Once we really begin to think about our life and the way we are living, it should become pretty obvious that faith, not fear should be calling the shots. While it is obvious that this is the way we should be living, it is not usually the way we are doing it. We know better, but we still allow anxiousness, doubts and fears to have more power in the say of our life and living than we should.
Feed Your Faith!
It is important to feed our faith through daily Bible reading, prayer and fellowship with fellow Believers, but that is not enough. We need to also at the very same time that we are feeding our faith, make sure that we are starving our doubts, fears, insecurities, worries and anxious thoughts.
28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? -Luke 12:28
Look at it this way: Part of feeding your faith is starving your doubts, fears and insecurities! The two go hand in hand and work together to help you experience victory in taking back control of your life, so that you can experience the blessings you were created for.
We’ve already talked about some of the spiritual disciplines we can practice to feed our faith. Another thing we can do to feed our faith and starve our doubts and fears is look back on our life at what we have already survived. That’s right remind your body, mind and spirit of what God has done and if God has done it, then we can trust that God will do it again and again and again as many times as it needs doing…
God created you to do more than survive – God created you to thrive! Do not allow yourself to be satisfied with anything less than God’s absolute best for you and yours. God loves you and has an amazing plan of blessing and growth for your life. Believe it, claim it, experience it and give God the glory!
Worrying, anxiousness and doubts are a part of life and living. Most all of us know what it is to worry about an unpaid bill, are to be anxious about meeting at work or to have doubts about a relationship. We’ve all been there, done that and have the t-shirt.
The problem is when our worry begins to take over our life. When worry consistently and persistently keeps knocking on our minds door, leading us to become obsessive, compulsive, distracted and defeated. If we are not careful, we begin to create things to worry about by generating a series of “what if” thoughts and “worst-case” scenarios that dig deeper the pit of despair that often becomes our prison of daily experience.
The best advice I have ever been given about worry is maybe also the most simple. Are you ready for it? When it comes to worry – DON’T DO IT!
22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? -Luke 12:22-24
Don’t Do It!
Jesus told his disciples: “Do not worry about your life.” That’s it – period. Just don’t do it! I feel like I need to say more about this, but what more is there to really say? We can come up with excuses, justifications and reasons why we can’t, won’t or don’t stop, but the truth is: They just don’t mean very much. If you are worrying – stop it, don’t do it!
As children of the most High God – we’ve got the power! We are created in the image of God. We have been endowed with supernatural power from on High. Life does not get to tell us what to do, unless we decide to give life our God-given power. It’s time to take your power back and use it to live the good life of blessing you were created for.
Jesus said: “Don’t Worry!” And if Jesus said: “Don’t Worry!”, then what’s the point of worrying? If Jesus tells you to do something, then you can bank on the fact that you have the power to pull it off. Don’t waste the precious gift of blessing that God gives you by not using it. Use it, grow it and mature it for everyone’s blessing and for God’s glory.
If Jesus tells you not to do something or not to do something, then you’ve got the power! The real question is: Are you going to use what God’s given you and deal with “it”, whatever “it” happens to be or are you going to let “it” deal with you???
Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.
The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways.
On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.
This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.
The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.
I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.
In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.
Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.
Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.
All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.
The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)
On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.
God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13
Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!