The last few days have been interesting. So much snow, that my gas furnace and on demand water heater both had their roof-top exhausts covered completely with snow. I didn’t want frozen pipes or a frozen house, so I had to get the exhausts cleared and call some professionals to get the over 3 ft. of accumulated snow off my roof. Thanks Arturo Martinez for all your hard work. If anyone needs some snow removed from their roof, message me and I’ll send you his number. The next morning of fun was realizing the pets could not go outside to do their business. I began to dig them a patch of ground out and wrenched my back. It gave me time to ponder deep topics like, “Will it get better or worse? Will I be able to get to work Monday? How many ibuprofen have I already taken?” One thing is for sure, is that the will of God will be done. This brings me to the inauguration. 4 and 8 years ago, I trusted in the will of God when the pro-abortion, (a.k.a. baby killing) perversion promoting, (LGBT nonsense) Barry Soetoro a.k.a. (Barack Obama) took office and kept it. Even while I wondered how people could condone the evils of perversion, (LGBT) perverse marriage, (Gay Marriage… no such thing) abortion, and socialist totalitarianism, I was comforted by the knowledge that God is sovereign and in control of all things, including the political leadership of this country. I honestly believe we were getting the leaders we deserved as an unrepentant people. We have been calling good evil and evil good for fat too long to keep on experiencing the blessings of God. Instead, for 8 long years or corrosive evil leadership, we were under the discipline of God. I hope that the people have repented, and we will be experiencing a reprieve. God willing, may America be blessed once more. I would ask all of you to repent of your sin, put your faith in the finished work of Christ, and seek God’s glory and will first and foremost in the years to come.
None of us are sinlessly perfect. Everyone of us is aware of a specific sin in our lives. Some of us wonder if we are even saved because of that specific sin that is in our lives. Some of us are at war with the sin, while others are complacently allowing for it. Which group are you in?
We are endangered when we count on our own efforts to fight the sin, and then failing time and time again, only to have doubt come in and rob us of our assurance, or we justify our sin away as if it is only a trifle, no big deal, everyone does it, and we allow for it instead of fighting against it. We count on grace to keep us safe. Both ways of thinking are wrong. We should be at war with our sins, knowing that Christ has won the war against sin once and for all. It is our lot to stand in front of the enemy before us and engage in the fight with all we have, resting in the knowledge that the outcome of the war has already been secured even if we fail in our battle time and time again, but with practice and provision from the Holy Spirit, and God’s word, we should be strengthened. God will sanctify us, and mature us out of that fight into another fight. We will keep fighting sin until we die, and are resurrected into a glorified body, that will only do that which is pleasing to God.
If you find yourself in the other group, using grace as a license for sin, sitting back in defeat, without a hope of ever growing, don’t give in. Now is the time to stand up and fight. Don’t prove you were never saved at all. Don’t harden your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit to get in the fight. Don’t have a false assurance of your conversion. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you [a]fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5 You might experience a pleasant surprise. If you get back in the fight, repent and ask Christ to forgive you, He will. You can have assurance of your salvation. You can know you are saved. You can know through the fight, successes and failures, that drive you back to the cross again and again for grace. Don’t focus on you and your fight. Focus on Christ and His fight. Focus on His victory over sin, death and the grave. Focus on His victory imputed to you by faith and enjoy the peace between you and God in the midst of the violent war against sin in your life.
Experientially, we know that Christian prayer can accomplish miracles. When we consider the omniscience, and sovereignty of God, we know that our prayers don’t change anything that has already been spoken by God, once and for all. We experience life one way. We think something that seems to contradict what we experience. If we can’t square them, it is because we are limited. Some people can justify the sovereignty of God with the experiences of the creature. We don’t look down on those who can’t. I would hope that those who can’t won’t look down on those of us who can.
Consider that God decrees the ends and the means. As I pray for something according to God’s will, as explained in the progressive revelation of His word, I am sanctified. My thoughts and feelings are focused on God and His will. The situation I am praying about changes. I attribute it to God answering my prayers. He willed it to happen by using me to pray at exactly the time He decreed, in the way He decreed, so He could answer in the way that He decreed. The reality of His decree was actual at the moment He spoke everything into being. We are part of that decree. We exist in space-time, when and where He decreed. As our reality unfolds, we are not able to perceive how eternity is experienced. If we can accept that there is an infinite instance that contains our finite, linear experience, and transcends it, then we can also appreciate how the sovereign decreed will of God, and the experience of man are related. Does prayer change things? Yes it does, in our material experience. It changes, here because it was changed before in eternity.
First off, I must issue a disclaimer. I am a fan of Wretched Radio, and Wretched TV. That being said, I will still give an honest review of this latest work from Todd. If you aren’t familiar with Todd, and the gang over at www.WretchedRadio.com I suggest you go look at their web page. Make sure to stop by the Wretched Store and peruse their wares. You can also pick up a copy of this book there. If you prefer you can get it at Amazon or Christianbook as well.
The thought that I kept having while reading this book was, “Where was this when I was in my 20’s?” I had so many issues with stress then. I got married to my Wife when I was 19 years old. She had 2 little baby boys from a previous marriage. I was an instant Daddy. I was working part time for K-mart, and Wendy’s. We lived in a low income apartment with people using drugs near by, and couples fighting, police in the parking lot every weekend breaking up said fights, and little to no opportunities to get out. So, I was stressed. My Wife was stressed. Our families were stressed. It was a stressful time. I think you are getting the picture. I was a new Christian. I didn’t have anyone to disciple me, and the only resources I had to draw from were the Bible, and prayer. I had to swallow my pride, and ask my Dad for money for hamburger to feed the kids dinner. I worked as much as I could, and we kept going forward, even when we got knocked down. What it has taken me the better part of 25 years to learn, Todd has isolated in his new book. The Biblical principles detailed in, “Stressed Out” have been distilled from the Bible skillfully with a focused effort to apply the knowledge for the benefit of the reader’s peace of mind, and sanctification.
Before you get all upset and… triggered, don’t assume that Todd is one of those wacky guys who wants you to, “Name it, claim it!” your mental illness away. He makes sure to acknowledge the differences between situational stress/anxiety from biological/chemical problems with the brain. This book is for people who are experiencing situational stress and anxiety, who are having difficult times dealing with it. I don’t want to give too many details away. I also don’t want to leave information out that would encourage you to pick up a copy. I want you to have an idea of what is in the book so take a look at this screen capture I did of the Table of Contents;
So much of our peace of mind depends on our view of God, and ourselves. In this book, Todd helps you to see the sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, righteousness, and love of God, as well as our own condition in relation to Him. With the Bible applied to properly inform us, and correct us in areas where needed, we can discover a deeper, satisfying, peace with God. That peace and contentment will affect every aspect of your life. So to say, I recommend this book is an understatement. It is a quick read, but by no means “lite, cotton candy theology.” If you are a young person, who is struggling to make sense of things, pick up a copy of this book. Even if you are older, and need a reminder of the peace that comes with trusting God and who He is, this book is for you.
Todd’s book is a good reminder for us. When we don’t see things rightly, we are like Don Quixote. He didn’t see things as they truly were, and he wasted his time tilting at windmills. He thought they were enemies. In reality they were faux-foes or pseu pseu pseudo-foes whoa oh oh… (The butchering of Phil Collins’ song is for mature audiences only, “old people.”) We can see the things, and situations, that we have anxiety, worry, and stress over as ominous, and potent enemies. Todd reminds us in his book, via abundant scripture references, that we are in sin if we succumb to these assaults. In light of God’s word, His attributes, and our place in His redemptive plan, we should know peace, security, gratitude, and contentment.
Stressed Out: A Practical, Biblical Approach to Anxiety