Today's talking point: What are you fearful about?
Are you afraid of the future? Perhaps you have fears concerning our economy, your health or even your marriage -- or never being married. Or maybe you have financial fears, job fears, or fears about your retirement and where you’re going to live. And, if you’re like most people, you especially fear the “c” word: cancer. Maybe even some of you are concerned with the election of Trump. I don't know! But, what I do know is that you must not let your fears paralyze you! There really is good news!
When we’re paralyzed with fear, we can experience God’s presence and strength to get through even our darkest times.
Psalm 46 is a song of deliverance and confidence for life’s darkest times. In it, the psalmist declares God’s truth and gives us two faith lessons:
1. First, wee don’t have to be afraid because God is for us, because He is with us. (Psalm 46:1-3)
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
Pause and reflect; The God of the universe says, “I will personally be your refuge. I will be for you.” Why? Because I am with you as an ever present God!
Even if all the things we’re counting on fall away, God and God alone is our strength. He is also our refuge, a place of protection and security. He is with us!
As our very present help in trouble, God will be with us and enter into our hurt, anxiety and trouble. And His very presence will sustain us. God will be our strength, a provision from within. He will give us the power to endure our fears every day!.
And He also gives us strength minute-by-minute, moment-by-moment. Wow! Is that not awesome?
This means we don’t have to worry about tomorrow or whether God will provide grace for us in the future. Our only responsibility is to trust God today – in this moment. We can't do anything about yesterday or even tomorrow. But, we can trust God today!
So, how does this all work? How do we actually experience God’s presence? How are we to master our feelings?
2. Secondly, God invites us to come and experience His presence in our times of greatest need. (Psalm 46:8-11)
Come, behold the works of the Lord ,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
To experience God’s presence, we are actually commanded to do two things. First, we are invited to “come” and “ behold the works of the Lord” – to see what God is and has been doing. To say to ourselves - Yes, I believe you are with me!
How do we do this? We are to look with our “spiritual eyes” by reading His Word, learning about who He is as an all-powerful God, and to see what He’s done in the past. We also do this by remembering what God has already done in our lives. Praise God what what you have seen Him already do in your life!
The second thing we’re commanded to do is to be still – literally, to cease striving -- and know that He is God. When we’re in trouble, our tendency is to find our own answers and rely on our own strength. "Draw close to me and I will draw close to you", says God in His Word. (James 4:8)
YOU see, God longs for us to experience His very real and tangible presence, no matter what we’re going through. But, how, you say? By taking Him at His Word. Believing what He has already said and doing it. It's a choice! You can either live with your fear or give it today to God and say confidently, "I choose to believe you! Here's my fear". Thanks Lord for being with me and providing the strength I need to overcome my fear!! Let it be so!