Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What are you afraid of?

Have you ever felt like my daughter looks in this picture? Thankfully, it's just a pose, but I'll be honest I've seen this look during the reality of life. She, like all of us, have things that scare her, we've had to talk about what makes us afraid and what to do when that happens.  Tonight I actually, I had to have that conversation with our baby who does a pretty good pose too - 

"Mommy, me is scared," said my little man. I said, "What's wrong? You were watching Andy Griffith." "There's a bad man Mommy, just read me a book." I talked with Jesse and his fears quickly subsided, but my thoughts kept running.

You see, fear is something I've been thinking about...turn on the TV news and you'll find something to be afraid of, parent young children and you know fear is a part of growing up. Some fear what the "Bad Guy" might do, while others fear what loved ones might think. Fear is not something we outgrow as adults - today I fought the temptation to be afraid as I watched my teenage son leave the yard in a big John Deere tractor. Later we all tried not to be scared as dark storm clouds rolled in.

Friend, it's true - there is much we could be fearful of, but what does Scripture tell us? The Bible tells us time and time again "fear not." I believe it's been said the Bible says this 365 times...one command for every day of the year.

Can I ask you, "What are you afraid of?" ISIS, terrorism, death. Perhaps you fear a bad medical report, conflict with one you love or financial problems. Maybe it's snakes, mice or birds. Do you fear the future or failure? A world that makes it hard to live out your faith? There are countless things that stir up this unwanted emotion, but in His Word, God tells us there's only one thing to fear.

It's actually not a thing at all. It's not the bad guys on the news or TV show either. Nor is it the ones who've hurt us in the past. Take a look at these words from God's Word -

"You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name." Deuteronomy 6:13

The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today." Deuteronomy 6:24

Friend, it is God we must fear. Not because He's scary and mean, but because He is worthy and sovereign. He is our Creator. He is our Lord. And our Savior. He is worthy of our respect and reverence. Our Father God is the One we must fear.

That being said doesn't mean all other fears are unnecessary...as I spoke with my little boys about this, we talked about the bulls, the tractors and machinery, bad weather and strangers. It's OK to fear things/people who are dangerous, but when those fears come (and they will) we must know what to do with them.

We must take them to the One we fear. Proverbs 1:7 tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..." When we know who we fear, He will give us wisdom. God will guide and direct, calm and comfort, but we must take our fears, worries and anxieties to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 instructs us to "cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us".

Friend, this God we fear is the One who is faithful, present and loving. At the same time, He is the One who is sovereign and in control. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. As we fear Him, we will strive to obey Him. If we abide with Him, He will strengthen us. If we trust Him, He will make our paths straight.

I don't know what or who you are fearing today, but if it's anything besides our great God, I encourage you to spend sometime in prayer. Cast your cares, God knows them already. Ask Him to remind you who He is and the power He has. And allow these words from David to his son Solomon encourage you, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished." (1 Chronicles 28:20)

God was there for David, He was there for Solomon and friend, He hasn't changed...He won't fail us either! Press on, lean in, persevere and trust the One who knows. Fear the Lord and remember "He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

May these verses from Psalm 33 encourage you today -

"But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him,
on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in You. 
(Ps. 33:18-22)

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