When I was a young boy and even in my teenage years growing up in Northern California near the Pacific Ocean, one of my favorite things to do when we went to Bodega Bay was to go out on the jetty at Doran Beach and climb and walk the big rocks all the way to the end. We would even fish from there. However, it was very dangerous and at times extremely slippery on those massive, jagged rocks. If you were not careful you could slip and hurt yourself real good.
As we go through this Christian life, keeping in mind the encouraging words of Christ to be of good cheer, we must be certain we know what that means. Weâ€™ve said it means to take courage, but often that is easier said than done. I would submit that we usually are fearful before we are courageous.
Courage is merely overcoming our fears and it is summoned from a reservoir of some sort. For the soldier in combat, his training and love for his buddies, family, and country is what enables him to overcome his fears. That is exactly how my late son Eddie described it while facing great danger and violence in Iraq.
But what about Christians? Well even Eddie relied heavily on Christ when facing fearful evil. Jesus is the source of our courage. The Creator of all things is able to overcome all things. Letâ€™s return to the beginning of Psalm 46 to see this truth:
â€œGod is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.â€ (Psalm 46:1-7)
For us to be fearful of the future we must calculate it without God.
Letâ€™s take a second term of Barack Obama. I want you to imagine the worst possible outcome that could happen with another four years of an Obama Administration. Got it? Okay, now write out all the horrible things you imagine might happen to you personally. I want you to literally write them out. Once youâ€™ve done so, I want you to look at each item and next to it write, â€œWhere is God?â€
If each fear is not calmed by that exercise, then may I lovingly submit to you that you need a bigger God? Heed Matthew Henryâ€™s words from his commentary on todayâ€™s passage:
This psalm encourages to hope and trust in God; in His power and providence, and His gracious presence with His church in the worst of times. We may apply it to spiritual enemies, and the encouragement we have that, through Christ, we shall be conquerors over them. He is a Help, a present Help, a Help found, One we have found to be so; a Help at hand, one that is always near; we cannot desire a better, nor shall we ever find the like in any creature. Let those be troubled at the troubling of the waters, who build their confidence on a floating foundation; but let not those be alarmed who are led to the Rock, and there find firm footing. Here is joy to the church, even in sorrowful times.
That is power-packed and I feel led to unpack it next week so we can ingest each power nugget therein because I sense a fear among the church the likes Iâ€™ve never seen in my lifetime. Granted Iâ€™ve not been a real part of the Body of Christ except for these last 16 years, however I believe fear has driven Christians to make decisions antithetical to the Jesus in whom we say we believe.
Iâ€™m really bad at memorizing Scripture; I need to become more disciplined doing so. I think I will start with this verse:
â€œThe Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?â€ (Psalm 118:6)
Sixteen powerful words; I think I can handle that. Hey, we can call this our â€œpower verse for the dayâ€ if it makes it more enticing for you. But more importantly I want you to imagine Barack Obama being a bigger boogeyman than he could possibly be. I want you to imagine the most liberal and leftist Supreme Court, one that rules to the Left of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I want you to imagine a Congress of 535 Harry Reids. I want you to imagine you being out of work, out of money, and no where to live. (I know, right?)
Can your God handle that? Can He?
Is He or isnâ€™t He on your side?
If He is, will you fear? If He truly is on your side, can you imagine anything that man can do to you?
If you cannot imagine it, then beloved one you have found firm footing.
It is only found in Christ Jesus. I pray you have.
If you havenâ€™t, how much worse do things have to get in your life before you surrender to Him.
Perhaps you have and you havenâ€™t been to church for quite some time. You know you need to. Please do so this weekend.
May the Lord richly bless and keep each of you.
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers
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