God is Not Scared

Daniel 1

Monday, October 31, 2022

Today, I heard a conversation with someone explaining why something is or is not scary to them. Sometimes when we look at Bible stories and really try to imagine what it was like for the people living through these experiences, we think “that must have been scary”.  Let’s try to imagine the anxiety and fear Daniel experienced when Babylon’s forces came through and he was taken into captivity. He was chosen as one of the youths who had ability for serving in the king’s court. He was described as flawless, good-looking,“showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge.” So here is this amazing young man facing captivity in a foreign land and serving a king in a foreign court. He faced overwhelming obstacles as he began his three-year program of education learning the language and literature. But he immediately faced pressure to just conform-just accept the social norm, don’t worry about what is right or wrong? Just believe and do what you are told. But Daniel did not just do what he was told.

As you might know, Daniel is remembered as a righteous and wise follower of God. So how did he do it? How did he choose the moral and right course when he was facing a culture that did not even consider what is right in the eyes of God?

In verse 8 we read that Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself. In that instance, it concerned the food he was offered.  But the phrase “made up his mind” or “set upon his heart” speaks volumes about who Daniel was and who we should be. He had resolved the matter. He first looked to God who could show him right or wrong, he firmly decided on the right course of action and he followed through. Daniel chose to follow God by doing what was right and moral. This was Daniel’s practice throughout his life and it was sometimes met with opposition and I imagine he experienced fear. (A Lion’s Den is not a place anyone wants to be.) But he was willing to suffer for doing what was right. His actions proved his devotion and love for God. And the Lord sent angels to help along the way.  God was with Daniel and his companions. He gave them abilities and miracles to prove that He was there, even in the middle of their captivity. He gave them the strength to stand for what was right. He gave them the ability to conquer fear. Of course, He will help us to do the same.

-Rebecca Dauksas

Reflection Questions

  1. When was the last time you were in a scary situation surrounded by the foreign or unknown? How did you handle it? What would you do again in that situation? What would you do differently?
  2. How would God want you to resolve not to defile yourself?

Sharing the Victory

1 John 5

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

One more song this week – 1 John 5:4-5 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Those two verses are the song, but verse 4 picks up in the middle of a sentence & thought, so backing up a couple verses:

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

When we have faith, we can overcome this world.  Our faith that Jesus is the son of God gives us victory and makes God’s commands not burdensome thereby helping us to keep His commands.  And by keeping His commands, we can love one another – the children of God.

Verse five is also a reminder that the victory is exclusionary.  Who overcomes the world?  Only those that believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  We have to strike a balance in our love for others.  Because if we love based on the world’s terms, we accept anything.  But to do that would not be love.  Because only those who believe that Jesus is God’s son overcome this world.  So if we in our “love” just leave our friends alone because we don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable, or we don’t want to feel uncomfortable, we put them in a position of not having that victory.  That isn’t real love.

We give a lot of reasons not to share the love of God with other people and I think fear forms the basis of a lot of it – fear of rejection, fear of being ostracized, fear of losing money/power, etc…

But when we read verses like this, we should be reminded that we have to push through that fear.  To show our love in actions (chapter 3), we need to share with others that while we have been separated from God, God provided an atoning sacrifice for our sins (chapter 4), and with this sacrifice, if we believe, we can overcome and have the victory (chapter 5).

And what is that victory?  As he wraps up his letter, John tells his audience – 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 

We need to believe in Jesus as the Son of God to be a part of that eternal life, and if we are loving others, we should be telling them so they can have that victory too.

~Stephanie Fletcher

Reflection Questions

1.”Who is it that overcomes the world?” (1 John 5:5a – see 5b for the correct answer). Who thinks they are overcoming the world? What are they missing? Do you fall into the overcoming category?

2. Who do you know who does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God? How can you truly love them?

3. What is the victory that you have to share? How would you explain it? How will you share it?

Frozen by Fear. Let Loose by Love.

2 Timothy 1

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The pale princess cowered in the corner of her frigid room. Though she had been living a solitary life for many years for fear of people discovering her secret, Elsa was now summoned from her self-imposed prison for her coronation. 

“Conceal; don’t feel. Put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know…”

If you’ve seen the movie Frozen, you know that Elsa had some sort of mystical power that could create and manipulate snow and ice. She had hidden it for a long time, but a stressful situation at the coronation event caused her to lose self-control, divulging her secret to her entire kingdom and initiating an eternal winter in her kingdom. Afraid that people might turn on her, Elsa abdicated her right to the throne by escaping to the mountains to “let it go”, seemingly embracing newfound freedom resulting from the revelation of her secret. The story continues with ups and downs, laughter and sadness; however, at the end of the movie, Elsa discovers that the way to control her powers is not fear, but rather love! 

What does this have to do with 2 Timothy 1, you ask?  Well, in this letter (which is believed by many scholars to be the last correspondence that Paul penned before his death), Paul is reaching out to his young protege, Timothy. He wants to remind Timothy of the gift of his salvation, and give him some warning and encouragement for the trials that are yet to come as a follower of Jesus.  

Paul begins by reminding Timothy where his salvation journey began, being taught by his grandmother and mother. Paul then reminds Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (verse 6). Elsa squelched her gift, but that is not the way God wants us to live in regards to our salvation. God gave Timothy, and us, a free gift of salvation, and He desires for us to fan it into flame! God longs for us to embrace His gift, to share it with others. What happens to a fire when you fan it, blow on it, nurture it? The fire grows! If you want to have a fire to keep you warm while you’re camping, you have to tend to the fire: replenishing wood as it burns down, blowing oxygen into it to get the fire rolling again, etc. Likewise, we need to actively be nurturing our gift of salvation, tending to our relationship with God each day, and sharing that gift with others, rather than hiding our gift like Elsa did. 

At the conclusion of the movie, Elsa is elated to learn that love, rather than fear, is the best way to manage her powers. Verse 7 continues, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” God’s design does not include us living in a constant state of fear. When we accept His gift, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. In fact, we normally think of hate being the opposite of love (and sometimes it is), but scripture also indicates that fear and love are opposites (“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18). Paul wanted to remind Timothy to not focus on fear in the difficult times ahead, as God’s gift does not include fear; rather, focus on power (the Holy Spirit), love (God IS love – see I John 4:8), and self control (a fruit of the Spirit, along with love, that is produced in our lives when we are seeking Him).

In verse 8, Paul advises Timothy to not be ashamed to be a follower of Jesus, but to be ready to suffer for the gospel “by the power of God.” God’s power is promised to us even through the suffering, because we were saved and “called to a holy calling”. Just like Elsa’s powers had a purpose (which was further revealed in the sequel), God has a purpose for us, and He wants us to be strengthened and willing to partner with Him – through good times and bad – to fulfill our calling to His purpose. 

I’ll close with this 1883 hymn by Daniel Whittle that some of you might remember, which is based on verse 12: 

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.


But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,

At night or noonday fair,

Nor if I walk the vale with Him,

Or meet Him in the air.

-Rachel Cain

Reflection questions: 

 – What are some practical steps you can take to “fan into flame the gift of God” in your life? 

– Reflect on some events in your life that led you to following Jesus. How can you use those experiences to encourage others to walk in faith and love instead of in fear? 

Do Not Be Silent

Acts 18 

May 6

Paul leaves Athens and arrives in Corinth at the start of Acts 18. Paul meets Priscilla and Aquila and works with them as tentmakers in Corinth. Paul visits the synagogue and tries to appeal to the Jews and Greeks. He was reviled in the synagogue and then shakes out his garments and declares that he will only speak to the Gentiles. Even with the ruler of the synagogue being converted he still faces danger in the city. 

Paul had been chased from the towns of Thessalonica, Derea, and Iconium. I am sure Paul must have been wondering if this was his time to get chased from this city as well. The anxiety of knowing that in every new city he came to there was a chance of being thrown out of it and physical harm coming to him would have been a lot to bear. 

God comes to Paul in a vision. God giving Paul this vision is an act of grace towards Paul. God is trying to comfort Paul and give him direction. God starts out with the simple statement of “Do not be afraid”. This feels a lot like Joshua 1.9. God gives Paul two more commands; Go on speaking and do not be silent. Paul has probably realized that most of his trouble befalls him when he speaks and he is not silent. The same thing is true of me except it normally isn’t because I’m preaching the gospel. God gives three commands and the unique thing about this vision is God also gives Paul three reasons why he should do those things. 

We have plenty of commands of God and God very often gives us the reasons why we should follow his command. Sometimes we aren’t willing to look hard enough for the reasons but there are almost always reasons. Sometimes we won’t find out the reasons until later or maybe we find out the reasons why in the kingdom. There is an element of faith in following Christ. 

God’s reasons for why Paul should obey his commands are that God is with him. God being with you may result in a kind of fearlessness. God’s next reason why is that no one will attack Paul to harm him. This statement must have relieved a lot of anxiety from Paul. God’s third reason why is that God has many in this city. 

God makes good on his promises to Paul. In verses 12-17 Paul is brought before the proconsul of Achaia, the ruler of that region, by the Jewish rulers and the new ruler of the synagogue. He is accused of persuading people to worship God contrary to the law. Just as Paul was about to speak the proconsul says that because it is a quarrel about words and there is no wrongdoing that he refuses to rule on this. The proconsul drives all of Paul’s accusers away. The mob that had formed ends up beating the new ruler of the synagogue, one of Paul’s enemies, in front of the proconsul. 

When we follow God’s lead and direction it will put us into positions where we get to see God work in situations. This situation for Paul worked out well for him. He didn’t even need to do anything to get out of the situation. He relied on God and God worked it out. The proconsul responded in his favor before Paul spoke. God was clearly at work in this situation because after that his enemy, the ruler of the synagogue, ended up being killed by the mob. His enemy was killed by the people who had originally intended to kill him. 

When we join God in what He is doing we will see this provision for us as well. There will be suffering and some pain but there will also be moments where we get to see God do God things and experience Him through those events. That’s part of what makes Christianity so exciting, fulfilling and awesome. 

-Daniel Wall

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Can you think of a time you didn’t speak up for God, perhaps because of fear or discomfort? What promises of God might you have missed out on with that failed opportunity?
  2. When have you had the pleasure of “see(ing) God do God things and experience(ing) Him through those events”
  3. What can we learn from Apollos and Priscilla and Aquila later in this chapter?

Be Strong and Courageous!

Joshua 1

2-22-22

After the death of Moses, Joshua had some large shoes to fill. Not only did he have to follow after Moses, he had the responsibility to lead the people into their promised land. 

Joshua had to be terrified. Maybe I am reading into how I would have responded with such a hard task but look how many times God assured him as they are getting started. Verses 3 and 4 – I will give you the land. Verse 5 – no one will stand against you – I will be with you and will never leave you. Verse 6-9 – multiple times He tells him be strong and courageous. 

God knew Joshua had a daunting task in front of him. He did not want Joshua to be overcome with fear. So He gives Joshua the best support and encouragement possible – I will be with you!

Notice how he doesn’t say it will be easy. This is something I think we all need to hear. Some get the idea if we follow God, go to church, get baptized…etc. that it will be easy. But still we all face difficulties, hardships and battle fear. We can be immobilized by fear or move on in strength and courage. 

I believe the promise given to Joshua is for us as well. No matter what stands in front of you: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

After embracing this promise we see Joshua step up and lead the people. He then had the opportunity to share that courage with the others who also saw the difficult task ahead. When they saw his strength and courage they vowed to follow him the same way they followed Moses. 

Others will see when you courageously face difficulties. It may give you an opportunity to share where your strength and courage comes from. Be ready to share that the presence of God can help us through anything. 

-John Wincapaw

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In Joshua 1:6-9 we hear God tell Joshua three times, “Be strong and (very) courageous.” What else does God tell Joshua to do in these 4 verses? How is this related to building his strength and courage? Why is it still important today?
  2. Who do you admire for their Christian strength and courage? Ask them what their secret is.
  3. How has surviving through a past fearful situation helped to grow your strength and courage? What are you facing now or in the future that will be easier with an extra dose of strength and courage? How can you exercise those qualities today?

Whom Shall I Fear?

Leviticus 26

February 16

How many days of the week are you scared or afraid to do something or be someone? For me, that’s everyday. I’m afraid of so much.

Reading this passage, yes, I could have gone the route and talked about all the punishments God warned these people about. But a few verses stuck out plenty, and these were in the section on the reward for obedience. Leviticus 26:6-8 “‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.’” This sticks out because it’s very comforting. You will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I’m constantly thinking about what others have to say about me. It’s my biggest fear. Probably not alone on that. Knowing when and who to be afraid of is what we should ponder.

There’s a song called “Whom Shall I Fear” with a verse that says, “And nothing formed against me shall stand. You hold the whole world in your hands. I’m holding on to your promises.” There is nothing formed against you to be afraid of, if you are following His decrees and being careful to obey His commands (26:3). The one true God holds the entire world in his hands. Our creator is watching over us. How comforting is that one sentence? We all are holding onto the promises that he gives us because that gives us a reason to not be afraid.

The other part I wanted to talk about was Leviticus 26:13, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” He has shown he’s powerful enough to free us. He has shown us His power and shown us why we have nothing to be afraid of because He is on our side, when we are on His.

-Genesis Dylewski

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. List the rewards God promises to those who follow His commands. How would you put them in your own words. Which are most appealing to you? Why?
  2. What sorts of punishments are promised for those who do not listen to God or follow God’s commands? Which are the scariest to you? Why? When is fear a good thing?
  3. Can you describe a time you have experienced God’s blessings for obedience? Can you describe a time you have experienced God’s punishment for disobedience? Which do you find more powerful for keeping you on the right track following after God and His commands – His rewards or punishments?
  4. How do you explain when something bad happens to somebody who appears to be following God’s commands or when something good happens to somebody who seems to be disregarding God and His commands?
  5. What is the importance of verses 40-45?

Overcoming the Opposition

Nehemiah 6-7

So much work had already been done – the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt – now they just needed to finish the gates. Surely this project was God-ordained and he picked the right leader for the job – Nehemiah. He was able to get everyone motivated and working together, and despite the opposition they were able to finish their job on the 25th of Elul (which appears to correspond to somewhere between Sept 15 and October 2). So, this week is a super time to celebrate the work that is accomplished when working for God.

So much good had been done already – but the work did not end and neither did the opposition!

Nehemiah was under attack. Satan (along with Tobia, Sanballat, Geshem and the rest of those fighting against God) were using every weapon at their disposal to bring this righteous leader down: lies, fear, wolves in sheep’s clothing, attempting to distract him from his work with other business, spreading gossip and accusations of sedition to either silence him or get him in serious trouble with the authorities, even hiring a false “prophet” to scare him into sinning.

But Nehemiah stood strong. We continue to see him turn to God in prayer. Asking for strong hands and asking for God to take care of those getting in the way of the Lord’s work. He obviously had a strong knowledge of God’s law to not be tricked into sinning. This gave him wise discernment in knowing who to listen to and what to do, and not do. And, he knew to fear God not men.

We can learn a lot from Nehemiah today because Satan keeps using the same ploys. Adolf Hitler wrote, “Mental confusion, contradiction of feeling, indecisiveness, panic; these are our weapons.” Evil men seeking to destroy God’s work have come and gone and yet remain today. It is indeed a vivid reminder that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). They love nothing more than trying to interrupt God’s work and if they can bring down a godly leader at the same time they probably get bonus points.

We see so much of this evil and oppression today. But like Nehemiah, we must not give up! We must turn to God again and again when faced with the lies and fears and Satan’s strong man tactics that would love to have us throw in the towel and take the easy way instead. Pray, fast, seek His word and His way, don’t fear man, resist sin, use discernment in knowing who to trust, what to say and do. Pray, too, for our leaders that they will have the wisdom and strong hands of Nehemiah

Satan has been running rampant and the result is a broken world. Keep at God’s rebuilding work – one brick at a time.

Marcia Railton

Speaking of our opposition, mental confusion, lies, panic, and pleasing man not God, reminds me of the life and death fight for the most innocent of God’s creations. Tonight would be a great time to watch See Life 2020 and #LoveEveryHeartbeat. And pray for strong hands – and hearts – to do the work God wants you to do.

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Nehemiah 6-7

Tomorrow we will read Nehemiah 8-10 as we continue seeking God on our

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

2 Chronicles 19-23

2 Chronicles 20 1 NIV sgl

If you have been to any youth ballfield, the mantra of even the most uninformed coach or parent to his/her child in most all situations is “keep your eye on the ball.”  Whether it is baseball, soccer, football, tennis, or basketball, knowing where the ball is at any given point in a game is the greatest predictor of success and will result in the highest probability of a favorable outcome.  In order to strike, kick, tackle, return, or rebound, you have to know where the ball is.  It seems simple enough; yet, anyone who plays any number of the ball-including sports at any level suffers from the occasional mishap that begins with losing sight of the most important object to the game.  Why?  We get scared.  We’re thinking about our next move.  We get caught up in the emotion.  Or it might simply get lost in the lights.

 

“If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us…We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” –   1 Chronicles 20:9,11b

 

In today’s reading, Jehoshaphat gives us an example of what it looks like to keep our eyes in the most important place.  Not all of us play sports, and if we do, we most certainly may not play them well (present company included), but we all have a part to play in the will of God.  Without your eyes on the Father, you might still have a bit of fun, but there is no purpose in the participation of it all.  You are simply existing, a benchwarmer staring off into the distance, oblivious to the wonderful plan that God has for your life.  Yet, keeping our gaze affixed to Him isn’t exactly as easy as it sounds.  Even the most professional ballplayers have blunders. Here are a few reminders of how to readjust our focus, to make sure it is in the right place, no matter what “level” we are playing at:

 

To keep your eyes on God, let Him take away the worry.

 

There is a ton of uncertainty in the air right now.  Disease, political unrest, economies, natural disaster, not to mention all of the “typical” fears we have about things like acceptance and loss.  Jehoshaphat had a vast army approaching, yet he remembered that God had promised Israel and Judah the land they possessed. Remind yourself of the simple yet immense promises of God – He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), We know all things work together for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28), Do not fear, for I am with you always (Isaiah 40:1; Matt 28:20). The promises purge us of the pressure to take the entire crushing yoke upon ourselves and hand it over to God.  In exchange He will give us peace in the restless situations (John 14:27).

 

To keep your eyes on God, remember He has planned the present.

 

One of the greatest defensive failings in baseball is thinking about throwing the ball before you have ever fielded it.  Time and time again, the baseball zips “through the wickets” or is fumbled as it is being removed from the glove and falls flatly to the ground.  Jehoshaphat could have spent his time sending messengers to form alliances.  He could have armed the remaining men, women, and children to increase the size of his army. He could have sent out terms of surrender to try to salvage the lives of his people.  He didn’t do any of this.  He kept the most important thing as the most important thing; his gaze never faltered. He didn’t “throw the ball” before He fielded God’s response (as we saw yesterday).  Don’t forget to serve God now because there is a bigger, better plan you have made to serve Him down the road.  He is the God of tomorrow, but before then, the God of today.  Seek first the Kingdom of God. Don’t worry about tomorrow, for it will take care of itself (Matthew 6:33,34). He may call us to things that inconvenience, disrupt, or even abort the plans we have made down the road, but when those days come, or if they don’t, He has planned those days too.

 

To keep your eyes on God, make him the judge.

 

One of the most frustrating things is a competitor who doesn’t play fairly or feeling we are the victim of unjust treatment.  What’s even more frustrating is an umpire or referee who fails to see it or worse, lets it persist.  Our God doesn’t turn a blind eye to us; He sees the struggle.  He isn’t deaf; He hears the petition.  When we want to take matters into our own hands, be reminded that you too are a trespasser but also an unfair recipient of favored treatment. This more than anything, should make us compassionate and ready to forgive others.  We will be called to be God’s facilitator of forgiveness many times more than we will be judicator of justice.  Jehoshaphat made the appeal, but was also seemingly ready for whatever answer came his way. We must trust God, let Him be the judge, and maybe the hardest thing, be ready, like Jesus, to be dealt injustice, yet still forgive for the sake of the Gospel and our message.

 

To keep your eyes on God, eliminate the distractions.

 

The lights can be blinding.  The hecklers can be loud.  The teams’ morale can be affecting you. Even seemingly good things like family and church can provide an incorrect context of focus if not filtered through the lens of their role in God.  When we work, provide, heal, love, carry on, feed, protest, or serve, constantly remind yourself you are doing it all for the Lord.  Take a lesson from Jehoshaphat’s army; worship God while you are in the battle (1 Chronicles 20:22).  It would be challenging to give into your pride when you sing “Oh Spirit come make us humble…” It would be tough to look at inappropriate material when you sing “We turn our eyes from evil things…” It would be difficult to spend Sunday morning after Sunday morning with your family at the ballfield while singing “Oh Lord, we cast down our idols.” Filling our mouth with praise, worship, and prayer prevents anything else from slipping out.  The same could be said of our eyes, ears, hands, and most importantly, minds.  Engage God with everything you have, and you will be ready and attuned to His movement no matter where on the field He takes you.

 

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17

Aaron Winner

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+19-23&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be the short book of the “minor” prophet Obadiah and Psalm 82-83 as we continue keeping our eye on the Father through our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

In the Healer’s Hands

Psalm 30 

Psalm 30 12 NIV sgl

Living in the time that the world is currently facing, I connected with Psalm 30 in a deeper way than I would have previously. With fear, chaos, and anger running rampant with the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe, an overwhelming hunger and desire for the intervention of God becomes more apparent. When we are captivated by this whirlwind of emotions, the future becomes clouded by a veil of uncertainty. It becomes almost impossible to visualize and focus on anything aside from the noise. Almost like the static that you hear on an old tv when a channel doesn’t work. It begins to consume us. It’s debilitating. 

 

When we allow all of the tragedy that has invaded our world to be at the forefront of our mind, we give up the opportunity to spread the Word of God. We can’t focus on reading our Bibles, praying, or even fellowshipping (via Zoom, of course). All we can focus on is what is right in front of our eyes. The “bigger” picture is completely eliminated from view. 

 

The problem with this is that we are focusing on something that, while horrific, is completely out of our control. And because we are so burdened by it all, we aren’t taking the time to come before the LORD and put all of this in his hands.

 

We are choosing to not depend on the ONLY being who can actually bring healing and peace upon the world. 

 

So, today, I urge you. Read Psalm 30. Make it your prayer. Pray it into existence. We serve a God of healing. We can rejoice and be glad in his goodness and mercy he pours upon us. He will restore the Earth. We can take confidence in that. 

 

Leslie Jones

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+30%2C+2+Samuel+24%2C+1+Chronicles+21-22&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 108-110 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

How to Banish Your Fear

Psalm 56

Psalm 56 3 NIV

Like Psalm 34, which we highlighted yesterday, Psalm 56 for today was also written when the Philistines had seized David in Gath.  And just like yesterday’s psalm, this one starts with David begging God for help.

Then, in verses 3 and 4, David says this, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”

I see a pattern here that David liked to repeat:

  1. He acknowledged his fear, “When I am afraid.”  Fear is a natural reaction when in danger – either real or perceived.

  2. David then made a deliberate decision to trust God.  This is not a normal reaction, it is an intentional decision, flying in the face of the natural fear.

  3. David praised God for delivering him – before he had been delivered.  (In this case, David praised God’s word, but often, he just praised God.)  When David did this, he was stepping out on faith, believing God would answer his prayers.

  4. Finally, in the assurance God would help him, David banished his fear, “I will not be afraid.”.  Notice he chose to not fear what mortal man could do to him.

This reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.  Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This is a pattern I have also tried to follow in my own life.  Many times, I have cried out to God, confessing my fear. I have then made a deliberate decision to trust that whatever God has for me is best, whether I know it (or like it) or not.  Then praise God for his promise that all things work together for my good – because I love God. Finally, with God’s help, I let Him lift my burden off my shoulders, whether it is fear, or whatever else it is.

With the fears swirling around now, whether Covid-19, or unemployment, or difficulty finding what you want at the grocery store, or …  You have a choice. You can succumb to fear, or you can follow David’s example.

I challenge you to try this pattern with whatever makes you fearful today.  Then you can say, like David wrote in yesterday’s reading from Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” And from today’s reading in 56:11, “In God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”


–Steve Mattison
Today’s Bible reading, Psalm 56,120, and 140-142 can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+56%2C+120%2C+140-142&version=NIV
Tomorrow we return to 1st Samuel (chapters 25-27) to read of the next events in David’s life as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan
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