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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, January 9, 2021

POLITICS AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA

 

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some."  
1 Corinthians 9:19-22


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about social media, its pros, and cons. It is an excellent way to connect with people, get news, and share information wider and faster with others.  On the other hand, it is a place where common sense and decency often die.  Why?  Because many foolish people spew hatred, lunacy, and folly without a second thought.  They do not follow God's wisdom in their social media.  

Thanks to platforms like Facebook, some take pride in sowing strife and stirring the pot when it would be better to show gentleness, kindness (2 Tim. 2:24), and love (Eph. 4:15).  The venom is sometimes stronger when someone is sharing and defending the Truth.  Many users forget that we can tell and defend the Truth without devastating and vehement vituperation.  Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are weapons to instigate and spread division instead of promoting love and unity among brethren.  It grieves me greatly when I see my brethren starting brawls and outrage over politics, race, law enforcement, “guilt by association,” and nitpicking the church.  Surely we can express our faith and convictions without divisive diversions.  Do you think the Lord is pleased with that kind of entertainment and ungodly behavior?  What do you think?

The question is:  Do you use Facebook and other social media as a tool for the glory of God or as a distraction from spiritual priorities?  Is Facebook helping or hindering you from walking in righteousness and holiness?  

In Proverbs 29:11, we have a wise reminder.
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” 

Just because we can post anything, it doesn’t mean we must.  Be wise and ask “why?” then be sure you have a really good answer before you post.  Wisdom is to hold back speech.  There is a time to hold back speech to yourself.  Likewise, there is a time to talk and say it all. Wise and righteous people know what to say before speaking and when to speak, but fools spill everything without preparation, examination, and thought.  Indeed, fools talk a lot! They cannot keep their mouths shut.  They give in to their desires to let everything rush out of their mouths (any little thought, no matter how frivolous, no matter how unstudied, no matter how inappropriate).   A wise person speaks with caution.  He does not speak hastily, without examination, or offers his opinions as truth.  He rules his mouth to choose wise words; thus, he waits for the right timing.  A talker is a fool, for he talks arrogantly, hastily, and loudly.  He confirms his folly.  A fool loves the sound of his own voice, and he thinks others should love it also. He thinks he has wisdom to share, and he believes others are blessed to hear him. So he gets angry when he is eventually isolated due to his ignorant and obnoxious speech and thinking.

There is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7). But knowing when to speak and when to keep silent requires discretion and prudence, two branches of wisdom the fool has never considered.

Our social interactions must encourage others to come to God's kingdom. We must be salt and light.  It requires a great understanding of culture and its effects on us. Facebook is a dangerous social tool if one does not use wisdom and discernment. The way I conduct myself on such a particular platform may glorify God or hurt Christ and His church.  We must follow the example of the tribe of Issachar, who had “men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”  (1 Chron. 12:32).


FRUITLESS AND UNGODLY DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • Trolling And Lying:
Some use Facebook as a means to troll others. This is seen in many political posts. Some create memes and images to troll with something completely false.  As a result, many believe these lies and share them with others, causing controversy, endless arguments, and divisive issues. How sad!  Memes are used to distort the truth, especially in the political arena.  We must be careful since many news sources can not be trusted.  Many political websites twist reality and distort facts, so people will click on the links and generate ad revenue. Take heed!

  • Using Wisdom And Sound Judgment on Social Media:
As Christians, we must be careful not to be drawn into fruitless and ungodly discussions, especially over politics.  Social media can be a powerful tool, either for good or for evil. Today political debate is dominating much of Facebook. The children of God are tempted to forget their godliness when they enter these discussions, and sound judgment flies out the window. It grieves me greatly to see brethren against each other over trivial matters, and all about what?  It is like some of our useless and foolish discussions about college football.  Whose soul is lost or won? Whose faith is strengthened or weakened?  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,  has taught principles of kindness and courtesy.  Sadly, that knowledge is suspended when we behave like carnal-minded men and women.  I don't deny that our faith must touch every compartment of our life and that politics must not be unimportant.  However, it is critical for us Christians to stress that politics must never be our primary focus, but rather God and His principles of righteousness.  God is ultimately in control (Daniel 2:21; 4:17; 34-35).  

On the Day of Judgment, when we're standing before the judgment seat of Christ, the only thing that will matter is not the position we held in the political arena, security issues, health care, and many other political issues that are thrown our way to make us stumble, but our godly and righteous living.  It grieves me when I see my brethren divided over political issues, knowing that the Lord is not pleased.  He hates those who sow seeds of discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16-19).  There is so much danger when one speaks or writes without using wisdom and sound judgment in his political statements or views on another brother or sister's post. You can rest assured it will influence the way people think about us, the Lord's church, and view us.  

Do you not know that when we proclaim our faith, but at the same time mix it up with our political views, it hurts our influence as godly Christians and faithful believers of our Lord Jesus and His Gospel Message?  When we attach our faith to our political leanings, we hinder many from hearing the good news, the Gospel message, that Jesus is offering for their salvation.

It would be better to remind ourselves that this world is not our home and that our citizenship is in heaven, in the kingdom of Christ, before we post on politics and stir the pot over unnecessary and damaging disagreements.  Remember that our conversations on social media must reflect Christ and His kingdom of righteousness.  May it never be that our efforts of evangelizing the lost be hindered because of our Facebook posts!  But if you must post on politics, I suggest that you be reserved and cautious. Much of what we hear turns out later to be false, and we are left looking ridiculous.  Keep in mind the wisdom that Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.


Jesus once said, 

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16


Thus, before you post on any political issue, let your wisdom and sound judgment lead you to ask yourself.

“Do I have all the facts?  Do I really need to comment on this?”  


In Ephesians 4:20, the Lord instructs us saying, 
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."    

Here are a few wise reminders to consider.
  1. Are your words and posts pointing others to Christ?  
  2. Are your posts revealing the Light or darkness?  
  3. Are your posts glorifying our Lord and His cause?  
  4. Are your posts speaking in a way that shows grace to others?  

It is easy for us to post whatever comes to mind about any issue without thinking twice and thus end up bringing shame upon Christ and His church through careless and foolish speech.  It is pure foolishness to vent our opinions and end up insulting others who need to be edified and not torn down.  Such godless behavior demonstrates a lack of love for God and our neighbor.  It does not honor our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So before you post on a political issue, stop, pause and ponder about what you're about to write.  

Ask yourself, 

  • Am I posting for the best interests of others?  
  • Am I hurting how others think of Jesus, His church, and His principles of righteousness?  

If you insist on your political view, why not use your messenger and privately share your views with a trusted friend who is not afraid to tell you "no"?  It is very dangerous to rebuke or humiliate others publicly over political issues.  It is one thing to discuss an issue of doctrinal error or a political matter privately, but it is altogether different when we drag the issues into the public eye on platforms s such as Facebook, bringing shame and dishonor to the cause of Christ.  

Our godless culture does enough of this foolishness already without our help.  Brethren, we must pause and think before posting, especially about politics!  Ask yourself with an honest heart:   

  • Am I honestly posting for the glory of God?  
  • Are my motives pure when I respond to those who disagree with me?  
  • Are we, you and I, posting, reacting, and responding graciously, kindly and thoughtfully, and patiently to those whom we disagree with? 


CONCLUSION:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, if you feel that you must post on political issues on social media like Facebook or other platforms, do it cautiously, with wisdom and sound judgment.  Don't ever forget, you are a Christian first and that you represent our King and Lord Jesus as well as His church, His kingdom of righteousness!  Post reflecting the priorities and character of our King and His kingdom.  Consider the words you speak both in person and online.  Choose to remain silent over trivial matters that will possibly hurt our Lord, His church, and our influence.  Remember, we must not cause others to stumble and hinder the Gospel Message because of our social media posts.  

Let us reaffirm our heavenly citizenship, and most importantly, let us refocus on our primary goal.  Let us resolve to give leaders their due.  Let us keep praying for godly rulers.  Let us keep living righteously and not defile ourselves, and finally, let us all resume our role as peacemakers.  Our God and His kingdom are unshakable, and we are on our way Home.  Remember that righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).

May the Lord help us to adjust and correct our online behavior for His glory and His Gospel Message.

Luci


Thursday, December 24, 2020

"HE CARRIED MY SORROWS"

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."  
Isaiah 53:3-5


The song "He Carried My Sorrows" moves us and speaks to us of how Jesus bore our griefs.  It reminds us that Jesus, our Lord, suffered anguish for us.  The prophecy of Isaiah 53 makes reference to Jesus in Acts 8:32-35.
"Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:  'Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.  Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away from the earth.'  34 And the eunuch said to Philip, 'About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?' 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.'"


Jesus, our Lord, suffered because of our transgressions.  Lawlessness is transgression of the law.  
"Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness."  (1 Jn. 3:4

Because of Jesus' sacrifice and anguish, He was able to make peace.
"For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father."  (Eph. 2:14-18)

Peter reminds us that Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit."  (1 Pet. 3:18)

Jesus' suffering involved being smitten or struck (Matt. 26:67, 27:30).  His suffering also included being abandoned.  His disciples forsook Him and fled.  

"But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”  (Matt. 26:56)
 

Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins. The “cross” was the altar of the sacrifice.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."  (1 Peter 2:24). 


Jesus offered his own body on the cross as an altar, as a sacrifice, an offering to God for our sins. It was the shedding of the blood of the sacrificial animal (Isaiah 53:5). Through the offering of His body on our behalf, we have been reconciled, sanctified once for all.

"And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Heb. 10:10


The cross includes all that Jesus did to take away sin. It was not just His death, but the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension that made possible the offering of His own blood as High Priest in heaven. All those things were necessary for our redemption. Jesus had to ascend to heaven and sit down at the right of the Father to make purification for sins (Heb. 1:3; 9:22-28). The shedding of His blood was necessary for reconciliation to happen, removing our sins (Rom. 11:27; Heb. 10:4, 11). Jesus’ death provided sanctification and purification, taking away our sins. Jesus had to suffer intense pain and distress because of our sins. He “bore” our “iniquities” in that sense. 

Jesus suffered both in soul and body (Matt. 23:37). It does not mean that our sins, guilt, or the punishment for our sins were transferred to Him or imported to Him.  This is a man-made doctrine full of errors. The blood of Christ takes away our sins and cleanses our conscience. It was Jesus’ sacrifice, death, and blood that made the new covenant possible, the New Testament. Christ’s blood can cleanse both disciples (1 John 1:6-9) and alien sinners of all unrighteousness if they repent of their sins and unbelief (Acts 2:38-40).

Jesus’ sacrifice was well-pleasing to God. It was offered on our behalf, opening the door to God’s mercy for us.
"And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph. 5:2)
"Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities."  (Isaiah 53:10-11

Jesus always did the things that pleased the Father (John 8:29; Matt. 3:17).  His sacrifice fulfilled the symbolic sprinkling of Jesus’ blood on the mercy seat in heaven before God’s throne. Because of this act, it pleased the Father to extend His mercy to all men. But men must do their part to respond to His mercy.

"Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."  (Rom. 8:8)

"Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you."  (1 Thess. 4:1-9)

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."  (Heb. 13:16)


We are redeemed by His blood.

"Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."  (1 Peter 1:18-19

We are justified by His blood and reconciled by His death.
"Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."  (Rom. 5:9-11)

We are sanctified by His blood.
"So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood."  (Hebrews 13:12)

And we are washed from our sins in His precious blood.
"And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood."  (Revelation 1:5)


All these things are part of the blood of Christ. When we are redeemed, our sins are forgiven, we are added to the family of God and belong to Him. Redemption is equivalent to the remission of sins.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace."  (Eph. 1:7)
"In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  (Colo. 1:14)

Christ was despised and rejected, for He came to His own, and His own received Him not (Jn. 1:11).  Although He knew no sin (Heb. 4:15), He was crushed or died for us (Rom. 5:8).

  1. Our hearts mourn His chastisement (Isa. 53:5).
  2. Our tears fall as we remember His suffering (Heb. 5:7-8).


Jesus died and was willing to suffer this shameful treatment to redeem us from our sins.

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures."  (1 Cor. 15:3)


Our God is the Justifier of those who continue in the faith of Christ, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel. 

"For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."  (Col. 1:19-23


Thanks be to God for Jesus who died to make redemption, the forgiveness of sins possible for all people!


May we always abide in Him and His Truth, keeping His commands, confessing our sins, and clinging to God’s perfect love. May we walk in the Light, in perfect fellowship with Him, reconciled, justified, and right with God. 

We sing a lovely song that carries the Message of Isaiah 53. It is entitled, “He Carried My Sorrows.”  By Jesus' stripes, we are healed.  Through His blood, we can kneel.  Because of His oppression, we must be compelled to worship our King of kings and Lord of lords.  Since I have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ,  I must remember every day of my life that “He Carried My Sorrows.”

I hope this beautiful song stirs your soul the way it does mine.

He carried my sorrows, He bore my griefs,
Was pierced for transgressions, afflicted for peace.

He suffered in anguish, He writhed in pain,
Was smitten, forsaken, abandoned and slain.

Despised and rejected, He knew no sin,
Was crushed for His people, no violence within.

My heart mourns His chastening, my tears still fall,
My sin is the reason He gave me His all.

Chorus:

He knew by His stripes I am healed,
Through His blood I can kneel,
For by His oppression, I worship my King (my Savior, my King).


Luci

Friday, December 4, 2020

THE ROCK-SOLID FAITH

 
"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."  
Matthew 7:24-27


We live in times where "political correctness," "tolerance,” and "ecumenism” (universal Christian unity despite doctrinal differences) are the norm. Those of us who refuse to embrace their action, words, and beliefs are labeled "legalists," "intolerant," "homophobics," and so on.  The most ridiculous thing is that they demand freedom and tolerance when they themselves are “intolerant” of those of us who have the courage to stand up for the Truth!  

Sadly, this is what many faithful disciples of Christ have to face and endure for the sake of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ.  And no matter what the world might say, we Christians must never compromise our faith and hope!  
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that, He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).  

There is only one salvation, one Savior, one true church, one baptism, one Truth, one faith, one Gospel, and one hope!!
"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6). 

Jesus said, 
"... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).   

The question at stake is:
  1. How many "Christians" want to "hold hands" with Islam? 
  2. How many want to belong to denominations: "churches" which Jesus neither founded nor died for? 
  3. How many of these denominations deny the inspiration of the Scriptures! 

 It is disturbing to see how many of these churches endorse homosexuality, adulterous marriages, and of course, "ecumenism"!  All in the name of  "tolerance" and compromise! 


You see, Jesus never compromised the Truth when He confronted the religious hypocrites of His time! 

He told them, 
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matthew 23:23; read verses 1-39).  

Jesus didn’t compromise the Truth when He told precious souls to go and sin no more!  

He said, 
"... Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:10,11; read verses 1-11).  

Jesus didn't compromise Truth when He confronted false teachers and their teachings! 
"Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:7-9; read verses 1-20).  

Jesus didn't compromise the Cross for "religious freedom!"
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.   Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:14-15, 18; read verses 1-21: understanding that "belief" is obedient belief! cf. James 2:19-24).  


So why is it that many compromise the purity of the Gospel that Jesus died for?  No!  Jesus never did!  If it does not matter what we believe, then it does not matter if we believe! 

And though some might deny that last part of this statement, they still endorse the first!  But guess what?  It does matter to God and Jesus!  Does it really matter to you?!  

Jesus declared, 
"... If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).  

Obviously, there is no compromising in these verses.  Why? Because you are either a faithful disciple of Jesus, abiding in His Word, or you are not! 

Thus, 
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the Doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the Doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9). 


The apostle Paul urges us saying, 

"For the time will come (it is here now!) when they will not endure Sound Doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  


Nevertheless, a faithful disciple of Christ must 
"... earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).  

Therefore, there is no room for compromising our faith and the Gospel!  So, Christian, 
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14).  

You must start hearing the words of Jesus and apply them in your life to do the will of the Father and enter the kingdom of heaven.  You must start building your faith upon the rock, Jesus, our Lord, to withstand everything that hinders your walk with Him (Matthew 7:21, 24-25).  

Although we live in the world, a world that’s always changing and seeking to compromise, expand and compete with mega-churches, we Christians are called to build upon the only true Rock, not on the shifting sands.  God is seeking those who, from a sincere heart, want to be faithful, stay on course, and be committed to His cause and not man's. The cost is too high to be on the side of compromise! What do you think?

May we have a humble and sincere heart to start hearing the words of Jesus to do the will of the Father and enter the kingdom of heaven.  May we start building our faith upon the only true Rock, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Luci

Saturday, November 28, 2020

FEAR - LESS

 
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18



Lately, I have been meditating on 1 John 4:18 with all that is going on in our world today, from COVID-19 to our political arena.  Often, we are faced with worry and crushed with anxiety over the unknown, things such as the coronavirus.  There is no break in the news.  Our lives have changed completely, both socially, spiritually, and psychologically.  Everywhere I look, there is fear.  Our whole country and even the church is being driven by fear.  So what must Christians do during these times of uncertainty? How must we handle our anxieties and fears?   The remedy to anxiety and fear is found in the Word of God.  The Lord has urged us not to be afraid, for perfect love casts out fear.  God wants His children to face their fears and overcome them.  Think for a moment what we are telling God when we are afraid. Does Jesus not care about us?   Why not trust our Lord no matter what we are going through in life?  God knows what’s best for us and cares about what we are going through. 

You see, worry will not change anything but only increases our fear and anxiety.  Instead of being afraid, why not pray to God and lay our worries and fears at His feet?  With God on our side, we can have victory over fear.  God has promised to take care of us, and we must trust in His promises. When we pray, we are trusting God.  But when we fail to trust in Him, neglecting prayer,  stress rises, and we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances.  Anxiety is hopeless despair and is an illegitimate fear of the future that contradicts our faith (Matthew 6:25-34).  God commands us to fear Him and nothing or no one else.  He also encourages us in His Word not to be afraid.  

Did you know that the expression “fear not” is found in the Bible more than sixty times?  That means that we must choose not to be fearful but courageous.  To be worried and afraid about matters of life implies that one does not trust God completely.  When our focus is on the treasures of this earth, we fail to trust in God completely.  I Corinthians 16:13 exhorts us saying,
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong..." 
 
God wants us to be courageous.  
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)   

Let us not be afraid.  God does not want us to be cowards. He does not want His church made up of scaredy-cats! He commands us to be strong and steadfast in mind. So let us consider God’s viewpoint about overcoming our fears and accepting His remedy. 


I.   "FEAR NOT."

In 1 Peter 2:17, Peter declared, 

“Fear God.” 

Throughout the Bible, from beginning to end, God has demanded reverential, godly fear (Deut. 10:12; Eccl. 12:13).  Fear is a powerful motivating force.  

  1. It caused Adam and Eve to run and hide from God’s presence (Gen. 3:8). 
  2. Jonah fled his country by sea (Jonah 1:9-10). 

All who sin against God will fear His displeasure (Heb. 10:27).   On the other hand, the fear of God compels many to obey Him.  In the Old Testament, we have many examples of men who obeyed God because they feared Him.   
  1. Noah (Heb. 11:7).
  2.  Abraham (Gen. 22:12).
  3. The midwives of Egypt (Ex. 1:17-19).
  4. The early church (Acts 5:11) and 
  5. All who are aware of God’s coming judgment (2 Cor. 5:10-11).   


Although we are commanded to fear God, we are also encouraged not to be afraid. We find the expression,Fear not,” more than sixty times in the Bible.  The Word of God teaches us to "fear God" (Ecclesiastes 12:13) as a positive blessing.  This type of "fear" involves respect, honor, and reverence to God and will lead us to do God’s will. This fear is illustrated by Noah (Hebrews 11:7). The Bible also teaches us not to allow our hearts to be filled with "fear" as a negative attitude.  

In John 14:27,  Jesus said, 
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

This type of fear includes anxiety, dread, apprehension, etc.  It must not be confused with caution.  Let us notice more carefully such words of encouragement: “Fear not.”

  • Reasons Why God’s Children Must Not Have Fear: 
    • God has promised to bless us throughout our journey in life.  

God appeared to Abraham and told him not to fear.  He promised to bless him and his future generations (Gen. 26:24).   When the Israelites battled with King Og at the battle of Edrei, God comforted Moses with the words, “Fear not” (Num. 21:33-35).  

    • God has promised to protect us when we are in danger.   
He declared in Genesis 15:1

“Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield.” 


Elisha told his servant, 
“Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
    • God has promised to strengthen us when we are weak. 
Moses encouraged the Israelites and Joshua with the words, 
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not” (Deut. 31:6-8). 

God repeated to Isaiah several times, 
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee”  (Isa. 41:10).
    • God has promised to be our companion in trials. 
David compelled his son, Solomon, 
“Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chron. 28:20).

Isaiah prophesies of  God’s promises to the church,
“Fear not: for I am with thee”  (Isa. 43:1-7).
    • God cares for His children. 
Jesus declared in Matthew 10:31
“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” 

He also said in Luke 12:32
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
    • God has promised us that He will give us life beyond the grave. 
Jesus told John in Revelation 1:17-18
“Fear not…I am he that liveth, and was dead.” 

The angel told the women at the tomb,
 “Fear not ye… for he is risen”  (Matt. 28:5-6).

What a great comfort for God to reassure His children with the words “Fear not!”    

“[Fear not], for I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”  (Heb. 13:5-6).


Thus, let us trust God completely in faith so that we “Fear not!” 


II.   TYPES OF FEARS:  

  • Terror or Practical Fear:  

This kind of fear is our emotional reaction to sudden trouble.  Emotional fear is a practical response.  When we understand the consequences of our actions, we avoid them.  People behave recklessly when they lack this kind of practical fear.  Our young often lack this kind of fear because they have not experienced many of the terrible things that can happen when we are careless. They do things without thinking about the danger and consequences of their actions.  The fool is fearless because he lacks knowledge or understanding of the consequences of dangerous behavior.  When one fears God, he understands the consequences of disobeying God.  He is not willing to test God with sinful behavior.  Practical or reasonable fear compels us to avoid sin and walk God’s level path of righteousness.

  • Cowardice: 
This type of fear does not allow us to accomplish what must be done because we are afraid of the consequences. 

    • Fear of the Future (Anxiety):  
Anxiety is also another type of fear. Anxiety is stress which comes from not trusting God.  It expresses itself as hopeless despair and is often self-incriminating.  Jesus regards worry as an illegitimate fear of the future, which contradicts our faith.  In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus declared,  

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  28 'So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  31 'Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This kind of fear is difficult to identify since we tend to view it as natural or merely a simple concern for what we believe is essential.  But Jesus condemns this kind of fear, for it shows a lack of faithFear of the unknown or the future can freeze us and make us inactive and fruitless.  One example of this kind of fear is the rich young ruler of Matthew 19.  This young man was afraid to give all away.  His fear kept him from being Jesus’ disciple.  

    • Fear of Rejection:

Indeed, we all want others to think well of us and accept us.  But when we hesitate out of fear of rejection, "the fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe"  (Proverbs 29:25).  When we do the right thing, we often do things that others may not like.  Many are led into the path of sin and unrighteousness because of those leading the way around them.  One example is Peter, who denied the Lord because of those around him (Matthew 26:69-75).  And though many followed Jesus while He was on earth, they did it secretly for fear of others (John 19:38). However, Christians must be willing to take a public stand for the Lord to receive salvation (Romans 10:9-10). It is sad that so many esteem men more highly than they do Jesus!  Christ’s disciples must never fear because God is watching over us.  

    • Fear of Pain and Discomfort:

Clearly, we all want to be comfortable and not feel pain and discomfort at all.  However, some Christians will do anything to avoid confrontation. Yet, when Paul was thrown out of the city and stoned, he reentered the city (Acts 14:19-20). God wants us to be faithful, even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10). With God on our side, there is no need to fear what men can do to us (Psalms 118:6).

"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?

    • Fear of Failure: 

In Jesus’ parable of the talents, He stresses the negative impact of fear.  

Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’  26 'But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’'  (Matthew 25:24-30)


The fear of failure immobilizes us. It is much easier to remain where we are than to try the unknown and fail.  This is exactly why God told Gideon to send away all who were afraid of battle (Judges 7:2-3). It is no army, the army of the fearful. Why?  Simply because the fear of failing is contagious and spreads rapidly (Deuteronomy 20:8).  Sadly, many do not obey God or become children of God because of fear.  Because of fear, many Christians do not grow and serve the Lord faithfully.  Because of fear, many will lose their souls!  

    • Fear of Death: 

Jesus died to release us from the bondage of the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). We cannot deny that we are by nature creatures who are afraid of the unknown.  We don’t know what lies beyond the grave.  But we Christians know that we must not fear death.  The death of our loved ones becomes a real test of faith in God.  The world is absorbed with the pursuit of living a long life.  They want to live forever because they fear the unknown, death.  But Christians know better, for they have Jesus as their answer to the fear of death.  

    • Reverent Fear or Respect:  

In the Bible, the word fear is often connected with God as reverential respect. It implies the idea of standing in awe of God, acknowledging His superiority and authority. It is referred to as the fear of the LORD.”

      • The Fear of The LORD:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever”  (Psalm 111:10).


From the beginning, God has always commanded His children to fear or respect Him and His Word.  Fear of God is the same as obedience to Him.  Fear of God’s wrath or judgment is essential to our salvation.  God’s children must be prepared to face God one day to avoid His wrath on us.   

"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.'  31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.'" (Hebrews 10:26-31)

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.”  (1 John 4:17-19)


Since the precious blood of Jesus has forgiven us, there is no need to live in fear or terror.  God’s love has made a way of reconciliation for us with Him and thus enables us to avoid His wrath.  

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

  • “No  Fear.” 

Fearlessness is often considered a positive trait.  Some fear is good, reasonable, and necessary.  The humanist is treasuring up for themselves the wrath of God. Men live in fear every day.   

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8)


We Christians must live without the fear of the world. We must live in the fear of God.   In Genesis 22:12, God told Abraham after his sacrifice of Isaac. 
“Now I know you fear Me.” 

Fear is equivalent to faith.  Why?  Because when we put our trust in God, doing what He commands us to do, we have nothing to fear.  In Psalms 33:18-22, we read, 

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,  19 To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.  20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.  21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.  22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.”


The fear of God is central to our salvation.  In Acts 10:34-35, Peter said, 

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”


The writer of Ecclesiastes 12:13 declares, 

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.”


So, whom do you fear, God or man?

Consider some examples in the Old Testament, where God’s people were commanded to fear the LORD:  

    • Abraham:

 Abraham demonstrated the wrong "fear" in Genesis 12:11-13; 20:1-2“Fear" led Abraham to practice deceit.

    • Moses:

Moses called God’s people not to be afraid but to fear God. 

In Exodus 20:20, Moses urged the people saying, 

Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” 


Moses demonstrated his "fear" in Exodus 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10 "Fear" led Moses to attempt to justify himself before God while refusing to obey Him.

    • Before Israel entered the Land of Canaan:

In Deuteronomy 6:2, before Israel entered the Land of Canaan, Moses urged God’s people, saying, 

That you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.” 

    • Joshua’s Death:

Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14)


III.   SPIRIT OF FEAR?

Timothy was a younger preacher and traveling companion of Paul, who was like a son to him in the faith. As we read Paul’s last letter to Timothy, we discover a problem many Christians face. 

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord”  (2 Tim. 1:7-8).  


Although Timothy knew the Truth, fear of his circumstances may have caused him to draw back from Paul.

Are you prone to stand for the Truth, or do you cower in fear?  

Consider a few Bible examples of men who stood for the Truth without “fear.”

  • Elijah:

Elijah was not afraid to take a stand for the Truth.  It is amazing how the prophet of God confronted Baal’s 450 prophets without fear, trusting God.  Elijah mocked Baal and his prophets for not sending fire to consume their sacrifice.  Paul’s words to Timothy described Paul well, for he was not ashamed of our Lord’s Testimony.  

  • Nathan: 

He was not afraid to stand up for the Truth either.  He confronted King David for the wrong he had done.  Remember that David hid his sins from the nation.  David lied and murdered his lover’s husband.  He had become an adulterous murderer. God’s messenger, Nathan, dared to face the king, who could have killed him just like he did others to cover up his sin.  It would not have made any difference to David had he murdered the only man who knew of his evil actions.  Yet, Nathan courageously told him, “Thou art the man.”  Do you know these four words could have cost the prophet his life?   Yet, Nathan was not ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord, just like Paul.  

  • John the Baptist:

He is another courageous man who was not afraid to take a stand for the Truth.  The Jewish people were aware of Herod taking the wife of his brother, Philip, to be his own wife. John courageously confronted the king. John did not hesitate to tell Herod that he had violated God's Law by committing such lawless actions.  The Greek translation indicates that John told him not just once but over and over. He reminded Herod of his sin repeatedly. His stand for the Truth cost him his life.  Again John was not ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord.  How about you and me?  Are we afraid to take a stand for the Truth, even if that might cost our lives? 

Take, for instance, 

  1. Our nation that has shamefully and openly chosen to redefine marriage and kill the innocent souls of babies in the womb.  
  2. Our nation has allowed ungodly men to lead us as our leaders.  
  3. Morals and values that were once sacred to us as a nation under God are now cast aside.  
  4. God’s laws and principles of righteousness are not only ignored but are passed by to allow men to mock God and His righteousness.  

Christians, how do you react?   
  1. Do you react with a spirit of fear?  
  2. Are you ashamed of the Testimony of the Lord, refusing to take a stand for righteousness? 
  3. I ask, “How long, O Lord, how long?” 
  4. Are we ashamed?


The following are a few Bible examples of great men who were overcome by fear at some point in their lives.  But God urges us not to be overcome by “fear.” 

  • Elijah:

He demonstrated his "fear" in 1 Kings 19:1-4.  "Fear" caused Elijah to become discouraged.

  • Job:

He demonstrated his "fear" in Job 3:25.  Job's "fear" became a reality.

  • Peter:

He demonstrated his "fear" in Matthew 14:30; Matthew 26:69-75.  Peter's "fear" caused him to sink when, by faith, he had been walking on water, and then later, his fear led him to deny Jesus.

  • The one-talent man:

He demonstrated his "fear" in Matthew 25:24-25"Fear" prevented this man from using what he had been given.


IV.   OVERCOMING OUR FEARS:

To overcome our fears, we must remember that God forbids “fear,” for fear is not of God (2 Tim. 1:7).  We also must remember what will happen to “the fearful” or "the cowardly" (Rev. 21:8).  We must trust God and not lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:4-6).  We must get rid of anxiety and live one day at a time, forgetting tomorrow and acknowledging that God will take care of us today, for He has only promised us today (Matt. 6:34).  Love must fill our hearts (1 John 4:18). 

Fear is a serious problem in our society.  When we allow fear to control us, it will destroy us little by little.  It will rule our minds and bodies.  Many are afraid of things that are of the unknown, the future.  Some fear growing older or dyingThat is futile! Rather than worrying and being fearful of growing older and dying, why not start preparing for them the best we can? Death is not the end (Heb. 9:27).  It is a blessing to grow old (II Cor. 4:16). Moreover, people worry or are afraid of things that will never happen. The truth is, most of our fear will never happen, so we must understand this truth and stop worrying.  So, if worry and fear are ruling over your life, it is time to start conquering it today! The cure for fear and anxiety is simply to trust in God’s faithfulness, love, and providential care.  

In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and His disciples are in a boat trying to cross the sea of Galilee.  But out of nowhere, a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat because they were so big. So their boat began to fill with water.  But Jesus was asleep, even as the boat was rising and falling as the water was splashing into the boat!  Notice what Jesus’ disciples said to Jesus in verse 38.  

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 


Does that not sound familiar when we are afraid and filled with worry?  Do not we cry out to God saying, “God don’t you care? Do you not know what is going on? Do you not care that we may die?”  

Now let us pause for a moment and think about our questions to God. Stop and think about what the disciples were asking. Are we aware of what we are asking God when we are afraid?  Do we not acknowledge that our Lord Jesus cares about us and everything that is happening around us?  Honestly, stop and think about it.  Do you believe with all your heart that Jesus cares about you?  I hope that your answer is a big YES no matter what you are going through.  Yes, Jesus cares for you and about you. Jesus cares what you are going through. Jesus cares about your life!  

Isn't it remarkable what Jesus did afterward!  He spoke, and the wind stopped, and the sea calmed down.  So what was Jesus trying to teach and show His disciples?  He showed them that He had complete control over the earth.  There is nothing outside of Jesus’ power.  He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Stop and meditate on this for a moment.  

  1. Is there anything impossible for our Lord?  
  2. Is there anything too difficult for Him? 
  3. Is He not capable of answering all our requests or supplications?  
  4. Is there anything that God cannot do outside of His skill set?  

This is precisely what Jesus was trying to show His disciples.  

Jesus asked next, 
“Why are you so afraid?” 

This is God’s question to His disciples and us as well. Why are you so afraid? Now, stop and think about how His disciples should have answered His question.  They could have easily said that they were afraid and in danger because the boat was almost sinking and they were going to drown!  It is foolish to doubt who Jesus is and His care for us.  Jesus cares, and that must calm us when we are afraidJesus has total control over the affairs of this earth!  So why are we so afraid?!  

In verse 40 of our text, Jesus continues saying, 

“Have you still no faith?” 


In Luke’s account  (Luke 8:22-25),  Jesus asks, 
“Where is your faith?”  (Verse 25)

Can you grasp what Jesus is trying to show us?  Fear comes from lack of control. When we lack control, we fear.  That is why we see so much chaos all around us.  When people start realizing that they have no control, they panic.   Of course, we like to believe that we have control, but the truth is we do not.  We forget that we have zero control, especially over a virus like COVID-19.  Our lack of control generates fear.  That is exactly what we are seeing now!  But do we acknowledge that  God is in control and not us?  Where is our faith and our trust in God?  We must believe that our Lord cares and is in control over all.  True faith does not panic but instead turns our fear over to God.  

So how do we overcome our fears and worries?  Why not read Matthew 6:24-34 It is a very rich and encouraging passage that we can hold on to during our hard and difficult times.  

We must not worry about the physical things of this world. It is about our focus and mindset. When we worry and are afraid, we are focusing on the wrong things, and it will be impossible to defeat fear and anxiety.

The best way to defeat fear is to acknowledge that we are valuable to God (Matthew 6:26, 28-30).  We must be mindful that God does care for us and what is happening to us.  We are so valuable to God that He sent His only Son to die for us.  Jesus’ cross demonstrates the depth of God’s love and care for us!  And though God cares for the smallest sparrows, feeds them, and knows when they fall from their nests, we are worth more than sparrows to God, for we were made in God’s image. He made us to have a relationship with Him.  

Feeling fearful because of worry is worthless (Matt. 6:27).  We waste our God-given time worrying about what we watch on TV, the news, or any other source of media.  We are constantly reminded of our present Coronavirus and how many people are infected and dying.  But do we have control over a virus such as this?  Only God has control and can change it.  So, what can our fears and worries amount to?  Why do we spend so much time in fear and worry over things that we have no control over and cannot change?  Thus our fear and worry are worthless! 

Our heavenly Father knows what we need (Matt. 6:31-32).  God has shown us repeatedly in His Sacred Book how He took care of the nation of Israel throughout their journeys in the wilderness.  God was aware of what they needed, and He took care of them.  He knew they needed food and shelter, and He provided for them.  God knows what we need, for He cares.  So stop worrying and start trusting God more!  Where is your faith?  

Do you want to know the answer or the remedy for fear?  Seek God first and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).  Turn to God instead of turning away from Him, ignoring Him and His precepts.  

You may rest assured that if you seek God diligently, He will take care of the rest.  Worry and fear show our lack of faith and trust in God to provide for us.  We worry and are fearful because we refuse to believe that God will provide for us.  Trusting in self and others to provide what we need will only bring worry and fear.  God has promised us that He will take care of us if we seek Him first. Instead of worrying and being afraid, why not allow God to show you that He cares and loves you?  Why not show God that you truly believe in Him and that He will take care of you today, not tomorrow, for today is all we are promised?  

Let go of tomorrow (Matt. 6:34). Why do you worry about tomorrow?  Jesus commands you to stop worrying about tomorrow.  He wants you to give tomorrow to Him.  He wants you to give your future fears and future worries to Him alone.  Why not thank God that He has given you today?  Learn to live for today and let tomorrow go!  Don’t place your hope in this world but on God.  I must choose always to be fearless and trust my Father in heaven no matter what may come my way!

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:4-7)  

Paul's words compel us to be fearless and anxious about nothing.  When Paul wrote this letter to the brethren in Philippi, life was not easy for them.  They were encountering many problems for proclaiming Jesus as the king rather than the Roman emperor. As we read this letter, we can observe these problems. 
"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have." (Philippians 1:27-30)


Paul is urging these brethren to stand firm in the faith. 
“Not frightened in anything by your opponents.” 

They were suffering for the sake of Christ because they were engaged in the same conflict as Paul. Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned when they came to Philippi (Acts 16:23-24).  These brethren were undergoing severe persecution and suffering. But notice Paul’s words again:

“Do not be anxious about anything.” 


Do you suppose Paul wrote those words because things were going well?  What do you think?  Not at all! Notice that Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this letter. When Paul wrote this letter, these Christians were being beaten and arrested for proclaiming Jesus and standing firm for their faith.  What do you think these Christians were experiencing?  How do you feel when you’re told not to be anxious about anything considering the suffering and distress you are experiencing? 

Paul simply asked these brethren to rejoice!  But how are we to rejoice and be fearless when things are dark and awful?  When Paul commanded these brethren to rejoice, he did it for various reasons.

  1. These brethren were supposed to appreciate what they had in the Lord and what He had given them.
  2. They were not supposed to look at their circumstances because it is almost impossible to rejoice when we focus on them.  Rejoicing requires looking past our circumstances, for it is the Lord who rules over our circumstances. 
  3. They were supposed to look past their circumstances and focus on their hope, their salvation. 
  4. Nothing must separate us from the love of God:  distress, famine, persecution, danger, and difficulties. If God’s love does not leave us, our love must not leave Him.   
  5. It is much easier to rejoice and be fearless when considering what God has done for us and how He continues to bless us.  When we consider how valuable we are to God, nothing will shake us or move us from our hope.  


One of the main reasons we Christians must behave graciously amid our panics and fears is because people are watching us.  In Christians, people must see something different from what they see in the world in our times of chaos. Thus, we must avoid becoming irrational when our world becomes irrational.  We must not behave like the world, for they do not know the Lord.  We must rejoice and be reasonable when our world is upside down because the Lord is near us. Knowing God is near us must compel us to handle our fears and anxieties in a manner worthy of God and the Gospel.  

Christians must not allow fear to overwhelm them under any circumstances.  Period!  Why?  Simply because the Lord is always near us when we seek Him, especially through prayer.   God commands us to pray and not worry about anything.  Our worrying does not accomplish anything but makes our fear and anxiety increase.  Instead of worrying and stressing, why not choose to pray with thanksgiving as we have been commanded?

“But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”


Anxiety shows our lack of trust in God’s care. On the other hand, prayer shows our trust in God’s care (1 Peter 5:6–7).  So throw all your anxieties and fears on God because He cares for you.  Humble yourself before His mighty throne of Grace and give Him your worries and fears.  


CONCLUSION:

The best remedy for worry and fear is to make known our requests to God so that His peace will guard our hearts and mind. There is no peace when we are anxious, worried, and fearful.  And though God might not fix our troubles when we cast them on Him, He will indeed give us His peace.  Another good remedy to help us eliminate our fears is to think on God’s spiritual thingsWe must exchange our thoughts of fear for thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Worry and fear arise when our thoughts are out of control.  Do you want to know what raises fear?  Watching tv, the news, the internet, and social media.  So stop participating in such things that rattle your faith and start focusing your thoughts on the things of God!  Read your Bible more and pray, pray, and pray.  Do not allow the things of this world to dominate you and cause you to obsess on worries and fears!  

We must trust God so that we may rejoice, be fearless, and be reasonable.  We must not fear the future or fear the unknown, but instead fear the LORD.  When we fear God, He protects us, giving us hope, joy, and peace.  Remember, God commands us to have joy, not fear.  Our failure to fear God is what cripples us, but the fear of the LORD makes us truly fearless and immovable.

Likewise, it is wise and reasonable to spend more time in prayer when we are worried, anxious, and afraid to allow God's peace to guard our hearts and minds.  Remember that God is near when we humbly draw near to Him in prayer.  Finally,  look past your circumstances and instead look to God.  Remember, the Lord has commanded multiple times saying,  “Fear Not.”  

  • Fear not, God is with us.  
  • Fear not, God is our God.  
  • Fear not, God will strengthen us.  
  • Fear not, God will help us.  
  • Fear not, God will uphold us.

Let these thoughts be our constant reminders, God’s pillars, and promises when we face fear in our daily lives that we must overcome. 

“Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God.” 


Yes, we must believe in God!  We must trust God!  We must allow God to be our Helper and our strength.  He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.  Thus fear not, seek the LORD, and put your trust in the One who created it all.  

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)


May we fear not but instead trust God always amid our panics and fears.  May we allow God to be our Helper and strength when we are afraid and worried.  May we draw nearer to the throne of God in prayer when we are worried, anxious, and afraid to allow His peace to guard our hearts and minds.  And finally, may we always look past our circumstances and instead look to God for help.

Luci