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August 1, 2016

FEAR or FAITH - We Have A Choice

 

TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT

We live in a secular culture which has little interest in knowing their Creator or living by the truths found in His Word.  The culture has been deceived into thinking that man is the center and the primary mover of all things and to trust in themselves and in the things they can see, rather than the unseen, triune God.  Its primary focus is self-gratification through accumulating possessions, gaining influence, power and wealth.  They believe they can violate God’s laws without any consequences.  When those who follow Jesus lovingly challenge their beliefs, the believers are belittled, deemed narrow-minded, intolerant, extreme and must be silenced.

THE FEAR FACTOR 

The devil uses this man-centered philosophy to erase the presence of God’s influence in our world.  He is our enemy, the Destroyer, who does his best to destroy man’s person and his peace. Now he is launching his attacks by using evil people to maim, kill and destroy all those who oppose him.  His desire is to instill fear in their hearts by destroying their testimonies, silencing their voices and making them ineffective and useless for God’s purposes.

As a result, our world seems to be in a continuous state of terror, war and crisis as evidenced by mass shootings, bombings, beheadings, torture and a complete lack of caring and concern for others.  These acts of evil are carried out in the most public of places: schools, shopping centers, sidewalk cafes, sports venues, theatres, worship centers, convenience stores and night clubs causing many to be fearful, disheartened and depressed.     

In fact, fear is becoming one of the most dominating emotions people are experiencing today.  Television, social media, newspapers and magazines are all filled with events which can cause us to be fearful and question our personal safety.  Fear may cause us to be indecisive in our thinking and actions, drive us to destructive habits, steal our peace and contentment, create doubt and hinder us from becoming all that God wants us to be and to do.

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

At the root of all fear is the lack of faith in the divine sovereignty of God. God is in control of all that comes our way.  To deny His involvement contradicts His power and sovereignty.  To accept the fact that God allows evil to touch our lives, we must see things from His perspective. He assures us that when adversity comes our way, He will use it to achieve His good purposes for us.  Proverbs 16:4a reads, "The Lord works out everything for his own ends." His "own ends" for his followers are seen in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" and in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Resting in God’s sovereignty will help free us from fear.  Whatever the trial, know that God has a purpose in it and He has allowed it for our good.   

GOD’S SOLUTION

The key to avoiding the snares of Satan and overcoming our fears is being grounded in His Word and empowered by His Spirit.  When His thoughts become our thoughts and we allow the Holy Spirit to apply His principles to our situations, our trust in Him will grow, our faith will be strengthened and we will be set free from our fears. The answer to our fears is faith and Jesus is the object of our faith.  

GOD’S PROMISES

Every verse of Scripture that refers to fear assures us of God’s love and care and the importance of placing our faith in Him. Claim these verses and memorize them:

Psalm 34:4 - “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fear.”

Isaiah 41:10 - “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Joshua 1:9 - “Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go."

Don’t allow fear to blind you to God’s promises and deprive you of the help He always has available.  Focusing on His promises will quiet your spirit, increase your faith and dissolve your fears.  Trusting in God’s unchanging nature and His enduring promises will free us from the fear of man. 

CHOOSE FAITH, NOT FEAR

We have two pathways available to us: the pathway of fear and the pathway of faith.  God allows us to choose which path we will take.  Some people choose to live in fear by putting their circumstances above their relationship with God.  If Satan can get us to think this way, he has won the battle for our mind.  However, if we focus on God rather than our circumstances, we win.  In Psalm 118:6 and again in Hebrews 13:6 we read “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me”?  When Jesus called His first disciples, He told them to “fear not.” (Luke 5:10)  Later, when they were fearful for their lives, He said, Do not fear those who kill the body.” (Matthew 10:28)  Much later, He spoke to the Apostle Paul in a vision saying, Have no fear, but speak and do not keep silent.” (Acts 18:9)

PERSONAL PRAYER SUGGESTION

God is near to you (Psalm 145:18). He wants to hear from you.  He is waiting for you to knock on the door of His heart (Revelation 3:20). He wants to meet your needs.  Cry out to Him. He is the controller of all things.  He is your provider and He will deliver you from your fears.  Find your security in Him.

Father, I thank you that my fear is not from you, because you do not give me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I confess that sometimes tense and dangerous situations cause me to become fearful. Help me to remember that your love will drive out all my fears.  I am trusting in You to provide me with that kind of love.  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.  

Dagwell Signature 

Dave Dagwell 

Assistant to the President