Live! Don’t Survive

Phil 1:6 “6 There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”

There are two kinds of Hope. Hope “in” something and Hope “for” something.

I would say in regards to our future we need to have both.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t question what God is doing and what His plan is for me and my family. Sometimes that thought is refreshing. Refreshing to know that God has a plan and it’s all in his hands.

Sometimes It is crippling and almost paralyzing. There have been many times where my  actions and lack of action have been dictated by the fact that I just have no clue what God is doing. I have begged for a flash forward and have not received it.

The Bible says “You don’t know which way the wind blows so how can you plan tomorrow”

For me, I have no clue which way the wind blows so I am constantly trying to plan tomorrow.

When we plan, if we leave God out of the decision making, we have the potential for sabotaging his Master plan. We can be like chipmunks storing our cheeks for the winter and spending all our time foraging for “nuts” so we can be prepared for our future.

Recently I was struggling with a bout of depression and anxiety of the future. This anxiety was spinning out of control and messing up my marriage and ministry. Out of the blue I felt God tell me to see how an old friend of mine I have not seen in 15 years was doing. So I did.

“how are you doing?” I said

“didn’t you hear?” she replied “my husband was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago”

My heart sunk. I didn’t know what to say.

She asked me “why would God allow this to happen”

I could not answer this of course. There is no right answer for that in a time of crisis that would really sooth the heart. There may not ever be a right answer for that while we are here on this earth.

Then she said something to me that changed my perspective on life. It was the most basic thing she could ever say and something we hear all the time. We are so good at missing basic truths. Sometimes you have to hear it from God to really let it sink in.

“I should have spent more time on each moment and lived life day by day instead of arguing with him and worrying about the future. I can’t get that back now

Let that sink in for a minute. Think about your family, your wife, your relationships, your dreams, and your future. I realized I needed to Live and cherish moments with my wife and kids. Is that easy all the time? Of course not. Life can get in the way, but we need to be intentional about trying. This next line is vital so please don’t miss it.

God asks us to put our hope in Him because he gives us the ability to hope For the future.

We need to take it day by day and moment by moment because fear, anxiety, and worry rob us not only of hope but also of the moments that make life worth living. Working out of those things puts us in survival mode. We spend all of our time trying to survive for the next thing much like our woodland creature above. I know for myself that the enemy has robbed me of great relationships and life because he had me wrapped up in anxiety about “surviving”

It is only when we stop trying to survive and give ALL of our cares to jesus that we can truly live.

If you are honest with yourself you know you have bought the lie of survival, anxiety and fear. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!







9 responses to “Live! Don’t Survive”

  1. Ryan Egan Avatar

    Hey Joel – this is good stuff. Here’s my issue: I am doing everything I can to just stop and enjoy my family and not take them for granted. At the same time, however, I KNOW, know in my heart that God has called me to full-time ministry (in whatever form that might be), but for whatever reason He has put me in a full-time job and I don’t have time to figure out a way to support our family with full-time ministry.

    I trust Him, and I want to spend time with my family, but I want to find a way to support my family AND be doing what I’m passionate about. However, I can’t just quit my job and hope that we’ll have the money to survive, you know?

    It’s a vicious circle that I don’t know how to get out of. Thanks for the encouragement though, God’s mercies and faithfulness blow everything else out of the water.

  2. Bill Avatar

    @joel – This hits home with me big time. I need to be more intentional in the now and not think I can ‘make it up to them later’ with some huge payout. Its a debtors mentality.

    @Ryan – Your words are expressing my EXACT issue at the moment.

    Can we covenant to pray together once a week for the next 2 weeks over a Google+ hangout or Skype to check in to see where we believe the ‘winds’ of God are taking us: (Rev 14:These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.)

    So honored to have had the honor of meeting you guys!

  3. Jason Durham Avatar

    I would like to point you, and I know you have read this but it bears repeating, to Psalms 16:9. We make our plans but the Lord directs our steps. So . . . how does that flesh out?

    I have had to come to a tough conclusion in my own life, and that of my family’s, that we don’t always know why thing happen in ours or other lives that we are involved in, either as friend or acquaintance. I have been asked many times why God would allow a tragedy. All I can say is that He is God, we are not, and if we believe He is truly God and we are not, then he has the final say so. I know that’s tough to say and hear, but . . . in a way, it’s comforting too, right? To know that an Advocate has our best interest in heart regardless of what we think should happen or why He would allow it.
    Let’s look at this example, my daughter is 18 years old, but when she was 6 months old, she died from her immunization. Today she is still developmentally a 6 month old. Feeding tube, spinal fusion, seizures that dr’s have no idea where they originate, cant feed herself, in diapers, can roll herself over, can’t talk . . . yet my wife and I know she speaks and sees angels. That sounds weird coming from a Baptist right?! LOL! Well, we could have mulled in pity and anger at why God would allow this to happen. We realized in our faithlessness . . . HE was always faithful. We have had ample opportunities to share that with other families.
    With that said, I think that the how and why of God’s plan is not as important as us pointing to Him and saying . . . He’s God and we are not, but I am praying for you that He will comfort and continue showing grace to you.
    Wrapping this puppy up I say this . . . for me, I make plans all the while knowing that it is my responsibility to commune with the Father to make sure my plans line up with His will. If I can do that, of which I fail often and beautifully at, then that’s ok with me. I have two tattoos that help. On the inside of my left wrist it says “HE IS”, and on the inside of my right wrist it says “I AM NOT”. It’s a good reminder for me.
    Just my 2 Cents!

  4. Ryan Egan Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your heart Jason. Bill, I’m all for praying for each other and hanging out. Let’s make it happen.

  5. Sean Lewis Avatar

    Joel is absolutely correct here. “Living the dream” can be extremely challenging. Without God there is anxiety, depression, and very little hope when things get bad. It is the domain of the Enemy. When God is in EVERY decision, EVERY equation, then it takes on a different aspect. It becomes a challenge that will refine us like steel.

    The HOPE I get from God is KNOWING that every situation that life throws at me can be looked at in two ways, negatively, or positively. A negative outlook immediately cuts us off from where God wants to take us. A positive outlook, knowing that the outcome may still be unsatisfactory, but HOPING for the best, is where God sculpts us into our best form.

    Also… follow the Commandments. Never once in the Ten Commandments does it say, “Take care of yourself and your purpose above all other things”. This is HUGE. In essence, it is God saying, “don’t worry about yourself, just be obedient, and I’ll handle that.”

    Discern what is best for you based on your gifts and God’s revelations to you, yes, but don’t chase after a life that has already been pre-destined for you if it takes you away from what is important. Your wife, kids, family, job, all of it, is why you are where you are. Enjoy them. Celebrate them. Give them the best you can give. The rest is the gravy that God pours down on us if we faitfully serve Him.

  6. Jason Durham Avatar

    Great post Sean! A question I post to you all – Do you consider our pride (ie sinful nature) as a core cause to our lack of faith that God will “take care of it/us/all”?

  7. Bill Avatar

    @Jason wow, as a father of 4 all I can say is “…” Your faith in our Creator is an inspiration for me! I agree with the need for allowing the Lord to ‘order your steps’.

    The thing is that by design he doesn’t order our steps the same way. These days it’s not as simple as following the physical pillar of cloud/fire from the wilderness days… 🙂

  8. Jason Durham Avatar

    Bill . . . correct about ordering our steps differently, but how COOL would it be that there would be a visible physical pillar that we could follow, but then again we do . . . its scripture right? Its the comfort His grace shows us in the scripture.

    I am looking at starting a support group called “People Who Screw Up by Not Reading Their Bible or Praying Enough”! I am human. I fail. I fall. And look inward at times of how crappy stuff is in my families’ life and mine, then God throws that whole Job thing in my face. I really don’t like it when He does that! LOL!

  9. Joel Klampert Avatar

    fantastic discussion fellas.
    Jason I want to be in the “People Who Screw Up by Not Reading Their Bible or Praying Enough” group.

    Listen we all deal with tough things and sometimes seem to be dealt a band hand but we need to consider it JOY through our trials and our triumphs. This of course is not easy at all.

    I am all for planning.. I am a planner.

    What I am saying though is if all your energy is spent on planning or surviving then you never really have time to live. I don’t think that is the life God wants from us.

    Jason I really admire you as a father. I can’t imagine what you have dealt with all of these years. I also know you were just the man for the job. God has a plan and is seeing it done through you. That is exciting.

    Ryan and Bill I am right where you guys are at. 4 kids…slammed… not able to make enough money but making enough that if I jumped ship into a full time ministry situation that I have my family to worry about. It is amazing how care free we can be with faith and our lives when we are single. Add a wife and kids into that mix and now all of your faith has even more weight.

    God has brought some amazing situations into my life and thrown things like the forge conference into my lap. I have not had the time or resources to do them but God helps me make a way. He also brought those things to me and while there were huge leaps of faith I think it is very different than if I just packed up the family and went to plant a church or something.

    This has been a constant battle for me as well and quite frankly I don’t have the answers, but I am praying that I keep my ear to the heartbeat of God.

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