OVERWHELMED: Where Can I Find Help?
Overwhelmed – life is about to overtake you … out of control … unable to find a way out. Many people feel this way about their lives. What kinds of things cause us to be overwhelmed?
*Finances – 1.5 million file for bankruptcy yearly
*Marriage – 33 Million on Ashley Madison site
*Job related stress – leads to “ hypertension, cardio-vascular disease, and decreased mental health, can lead to fatal conditions that wind up killing about 120,000 people each year…”
*Emotional struggles and physical illness
*The Condition of the world around us
Where Can I find Help When I’m Overwhelmed? Feeling overwhelmed is not something new. The ancient Hebrew songbook offers valuable perspective.
Psalm 121 (NRSV)
I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.
1. We Find Help When We Look Up (1)
Hills may represent troubles and dangers of life. From what hills do you need to lift your eyes? What opposition keeps you from great faith? What scary situations or heartbreaking events have captured your attention? Overwhelmed, we look at our troubles, hardships, struggles. Looking up we are turning to someone who is more powerful than we! We look up when we turn our thoughts to God and consider Him. The prodigal fell into the traps of the Enemy and wasted his inheritance. Luke 15:17 When he came to his senses … How many of us have had those moments of clarity? Look up -find help there.
What is it about God that can lift us above the waves and give us relief?
2. God Helps Overwhelmed Become Overcomers!
*He is Powerful and Creative! (2)
Genesis 1:1 [AMP] In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and)created the heavens and the earth.
Isaiah 40:6 Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.
Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all man- kind. Is anything too hard for me?
*He Desires that You Stand Firm (3). Moved – slip, shaken, be toppled … fail.
He limits temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.).
He empowers us to Stand! (Eph 6:13-15 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.).
He restores us (1 Peter 5:10 The God of all grace … will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.)
*He is Alert to our Troubles (3b-4). Six times – ‘he who Keeps you’ – Guardian. God is the nighttime guard never dozes off. You have never faced a struggle in your life that God was not on full alert – aware of the actions of the enemy, your own failings, and His own actions. 1 Peter 2:25 – the guardian of your souls. God is totally unlike the pagan gods / dead idols who cannot be awakened. (1 Kings 18:27)
*He offers rest / shade (5-6) In the Middle East, shade from the heat can be the difference between life and death.
Isaiah 32:2 … like the shade of a great rock in a weary land….
*He Overcomes Evil (7). God is the ultimate victor over the evil ways of the Enemy. Unknown: how often God has kept evil from us. Known: he has paid a great price to give us victory over every evil way.
“When Jesus takes your hand, He keeps you tight. When Jesus keeps you tight, He leads you through your whole life. When Jesus leads you through your life, He brings you safely home.” Corrie ten Boom
2 Timothy 1:12 “and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.”
3. We Find Help in God’s Forever Strength (8)
God is not just a hideout, but a bodyguard! God has an eternal solution for our earthly troubles.
We lift up our eyes from our troubles and see where our help comes from
When We Feel Powerless, God is Powerful.
When We Feel Alone, God is Alert.
When We Feel At Risk, God is our Guardian.
When We Feel Hopeless, God is Forever.
George Matheson was only fifteen when he was told he was losing what little poor eyesight he had. Not to be denied, Matheson continued straightaway with his plans to enroll in the University of Glasgow, and his determination led to his graduating at age nineteen. But as he pursued graduate studies in theology for Christian ministry he did become blind. His sisters joined ranks beside him, learning Greek and Hebrew to assist him in his studies. He pressed faithfully on.
But his spirit collapsed when his fiancée, unwilling to be married to a blind man, broke their engagement and returned his ring. He never married, and the pain of that rejection never totally left him. Years later, as a well-loved pastor in Scotland, his sister came to him, announcing her engagement. He rejoiced with her, but his mind went back to his own heartache. He consoled himself in thinking of God’s love which is never limited, never conditional, never withdrawn, and never uncertain. Out of this experience he wrote the hymn, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths it flow
May richer, fuller be.
Jude 24-25 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen
LifeGroup Questions August 30, 2016
OVERWHELMED: Where Can I Find Help? Psalm 121
1. Here at the end of Summer many of us have taken vacation trips. What are some things that can overwhelm us about vacation trips if we’re not careful? If you have a picture on your phone of your trip, share it with the group!
2. This Psalm begins with looking up from the hills for help. This morning John said, “What scary situations or difficult events have captured your attention? By ‘looking up’ we are not ignoring them – we are turning to someone who is more powerful than we are!”
*What are some practical ways we can ‘look up to God’ in our time of distress?
*Why do you think we often turn to God only after we have exhausted our own possibilities to address our problems?
3. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” What do you think he may have meant by this? In what ways do you see the psalmist preaching to himself in this psalm?
4. Where do people look for help apart from God? When are you tempted to forget that he is watching over you?
5. Thinking about David’s life … he had some moments when he slipped. What are some moments when he did not slip because he trusted in God?
6. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Explain why:
The Christian life makes more sense when we’re reflecting on where we’ve been, than when we’re focused on what we’re experiencing.
7. Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18. What are some ways the Apostle Paul teaches us to think about our struggles?
8. Relate Jude 24-25 to our Psalm. What encouragement do you gain from Jude 24-25?
9. Which verse in this psalm is your favorite? Which one speaks most clearly to you? Why?
10. Spiritual Practice Suggestion: Memorize this Psalm, use it to remind yourself when your vision strays, when trouble or uncertainty rises up, when life says, “What makes you think you are going to amount to anything?” Let this Psalm encourage your soul and bring you to praise God who made you and Jesus who died for you and lives again.
A Few Resources Referred to in the Lesson:
Consequences of Work Related Stress
What the Ashley Madison Hack Says About How Many Women Cheat
Top Ten Reasons People Go Bankrupt