March 21, 2005 – ARE YOU DROWNING?

This morning as I waited before the Lord to see what was on His heart for this week’s message, the Holy Spirit gave me this title (Help! I’m Drowning!). In my mind, I could see an ocean filled with people, overcome by the “tides of life,” and raising their hands for help. They were looking toward the shoreline for people to save them instead of looking for the only one under heaven that can deliver them from the undercurrents of life. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life! John 1:3 Through him [Christ, the living word] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

We do not have the answers to all of our problems, (health, marital, family, business, relationships, lack of material blessings, etc.). God has the antidote for every problem. The first step to getting out of the rip-tide and on your way to abundant living is: Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Unless we remove ourselves from satan’s rule, his destructions, and deceit, we will never know the truth and the power of God in our lives. John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Only God can give us the key to unlock our problems. Often our own mistakes and attitude problems are not obvious to us and we do not realize that by sowing certain attitudes, we are reaping seeds of conflict and trouble. The Holy Spirit can give us truth that will unlock the prison of our misery and discontent. Any way you look, and regardless of the problem, Christ is the answer to all things.

I once had a vision that illustrates this point. In my vision I was on a narrow path, half-way up a huge, spire-shaped mountain of granite. The path was so narrow that I was hesitant to walk by myself for fear that I would fall and be crushed by the huge boulders below. I leaned my back against the slick granite and did not move. Very clearly I heard God say, “Only I am sure-footed.” I knew at that moment that God was telling me that I could not make it on my own and needed to depend on Him for all things in my life. I learned not to worry, (for worry is a lack of faith and trust) but to simply give it all to God through prayer and faith. Since that day, God took my hand and led me. I am almost to the top of that granite mountain and the climb has been wonderful because of God’s presence and the things He has taught me. All of life’s problems can be more than overcome through a life in Christ.

If you feel that you are drowning in life’s riptides, lift your hands and your voice to Christ and ask him to save you. Satan would have you believe that there is no hope and no way out. He is a liar! You have not truly lived until you experience the love and presence of God in your life. I am nothing, yet all things are possible through Christ. The life God gives is abundant and fruitful! I have been to heights and depths I could never have reached alone. I have been in the fiery furnace and the lion’s den many times, but Christ stood by my side and protected me. The fire did not kindle upon me and God shut the mouth of the lion. How great it is to see a wonderful, miraculous, loving, and caring God at work! All of the trials I have overcome formed life experiences that were of greater treasure than any the world has to offer. When I finish my course, I will say of the blessings and privileges I received, “it was all of Him and none of me.” Philippians 1:1 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

The good shepherd, Jesus Christ, wants to give each of us abundant life. Listen to the words of truth: ~The LORD, the Psalmist’s Shepherd. Psalms 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Some of you may say that you belong to God, but you have never received His help or guidance. Perhaps you have never experienced God speaking to you through your Spirit or through His word. Jesus said, John 10:3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Before we can have Christ as our shepherd we must obey God’s word and ask Christ to live and rule in our hearts and bring us into God’s perfect will for us. We are made alive unto God through the Spirit of God that dwells within us. Do you know for sure that God’s Spirit is dwelling within you? If not, ask Christ to come into your heart and take residence. He will seal you with the Holy Spirit so that you will know (beyond any doubt) that you are in the family of God. There is also a subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit that brings greater power and many of the gifts we need to work for the Lord.

Before we were ever formed in the womb, God knew us. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;God has set each of us apart to do His will. We are answerable to God if we fail to carry out His divine plan for each of us. Job 10:15 If I am guilty – woe to me! 1 Corinthians 9:16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! God is divinely interested in everything we do, every attitude, and every action.

It is a very serious matter to vow before God and then not carry out your vow. For instance, many today are taking their vows of marriage lightly. If we belong to God, we have His power within us so we can overcome anything. God has given us His word to keep us in the center of His will, and we cannot ignore His admonitions with impunity. What we sow, we will also reap! The truth and power of scripture is as sure and powerful as God himself. If our life is a mess, we are to blame! God has told us to turn our lives over to Him. The children of Israel were stiff-necked and would not listen to God’s admonitions, so they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Those that never accepted God’s word as the truth to live by, died in the wilderness and never obtained God’s promises of a blessed future in the promised land.

The answer to a blessed life is so simple that few find it. Matthew 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. A blessed life is free to whosoever will come and taste and see the goodness of God. To be a member of the family of God, requires repentance because all have sinned. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The answer to sin is cleansing from our old nature and its desires and becoming a new creation through Christ. ~Prayer and the Golden Rule Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.Ask Christ to be Lord of your life and give it all to Him. We are no match for the rigors of life and we must have the protection of Christ’s atoning blood to keep us from the destructions of hell.

The Bible is full of sure promises that will make our lives meaningful, fruitful and will prevent us from drowning!  Psalms 18:17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. Psalms 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Matthew 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.