|June 14 1998|
Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-6
Do you realise that many people find this a hostile world in which they struggle to survive? I constantly hear of people who can struggle no more and who give up the fight. Many prefer suicide to survival. In the rat-race, only rats seem to win. How can an honest tax-agent who believes in wanting to correctly state his client's income and not merely say he has prepared the tax returns based on the best information given by his client, survive in such a hostile world?
How can the politician, who is determined to behave in a statesman-like manner, respond, when his political opponents grope in the gutter? How can he survive in his hostile world? How can the older teenager, having just shifted to the city to attend tertiary education, deal with the situation when some new found friends seem to give him everything he ever wanted including offering him some "crack" when he knows to refuse their offers could lose his only friends?
How can the young girl cope, who has found the boy she really loves, but finds herself in the position about which her mother warned her, being blackmailed with the oldest trick in the book, when he says, "If you really love me, you'll let me?" How do these Australians survive in a hostile world?
Isaiah told of a time when Jerusalem would be destroyed but God would eventually restore that city as His own:Isa 4:2 "In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel." They survived a hostile world. How? They were protected in aggressive world.
How were they protected? Can we learn survival techniques in a hostile world? For three years Isaiah warned his nation that military alliances with Egypt and Sudan would not protect them from Assyria. God said "Those who have put their trust in Sudan and have boasted about Egypt will be disillusioned, their hopes shattered. When the time comes the people who live along the coast will say; "Look at what has happened to the people we relied upon to protect us from the Emperor of Assyria. How will we ever survive?" Isa 20:5-6 GNB
That is the great question of the people of India and Pakistan as they test their nuclear weapons. It is the question of the people of Kosivo suffering from racial genocide from the Serbians attacking their villages. "How will we ever survive?" At an international level we ask "How will we ever survive?" At a personal level we can also ask:"How will we ever survive?" For many people this is a hostile world: mortgage rates are beginning to rise again threatening finely balanced domestic budgets. Health cover is becoming un-affordable for many people who cannot afford to take the risk. Family unity is threatened because the key person remains unemployed. The personal identity of some man is involved in his job and sudden retirement or retrenchment means he loses his identity and wanders lost. Sometimes the death of a husband means the wife loses her identity and she too is lost. Some people are suffering from a diagnosis from a doctor that makes them fear the future. They too are asking: "How will we ever survive?"
Are there any survival techniques for a hostile world? There are some. These four may help you.
1. REALISE YOUR OWN SIGNIFICANCE.
You are worthwhile! What encourages me is the thought that no matter what I have done, Jesus loves me and gave Himself for me. Jesus also considered you worthwhile - so worthwhile that He gave His life for you. Your value is the life of God's Son. Realise that and you realise your own personal significance. You are worthwhile. You can survive.
Lisa was 19 years old. She left home after fights with her family. She was intellectually slow and a very repressed girl. She got a flat but was unexpectedly made redundant when the travel company for which she worked went into liquidation. She could not afford the rent. A man she worked with came to visit her. He then just moved in. She was so frightened and desperate she could not do a thing. He raped her several times but she would not say anything to him as he had taken over the flat payments and she was afraid that he would throw her out. She was absolutely full of self-doubt and despair when she rang Sydney Life Line.
The counsellor on duty talked the whole situation through. I received a letter a couple of days later which said: "I am just writing to thank you for having a counsellor to listen to me and to let you know I told Jim to "ship out", something I never had the courage to do before. And he's gone. The counsellor told me that I was a good person, and I now feel I am for the first time. Before my confidence in myself wears off I have arranged to see a Life Line counsellor and talk through my problems. I know that once I get it off my chest I will be able to cope with life and hopefully to start to enjoy living."
Find your own inner personal worth. You are loved. God cares for you. You are not just what you do. Your real significance does not lie in your work. Start your personal survival by realising you are worthwhile, your personal value lies in what God thinks of you.
2. DETERMINE TO CONTROL YOUR OWN DESTINY.
You are not hopeless, a pawn in the game of life. So many people feel tossed around in the storms of life, helpless and hopeless. You have more control over your destiny than you realise. I remember in the mid-1980's, at The Lottie Stewart Hospital, the mother of Rev Robert Smith, a member of our Board and minister of St Stephen's Macquarie St. She had been a patient in our hospital for 23 years. She was already an elderly lady when I met her in 1979. I visited her often. Her sweet face and fair hair gave her a beauty that her personality extended into all the ward. 23 years earlier, her husband retired from work and they were looking forward to retirement together. But he died and she became paralysed from her waist down. She was confined to bed ever since.
But never once did she complain. The Hospital and its staff and other patients were blessed by her presence. She could not move from the bed but she could move her hands. Every day, holding her hands above her head, she used to crochet the most beautiful table sets that were sold at The Lottie Stewart Hospital fete. Mrs Smith controlled her own destiny, and did not allow the forces of suffering and paralysis to control her. Even without legs she could still make a contribution. Determine to control your destiny for yourself.
3. PLAN YOUR OWN STRATEGY FOR SURVIVAL.
Whatever your stress, think how you can cope. See yourself getting through this next battle. Despair, unemployment, grief, hopelessness - all can be overcome. Work for a great cause.
Lord Morely wrote "The Life of Cobden" that great English reformer of the Corn Laws. Richard Cobden and John Bright became two of Britain's greatest reforming politicians. Bright said "In 1841, the suffering throughout the country were fearful. The day that Richard Cobden called upon me I was in the depths of grief. The light and sunshine of my house had been extinguished. All that was left on earth of my beautiful young wife, except for the memory of a sainted life and of a too brief happiness, was lying cold and still in the coffin in the room above us.
Mr Cobden called upon me and addressed me with words of condolence. After a time he said, "There are thousands of houses in England at this moment where wives, mothers and children are dying of hunger. Now, when the first spasm of grief is past, I would advise you to come with me, and we will never rest till the Corn Law is repealed." I accepted his invitation. I knew that the description he had given of the homes of thousands was not exaggerated. I felt in my conscious that there was a work which somebody must do and therefore I accepted his invitation, and from that time we never ceased to labour hard on behalf of the resolution we had made." For seven years the reformers endured ignominy, ridicule, and persecution and struggled on until their cause was triumphant and the world was ringing with their fame." Overcome your situation by planning a strategy to survive.
4. ALIGN YOURSELF WITH THE INVINCIBLE CHRIST.
Many people have found power outside their own resources. People have found the power of God in their own lives, and whenever they have aligned themselves with Jesus Christ, they discover that His presence empowers them, and enables them to cope. They say with Paul: Phil 4:11-13 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Jesus once brought a Samaritan woman to a new understanding of her self and her sin. She believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. She ran into her village of Sychar and told everyone about Jesus. Some of the people believed in Jesus. But more came to believe in Jesus for themselves. While they were there they said to her: "We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard Him and we know that He really is the Saviour of the world." John 4:42 It is never enough to believe because of what other people have said. You, yourself must investigate Him. When you believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord you align yourself with His purposes and program for the world. When you do, you discover that in taking Him upon yourself, you have taken into yourself His strength and ability to cope. You align yourself with the world's most invincible force. You can survive the Hostile world.
I interviewed a friend Terry Walker, on my radio program two weeks ago. Twenty years ago I may have had him on parole, but never as a friend. Terry Walker was a Melbourne criminal, truck driver, alcoholic, bouncer at the Bundoora Hotel, heroin adict, thief, proprietor of a massage parlour in Prahran, convicted felon. After release from prison, he acquired two guns to do an armed hold-up.
He then met a Christian girl who told him his future was death, but Jesus could make a new man of him. Terry Walker alone in his room prayed to God to let Jesus make him a new person. Like the Apostle Paul he saw a light, a very bright light. He also heard a voice saying: "Terry Walker, because you have called on my name I am going to take you out of this and set you in high places." That night a miracle took place. He was instantly sober. Heroin left his body. New purpose came into his life. He was literally born anew!
He started to read the Bible and grow in his faith. Over two years his life changed radically. He married Sue, the Christian girl. He went back to Melbourne where he was a wanted man to surrender to the police. He pleaded guilty to every charge. Four detectives spoke in his favour seeing his changed life. He witnessed to the court and the magistrate was in tears. He was given only five weeks instead of five years. In 1992 he went into full-time ministry and today through crusades, and prison ministries he leads others to Christ. Terry Walker survived a hostile world, not by aggression, but by the ways of God.
Align yourself with the invincible Christ now!
Send an e-mail to Gordon Moyes - firstname.lastname@example.org
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