Gregory Dickow - How To Face Dark Times and Not Fall Apart
Well, welcome to the "Power to Change Today," and today I want to share with you in the form of a one-on-one Bible study from the recent podcast that I call "Think Like A Champion". And today's topic is all about how to face dark times without falling apart, without crumbling. And some of us are falling apart, and some of it is very difficult, but this is gonna empower you to find the strength, to find the goodness, and to find the grace that God has given us. He's given us the ability to not only face hard times, but to overcome them, and I want to teach you how to do it right now. So, enjoy today's Bible study, share it with someone who needs to hear it, and I'll be back at the end to pray for you.
Now in today's episode, I want to talk to you about how to think like the greatest champion of all. Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, though it was triumphant, and though we sing, "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," his entry was met with peril and trouble that was unimaginable. No matter what unimaginable things you're facing right now, I want you to know there's good news. Sunday's comin,' resurrection is coming. Just as Jesus met unimaginable trouble in his life after Palm Sunday, you may be meeting some unimaginable trouble in your life today, and I want to give you the hope and I want to help equip you to hold on, 'cause Sunday's comin'.
Now, a champion mindset is found in the greatest champion of all, Jesus. Please understand this, the days and hours between Jesus's entry into Jerusalem and between Sunday, Easter Sunday, but I want you to see how he handled the problems that came. And particularly it says as he was riding into the city, Jesus fulfilled a prophecy that would've been impossible to make happen on his own. Only God could have made this happen, and I wanna read it to you from Zechariah 9 verse 9 where it says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout, daughter of Jerusalem. See, your King comes to you righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey".
Now, I want you to see that this was written hundreds of years, this prophecy was written hundreds of years before it happened. It said that the Savior was gonna come on a donkey, and then hundreds of years later Jesus came triumphantly that Palm Sunday into Jerusalem on a donkey. So, the first thing I want you to get from this, and what you can apply to your life, is believe in God's timing. Believe in God's timing. Champions believe in good timing. In this case, in God's timing. We're in such a hurry sometimes, but I want you to know that good things take time. Give God time. Give yourself time. Give God time to bring his prophecy for your life to pass. Give yourself time to see the prophecies over your life, the dreams that you have for your life, the destiny that you have for your life, the beliefs you have about what your life can be. Give yourself time. Give God time.
In fact, let's invite God right now to help us experience his timing for your dreams. Heavenly Father, I'm asking you right now to work. We already know you're workin' behind the scenes, but I'm asking you to give us the revelation, give us the patience, give us the awakening. Awaken in us the patience, awaken in us the faith, expectation that your timing is gonna make all things beautiful, your timing is going to bring our dreams and the prophecies that you have over our life. You're gonna bring them to pass, in Jesus's name.
Now, so the first thing I want you to get out of this is that Jesus took his time. Take your time. Don't be in such a hurry. We are constantly trying to rush our harvests. Harvests by nature take time. Good, full fruit takes time. What's written about Jesus, hundreds of years have passed before he rides on that donkey. Couldn't he have come ten years earlier? Couldn't he have come 100 years earlier? Couldn't he have come 500 years earlier? Yeah, he could have, but he came just at the right time, 'cause God knows about timing better than us. So, be patient and believe in God's timing. Next thing I want you to see, how Jesus thought like a champion in his worst, toughest week ever. It was the week that he goes through the Garden of Gethsemane. It's the week he is crucified. It's the week that he dies.
I want you to see that what prepares him for the worst day of his life is actually why he had the best day of his life, and you're gonna have the best days of your life. And I want to read to you something from Matthew chapter 21, because the crowds, the crowds welcomed Jesus by waving palm branches in the air, and they shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest". So on Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples spent the night in Bethany after this Scripture was fulfilled about coming into the city of Jerusalem. They spent the night in Bethany, about two miles east of Jerusalem, and this is where Lazarus lived who Jesus had raised from the dead, remember? And his two sisters, Mary and Martha, they were close friends of Jesus, and most likely they were the ones hosting him and his disciples during their final days in Jerusalem.
So, the next thing I want to give you as a takeaway from this holy week is in your darkest hours, in your darkest hours, surround yourself with the right people. In your darkest hours, surround yourself with the right people. You see, Jesus stays with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He trusted them. He loved them. They weren't perfect, they had all sorts of problems in their lives, they had all sorts of trouble in their life, just like you or me, but yet Jesus trusted Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus, which they were all brother and sister, right? He trusted them, he loved them, and I want you to see that in your darkest hours, you have to surround yourself with people that you trust. You have to surround yourself with people that you love. You have to surround yourself with people that you know love you.
You know, I've spent a lot of time over the years with people, with all kinds of different people, and when I have to spend time with people that I don't think love me, or I don't think have my best interest in mind, it doesn't give me a good feeling. It doesn't give me a good mental frame of mind. But contrast that to when I've spent time with people that I know love me, that I know that have my back no matter what, there's peace no matter what I'm goin' through. There is calm no matter how bad a situation I might be in. Surrounding yourself with the right people matters. So on the very next day, I want to get to our next takeaway here, 'cause on the very next day after this Sunday night, Jesus arrives at the temple. And when he gets to the temple, this is where people were supposed to be worshiping, right, in the temple.
And Jesus gets in the temple and he finds the courts full, the temple courts full of corrupt money changers, and what does he do? He begins to overturn their tables and he begins to clear the temple, saying, "The Scripture says my temple will be a house of prayer," it's in Luke chapter 19, he says, verse 46. "My temple shall be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves". My temple, my house, should be a house of prayer, but you've turned it into a den of thieves. So, the next thing I want you to see is I want you to realize that no matter what hell you might be going through right now, no matter what pain you might be facing, stay focused on your purpose and God's purpose for you.
You see, Jesus understood his house was meant to be a house of prayer and a house of healing. Jesus understood, I want you to see that. Jesus understood his house was a house of prayer. His house was a house of healing. In fact, after he overturned the tables of thieves in Matthew chapter 21 verse 13 and 14, watch what happens here. Matthew 21 verse 14 and 15, "Jesus declared to them, 'It is written my house will be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves,'" and watch this in verse 14. He says, "Then the blind and the lame came to him at the temple and he healed them". The blind and the lame came to him in the temple and he healed them.
You see, in other words, when the money changers, when the Pharisees, when the religious people had turned God's house from a house of healing to a house of making money and a house of selling offerings and selling animals to give offerings to God, when they had overturned the house, and Jesus then overturned the tables, after Jesus restored the house, what happened there? It says the blind came and the lame came and they were healed. So, the purpose for the house was healing. The house of God is a place of healing, it's a place of salvation, it's a place of blessing, it's a place of peace and freedom. But I really want you to get this, that Jesus walks into the temple and he sees they're using the temple for the wrong thing, and he overturns it. Turns everything upside down, or right side up, and restores the purpose for which that temple had been created.
I want you to start overturning some things in your life today. Start overturning some things that don't have to do with your purpose. What's goin' on in your life that doesn't have to do with your success? What's happening, what are you filling your house with that is not helping you heal? What are you filling your house with that is not helping other people heal? What are you filling your schedule with that is not bringing healing to you or healing to somebody else? Let's overturn that and restore our lives to become houses of healing, and houses of blessing, and houses of purpose, amen? Wow, so this leads us to the next thing, because it's in the same passage of Scripture.
The next thing I want you to see here in this verse is that there is a time in all of our lives as champions, if we want to win in life, no matter how bad life can be sometimes, no matter how difficult life can be sometimes, there is a time for aggressive action, and we need to know when that time is, and we need to be cool even when we have to be aggressive. Whether it's with healing in our bodies, sometimes we need to get aggressive with getting our body well. We need to get aggressive with getting our mind right. We need to get aggressive with fixing a relationship.
Notice, Jesus overturned the tables. He set free the doves and opened all the cages where the animals were kept in the cages in the temple. But even in his aggressive action of overturning the tables, he never hurt anyone in his rage against religion, in his rage against the Pharisees, the self-righteous, in his rage against people that had turned the temple into something other than what it was meant to be. Jesus didn't hurt anybody in the process, and I want you to see that this is an aggressive action, to overturn tables, and turning things upside down in the temple. And sometimes we've gotta apply that passionate, aggressive action towards getting rid of something in our life that isn't good for us, or being aggressive at attacking an area of our lives that we've been lazy about, or we've let it get the best of us.
Attack that anger that you're dealing with. Attack that problem with your health. Attack that thing, hit it from every angle. Hit it with the angle of prayer, the angle of speaking God's Word, the angle of medical help, the angle of exercise, the angle of eating right foods. Like, attack it from every direction. We have to be aggressive. We have to take action. And when we do, it needs to be the right action, and it needs to be measured action so that we don't hurt people along the way. Jesus did that, and that's a great lesson for us as we begin to think like the greatest champion of all. And I want you to also see that Jesus established that the real enemy that he was dealing with was self-righteous religion. And in Matthew chapter 23 he says to the Pharisees in verse 24, he says, "You blind guides. For you are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity". He went on to say, "Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. You snakes! You sons of vipers. How will you escape the judgment of hell"?
Wow, we gotta pause here and say why would Jesus talk that way about anybody? He doesn't talk that way about anybody like you or me, he talks that way only to the self-righteous hypocrites that were saying one thing, they were saying you have to carry this burden, and you have to live by this law, and you have to obey this, and you have to obey us, and yet they themselves weren't living that way. They were condemning others for the compromise they were tolerating in their own life. And I'm not saying at all that anybody really, nobody can be perfect, and he wasn't expecting that from anybody, including the Pharisees, but they were self-righteous.
Their righteousness wasn't, they weren't standing on what Jesus did for them, they were tryin' to prove how holy they were, and how great they were, and how better they were than anybody else. I pray that in our march towards victory, to victory, and in our struggle with whatever issues come against us, I pray that we will never look down on anybody else like these religious leaders did. I pray that we would not be self-righteous. I pray that if you want to experience victory, you have to realize who the real enemy is. It's the self-righteousness that tries to make you think you're better than somebody else or tear somebody else down so that you can feel better about yourself. It's the hypocrisy of condemning other people when we know that we ourselves have sinned, too, and we have sinned also.
Now, I want to move on to the next day, which was Tuesday. Right before today, the yesterday of 2,000 years ago. On Tuesday, the Bible shows us that it was the day Judas made a deal with the devil to betray Jesus. It says in Matthew chapter 26 verse 14, it says, "Then one of the twelve named Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests," and verse 15 says, "And he said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Jesus to you and betray him?' And they counted 30 pieces of silver," and so from that point, verse 16 says, "He looked for the opportunity to betray Jesus".
And so, here I've given you four things that are real powerful tools you can use whenever you're dealing with a negative moment, a dark moment in your life, and this fifth thing that made Jesus such a champion is the fifth thing I want you to see from this is, people may betray you, people may disappoint you, people may even intend harm against you, but that's where we need to believe Isaiah 54:17 where God says no weapon formed against you shall prosper. You see, these weapons will be formed against you and people will come against you. Judas did betray Jesus. You will be betrayed at times. There will be weapons formed against you, but they will not prosper. This is the beauty in this, that Jesus knew Judas was gonna betray him. Jesus, even still invited him to the Last Supper. Jesus still made him one of his disciples, but he knew that Judas would betray him. You're gonna lose some people. You're gonna have some people turn on you. You're going to have some people that are there for you in the time you need the most.
And I want you to know there may even be people that plot negative things against you, but the weapons are formed against you, they will not prosper, because you're the righteousness of God. Boy, if you will face your dark moments knowing that life will betray you, people would betray you, you might even betray yourself, but God will never betray you, and God will never leave you, and God will never forsake you, and the weapons formed against you will not reach their intended destination, because no weapon formed against you will prosper, 'cause you think like a champion and you know that God is on your side, and therefore no evil can come near your dwelling place. No plague can come near your tent. Boy, I hope that this really encouraged you today. I wanna encourage you to go back and listen to the five things and the five ways of thinking that Jesus employed in his life because he thought like a champion because he was the greatest champion of all. And now, let me pray for you:
Father, I thank you that every person here can think like you. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Your champion thinking is higher than our thinking, but you said we can renew our minds to think like you. We can renew our minds and we can experience the beliefs of victory that you walked in, the beliefs that you were more than a conqueror, and just as you are, we are as well because of what you did for us, in Jesus's name, amen.