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Updated: 4/13/2012

What I've learned about worry from my teachers:

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You are blessed...Dr. James Denison

Because of Easter, your best friend is alive today. He loves you and likes you and is praying for you at this very moment (Romans 8:34). Nothing in today's news surprises him. He holds the keys to time and eternity in his crucified hands. So hear him whisper to your soul, "do not be afraid." Name your fears for the future and entrust them to his omnipotence. And know that when Facebook is as obsolete as my father's typewriter, Jesus will still be the Lord of the universe. And you will still be a child of the King.

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Rick Warren...God wants you to be confident that he’s pouring his strength into you so you can do whatever it takes to defeat these giants. God says you can take possession of an abundant life because he is with you.

By seeing his hand sweep away the personal giants in your life, you’ll be even more confident that you can do all things through him who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

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God Gives You a Dream to Build Your Faith...Rick Warren

“Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20 LB)

Faith is like a muscle: It can be strengthened. It can be weak or it can be strong, depending on how much you use it.

How does God build your faith? He uses a very predictable pattern. If you understand it, you can cooperate with him in developing greater faith. It’s like when the father, seeking help from Jesus for his son, said, “Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!” (Mark 9:22 TEV) Jesus replied, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’? ... Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23 NLT).

The first thing God does to build your faith is give you a dream. When God wants to work in your life, he always gives you a dream — about yourself, about what he wants you to do, about how he’s going to use your life to impact the world.

There are many examples in the Bible of this:
• God gave Noah the dream of building an ark.
• God gave Abraham the dream of being the father of a great nation.
• God gave Joseph the dream of being a leader that would save his people.
• God gave Nehemiah the dream of building the wall around Jerusalem.

How do you know when a dream is from God or when it’s just something you’ve thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 LB).

In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. If you could do it on your own, you wouldn’t need faith. And if you don’t have faith, you’re not pleasing God, because the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

God starts to build your faith by giving you a dream. He may be speaking to you now, but you just don’t recognize it for what it is. That dream you have, the idea or concept you’ve been thinking about doing that would be of real benefit to other people — where do you think that idea came from?

God will never tell you to do something that contradicts his truth. In other words, he won’t give you a dream of leaving your family and kids and moving to Hollywood to be a movie star. If you have that dream, then you can know it is not from God.

God starts with a dream as he works within your life to build faith.

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What to do in a crisis...Dr. Charles Stanley
 1) I must see the crisis the way God sees it.  Rom 8:28
 2) God is in control of everything.  Ps 103:19
 3) Accept the truth of Is 55:8-9
 4) Don't make quick judgments.
 5) Focus on God instead of the crisis.
 6) Avoid focusing on the pain.
 7) Recall past crisis and opportunities that followed it.
 8) Deal with anger immediately and ask for forgiveness.
 9) Submit yourself to the will of God in this situation.
10) Demonstrate a sense of gratitude.  It will be hard.
11) Determine to view the crisis as an opportunity.  You may not understand it right now.
12) Refuse to listen to unscriptual advice.
13) Remain in constant prayer, listening to God's instructions.
14) Refuse to give way to your changing emotions.
15) Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.

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David Jeremiah…It's always too soon to quit.  According to the Bible, we may be outwardly perishing, but we're inwardly renewed day by day.  God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical, but the strength and beauty of age to be spiritual.

Lord, let me not live to be useless.  I never become too tired so that I cannot get up rested the next morning.
Psalm 71 says, When I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation.

If you're anxious about growing older, ask the Lord for a specific promise to reassure you during this period of golden years.  Isaiah 58:11 says...The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

"Lord, I want to be able to say to Him what Jesus said when He came to the end of His earthly ministry: 'I have glorified you on the earth.  I have finished the work which you have given me to do' John 17:4."

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Dr. James C. Denison...These are indeed historic days. When disasters and wars erupt, people often ask about their relation to the end of history. Let's think about Jesus' predictions and their fulfillment in our time. After he prophesied the destruction of the Holy City, his disciples asked him, "what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus responded with six different signs. To what degree are they being fulfilled in our day? The first is the rise of false religions: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (vs. 4-5). The 20th century witnessed an unprecedented rise in the popularity of alternative spiritualities and world religions in the West.

Second, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars" (v. 6). World War I killed 39 million people; 51 million died in World War II; and 16 million have died in the 150 wars since. The 20th century saw more wartime fatalities than the previous 19 centuries combined.

His third prediction: "There will be famines" (v. 7a). The 20th century was the worst for famine on record, witnessing the death of more than 70 million victims.
Jesus' fourth prediction: "There will be . . . earthquakes" (v. 7b). Here we confront the crisis in Japan.  The National Earthquake Information Center tells us that the number of earthquakes has remained constant in recent history. However, we are much better at detecting them today. The NEIC now documents between 12,000 and 15,000 quakes a year, 35 per day. But the severity of these quakes has escalated greatly as populations have grown in susceptible regions. The ten worst earthquakes in the 20th century together killed more than 1.1 million people.

Jesus' fifth prediction: "You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me" (v. 9). More than 25 million Christians died for their faith in the 19 centuries following Jesus' prophecy. But 45 million believers died for Christ in the 20th century, nearly twice as many as in all of Christian history combined.

The sixth sign: "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (v. 14). According to David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia, more than 82,000 people come to Christ every day, the largest number in history. God Is Back, a recent book by two Oxford scholars (one an atheist, the other a Catholic) suggests that the actual number is twice what Barrett documents. More Muslims are becoming Christians than ever before, many after witnessing dreams and visions of Jesus.  And now technology is making it possible for "the whole world" to hear the gospel.

Am I predicting that Jesus' return is imminent? Yes and no. He was clear: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (v. 36). No human should ever claim to know more than Jesus. The Lord could delay his return by a decade, a century, or a millennium. The reason he has waited this long is simple: "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

At the same time, Jesus taught us to be prepared for him to return today: "keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42). We are one day closer to eternity than ever before in human history.

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Pastor Rick Warren...Faith is God's antidote to fear.  (Numbers 13:30 NIV) says...Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." 

The way to overcome our fears is to follow Jesus in faith. Our faith is what allows us to enter the future not with questions but with excitement.
Faith is what allows us to declare in confidence that God is with us no matter what happens. We are certain God is for us and certain he has our best interests at heart.

Through faith, we know that God is working all things out for our good -- if we love God and are following the commands of Jesus (Romans 8:28). If you are a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good -- not that all things are good -- but working together for your good and the Glory of God.

There is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of – so what is there to fear, as we enter the time ahead?

When you face the future, what do you see?  You have two choices –
• You can either face the future as a cynic, a doubter, with negative thoughts, expecting the worse, or …
• You can face the future expecting God to be with you and that His goodness and His mercy will follow you all the days of your life.

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Worry>  Mark 9:17
Worry is a sin. Jesus told us not to do it.
Faith + Hope = Trust
Practice the presence of Jesus.
Don’t put faith in promises Jesus didn’t make.