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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Making Sound Decisions in Desperate Times

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


One day as I was driving to a meeting, I was pulling onto a ramp entrance to a four lane freeway. As I was heading down the lane to merge into traffic, I saw something ahead that was hard to make out. As I got closer, I could see that it was a mother duck leading her baby ducklings across the ramp toward the center of the freeway with rush hour traffic going on. Even if she could have crossed all the lanes which wouldn't have been possible, the freeway was divided by a tall cement medium. She was walking them into a death trap. I can only figure that she became disoriented since it made no sense. I pulled along side of her on the left to honk and try to scare them back to the side of the road which worked. As I was driving away, the experience launched me into deep thought.

I suddenly found myself thinking about people I've known—people who were in desperate situations making make decisions that make no sense whatsoever to anyone but themselves. I've seen desperate mothers or desperate fathers with small children make decisions that would hurt them and their children. I've seen people make desperate decisions that would only make things worse. Desperate situations don't discriminate. They seem to appear in everyone's life at one time or another. Unfortunately, many people only make things worse at times like this. I think there are three factors that contribute to desperate people making decisions that make things worse. They are, fear, poor self-esteem, and hopelessness.

Almost never do these desperate situations happen overnight. Things began to erode over a period of time. When prolonged trouble prevails and people can't seem to get out from under it, they lose confidence in themselves to do or get anything right. They begin to feel like a failure and the devil is there to be sure to accuse and confirm that they are a failure. What ever confidence there ever was, has been replaced by low or no self-esteem.

When people are facing circumstances that make them feel desperate, they have come to the place where they feel hopeless.They can't see things improving with making some kind of radical decision. They often mentally block out the thought of the possible outcome. It's often a last ditch effort to manufacture their own miracle and to the observer, it seems insane.

And then there is the fear factor. The self-esteem has deteriorated from low to nothing, hopelessness has begun to root into their emotions, and fear of more bad news screams in their mind at every turn. This is when people begin to defy any common sense and make decisions that are disastrous in the making. They've lost their faith in God.They are no longer thinking of big picture. They are only thinking of temporary relief even if it makes no sense.  Thus, disastrous decisions are made that steal life!

Jesus spoke simple but powerful life-changing words to bring supernatural comfort and hope in desperate times. He said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Jesus knew He was the solution to their fears, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. He wanted to take their back breaking-yokes or troubles and burdens and help them turn their life around. He said His burden was light.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT encourages us not to be like people who have no hope saying, "And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen... so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope." God never wants us to lose hope! Psalm 31:24 NLT says, "So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!" He is our hope!

Self-esteem that comes from anywhere other than the Lord is pride! Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” Every good thing we do, we do because the Lord helps us whether we realize it or not! It’s only when we reverence the Lord and lean constantly on His help, that we know He is the source of all we have. This is the place where real self-esteem is built—where we can have strong confidence—not in ourselves but confidence in Him as our helper in all things! Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV) says, "In the fear (reverence) of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge." 

Finally, fear must be cast out of our life. Why? Because it’s destructive! 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” Did you see that? “Perfect love drives out fear…” This isn’t about us being perfect in love. It’s about God’s perfect love for us and our trust in that love. When you trust that God loves you and cares about every situation in your life—when you believe that He is there to help you in every situation despite how desperate things look, then you are walking in His perfect love. It drives out fear.

Desperate times manage to find their way into our life like ants find cracks. In those times, you can become fearful, hopeless, and let your esteem be destroyed. It will lead you to make disastrous decisions. Or, you can hope in the God of all hope, build your esteem and confidence by learning to lean on Him, and be one to cast out fear. If you do, then even in desperate times, you can make sound decisions knowing that the Lord will help restore your life and circumstances to a better place!

Psalm 33:20 “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.“

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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