Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Don’t Be Afraid

With all of the things going on around the world, it is certainly very easy for each of us to become afraid and want to hide in our homes. Our fervent desire is to have everything return to normal so that we can rest easy at night and not pace the floor wondering what will happen next. Does this sound familiar to you? Are you afraid of what is happening in the world?

It doesn’t take much for each of us to be unnerved by a sudden, unexpected change. When the COVID-19 pandemic was announced, people, in fear of possible disruption in the supply chain, began to raid grocery stores to buy all of the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, alcohol, disinfecting wipes and food that they could afford and load into their grocery carts. Some even went as far as to use credit cards to stock up on essentials with the thought that if things didn’t fall apart, they could simply return everything.

In just a few days, grocery stores ran out of even the most basic of supplies, because everyone just went, in the words of the store associates, “crazy”. It didn’t take much for people to overreact and run around with their arms flailing in the air like scared children or, better put, they acted like Chicken Little in the children’s story believing that the sky was falling.

I could easily go through everything I witnessed, but I think you get the picture. When things seemed totally bleak, everyone turned to themselves and, in some cases, turned on others. Is this just the way we are? Do we act like Chicken Littles and just run to and fro screaming that the end has come and believe that toilet paper will be the new currency in the post-apocalyptic world?

As I watched all of this, I saw a few individuals peacefully going about their business without a care in the world. I watched each very closely and soon discovered the source of their peace. The peace that they received didn’t come from owning a gun or having thousands of rolls of toilet paper. That peace didn’t come from this world and it was something completely beyond the realm and understanding of most.

Paul, in chapter four of his letter to his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus there in Philippi, writes, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

It is this peace that I speak of. This sinful world cannot even come close to offering this type of peace. It is a peace that guards the hearts and minds of all Christians and allows us to go through life knowing that our Heavenly Father is in total and complete control of everything. In order to receive this peace, we must live in Christ Jesus and not rely on ourselves or the things of this world. 

If we choose to rely upon ourselves and this world, we will be disappointed each time. The things of this world are subject to rust, insects and mold. In time, all things built by man and the things in this world will return to the dust of the earth.

In chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, the author writes, “For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust.

Everything, sooner or later, is destined for the same fate and there is nothing that can be done to change that immutable fact. In that same chapter, the author reminds us that there is a season for all things. There is a time to be born and a time to die. In short, nothing of this world will last forever. Given that fact, we should not hold fast to these things but look only to our Father and remain grounded in our faith. 

The psalmist, in chapter twenty-seven, writes, “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

It is these words that give us hope and the ability to face whatever comes our way. We should not allow what occurs to get us down or cause us to run around like Chicken Little screaming that the sky is falling. In the end, we, as Christians, should never worry about what happens and live our lives following the example of Christ Jesus. It is not enough to say or read the words. We must understand and accept the promises of the Lord as fact and know that the Lord has never and will never break His promises to us.

By living that sort of life grounded in faith and not the things of this world, we have nothing to fear and we can remain confident that the Lord will lead us to green pastures and to the living water that will sustain us. 

After failing to cast out a demon in a boy, Jesus, in chapter seventeen of the Gospel of Matthew, tells his disciples, “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

No matter what problems we face or how often we face them, there is one truth that we should cling to and know that with it we can overcome every problem. We just have to have faith and know that God will see us through those times of woe and want. He will, in accordance to His will, lift us up in victory. We have nothing to fear or dread when God is on our side. 

In chapter fifty-four of his book, Isaiah records the words of the Lord, “But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!

As you go out into this world, do not let fear be your guide. Look to the Lord each moment of each day and know that He will be there to lift you up in victory. If you remain strong in your faith and know that the Lord is always there, you can rest assured knowing that you can stand firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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