How does sunscreen work? I mean, you’re Mom always yelled at you to have it on when you went outside. We’ve all probably failed at one time or another trying to get a tan, so how does it work anyway? You apply this sticky go to your skin and all of a sudden it what? Blocks the rays of the sun?
Well, apparently the SPF on a sunscreen bottles stands for ”Sun Protection Factor,” and refers to how well the sunscreen protects against UV radiation. Inside sunscreen there are in-organic chemicals that act as a reflectant and when applied. The chemicals scatter the light away from the skin, similar to how white paint reflects light. Remember, the white-colored noses on beach-goers back in the day? Those were due to these compounds; but because manufacturers make the inorganic particles much smaller now, we don’t see the white color.
So that’s one answer to how sunscreen works. Another answer is…. you apply it. Right? It only works when you apply it. Carrying the bottle of sunscreen to the beach doesn’t help you.
We’re closing out a six week series on being overwhelmed. Why did we do it? Why was this a subject matter we studied? Well, because it applies to us all. I certainly became more aware of it these last weeks didn’t you? Church goers mockingly said to me, “Do you feel overwhelmed?” And do you know what? I did.
Feeling overwhelmed affects us all.
I know it affects you, many of you have come up to me, or called me or I’ve seen it out on social media how this topic has been helpful to you.
But somewhere in here, like sunscreen we need to apply it. We have to put it on if it’s going to help. We can’t just study this, we can’t just take it with us, ultimately we need to put it on – in order for it to work.
We’ve been looking at the book of Daniel these past weeks and it’s been fun to revisit those stories, but for today we’re going to need to visit our old buddy, Paul.
Who was Paul? Paul was a Pharisee, he was a Christian bounty hunter, he was a persecutor of the early church that is until he met Jesus along the roadside. A man who was once an enemy of Christ goes on to write a third of the New Testament.
Much of his writing is correspondence, it’s emails its letters and listen to what he writes to the Philippian church
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
We’ve studied Philippians 4:13 on a few of these weeks and Paul adds to it by saying, I know it what it means to have and to have not. I have lived in times of blessing and times of overwhelming. I have had food on the table and a working air conditioner a car that runs, a healthy family – and I also know what it means to be out on the street.
And through it all (he said)… “I have learned the secret.” And what does he say? What’s the secret? It’s verse 13, what does he say?
“I can do it.” (right?) I can do it.
I think being overwhelmed causes us to have doubt and anxiety and it causes us to think negative thoughts. The stacks of plates, the flat tire – it makes us all think. “I can’t do it.”
Paul says, “I feel ya – I’ve been there, but let me tell you a secret. You can. You can do it.”
Tell me something, where is Paul when he writes this book? He’s in Prison. Yes.
Look up the page a bit at verse 4, look at what he says there…..
v4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
The book of Philippians is often called the “book of joy.” Think about that…. Paul is writing ….the book of joy …..from prison. He says….
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
The overwhelming circumstance is the UV light coming down from the oppressive, hot sun. It’s the day that is so hot, that the moment you walk outside to do a little yard work, you give up before you start.
“I can’t do this.” Do set backs and disappointments cause us to give up?
Do overwhelming circumstances cause us to quit?
Paul says, “In those moments – Choose joy” Why? Because Joy is a choice.
Listen, in an overwhelming circumstance we can choose – we can be the victim or be the victor. Paul says we can be joyful In the Lord. With God, we can do it.
What can we do? Anything!
Now, I’m not talking about being “happy” – there is a huge difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends upon “happenings.” When we watch a funny movie or attend a party, the circumstance brings about my happiness.
But Joy,…… the Bible tells us ….is a gift – Joy comes from God who lives in us, not from what is “happening” outside of us.
Remember Paul is in prison when he writes this letter. And if we understand his predicament, his circumstance, then he is obviously and understandably not “happy.” Correct? Prisoners are not happy.
Paul is in prison – his future is uncertain; and yet he says, “rejoice! Have Joy!” So Joy is not just an emotion. It is a choice; it is an attitude – it’s an attitude towards life. It’s an attitude towards overwhelming circumstances.
Paul didn’t look inward at himself or his predicament of prison, those things would only add to his feeling of being overwhelmed. No, Paul was always looking to God, trusting in God to lead and to provide.
Listen to the prophet Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk says, “though this” is happening and this and that… right? He says, “there is no fruit on the vines and the fields are failing, and the animals are gone….” all overwhelming circumstances yes? And then he says what?
Habakkuk says “though this……I will.” Habakkuk knows that he can choose his response. He can either sink further into depression or ….rejoice in God’s presence and power.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s not in denial. Times are still bad, times are still tough, even Jesus wept, but joy says that sorrow doesn’t win. Joy says that death and illness doesn’t win. Joy says this overwhelming circumstance doesn’t win.
Happiness is the result of our happenings, but the choice to rejoice is ours every single day.
When you go to apply the lessons from Overwhelmed to your life, remember you can always choose joy.
I know it’s a hard thing to do, to smile when the world around you looks like a prison, but I want to give you some tips that might help. Paul mentions a few things in Philippians that adds to his joy and the first one is prayer.
Unburden v6 … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
STORY: There was a man walking down road with a large sack of potatoes on his shoulder. It was so heavy ……that he had sweat on his brow and he limped when he walked……. another man driving a pickup truck saw him and pulled over man pulled over…..and offered him a ride…….the first man climbed into the passenger side,……but kept sack on his shoulder……after a while the driver looked over and said, …….”Put that sack on the floor and relax”….. the first man replied, ……no sir,…. I will not do it …..it’s enough that you would carry me to town,…. but I’m not gonna ask you to carry my burden to.”
And that is just what we do to the Lord sometimes. ”Why pray when you can worry?” right?
We are carrying a burden the Lord never intended us to carry……but we are so hard headed we just won’t give it up.
When we had a question at school, we would give it to a teacher.
When we are sick and broken, we give control over to a Doctor.
When there is a legal problem that we cannot solve, we’d gladly give it to a lawyer.
But when we face difficulties and when we have burdens in life, we stubbornly keep them to ourselves.
Paul tells us very clearly, to let those overwhelming circumstances go.
Give them to God.
Did you know that prayer is actually an expression of faith in God and His promises in the Bible? Prayer says that we trust that the things that God says He will do – He will do.
Jesus says in Mark 11:24 I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
The author of Hebrews 4:16 writes Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This may be your time of need. This may be your desperate hour. Don’t let it pass you by, don’t shoulder that burden a second longer. Part of your overwhelming feeling could simply be that you’re carrying something you were never meant to carry.
COUNT: Next in v8 Paul instructs us: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”
What are the things you can think about? What about how about how blessed you are! I think some of our Overwhelming thoughts come from comparison. We compare ourselves against others. We just aren’t where we want to be, or we listen to the negative voices, like we talked about last week, we look for affirmation from the wrong places. Well one way you can replace those Overwhelming thoughts is to replace them with better thoughts.
I want you to understand, ….truly understand how blessed you are this morning.
I know we often compare ourselves so let’s compare. Let’s say that we could reduce our world down to 100 people that would represent every man, woman and child on the planet. What would the statistics look like?
Out of 100 people…..
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would not be white
30 would be white
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death: 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
6 persons would possess 598% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
Only 1 would own a computer.
In fact if you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep — you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness — you are luckier than the million who will not survive the week.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace
— you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest people.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation — you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If your parents are still alive and still married —you are very rare, even in the United States
If you can read —you are ahead of two billion people who cannot read at all
If you can attend a Church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death — you are freer than three billion people in the world.
Are you feeling blessed yet? You now if we can remember to count our blessings and give our troubles to God in prayer, it will become easier and easier to choose joy.
Because what does Paul say will happen if we stop being anxious about life? He says
TRANSFER v7 ….the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you know what this is? How to get the Peace of God which surpasses all understanding?
I think we experience the Overwhelming of life most when we trust in our own power, wisdom and strength. But if we really want the peace of God then we need to transfer our trust and place our trust in God …. for everything.
Now if you’re here this morning and you’re a Christian, and your life overwhelming… it could be because you’ve tried doing life YOUR WAY. And I don’t mean to make this sound condemning, because I do it to – once in awhile we all get sidetracked followin our own agendas.
In fact, even people who’ve been Christians most of their lives forget the promise from Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
And so the danger for every Christian is to put God on a shelf somewhere and make their life decisions without giving any thought to what God wants. The danger is when we spend our lives our way, spend our talents our way, and spend our money our way.
So, if you’re a Christian here today – and you’re Overwhelmed with your life – you may need to do some inner searching and ask yourself if you’ve been living life God’s way… or YOUR way.
But, now, if you’re here this morning, and you’re NOT a Christian and you’ve begun to sense how lost your life is… well then we have THE answer for you to.
Because Jesus said He had come Luke 19:10 “to seek and to save what was lost.”
This is good news for us all, this is what each person here is thankful for and so if you want to know how to OVEROME, instead of feeling OVERWHELMED then let me tell you it’s as simple as A,B,C,
Admit that you are a Sinner
There is no shame in admitting you’re not perfect. If Heaven was a reward for a perfect or a good life, none of us would measure up.
All have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)
And guess what? Once you decide to follow Jesus – you’re still not perfect. Bu right now you are surrounded by people who (like Christ) accept you as you are – faults and all. – A Church is a family, a family made up of people who are imperfect and broken and hurting. But a family who loves their Savior (and that leads us to “B”)
Believe in Jesus
Do you believe that God became man and walked among us? Do you believe that Jesus came to show the world what things like hope and grace and love looked like? Do you believe that Jesus stands ready to offer you a new life? Jesus is the key
There is no salvation by anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved . (Acts 4:12)
And so if you can admit you’re a sinner and you can believe that Jesus is King, then the Bible says we need to confess it.
Confess Jesus as Your Lord and Savior
If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Belief and admission are the cornerstones of salvation. If this sounds like the life you want – the life you have always wanted. Then I invite you to bow your heads and pray with me.
Dear God, thank you for sending your son Jesus, so I could be your friend. Thank you for loving me, thank you for being with me all my life, even when I didn’t know it. I realize I need a savior to set me free from sin, from myself, and from all the habits, hurts and hang-ups that mess up my life. I ask you to forgive me of my sins, I want to repent and live the way you created me to live. Be the Lord of my life and save me with your grace. I want to learn to love you – trust you and become what you made me to be. Thank you for creating me and choosing me to be part of your family.
Right now by faith, I accept the gift of your son. Fill me with your peace and assurance so I can be a peacemaker, and help me to share this message of peace with others. In your name I pray – Amen