#285 (13/05/07)
Finding Happiness from the Inside Out Part V

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

Mark’s orchestration’s can be heard in the Academy Award nominated scores to Dances With Wolves, Men in Black, Good Will Hunting, and in the blockbusters Spiderman, Sister Act, Sleepless in Seattle, Mission Impossible and Lilo and Stitch. Mark’s distinctive musical voice is expressive and diverse. Directors speak of Mark’s incredible stirring themes as timeless and intensely human. His compositions and orchestrations have been heard by hundreds of millions of people across the world, underscoring everything from the Olympics to the Academy Awards. Mark has his masters and doctorate in music composition from the University of Southern California. Mark and his family are also devoted members of the Crystal Cathedral and deeply committed to their faith in Jesus Christ.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.."
" O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing "

" Because He Lives ”
" My Redeemer Lives "
CCA CHORUS – “Go Where I Send Thee”
‘NITA WHITAKER - "The Courage to Dream"

The Message

How many people today realize what the number one killer in America is? I think that most people know it is heart disease. Arterial sclerosis is typically and usually the culprit. Arterial sclerosis is commonly known as hardening of the arteries which results in heart attacks, strokes, etc. We know there are certain things we can do to really lessen the possibility of having to go through one of those situations. We need to exercise, eat right, take vitamins, etc., most of that is common knowledge today. With that being said, let me refer you to a scripture in the book of Philippians in the Bible.

The scripture text Philippians 4: 6 & 7 reads as follows:

"Do not be anxious about anything
but in everything by prayer and petition
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God
and the peace of God which transforms
all understanding will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I think our world today suffers from something far more dangerous than arterial sclerosis. What our world suffers from today is cardio sclerosis and psycho sclerosis. Cardio of course is the heart. Hardening of the heart. Psycho refers to the mind. Hardening of the mind. I believe our society suffers far more from psycho sclerosis and cardio sclerosis than we do arterial sclerosis. The scripture text is about how we can prevent the hardening of our minds and our hearts. The hardening of our minds and hearts prevent us from being able to embrace the love of God and bathing in the peace of God.

It begins with those powerful words "be anxious for nothing." I can't tell you how difficult it is for me to live by those words. They are the most difficult commands or words to follow there is. Thank God we live in the grace of Jesus Christ. I recently had probably one of the most challenging weeks of my entire life. Last week I could barely stand here and deliver a sermon because my daughter was going through some really difficult times. I typically will wake up at 4:00 in the morning and start my preparations for church. My alarm is set for 4:00 a.m. When my alarm went off I could hear somebody upstairs and I thought to myself, "What in the world is going on. Is my son coming home at 4:30 a.m in the morning?" I was quite concerned. I went upstairs and instead of my son I found my daughter, Christina, who is a junior at USC. She was home for spring break and I saw her walking around with the dog, trying to take the dog for a walk. When I started talking with her, I realized that she wasn't making any sense. It was very, very serious. So I woke up my wife and said, "Donna, you've got to help Christina get some sleep. She hasn't had any sleep for a long time." I then left for church not really knowing the condition of my daughter.

In between services, I called my wife and she told me she was taking Christina to the hospital. On Sunday afternoon, Christina was admitted to the hospital. We didn't know what was going on. We didn't have a clue. It was a very, very tough week. As it turns out, she had severe leg burns from being in the sun too long. That meant she couldn't sleep, so she had sleep deprivation. We had taken her to the hospital the night before, so that she could get some treatment for her legs and they gave her a pain killer, a very strong pain killer, Vicodin. You put all of that together and she became delusional and it took her some time before she could get everything reprogrammed and now she is home with us and is absolutely 100% perfectly fine.

What happens to our anxiety levels when we see the people we love the most in a difficult situation, such as a cancer diagnosis and not knowing what the outcome is going to be? Or you see somebody who has to go the hospital because they are delusional and cannot carry on a conversation. The immediate reaction is for us to fall into our human tendency and instead of being anxious for nothing, we become anxious for everything! That is not what our scripture tells us to do. It is quite the contrary, the scripture tells us:

"Do not be anxious about anything
but in everything by prayer and petition
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God
and the peace of God which transforms
all understanding will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4: 6 & 7)

How do we find the peace of God? We find the peace of God when we find peace with God. We find peace with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is with us today. His spirit is here to soften the hardened hearts. It's the hardened heart that does not care about God.

I remember as a young boy going to my uncle's farm and playing with my cousins, and one of the things that we had on the farm were electric fences. The fences kept the cows in with just one little wire or maybe two, one on the top and one on the bottom. We had tennis shoes on most of the time, so we could go up to those wires and you could grab them without any problem whatsoever. We would hold onto the fence and all the cousins would hold hands together until somebody would either take their shoe off, or they didn't have rubber soled shoes, or something would happen and all of a sudden we'd all get shocked together. It was fun! You could feel the anxiety level coming up because we knew anytime we were going to feel the shock. That was one of the greatest things to do on the farm! There are lots of exciting things that happen on the farm; you can watch the corn grow, or you can hold onto electric fence.

The spirit of God is like electricity. You can't see it, but you know it's there. You can grab a hold of it and sometimes you don't feel it. Then you share that with other people and you get other people involved in the spirit of God. All of a sudden, for some reason, you feel it. The spirit is here, the spirit is real. The Holy Spirit of God comes and He softens our hardened minds. He softens our hardened hearts. He molds us and He shapes us, and suddenly we understand what it is to be with God. When we are with God we have the peace of God. This peace of God will transcend all understanding and it will guard our minds and our hearts. You know the word in Greek for guard is garrison. What kind of word picture does that create within your mind? A garrison. The peace of God will send a garrison around your minds; troops building up the fortresses to protect your mind and protect your heart. We begin to develop this love for God and this desire for God.

It's interesting when you study anxiety.

Forty percent of all people who have anxiety is related to events that will never happen.

Thirty percent of all our anxiety is regarding situations in the past that cannot be changed.

Twelve percent is related to criticism or gossip, which is mostly untrue.

Ten percent is about health, which gets worse with added stress and anxiety.

Eight percent of anxiety is related to real problems that we face.

Ninety two percent of the anxiety we feel can surely be cured.

Rev. George Antonakos is a pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore Maryland. In 1973, he was a member of Campus Crusade for Christ and he was traveling across the country to come and to minister of all places, in South Orange County California. He was traveling across country and he stopped in Oklahoma at a little motel to get some rest and when he woke up in the morning it was 8 degrees below zero. That's cold! He hopped in his car; a 1967 Olds F-85 and he said it was a heap of junk, the heater didn't work and as he started driving his feet were freezing. He came to a little place in Oklahoma called Hydro, Oklahoma. He stopped at a gas station and talked with the attendant and asked if there was anyone available to fix his car. The attendant replied, "There's no one here but if you go down the street one-mile and hang a right, go a half a mile, you'll see a barn on the left. Go to the back of the barn, there's a door there. You go inside that door and you'll find someone who can fix your car." He drove about a mile and sure enough, there was a barn. He drove to the back of the barn, freezing, full of anxiety and worry because he couldn't get warm and he was very uncomfortable. He went to the back of the barn and opened the door and there stood a man behind a desk, and for some reason there was this whole parts department full of parts for cars and above his head, were these words: "Cast all your cares upon the Lord for He cares for you."

That is what we are called to do today. The cure for cardio sclerosis and psycho sclerosis is pretty simple. Pray. Bring your petitions to God. Bring them with thanksgiving for all that He is doing and all He will do; then just rest in the assurance of your faith. God will carry you and He will care for you.

Pray with me:

Oh Lord, we need Your touch today. Oh Lord, we need Your love today. Oh Lord, we thank You for sending a garrison of angels to guard our hearts and our minds in Jesus Christ. Lord, give us the strength to be mindful of Your words and to be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and petition and thanksgiving, come and allow Your peace to fill our hearts and our minds. We love You Lord, Amen.

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