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Have you ever noticed that many times things do not turn out the way we plan them?  It can be an incredibly frustrating part of our day-to day lives.  This past Sunday was one of those days for me.  One of the most dreaded things for a pastor is winter weather.  Snow or ice on a weekend is practically a bad word for us pastors.  Bad weather, or even just the hint of it, can greatly impact a church’s momentum, attendance, and budgets.  Victory Church is one of those churches that never cancels for weather.  We are like the post office; come rain, sleet, snow, floods, or hurricane, we are not canceling church.  However, when the night before church we lose power and the auditorium is pitch black, with no heat and no way to run the sound system, one is quickly left thinking, “I didn’t see that coming.”  

This past Sunday we were forced to cancel all of our Experiences at the Oklahoma City Campus.  In my flesh, I immediately started thinking of the impact of this on our budgets, our sermon series, our momentum, and our attendance.  Isn’t it funny how we immediately go to the negative in our minds?  Have you ever been there before?  When the car breaks down, the Christmas bonus doesn’t come, the hot water tank goes out, and all of the other Murphy’s Law items that can seem to happen to us on a daily basis...for some reason, our minds drift immediately to the negative impact.  It’s like a seed of fear that is planted and then takes root and grows.  Like a weed in a garden it chokes out the fruit-bearing plants in our minds.  Interestingly enough, Pastor Wade’s message Sunday morning was about anxiety and fear and how we are called to live in peace.  The kind of peace that surpasses our understanding.  If you missed it, you can listen to it here at this link:

As I sat there and watched it, my faith began to rise up within me again.  Scriptures that were pressed out by the weeds of doubt and fear began to rise up within me again.  Scriptures like:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
— Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)
Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
— 1 Chronicles 29:12-13 (NIV)
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
— Psalm 139:4-7 (NIV)

I cannot wait to share with you how much we were able to bring in with the Heart for the House offering last Sunday.  And right after celebrating God’s faithfulness and the seeds we’ve seen sown, the enemy comes in and tries to snatch our momentum, our joy, our favor, and our provision.  Isn’t that just like the enemy?  He loves to attack us right when we begin seeing God’s faithfulness.  Right after we’ve sown seeds into fertile soil and begin experiencing the goodness of God, the enemy comes in for his attack.  Have you ever seen this happen in your life?  Right as you begin to see things turn around, right as you sow some seed into fertile soil, the enemy comes in like a flood and tries to take from you. It is in these times we must lean on scripture—those promises of God that we can rest in and find this peace that surpasses our understanding!  

Promises like...

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
— Isaiah 59:19a

Scriptures like...

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.
— Nahum 1:7
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
— Psalm 34:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:19

I do not know the state of your mind, spirit, and soul today as you read this email, but I pray these scriptures and words of encouragement will lift you the way they have lifted me.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
— Psalm 121:1-7

I will see you this Sunday.  We start our new series entitled, "Doctrine in the Dirt."  In week one, I will continue from where I left off with the words of this post.  Don’t miss it; it’s going to be good!

I pray you have an amazing week.

 

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