Tuesday, April 1, 2008

FEAR says: “You will NEVER make it”

If we can ever get to the point where we KNOW, regardless of our situation or struggle… "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" then the battles of each day will not be able to defeat us. You see, when God made this day, He knew the struggles that you would have TODAY. He knew the FEARS that you would face, TODAY. He knew the LACK that you would face, TODAY. He knew the doctors report that you would get, TODAY. He knew the ANGER that you would face, TODAY. He knew the HURT that you would have to endure, TODAY. He knew the JOY that you would experience, TODAY. He knew the GREAT VICTORY that will be yours, TODAY.

In short, nothing that you face TODAY will shock God. He already knew about it, before He created TODAY. I had a very good friend, who I have had the privilege of being his pastor the past six years, get a report from the doctor yesterday that doesn't seem very favorable. The doctor basically said, "You have lung cancer, and there isn't a lot that we can do about it." As FEARFUL as that sounds…God wasn't shocked by it. He has already made provision for my friend. In fact, God says about whatever you may face TODAY:

Proverbs 3:24-26 When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet. (25) Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless], (26) For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].

I noticed a few things when I read this verse this morning:

#1 Fear seems it's greatest in the NIGHT TIME, when you get STILL. "When you lie down, you shall not be afraid;" The enemy of our soul, LOVES to attack us in the middle of the night. Something awakens you and can't go back to sleep. You toss and turn with the dreadful thought of "what if…" You can't get it out of your mind. Minutes turns to hours, and before you know it, you are tired, cranky and fearful because you DIDN'T sleep very well. Why? Fear seems it's greatest in the NIGHT TIME. Have you ever wondered why? I have, and I believe God gave me an answer. Please read the following verse very slowly, and think about what you are reading…

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

"Be still, and know that I am God." To "know" that God is God is to experience Him in the quiet of our hearts. This is relational, not merely theological knowledge. It is letting God's peace settle down upon us. It is knowing Him as our security and stability in the storm.

You see, my friend, this is one of the reasons that the enemy fights us with FEAR in the NIGHT TIME. At night…we are STILL so that we can go to sleep. When you are awakened in the middle of the night, I believe many times it is so that God can commune with you on your bed. Remember…He encouraged us to BE STILL and KNOW (realize and be aware of the fact) that I am God.

Psalm 4:4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Remember that Selah means to pause and calmly think of that. God again tells us to commune with our own hearts…in other words think about the things that are on your heart, and BE STILL. When you GET STILL you will KNOW that God is God. That is why the enemy fights you so hard in the night time hours. He knows that if you can get still in your heart as you commune with God on your bed, then you will know God as the all-sufficient, all-efficient God who is Jehovah-Jireh, your provider. Therefore, the enemy will take the moments in the NIGHT TIME where you can BE STILL and get to know God in a very personal, FAITH FILLED way and fill those moments with FEAR. Your focus will go from the All-sufficient God to the all-consuming problem.

#2 God wants to give you SWEET SLEEP. When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet. You can get the sleep that your body so desperately needs. God wants you to enjoy your rest, and REFUSE TO ALLOW FEAR to invade your rest. This is a promise from God. You will lie down, and not be afraid! You will lie down and your sleep will be sweet! Beginning TONIGHT! This sleep comes when you trust the Shepherd of your soul. You KNOW THAT YOU KNOW that God loves you, and you KNOW that you can TRUST HIM. Down through the years people have advised us when we wake up to count sheep (whatever that means), but I want to advise you that instead of counting sheep, talk to the shepherd! When you wake up in the middle of the night, REFUSE to allow your attention to be turned to your problem, but turn your focus upon your God. "Lord, I know you allowed me to awaken for a reason, who do you want to pray for? And what do you want me to dwell on?" You will sleep the sweet sleep of peace as you do this!

#3 God warns us to REFUSE TO BORROW trouble from "what if's" Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless], Too many times we do just what God tells us NOT to do. We FEAR sudden disasters, or troubles that COULD come our way. I believe that the breeding ground for fear is the "what if's" of life. "What if" the doctor says this, "what if" we can't pay our bills, "what if" we have a wreck, "What if" she never gets saved, "what if" my marriage doesn't work, "what if", "what if", "what if"…and we find ourselves living and dwelling in fear. Thus, our FAITH is weakened and many times shipwrecked. In fact, did you know that our word "worry" literally means "to choke" When we worry, that worry literally puts a choke hold on our faith. It will drain the life out of our faith. So we need to REFUSE to borrow trouble. Listen to what Jesus said, Matthew 6:34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. There is no need to borrow troubles from tomorrow's "what if's" God is faithful, and will help you deal with whatever may come your way tomorrow. But live in TODAY!

#4 For the Lord will be your confidence! For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger]. The Lord being my confidence means (according to this verse):

  • The confidence and help that He gives me is FIRM AND STRONG
  • He will keep me from falling into the trap of the enemy
  • He will protect me from hidden danger

This all happens when I put MY TRUST AND CONFIDENCE in God. Listen to Proverbs 3:25-26 again, this time in the message version of the Bible…

Proverbs 3:25-26 No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday's just around the corner, (26) Because GOD will be right there with you; he'll keep you safe and sound.

Florence Chadwick, the first woman ever to swim the English Channel, failed on her first attempt, even though she was only half a mile from the shore. What stopped her? The fog! It dropped like a curtain, and the voice of fear whispered, "You'll never make it." When they finally hauled her into the boat and she discovered how close she'd been to her goal, she broke down and wept. But she didn't quit. She went back and swam it again - and set a new world record.

Are the same voices telling you today, "You'll never make it"? Many times our struggles become like that FOG that keeps us from seeing the finish line. We are tempted to quit, to just give up in fear. The enemy whispers into our ear, "YOU WILL NEVER MAKE IT." However, we need to take another look at the word F.E.A.R. - it just means - False Evidence Appearing Real.

Sarah Utterbach says, "If you destroy the negative, the picture can never be developed." What a thought! Fear is just the darkroom where all our negatives are developed. It'll intimidate you if you let it.

Don't be afraid of the NEGATIVES in life. God will use the NEGATIVES to help you see the clearer picture, if you trust Him, and refuse to allow fear to paralyze you!

I pray that you have a FAITH-filled day! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" reading: 2 Chronicles 14:2 – 2 Chronicles 16:14

This week's memory verse to "Hid in our hearts": 2 Chronicles 20:22

v. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were [self-] slaughtered;


Becoming Me said...

Another excellent, excellent post

Pastor Rusty said...

Becoming me, thank you so much for your encouraging words. Blessings!