DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

It’s the Truth That Sets You Free…not your feelings…

I have seen over the last number of years in ministry that so many people nowadays are living by their feelings. Now before anyone that knows me thinks that I am speaking of them, I’m not. It’s just the fact that there are so many people living by emotions; I even get trapped by this same thing. We see it day-in and day-out on mainstream media and different news outlets. For instance, take the 2016 Presidential election: emotions were flying from the right to the left and from the left to the right. People were having sit-ins and sit-outs and whatever ins and outs. People were cursing at each other and trying to be heard while others were trying to keep them at bay as not to listen. Then when the non-listeners wanted to be heard they were tuned out by the previous speakers. People physically attacked others and even death was brought by different perpetrators.

Feelings abound on every front: from the political landscape to homes to the public square to churches to others around us. Feelings are alright to have, but when they take control of how we see things in our lives and in the lives of those around us, there is going to be a problem–a huge problem. Let me try to explain my argument better.

Consider how living by your emotions produces anxiety in your life. As Keith R. Miller writes in Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Me, “Anxious thinking is beyond the normal reasoning process. Descriptions for it [in the Bible] include dread, apprehension, hesitation, agitation, uneasiness, loss of control, doubt, a ‘gnawing away,’ or worry.” All of these descriptions for anxiety are seen in the public square and in homes more today than ever before. So how can we change this? Read what the wisest of all men writes in Proverbs 12:25:

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (ESV)

Job writes in Job 6:2-3:

If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. (NLT)

“We must live by faith and not by sight. Anxiety pulls us down when we focus on what might be rather than what is,” writes Miller. Psalm 73:2-3 says:

But I had nearly lost confidence; my faith was almost gone because I was jealous of the proud when I saw that things go well for the wicked. (GNT)

Again, the psalmist writes in Psalm 142:4-5:

When I look beside me, I see that there is no one to help me, no one to protect me. No one cares for me. LORD, I cry to you for help; you, LORD, are my protector. (GNT)

So how do we handle our emotions when anxiety takes root in us? Well, just like a weed you have to pull it out by its roots. That means that you have to dig deep inside yourself and realize that the proper response is to give your problems, your anxiety, your emotions to the Lord. First Peter 3:7 says:

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. (NLT)

Paul the apostle writes in Philippians 4:6:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. (NLT)

God’s grace is absolutely sufficient for meeting our every need, even when anxiety seems to have taken over our lives. Paul again writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (ESV)

So much more can be said about anxiety and the way it affects our emotions. Suffice it to say, when we allow our emotions to rule our lives, anxiety will set in and will wreak havoc in our lives.

Secondly, consider how living by your emotions produces wrong attitudes. Having a Godly, positive attitude will make all the difference in enjoying happiness, success, and contentment in life. Charles Swindoll writes in Strengthening Your Grip, “Words can never adequately  convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become the life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. . . . When my attitude is right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.” Attitude needs to be positive, but it will not be when we are living by our emotions all of the time. The reason is that our emotions go up and down, side to side, and every which way but loose. When we begin to live by right thinking, then we want to love and serve God and keep this at the forefront of our thinking (notice that I said at the “forefront of our thinking“). Moses writes in Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

Now, people of Israel, listen to what the LORD your God demands of you: Worship the LORD and do all that He commands. Love Him, serve Him with all your heart, and obey all His laws. I am giving them to you today for your benefit. (GNT)

As a believer, in order to keep our emotions under control, we need to be about the business of maintaining and keeping our eternal perspective. Paul the apostle writes in Colossians 3:2:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (ESV)

Paul again writes in 2 Corinthians 4:18:

We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (ESV)

When we keep our minds thinking on the things above and the things that are unseen, then our minds will be focused on spiritual things–what God desires for us–and how He wants us to be able to live our lives. Romans 8:5 says:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (NIV)

Consider how living by our emotions produces discontentment. Miller again writes, “Contentment is being satisfied with one’s possessions, status, and circumstances. The Old Testament concept (‘blessed’) includes happiness, thankfulness, rest, and relaxation of spirit. Contentment int he New Testament is ‘having enough or a sufficient supply.'” Living in discontentment only issues the feelings that we need to have material possessions to make us “happy.” God is not a god of happenstance. On the contrary, He delights in us being delighted with Him and living in this delight. When we allow the truth of who He is and who we are to control our emotions, we will understand that material possessions do not necessarily mean that we have a guarantee of contentment. Solomon writes in Proverbs 15:16:

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. (ESV)

Haggai the prophet writes in Haggai 1:5-6:

Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” (NKJV)

The best way to remove discontentment from our lives is to rest in the confidence that God is our Provider. When we trust in Him to meet our needs, then the agitation of discontentment will be removed. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25:

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? (NIV)

Paul the apostle writes to a young pastor by the name of Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6-8:

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (NLT)

“So, if what you are telling us is that we need to live by the truth instead of by our feelings, to whom shall we go? What shall we do to live differently than we are living now?” I’m glad you asked.

I believe that the best One to go to is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He said in John 8:31-32:

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (NASB)

While feelings tend to mess things up in our lives, it is the truth that we find that keeps us free. It keeps us from free from anxiety, from wrong attitudes and from discontentment. And it is the truth that is found in the Word of God. There is no other truth that can set you free. Notice how Jesus Christ said that “if” we continue in His word, then we are “truly disciples of” His. And if we are “truly disciples of” Jesus, then we “will now the truth, and the truth will make” us “free.”  In other words, I do not have to live by the emotions that simply entrap me in a roller coaster ride that I do not want to be on. Living by the truth frees me to be free from the damaging lifestyle of living by my emotions. The truth then supersedes my emotions and allows me to think clearly about circumstances and various matters that arise in my life.

So what about you? Are you living by your emotions or by the truth? It is the truth that will set you free from the binding of your emotions. Trust Jesus to see you through your daily routines and the different situations and circumstances in life. It will be a greater way to live.

 

miller-book

You can purchase the Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Men by Keith R. Miller by clicking on the picture of the book. You will be redirected to Barnes & Noble.

Foundation of Our Faith

Over the last few months, we have been preaching through a series of messages with the above title based in Genesis 1-11. It has been an exciting time for me simply because I love to preach foundational truths as often as I am able. The reason? Because too many times we forget the foundations of who we are as a people and who God is. God is the Maker of us, we are created. God is the Source of life, we live and breathe because of Him. God is the Promise-maker and Promise-keeper, we enjoy the fruit of His promises. Moreover, the Scripture answers what science does not: how everything came into being.

Now I understand that every religion in the world today has a story of Creation. What is interesting to me is that the Creation account in Genesis is the only account that I know of that speaks of the reason for all of Creation. The reason for all that has been created is for the purpose of sustaining the lives of mankind so that mankind might bring all glory to God. That for some is a stretch, but I see no problem with that belief based on Genesis 1-11.

Additionally, I see in these foundational passages of Scripture that God does not like sin at all. When you consider the doctrine of sin found in the Bible, you discover that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, when he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered into the world and thereby so did death. I do not like death. After losing my twin sister, I hate death all the more. And mankind lives with this death day in and day out. Everyday of our lives we are affected by sin and death. We see how God handles the sin of man: judgment. Many do not believe that a loving God could judge mankind but it is precisely because of His love that he brings judgment. If it was not for His love, then all sorts of evils and hell would breaking out around the world (far worse than it appears to be doing now). The evil that exists in the world right now–because of the sin of Adam–is held to a degree in order that God might show His favor on whom He wills. Noah is a prime example of this grace and the faith that he exercised in this loving God who showed him favor.

Our foundational beliefs also bring us to a point of understanding that all the nations of the world have come through Noah’s three sons, Japheth, Shem, and Ham, and that there is no room for prejudice in the lives of Christians–or any other person for that matter. All of us can trace our ancestry back to one of these three men, and because of this, we are all related in one form or another. It also stands to reason that because we can trace our roots to one of these three men that we can trace our ancestry back to Noah, therefore, tracing it all the way back to Adam and Eve. This is foundational to the beliefs of all Christians. And God fulfills His redemptive plan of men, women, boys and girls through this plan of the nations.

For instance, He lays out for Christians the future of the Messiah who would come and save His people in Micah 5:2. He lets us know in Isaiah 53 what the Messiah would go through on our behalf. He tells us that His birth was different from anyone else’s in all of history in Matthew 1. He tells us that after His death according to the Scriptures, His burial, and His resurrection according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), He ascended into the heavens and is now seated at the right hand of God after He made payment for our sins (Hebrews 1:1-4). He tells us that it is these very nations to whom we are to go and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ so that we might be His witnesses in all the earth (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:8). And it is people from all tribes, tongues, nations, ethnic groups, etc. that will be saved and will be in heaven as it says in Revelation 7: a multitude that is too great to count!

Friend, this is the foundation of our beliefs: God is Creator, God is Communicator, God is Christ, God is Redeemer, God is Reconciler, God is Restorer. Do you know Him? Do you know the God of the Bible? Have you ever looked into the truths that are found in these foundational passages of Scripture? What you will discover is that the Gospel message is given from the very beginning of time. God has always had a plan of redemption and we are a part of this plan. You are a part of this plan! You simply need to repent of your sin, turn to the Messiah–Jesus Christ–and believe and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. The Bible is clear from the beginning: Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!!

Giving That Hurts

The holidays are upon us and this means that there will be a lot of people coming to churches and various businesses looking for assistance. Most assistance will be for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal and some will be for gifts for their children. And, yes, there are families out there who are in dire straits, who do need help. But, there will be those who will take advantage of the “system” that is in place in various churches and businesses.

I have heard the arguments that we need to just help whomever comes for help and leave their honesty or deception to the Lord. However, I see it a little bit differently, and this does not mean that my view is by necessity right. In fact, I will be the first one to admit that I  do not share the view of many who give away so much during the holidays. Some have even said that I do not have very much compassion or mercy–and this may be true, but I have grown in these areas!

First, I think when we give and give and give it can actually hurt the people we are attempting to help, especially when they are constantly seeking help from others and not trying to make it on their own. There are those who need help; don’t get me wrong, I believe this to be true. However, there are many who simply use the system to get what they want. For instance, one church I served in kept a file of applications for help throughout the year. For over ten years, we learned who would come in and at what time of year they would come in for “help.” These were the same people year after year and they were still in the same situations in which they were in for the previous consecutive years. They used the system. This is not truly helpful, but it hurts when churches and businesses are not able to help others who truly need the help because their resources have been used improperly.

Second, I think that when we give and give and give it can actually hurt people who have entitlement mentalities. This is one of the problems with a society and culture that thinks that they are “owed” something when in reality no one owes them anything at all. Many in the United States thrive on entitlements given by the government and the government is gladly giving each of these entitlements away as it causes more and more people to depend on them. This hurts the entitled because it teaches them they can make more money sponging off the government than working for minimum wage or for less than adequate pay for their “lifestyles” whatever they might be. This hurts people who are truly in need, too. When the government gives entitlements away it hurts those who truly need assistance because of health issues or basic needs like food. Of course, the church should be there to help those who are truly in need of the basics of life–not the government.

Finally, I think that when we give and give and give and say that we will just leave it to the Lord to decide whether or not those who receive things are living rightly or not, we are not being good stewards of what He has provided our churches or businesses.

“But those churches and business make a lot of money!”

That’s not really the point! The point is that they should be good stewards of their resources and finances. We do not try to lose monies in churches and businesses by making poor decisions (although some do make poor choices), but both churches and businesses attempt to make the wisest of decisions to ensure that they are going to be able to be successful in whatever goals they have. So not only does giving and giving and giving hurt those who have an entitlement mentality and those who truly need help but cannot receive it, but it also hurts churches and businesses alike.

So what should we do? Remember what Jesus Christ said, “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) We are going to be persecuted; we are going to face trials; we are going to face tribulations. All of these things will happen to us whether we give or we don’t. We just need to use wisdom as we give to those who are seeking help. And when we lack wisdom, God’s Word again says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given o him.” (James 1:5)

Now, again, I may be completely wrong with my thinking here. I also realize that my reasoning is not the deepest concerning these issues, but I do believe that I need to be wise with the resources and finances that God has given me personally let alone to the churches I serve and the businesses I have or frequent. So be cautious this “giving season.” Use wisdom as you give and seek to help others during the holidays.

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