Saturday, February 9, 2013

BE NOT AFRAID

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In Christ, Mark

The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my defense.

Psalm 118:5-14a

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

What do you fear most in life?

There is no shortage of things that people are afraid of. The list includes:

Places: Some people fear heights or flying on an airplane or going to the doctor or speaking in front of people or being in the water, the dark, or closed up in a small space.

Animals: Some people are afraid of snakes or mice or dogs or spiders and other creepy crawlies.

Money: Some people fear not having enough money to make ends meet.

Other people: Some people have a fear of another person as maybe that person has threatened or hurt them in some way. Still others are just introverted and shy, afraid of having to open up and interact with someone else. Some can’t stand being in a crowd.

Shelter: Some people are afraid of becoming homeless, left unsafe and without a place to live.

Food: Some people fear not having enough food to eat, especially when we’re talking about a family with lots of mouths to feed.

Work: Some people, and this is particularly true today, fear they will never find a job and even if they have one, they fear losing it.

Yes, there are many things we fear. This is why it’s little wonder why the Lord addressed the matter in the scriptures. Look at our verses from the 118th Psalm:

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my defense.

In this passage, we find the psalmist hard pressed by a lot of adversity. All the nations had surrounded him on every side, swarming like bees and primed to attack and defeat.

Things looked bleak but note what the psalmist did. He didn’t cower and allow himself to be defeated by his fears. No, instead he cried out to the Lord who he saw as his strength and defense and the Lord answered his cry, moving him from being hard pressed into a spacious place. The New Living Translation reads that the psalmist was set free after crying out from his distress.

I like that even better because that’s what having faith and trust in the Lord does for us. It sets us free from fear or stress or anxiety. It gives us the confidence that allows us to boldly proclaim like the psalmist, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper.” It was this confidence that permitted the psalmist to look at triumph on his enemies, to see victory over the things he could have feared. And it was the Lord who delivered on the psalmist’s faith, allowing triumph over all his foes.

Friends, you and I can have this same victory. We just need to claim it over all our fears and be not afraid of anything. The Lord who was the strength and defense for the psalmist is our Lord today. This is good news for all believers who place their faith and hope in Him. The psalmist discovered that it was a fleeting proposition to trust and take refuge in humans. Only the Lord could and did deliver him from the things he could have feared. We need to do likewise.

So how will you respond to this word of God today? Will you continue to fear or will you place your trust in the One who is your strength and defender, now and forever more?

The Lord is calling you to be not afraid. Answer His call and be rid of your fears today.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

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