Pastor Harold Brokke and his wife Cathy Brokke have served the Lord Jesus as counselors to countless missionaries all over the world. Harold is a former President of Bethany Fellowship International, the community that established and runs the renowned Bethany House Publishers. Presently Pastor Brokke serves the Bethany Missionary Church as Senior Pastor Emeritus. Cathy was the Director of Bethany Fellowship Missions for many years. Both live in Minneapolis. God has called Harold to minister to people and communities around the world on Bible Prophecy and sanctification through the Message of the Cross.
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WHO'S IN CONTROL, YOU OR CHRIST?
Pastor Harold Brokke
1. BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE?
We are bombarded with the advice that we take charge and be in control of our life. This advice often goes beyond the well-meaning personal initiative that we all should take in our life to perform our duties to the best of our abilities. Such advice is showered on people as if this is the only way for better life. Modern literary works including television shows and movies often focus on this theme and encourage their audiences to be in control of the situation they are in. Are we really in control of our life always? To what extent this theme of self-dependence (rather self-glorification) should be encouraged in Christian creative writing? Is this notion or outcry really in tune with the Word of God?
2. NEW LIFE IN CHRIST, TRIALS AND FAILURES
When we first become Christians and receive the gift and anointing of the Holy Spirit, life may be filled with unbounded joy and vision. We treat the little trials and spiritual skirmishes as opportunities for going on with God. Then something happens. What happens is that a friend you trusted betrays your confidence or spreads a rumor. You feel a deep sense of injustice. A respected evangelist or pastor, even the one who led you to Christ, has failed in his morals. A loved one dies, you had been claiming the promises of safety and healing. Now your grief borders on despair. You ask the question, "Where was God?" or, What did I do wrong?" After ten years of marriage you face an unwanted divorce. You are faced with a grief and a feeling of bereavement as though someone had died.
3. DOESN'T GOD'S WORD WORK?
Doesn't the Bible say, "Whatsoever you do shall prosper?" Psalm 1:3
Doesn't it say, "I have come to give you life and to give it more abundantly?" John 10:10
Doesn't it say, "The Lord shall preserve you from all evil. He shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this day forward?" Psalm 121:8
Once life seemed to be within your control! But now, despite all your praying, advice, seeking, nothing really takes care of the hurt, and the inner unrest. But, the biggest problem is not what happened. Rather, it is the day by day rethinking-rethinking-and more rethinking. Now fellowship with other Christians doesn't flow anymore. You can remember when you were excited about the Christian life, but now it is difficult to drag out a testimony. You're not very happy. You may even feel psychosomatic pains.
What causes all this? The cause? What else but this constant thinking, looking in, trying to analyze your inner life? All the little grooves in your brain tumble into the mainstream of your negative thinking.
4. HOW DO YOU FIND AND EXPERIENCE THE LORD'S RELEASE?
The following truths help us to get back to true hope and faith. The Lord is your Good Shepherd. He wants to lead you inwardly and outwardly. In Psalm 23 David says, "He restores my soul." Think about life as divided into two parts: That which is controlled and that which is uncontrolled. The things we are able to control in our daily lives do not usually bother us. The things we can't control tend to stir up fear, anxiety, anger and jealousy.
As an example, you are working for a boss, Mr. Jones. He likes you. He says to you, "I don't have a better person under me than you. Stay with me. I appreciate your ability. You'll get a good wage and a proper retirement." Then another employee comes on the scene who runs circles around you. His personal style, his skills, his rapport with the other workers, and his friendship with the boss - all these things confuse you and make you feel insecure. Now you're jealous and resentful. What was once under your control is no longer that way.
Now you're filled with negative thinking and you imagine some things that are not even true about your boss's attitude. What should we do with such an uncontrollable situation?
5. PRAY THE PRAYER OF COMMITMENT!
Get alone before the Lord and commit everything to Him. Yes, all of your emotions and negative thoughts. It may be that you have sinned by your anger and criticism, confess and abandon such sins. But it is not enough to confess and be forgiven. You must commit all your personal rights to God; the right to be first; to be treated in a certain way. We must commit our past, present and future, also our reputation, our ambitions. Not one thing should be left out of this prayer. All must be delivered into the hands of the Lord Jesus, our heavenly High Priest.
Now we must believe that the uncontrolled is now controlled by Him. We can be filled and led by the Holy Spirit, who makes us know "whom we have believed and persuades us that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that Day" (2 Timothy 1:12)
6. JESUS IS YOUR LORD AND YOUR LIFE
Sometimes we may feel like saying, "I know the Lord is in control, but I am the one who has to face this situation every day. When I get up in the morning, negative thoughts plague me! How do I handle this?" It is strange that Christians so often miss the main teaching of the New Testament - our union with Christ. The Lord is not only in heaven, but He dwells in the believer. The believer doesn't have to "handle" anything in his own power. This union with Christ does not start on the basis of merit; that is, we do not earn a position of victory over sin and self. No, Jesus on the cross identified Himself with our human guilt and bondage. He joined Himself to our "old sinful self." We were crucified and buried with Him. We were also raised with Him, so we now can walk in newness of life by His power. This is the truth that the Holy Spirit makes real in us (Romans 6:4-11 and 8:2).
7. YOUR FAITH WILL BE TESTED. DON'T PANICK!
We cannot escape temptation, but we can break the power of it by a simple prayer, "Lord I thank you that this problem is in your hands and I am not going over this problem again in my thinking." All prayer is not the right kind of prayer. The Bible says, "We do not know how to pray as we ought," Jesus said to His two disciples who wanted some special thrones in heaven, "You do not know what you are asking." Also, Joshua after the battle of Ai, threw himself on the ground and bewailed his defeat. The Lord said to him, "Get up and stand on your feet." At this point Joshua needed to obey in faith rather than keep on praying in doubt.
8. LEARN TO WAIT ON THE LORD!
What does it mean to wait on God? We wait on Him by taking hold of His Word. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways, My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8).
By these Bible truths we get in touch with His plans and His viewpoint. Think of your outer life as the surface of a lake, and your spirit as a spring at the bottom of the lake. The Lord has placed His spring of Life into our spirits. We do not always feel this holy Spring because the surface of our lives is disturbed by its waves. The waves must calm down. When the life-surface becomes quiet, we recognize this inner "spring" of the Spirit. As we respond to the Lord's presence, we begin to know how God thinks, feels and plans, he has a plan that includes the whole world and we become a vital part of His plan!
9. WHAT JESUS SAYS TO THOSE WHO PUT EVERYTHING IN HIS HANDS
Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's who shall not receive an hundredfold now in this time… houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecution… and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10:28-30). Truly great individuals have always spoken of their inadequacy, but point out the fact that their weakness became the source of God's strength, or as the Lord said to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
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