Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. -Psalm 100:4 (HCSB)
Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6 (NRSV)
1 a : an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion
2: anxious concern : solicitude
3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God
4: reason for alarm : danger
(Courtesy of Merriam-Webster)
With the exception of the third, the rest of those definitions of fear sound pretty bad. It is true that there are times when it is good to have a “healthy fear” of something, like stepping out into oncoming traffic, confronting a wild animal, etc.
As children of the most high God, there is little reason to fear people, places and things in this world because we know we have membership in a family that is awesome and eternal. We are protected by Him. If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? Yet, so often in my own personal life, it’s the middle of the night and I find myself anxiety-ridden over things which I usually have no control over and often have not even happened yet! Just the mere possibility can derail me. Why does this happen? Because I still think I am in control way too often for my own good. I was recently reminded by God through circumstance that I am not as far along in my faith as I would like to believe I am.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:27-31 (NRSV)
Time spent in prayer and simple meditation around these verses (and many others like them) will replace the bad thoughts and feelings with good ones. Remember, feelings are born from thoughts. think positive, loving thoughts and be blessed with a life full of positive, loving things.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 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 4:16-18 (ESV)
It seems that I cannot escape the need to ponder these verses and the depth of meaning they have for me right now at this time in my life. I have heard these verses over the weekend from my pastor, in a book I am reading and also this morning from a Bible teacher on television. I think there’s a message for me to look at.
God loves me and I love Him. That’s a fact. However, equally true is the fact that there is no way I can ever love Him with the same depth He has for me. As a result, Satan would love for me to believe that I don’t measure up and shouldn’t even try. Of course, in Christ, I am told that I do. Because of what He has done for me, I can measure up. That alone, despite anything that may be going on in life, is cause to be thankful and celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday!
I have been experiencing the fear of what is ahead for my wife and me financially. Such a fear is unwarranted, as it is serves no useful purpose and what *I think* could happen may not. It is the unknown I am fearing, when I should not. The love of God is certainly known to me– and is enough to cast out fear. I need to spend more time in prayer and meditation around this. How often do we not grasp the love He has for us? I could go off on a tangent about the error of legalism in light of His love, but that’s for another time and post.
May God bless you with an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving and beyond.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
-Psalm 95:1-2 (ESV)
Lately, I have been dealing with some fear about the financial future of my wife and myself. With her being out of work due to an injury, it is hard to know whether or not she will be working again, in what capacity and at what rate. It is frustrating dealing with the greed of insurance companies and the bureaucracy at large. I am reminded greatly at this time of the need for me to recognize God’s love and that he always makes provision for me. fortunately, I have not received what I deserve but have been given God’s unending and immeasurable grace instead! for that I am so very grateful– especially at this time of year when gratitude should be the first thing on the menu.
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. -Psalms 102:25-27
In a world where everything seems to be constantly changing, it is comforting to know that the most important thing in the universe (and especially in my life) is the God who loves me. He never changes! I could do a lengthy post on this Scripture alone, but I think the reader gets the point! the way to know this unchanging love is to know the one from whence it comes: His name is Jesus and waits for you.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. -Mark 16:15-16
I heard a guest preacher [at Gateway Church in Texas on a podcast recently] talking about the importance of leading people to the Lord. Note I wrote leading, not dragging. I know that I didn’t respond to the Gospel because a preacher screamed threats at me or some Christian tried to intimidate me into it, I responded to fill that nagging hole in me that only God could ever fill. This preacher in a podcast said that most people don’t care about what you know, they just want to know that you care. I love that statement, because it really says what I need to hear often in my Christian walk. Not only do I need to hear it, I need to be living it.
REMINDER…The “God University” Conference is coming to Calvary Chapel this weekend! That means a Friday evening and Saturday of great fellowship and speakers to check out. For those who live in the southeastern Connecticut area, God U is held at Calvary Chapel of Uncasville, 126 Sharp Hill Rd. The cost is a mere $20 and includes refreshments Friday evening (6-9PM) and lunch on Saturday (the event is from 9AM to 4PM). Hope to see you there!