The building that you are in catches on fire!
The hall is filled with smoke so you cannot run down the stairs!
What to do?
Suddenly you hear sirens – loud sirens. You run to the window.
Down below are fire trucks and hoses and crowds of onlookers.
But most importantly you see firemen holding a huge net right below your
window. (Some fire departments in large cities use safety nets as the only
way to save people trapped on higher floors.)
You jump out the window! That safety net catches you!
In that fire safety net you are safe! What a relief!
Spiritual hard times hit! Your adversary the devil walks around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and you look mighty tasty!
You panic! You are hit hard! You take some major
blows! You are wounded, depressed, discouraged! You are falling
spiritually and falling fast! What can help you?
To your rescue comes a spiritual safety net to catch you, to keep you from
being severely injured, and get you get back on your feet quickly.
What is a spiritual safety net?
It is a few key, powerful verses you have memorized
to help you deal with your greatest spiritual
weaknesses and needs.
You know those verses as well as you know your own name,
and in times of crisis you grab them, hold on tight to them.
They catch you and keep you from being severely injured.
You land well and get back on your feet quickly.
A spiritual safety net does for your soul what a fireman’s safety net does for
So the question is: have you planned ahead by making your own safety net?
Remember that the devil doesn’t make appointments ahead of time.
You never know when he’ll hit. Are you prepared today so you’ll be ready?
Let’s be realistic. All of us have a few predictable weak spots.
All of us. When Satan attacks it usually isn’t a surprise which area of our
lives he attacks. His attacks over the years are usually at the same
predictable weak spots where we fell on our faces in the past.
Your friends probably have different weak spots from you,
but you can count on it that no matter how together other people in your life
appear, they have weak spots just as serious as yours.
A spiritual safety net is a practical rapid recovery
response strategy to keep you solidly on God’s path.
What should your spiritual safety net consist of? I don’t know.
I’ll share mine with you, and hopefully it will give you some ideas for
making your own.
My safety net is an essential part of my Christian life.
I can’t leave home without it because it protects my weak side,
helps me recover fast from the blows of life and gets results.
I share it not with the expectation that my safety net is exactly what you
need but with the hope that you’ll use mine as a springboard to build your
own safety net that works for you.
And because we can’t build a safety net without God’s help,
let’s ask for help now.
You have given us the Bible so that we can use it, so that we can build it
into our lives to help us – particularly at life’s most difficult moments.
Open our eyes today to the need of having our own personal safety net.
Give us wisdom in building our own so that we will be prepared for Satan’s
attacks and bounce back fast. We cannot do anything without you.
We ask for your help, and we pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Time to build a safety net. Let’s get started. In times of spiritual crisis
what is the first verse I run to? What is the first link in my safety net? Easy
Be still, and know that I am God.
In case of emergency, this is the verse I break into first.
The issue is control. When there was a growth on my ear lobe the size of a
grape, when I come home so angry that I unplug the phone and sprawl out
on the living room floor, when something happens that stuns the daylights
out of me it’s just another reminder I am not in control. Is anybody in control?
Be still, and know that I am God.
God was in control, God is in control, God will be in control.
He has never left the lever of powers. He never will.
He was not taken by surprise. He has not fallen asleep. I am not lost in His
computer system. God rules and is in control of all events at all times under
This mess we find ourselves in happened in the world God created.
God deliberately let each crisis hit us at the time He chose. Furthermore,
God is totally wise, totally loving, totally good. And if He really is as wise
and loving and good as the Bible describes, why don’t I just get out of the
way and let Him do what He wants because He knows best. He does
not make mistakes.
Whew! That’s a relief. I need that reminder. I can obey the
verse and calm down.
The Hebrew is strong. This verse was not meant to be mumbled.
Literally it means HUSH! QUIET! SHHHHHHHHHHH!
When you realize Who is solidly in charge you can be still.
Any response besides being still is not submission to God. Any response
besides being still is a totally complete, thorough waste of time.
This is the strongest spiritual tranquilizer I have ever been able to find in the
Bible. In case of emergency I break into this verse. It works.
“What a lot of panicky sparrows we are.
We chatter and tweet under God’s eaves
until we cannot hear His voice at all –
but if we learn to be silent before the Lord
we hear the wonderful life and music of the Lord Jesus
telling us that God is the God of the sparrows.
If we have received Jesus as our Savior
we have a hiding place in God
where we learn how to be silent before God –
silent with the strong restful certainty that all is well,
and behind everything stands God,
and a soul is strong that knows that”.
When my life seems out of control – He is in control, firm control, total
control. That doesn’t mean we do nothing. It means we work confidently
knowing that God is not going to be outmaneuvered.
If today God has you in His waiting room, it means you are being prepared
for future assignments. Be still. Demonstrate your faith in God by calming
down. Let God do what He wants.
This is the first key link in my safety net.
What action step do I take with this verse? In my darkest moments I say it
over and over and over to myself asking God, begging God to help me be
still, back off, and calm down. I have held onto it so tightly it would have
taken dynamite to pry it out of my mind. I have cried out to God that I could
believe and live this verse. And then I said it over and over and over to
You know what? This verse gets results!
That is the first link in my safety net:
I need assurance that God is in control.
This verse gives me that assurance. It is absolutely essential to my spiritual
stability. But this is only the first link of my safety net. I need more.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
You might wonder what this verse is doing in such a prominent place
in my spiritual safety net. Well, let’s look at it.
Give thanks in all things. Looks like a pretty easy verse to understand.
We give thanks for beautiful weather and a wonderful dinner with friends
and a little money left over after bills are paid.
But look at the verse again. It says in ALL circumstances to give thanks.
All. That’s easy to do with the pleasant things in life. But if we are to give
thanks in all things that means during the difficult times we are to give
thanks. In the horrible times we are to give thanks, and on the worst day of
our lives we are to give thanks because all means all. That’s all all means.
Which means on the worst day of my life when I was driving home from my
sister’s funeral I knew I needed to process her passing
from a Christian perspective…. and this verse came to mind. And the
question was – should I or shouldn’t I?
This verse is a command not a suggestion. This verse has no exceptions, no
excuses. It leaves nothing out except sin. No matter what the struggle, no
matter what the circumstance, no matter what we are to thank God.
So I did give thanks. But that sounds weird. She meant so much to me.
How on earth could I give thanks that God had taken her? Well, look at the verse.
We need to read it carefully. It does not read give thanks because of all things.
I am not supposed to give thanks because she was dead. And I did not. That would be perverted.
It reads “IN” all things give thanks. In the midst of her passing I could give
thanks. Why? Because all things work together for good. Things are going
to turnout for the best – for believers. Someday I will see exactly why that
was the time for her to go, and I won’t have any reason to argue.
The God who called her out of this life is 100% holy, 100% wise, 100%
good. So even though her death made no sense to me, and to this day
makes no sense, God knows best. His wisdom, His holiness, His love were
behind her passing.
In a demonstration of faith and trust in God I needed to give thanks to
God on that awful day. Not to thank God is to criticize His judgment and set
myself up as His judge – which is ludicrous. I am the loser when I don’t
give thanks in all things. I cheat myself. Who wants that?
Father knows best. Even in the toughest of times. I don’t.
The second link in my safety net:
I need assurance that things will turn out well (for believers).
So what action step do I take with this verse?
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in spiritual free fall
and reached out and grabbed this verse. Immediately I have dragged God
into the situation and stopped falling. No, my problem was not solved.
But God was now part of the picture, and I get confidence knowing that He
is there for me, and I can use His resources to help. Give thanks in all
things. This verse gets results.
Time for link #3
Life can be scary. Your family can die. Your house can burn down.
You can lose your job. Your health can deteriorate. Your reputation can be
ruined. Your country can go down the drain. Is there anything you can’t
If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, there is one thing you cannot lose.
1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
The third link of my safety net:
I need assurance of security and significance
Here we have a verse of gigantic significance. How easy it is to
read it, say “oh, that’s nice” and move on…which means we didn’t get it.
If we really get it that we are children of God we should gasp, stop in our
tracks and look at the unbreakable relationship we now have as Christians.
The first 10 years of my Christian life I lived as if God had pulled me out of
the terrible waters of sin, brought me to the beach and said, “See ya in
What John is saying here is, yes, God did pull us out of the terrible waters
of sin when we trusted Jesus as our Savior, but He brought us to Himself,
right into His family. He became our Father. He has never left.
We became His child.
“To those who are Christ’s the holy God is a loving Father.
We belong to His family. We may approach Him without fear
and always be sure of His fatherly concern and care.
“The thought of our Maker becoming our perfect parent
faithful in love, and care, generous and thoughtful, interested in all we do,
respecting our individuality, skillful in training us, wise in guidance, always
available, helping us to find ourselves in maturity, integrity and uprightness
is the Christian secret of a Christian life and a God honoring life.
“In the world royal children have to go through extra training and discipline
which other children escape in order to prepare them for their high destiny.
It is the same with the children of the King of Kings.
“This is the clue to understanding all God’s dealing with us
as throughout our lives He is preparing us for what awaits us in the next
“In the future of every Christian is an eternity of love.
“There are no distinctions of affection in God’s family.
We are all loved just as fully as Jesus is loved.”
And when awful things happen to us?
A perfect heavenly Father allowed them to happen
which means that love was behind them in some way maybe we didn’t
Here is security in the Christian life.
Here is significance in the Christian life.
Here is the richest way to see the Christian life.
God considers us family.
So what action step do I take with this verse?
I need to remind myself that now that I have trusted Christ
God is my perfect Father. I am family. Look at my Daddy! Look at the
resources Daddy gives me. “Closeness, affection, and generosity are at the
heart of the relationship”. God loves me as much as He loves Jesus Christ.
In God’s family there is absolute stability and security. My heavenly Father
is entirely wise; my position is permanently secure.
I am adopted. “And throughout this lifetime and all through eternity I will
see how awesome it is to be part of His family since I began to follow
I need assurance of security and significance. This verse delivers.
There you have three key links in my spiritual safety net.
Assurance that God is in control
Assurance that things will turn out well.
Assurance of security and significance.
Essential. Practical. But not enough.
Unfortunately, sometimes I am dragged down by the comparison game.
Hmmmmmmmm. Jesus is my Savior, and Jesus is that guy’s Savior.
But he has lead more people to Christ, has a nicer family,
better brain, more friends, bigger house, etc. Anything I can do, he can do
Yep, no doubt about it. God has blessed him more than me.
So what is wrong with me? Does God play favorites, and I’m not one of
The fourth link in my safety net:
I need assurance God has a good plan for my life which means I need
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Jesus has just given Peter his job description: Feed/tend my sheep
John 21:15, 16, 17. Peter, take good care of believers. Help them to
become spiritually strong.
And after Peter finishes that assignment Jesus tells Peter how his life will
end. John 21:18-19. Get it Peter? Your job description on earth is to take
care of other believers. When that is over you’ll be killed for your faith.
Jesus is done talking; Peter is not. John 21:20, 21. Peter sees
John and wants to know about his future.
Not all questions are appropriate. This one is not.
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Peter, mind your own business. You follow Jesus. Let Jesus take care of
John’s future. Peter is trying to do something here that is dangerous,
that can be a huge problem for me and maybe you: Comparison.
One spiritual leader of considerable gravitas writes, “I recall a critical time
in my own ministry when I was disturbed because other ministers were
apparently getting God’s blessing in abundance while I seemed to be reaping
a meager harvest. I must confess that I envied them and wished that God
had given their gifts to me. But the Lord tenderly rebuked me with “what
is that to you? Follow me.”
If I am discouraged this is frequently the reason: comparing God’s plan
for my life with God’s plan for the lives of others. I have been in homes
with awards and certificates plastered all over the walls and asked myself
where are my awards and certificates plastered all over my walls?
Jesus’ response is, “What is that to you? You aren’t them.
Stop comparing. Just follow me.”
His plan for my life is the reason I was created. His plan for my life is
unique. I am a one of a kind person for a one of a kind plan. I will have the
opportunity to do what no one in history will ever have the
opportunity to do – the opportunity to be me.
And you can say exactly the same thing. Comparing God’s plan for my life
to God’s plan for other people’s lives makes no sense. Concentrate on what
does concern me.
Got an e-mail from a mighty depressed Christian worker in his early 30s.
“Sometimes Satan strikes so badly that you wonder if you’re going to recover or not. Five years have passed, and I have nothing – no home, no family, no good job, no perspective for the future. I look at others, and they have families, they build homes, although I understand I shouldn’t compare myself with others.”
But he is comparing himself to others and digging a big hole that he is
falling into. He doesn’t compare his strengths. He compares what he
perceives as his weaknesses and comes up short and wonders if God’s plan
for his life is really so hot after all.
What I intend to say to him is, “What is that to you if God chooses to work
differently in the lives of others? You follow Jesus.”
Before I came to Christ I wasted a lot of time trying to be someone else,
daydreamed a lot that I was someone else, pretended to be someone else.
One of the first things that happened when I began to follow Christ
is I learned I’ve got to focus full time on living my own life because….. God
does have a good plan for my life.
So – what action step does John push me to take? Stop obsessing over
God’s plan for other people. Obsess on following Christ and what He has
called me to do. Don’t ask questions that are none of my business.
To allow myself to be distracted is to disobey.
John 21:22 Be assured God’s plan for my life is good.
Well, there you have four key assurances I need:
- Assurance that God is in control.
- Assurance that life is going to end well.
- Assurance of security and significance.
- Assurance that God has a good plan for my life.
All needed. All wanted.
But there is one more thing I have had very little of in life, and I want it, and
it is available to me.
The fifth link in my safety net:
I need assurance of peace. NOW!
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Not just peace. Perfect peace.
The more we get it that God is absolutely in control of everything that
happens to us the more we have peace in our hearts.
Worry, anxiety, fear take its toll on our health. But don’t they also damage
our witness to unsaved people? Badly?
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
This might be the only verse in the Bible that tells us that God sings.
What motivates His singing? His relationship with you!
Wow! We mean that much to Him?
Sandwiched between God rejoicing over us is the effect His love has on us –
He quiets us with His love.
If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior you are in the hands of a loving God
who loves you with a perfect love. If you don’t want to trust Jesus as your
Savior, see how far you make it on your own!
Taped to my bathroom mirror are the words:
“God wants you to move through this day with a quiet heart,
an inward assurance that He is in control,
a peaceful certainty that your life is in His hands,
a deep trust in His plans and purposes,
and a thankful disposition towards all that He allows.
“He wants you to put your faith in Him, not in a timetable.
He wants you to wait on Him and wait for Him.
In His perfect way He will put everything together,
see to every detail, arrange every circumstance
and order ever step to bring to pass what He has for you.”
Peace is a beautiful thing
No trust. No peace. Much trust. Much peace.
So, let’s get this straight.
If I trust, my mind will be focused on Christ, and the result will be perfect
peace. That has motivated me to pray daily that my trust in the Lord would
After reading my Bible daily for a year and praying daily,
friends said they couldn’t believe the change in
my life. The decrease in my anxiety level was noticeable.
But I want more. “In my innermost being is my whole attitude
resting squarely on Christ? Do I hold on firmly to Christ in all situations?”
If so, peace rules. Hanging on to God or being thoroughly devoted to Him
secures peace – even in the midst of the most challenging situations.
Pray daily I might trust God more and be blessed by the peace that comes
So there you have five assurances I need in my life, my spiritual
Assurance God is in control: Psalm 46:10
Assurance life will turn out well: 1 Thes 5:18
Assurance of security and significance: 1 John 3:16
Assurance God’s plan for my life is good: John 21:22
Assurance of peace: Isaiah 26:3
I’m being pretty open about the holes in my Christian life,
but my holes are not your holes.
Again – I share my spiritual safety net not with the hope you’ll copy it verse
for verse. Figure out what your holes are and find great verses to help you
deal with those holes.
If a fire breaks out in your building and no firemen show up with a safety net
to catch you, the sight of you splattered on the ground will not be pretty.
When, not if, when a spiritual crisis hits you hard and you have not built
a spiritual safety net into your life your damaged life will not be pretty.
You need a spiritual safety net. Badly. Do not say you don’t have time to
make one. You don’t have time not to have one.
Make one. How?
Identify the biggest spiritual pot holes in your life.
You know what they are.
Find one key verse for each hole.
Memorize those verses. Cold.
Think deeply about those verses.
Pray that you can live them.
Build them into your spiritual DNA.
Hang them around your home; tape them to the bathroom mirror.
Tape them to the steering wheel of your car.
Hold on to those verses for dear life.
When hard times hit, whip those verses out!
Pray them, quote them, ask God to help you live them!
Watch them be your support in times of crisis!
You will see the power of Scripture memory as you never have before!
Spiritual safety nets work. Don’t leave home without one.