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Not Living in Fear

Fear can be a good thing. If you are standing on the street and a Mac truck comes careening toward you out of control, the fear that gives you the added motivation to jump out of the way is entirely reasonable. There is a fear of God which we are told is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28; Ecclesiastes 12:13). Now I do believe there is here an idea of awe and astonishment at God and His greatness. Even John, who was the disciple the Lord loved (John 13:23), was overwhelmed by Jesus in glory (Revelation 1:17). But I also think there is some value in Martin Luther’s explanation that we start out in fear of God because we realize we are sinners, who fall far short of His holiness (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9). However, then as we come to understand God’s love for us (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:16-18; 1 John 4:9-10) and put our faith in Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9), we can come to stand in confidence before Him (1 John 4:4:17,18; Hebrews 4:16; Philippians 1:6). And this is the antidote to our other unnecessary fears.

God will provide for our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-24; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:6-8). He promises to hear and answer our prayers (Philippians 4:6,7; 1 John 5:14,15; 1 Peter 5:7). Now this does not mean we will not have troubles in this world; in fact, we are told we will (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 12:10). But God is in control of this world and is working even the bad things out to serve His purpose (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Ephesians 1:11). So we need to realize that even when things seem to be falling apart (Psalm 46:1-3; 18:4-15; 37:1,2), we can trust God (Psalm 46:10; Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalm 37:3-6).

God also provides for our spiritual needs (2 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 2:10). He is at work in us to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:29). Also, He has forgiven us if we have put our faith in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25), and He promises to cleanse and restore us if we confess our current sins (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51:1-4). Therefore, we can put our sins behind us and go on with Him (Philippians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Romans 8:33,34).

He also provides for our ultimate needs, that we may be with Him forever (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:3-5; Philippians 3;20,21). And we can have assurance that He will bring us through (1 John 5:11-13; John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38,39). This puts in perspective the trials of this present life (2 Corinthians 4:17,18; Romans 8:18; 5:1-5). But God has promised we will ultimately be victorious (Romans 8:35-37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Therefore, if we understand who God is and what He has done for us, and particularly that He loves us, it puts the fears we face in proper perspective.

Professor Erich's Take

 

 
Made to Worship

What is the true worship of God, and what does it look like? Now let us face facts, we are all going to worship something; if it is not God, it will be something else (Romans 1:22-25; Colossians 3:5; Matthew 6:24). Also, even if people claim to be worshiping God, it can be a distorted picture of God (2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Isaiah 43:10; Matthew 4:10). But given these limits, there are those who jump to the opposite extreme. They develop questionable boundaries as to what constitutes correct worship. They can say that everyone who does not worship exactly the way they do is doing it wrong. So we need to ask what constitutes genuine worship. This is worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23,24).

 

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God's Faithfulness

God keeps His promises. But we may not always see them when we want them. Abraham waited many years to obtain the promise of a son (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:11,12; Romans 4:18-21). But he never saw the promise fulfilled that he would become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3; Hebrews 11:8-10; Acts 7:2-5). David prepared for the building of the temple (Psalm 132:1-5; 2 Samuel 7:1-7; 1 Chronicles 29:1,2). But it was his son, Solomon, that actually built it (2 Samuel 7:8-17; 1 Kings 7:51; Acts 7:46-50). However, the promises to Abraham (Galatians 3:6-16; Romans 4:13-17; Hebrews 11:13-16) and David (Isaiah 11:1-5; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Romans 1:1-6) were ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ long after their times. In the same way, God can be at work in our lives in ways we do not understand and may not even see in our lifetime.

 

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Victorious in Christ

Scripture says that Christians are victorious (Psalm 91:3-13; Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14). But it also says we shall have troubles in this life (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 1 Peter 4:12,13). How do we put these two together? There are those who claim that if we are just good enough or have enough faith, we will not have any trials in this life. This is clearly contrary to Scripture (Job 1,2; John 9:1-3; Hebrews 11:35-40). But it is easy to fall into a watered-down form of this idea. If we follow God, we will not have any real problems and will be able to easily take the ones we do get in stride. But this again does not fit the picture given in Scripture (2 Corinthians 1:9; 12:7-10; Romans 8:35,36). What then does it mean that we are victors?

 

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Facing Death

Death is not a pleasant subject to contemplate. But sometimes we need to face reality. We live in a society that wants to pretend it does not exist. We use all sorts of methods to stay fit and remain healthy, in hopes of delaying death. We use all manner of cosmetic accessories or surgery to look younger. But life remains nearly 100% fatal. (For the two Biblical exceptions, it had nothing to do with their attempts to remain healthy and fit.) Living in denial does not help. But there is One who has conquered death (1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Romans 1:6; Revelation 1:18) and who offers to do the same for those who put their faith in Him (John 14:19; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Romans 8:11). Sin, death, and hell are 100% curable, if you have the right physician.

 

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Trusting God Through Trouble

The Christian life is not always easy. God takes us in, forgives us, and makes us His children (Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:5-8; Galatians 4:4-7), But we soon learn that we must experience difficult times to reach our goal (Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Romans 18:1). And we need to be willing to trust God to get us through (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalm 37:3-6; 127:1,2). What applies to individual Christians also applies to us as a group. The nation of Israel and its king were given promises by God (Psalm 89:19-29). But they went through tribulations (Psalm 89:38-51) and had to trust God through them (Psalm 89:1-18). The Christian church in this country has been going through difficulties in recent times. How should we respond to this?

 

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