Living by Trust and Hope
Friday, January 27, 2012
There are two ways to live. We all default to control and fear, but by the grace of Jesus Christ it is possible to live by trust and hope. Be encouraged as you listen to the next HAVEN Today with Charles Morris and a program called "Living by Trust and Hope."
Unless you own thousands of shares of Apple stock, you may worry about finances. Unless you are perfectly healthy, thin and young, you may be worried about your body. You may even be worried, getting older, that you are losing your mind.
Welcome to HT, I’m CM on a Friday, sharing the GS that’s all about Jesus. Apple stock shot up this week after an amazing quarterly report, Wall Street analysts all said buy and raised their forecasts that share prices could go up another hundred or two hundred dollars. But even if you own thousands of shares of American’s most valuable stock, you still have worries. And while we will talk again today about parenting, for all of us – parents or not – there are two ways to live. We all default to living at least some of the time by control and fear, But by the grace of Jesus Christ it is possible to live by trust and hope. How are you living today? Do you succumb to living out of fear, or by faith in Christ alone? And if you are a fearful parent, I’ve got good news for you, so keep listening and find some hope. Worship pastor Tommy Walker, opens HT with a call to hope.
SONG – I Have a Hope – Tommy Walker
Doesn’t Tommy play a great guitar. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, but now a worship pastor in Hollywood, Tom Walker and I Have a Hope.
Now all this week, we’ve been talking about Give Them Grace, a model of parenting that’s not based on fear, but based on hope in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you missed Monday and Tuesday with mother and daughter, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, we have those programs still up on our Internet home page. And if you’re looking for quick help in raising children or you work with kids, visit our website for the quick read articles on “Prodigals & Pharisees” and “Two Lies – One Truth”. Read those, and you’re going to want to get a copy of the book, Give Them Grace … Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Just go to haventoday.org. That’s haventoday.org. Or call us after the program for Give Them Grace. Call 1-800-654-2836. That’s 1-800-65-HAVEN. Now for just a minute, listen in to my conversation with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in San Diego county, California. I asked them, “What makes Christian parenting Christian?”
Thanks Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, authors of Give Them Grace … Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus.
Every day in America, 350 parents bury a child. And if you are one of those 350 as I am, you know that almost every day the rest of your life, you will ask yourself, how could I have been a better parent. What could I have done differently? Even if you aren’t a parent, let’s talk about living out the Christian life with trust and hope and not control and fear. Singer Cindy Bullens is one of those 350 parents who every day in America bury a child. Such a loss marks a parent for life. Cindy remembers her daughter, Jessie, who died from cancer at age eleven. “I still want to see her face. That will never go away … Not in five years. Not in ten. Never. I can laugh today, something I couldn’t do two years ago. I can have a good time today. But I always have sadness. I will live with my sadness until the day that I die and I am with Jessie again.” I understand where Cindy is coming from for I, too, am a parent who has buried a child. We have no guarantees, living in what the Bible describes as a fallen world. The smallest things may trigger your pain all over again and bring it roaring back to life. I will go to my grave asking myself how could I have been a better parent. What could I have done differently? Now, if you’ve lost your husband or wife to death or even to divorce, you also have a sense of what I’m talking about. And if you are a young parent or a parent-to-be, you’ve probably already asked yourself the same kind of question. Well for all of us, parent or not, there are two ways to live. First we can live by Control & Fear OR we can live by Trust & Hope. Even Christians have this daily choice to make. You have this choice to make in relationship to your work and to your friends. And the choice more times than not comes down on the side of Control and Fear. I’m talking about myself. Yesterday at this ministry, we had the board meeting of the year I never look forward to – approving the annual budget. It’s always a fear day for me, but it’s especially fearful the economic times we’ve been through the past few years. What can we do? If you’re a parent, it’s easy to rule by control and fear when children are young. But there’s no way that will work when kids become teenagers – when they are beginning to their independence. As they mature into adulthood, it works less and less. Now don’t misunderstand. There is a need for parents to discipline. But you can discipline children out of love and not control and fear. The Apostle Paul prayed for all Christians. He prayed that their love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that they may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes only through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” If you will stay with me, I want to share the secret for how you can live by Trust & Hope and not by Control & Fear. You are a citizen first of heaven and today you can live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
I can share this secret to living with you because I struggle on both sides myself, even after having been a follower of Jesus for many years. I’ll give you the secret as a slogan to help you remember and then I’ll tell you where it comes from in God’s Word. The slogan is this: Not I, but Christ. Let me pause and say it is again: Not I, but Christ. This easy to remember phrase is shorthand from God’s Word. I’m getting this from Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” You don’t have to live your life with white knuckles always afraid, always fearful that events may easily get out of control. It’s not just bad parenting, it’s bad living. This kind of living can lead to headaches and even depression when things never turn out how you planned them, when you live by control and fear. For Christians there’s a better way to live. Yes, you must still take personal responsibility. But in your heart, you know that Christ Jesus lives in you by the power of His Spirit. Not I, but Christ. One of the great revivals of all time was the East Africa revival of the late 1940’s. One of those affected by that revival was a missionary doctor named Joe Church who had given up a lucrative medical practice to become a missionary. Joe had a card printed up that read, “Not I, but Christ.” Try to picture this card with me. First there was the word “Not”. But then inside the word “I” was a drawing of a man standing tall and walking straight up. Then there was the word “but”. Then the last word “Christ”. And inside the “C” of Christ, there was the drawing of the same man bent over in prayer. Not I but Christ. Not the letter “I” standing tall with my posture proud and my neck stiff. No – Christ living in me and through me as my savior leads me to share his grace every day with others, including my children. Below on the bottom of this card carried in Africa that read, “Not I but Christ” were these lines written by another missionary impacted by the East African revival.
Lord, bend that proud and stiff-necked “I”,
Help me to bow the neck and die,
Beholding Him on Calvary,
Who bowed His head for me?
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
You see, when we live our lives standing tall in ourselves it is impossible for Jesus to take our place as sinners on the cross. This isn’t just an event once upon a time. This is reality that must become real to us every day even after we’ve stood that first time at the foot of the cross. On our bent knees, Christ reveals himself to us and when that happens, we see our need for Jesus and live in him by Trust and Hope and not by control and through fear. Trust and Hope will help us raise children of faith. Control and fear will eventually drive our children away from the cross and their need for Jesus in their lives. And as I’ve said already, this applies to everyone claimed by Christ. Not I, but Christ. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Not I But Christ based on Galatians 2:20. But you may still be asking, but how do I do it? How then can my heart be filled with trust and hope that I can pass on to my children, rather than control and fear? Even if I have no children, how can this be what flows out of my life? Well the answer isn’t easy. Christians can so easily get stuck in the rut of method. We start living for the sake of the method, rather than where the method was trying to lead us. But let me give it a try. To parent, to relate to our children, to anybody – to live by trust and hope and not control and fear, two things:
First, we must stay on our knees and, second, live in the word. That’s how a Christian breathes, eats, sleeps, and lives. First, we stay on our knees and that means prayer. Prayers can be spontaneous and they can be written. Prayers from the Bible can be prayed. But the moment our praying becomes a sense of duty and our minds are drifting outside communicating with your Lord, we’ve lost it. Praying has become method and not reality. It’s a struggle we will always face. But God’s arm is not short, it’s long. He is always there. His throne of grace is wide and you can fall before Him at any moment and implore Him to help you sincerely and genuinely seek His face and His heart to live in and through you. But along with staying on our knees, we must live in the Word. Again, this can so easily become a method. Methods will shrivel up your soul. Hiding the Word of God in your heart is more than just keeping a schedule of daily Bible reading. When you are at your weakest moments – when you don’t have any answers for dealing with your children, living in the Word is where you will find your answers. If nothing else, the Word will lead you how to pray for your children and how to relate to them in love – even in times of needed discipline. The Lord is always near. His Word is always faithful. No matter the issue you face, God’s Word is always fresh and will lead you to that realization that is Not I But Christ. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Christian living is Spirit living as Galatians puts it. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. This list is not another set of rules for your to keep. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:25, Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Good news? You bet! Not I But Christ.
Song – Hope of the Broken World - Selah
Give Them Grace
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All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point?Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is...
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