance and for others, it's drifting. For others, they literally have never had someone teach them how to grow spiritually.

And that's the heartbeat of Living on the Edge. We want to help Christians live like Christians, and Jesus called it discipleship. And it's interesting that the Lord has given us about 27 years to hone discipleship resource and tools to help ordinary people like you and me, Dave, to really grow in their faith and make an impact in their world. And so this month, I'm asking the people who listen to the broadcast to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly partner. We are expanding at such a rate and God has opened so many doors to help disciple and to encourage and to mature God's people. But we need the resources and the prayer support to do it. Would you pray and ask God if he wants you to be a monthly partner to Living on the Edge? Thanks, Chip. As you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry, I want to remind you that every gift is significant.

When you partner with Living on the Edge, you multiply our efforts and resources in ways only God can do. To set up a recurring donation, go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. You can also text donate to 7-4141. That's the word donate to 7-4141. We appreciate your support.

Well, with that, here's Chip with his application. As we close today's program, I would remind you that Joshua was in the midst of a major, major transition in leadership. And these are the words that God gave to him.

And then I would take you to the Lord Jesus and the words he gave to his disciples when there was going to be a major, major transition in leadership. In both places, he says, don't be afraid. Be strong. Be of good courage. And then rooted in his word, he says, there's hope for the future. There's power for the present. And there's my presence in the midst of it all.

But what I want you to know is that that just doesn't happen by osmosis. God makes those promises in his word, and his word has to be digested and applied in the context of authentic community. And I just know there's many of you listening to me right now. You are really afraid, and you want to do what you just heard God say in his word, but you're paralyzed by your fear, and you don't know how to get out of it. I want to tell you, open your Bible. Read Joshua chapter 1. Open your Bible today. I mean, in the next few minutes, and read John 14 and listen to the words of Jesus.

And then you got a phone. Text someone. Call someone. Stop with someone before this day gets over and say, you know, I heard today that God wants to give me courage. He wants to give me hope that he's made promises, that his presence is available. Would you pray with me?

Could we just bow our heads right now? And you might even say, I'm not very good at this, but let's just talk out loud and cry out to God. And here's what I will tell you. He'll meet you. He loves you.

He's for you. In fact, the older I get, I begin to see that God actually allows these times of transition, uncertainty, pain, circumstances, to do something in us that we probably would never do on our own. Create a level of need that drive us to pursue him like never before. And the promise he makes is, seek the Lord that he might be found. Call upon him while he is near. Can I encourage you today, maybe the greatest day in your life, to seek him with all your heart, to call upon him? And here's the promise from God's own lips. I will be found by you. Reach out.

Let him love you. Thanks for the encouragement, Chip. And as we close, if you are walking through a difficult or painful season right now, we want you to know we care about you. So if you'd like someone to pray with you, call us at 888-333-6003. Or if you prefer, email us at chip at Living on the Edge dot org. That's chip at Living on the Edge dot org. Or call 888-333-6003. Well from all of us here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-21 06:21:49 / 2023-03-21 06:33:24 / 12

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