It’s been a traveling day today. Matthew, the kids plus one, and I have just arrived in Daytona Beach, Florida. Tomorrow starts the 2012 edition of Bigstuf Camp- Daytona Beach. It’s become a yearly opportunity for our family to serve all together as kids from all over come to the beach for an exciting youth conference experience.
We spent the night last night in Jacksonville, Florida and had the opportunity to worship at a sister ARC church called Celebration Church this Father’s Day morning. It just happens to be the church that planted the church in Northern Ireland that my oldest two boys visited on their mission trip a couple of weeks ago. There are no coincidences.
The speaker for today was a pastor from Louisiana. His message was on fear. I’m totally borrowing a lot of this blog from his message. For example, did you know that scripture tells us 366 times to “fear not”? That’s one time for every day, including leap year. Why is that? I think it’s because so many of us live under the grip of fear. God knew it would be a constant issue for us.
So often we make decisions based on the notion that something we fear might actually come to pass. More often than not, much more often, the things we fear happening never do. Fear can paralyze us, cause us to act irrationally, and send us running wild.
Living in the grip of fear is an unpleasant place to reside. As children of the Most High God, we can escape the grip of fear, and live in the grip of grace. Our example is Christ. (Matthew 8) When His disciples where shaking in their sandals aboard a boat in a storm, Jesus lay sleeping… unafraid. When they woke Him in fear for their lives, Jesus was disappointed in their apparent lack of faith… Are we really that different?
In another example, Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16) Sometimes those things we fear do happen, and then Jesus said, “but I have overcome the world.” Even in the midst of our trouble, Jesus tells us He has already overcome it. Fear not.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, (2 Timothy 1:7) he tells the younger man that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear and of timidity, but of power, love, and self discipline. So, because of Jesus, we can replace our fear with the power to overcome those things that threaten us. We can reside in a place of love and peace despite our circumstances. And we get a sound mind. Fear makes us act crazy. That doesn’t bode well for anyone.
When fear begins to creep into our minds and grip our thoughts, we have the power to stand on the truth of God’s word. 366 times it tells us to fear not. No matter what. Things may look bad. We may fear the worst. But the good news is, we have the ability to live in the grip of grace despite our circumstances. I like that address so much better.