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Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 2

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SIH STSTA ICONAnyone who is familiar with the current events of the day, realize that we are living in fearful times.

Terrorism; our nation’s debt, crime, and unemployment; the decrease in value of our homes, investments, savings and retirement plans; shortages of oil and food;  the recent rash of  floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes; personal tragedies and trials, the loss of health, the loss of strength that comes with aging or sickness… all of these, and many others, produce anxiety, fear, and in some cases panic, in the hearts and minds of us all.

So what are we to do in these troubled times?  What is the answer to fear in the hearts of someone who has lost their job, is facing the foreclosure of their home and, perhaps, does not know where their next meal is coming from?  What about those who are suffering the loss of a loved one through death or divorce? Even worse, what can possibly take away the anxiety and stress that stems from losing a loved one who was the sole provider for the family? What comfort can be given to someone who is facing failing health with no medical reason to believe things will get better?

By God’s grace, over the next few blog entries we will be looking into the Word of God to see what comfort we can find during these catastrophic times of our life.  In our 3-part study we will be looking at three basic principles:

  1. Realize that the fearful times will remind us of God’s presence in our lives.  He is always with us.
  2. Realize that the fearful times fulfill a purpose in our lives. It opens doors of opportunity to us.
  3. Realize that the fearful times will come to an end.  A glorious eternity awaits us.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Dan 4:34-35 – “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Ps 40

1) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2) He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.

3) And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

4)Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.

Ps 64:9-10 (KJV)

9) And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.

10) The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

THE STUDY:

PRINCIPLE #2 – Our God Has A Purpose For Every Fearful Time of Our Life…

As Christians, we all need to understand that our Lord controls all events in our lives.  Even wicked King Nebuchadnezzar, after having received a divine work of grace in his heart came to understand the absolute authority of the Lord….

 Dan 4:34-35 – “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

 With acceptance and understanding of this truth comes the acknowledgment that all the events of our life are either caused, or allowed by the Lord.  In the book of Job, we find the perfect example of the will of allowance exercised by the Lord in the lives of those who have trusted in him.  In this example, the Lord allows Satan to intervene in the life of Job within limits set by God…

 Job 1:6-12 – “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them… Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

 Job 2:1-6 – “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD…  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.”

 Even Satan, himself, is limited in his workings by our Lord.  The Lord restrains and controls Satan limiting the extent of his interaction with God’s people.  This principle applies to every event that takes place in our lives…. the Lord either causes the event, or He allows the event to take place in our lives.

Knowing that the Lord is in control of all things, leads us to our next question. “If our Lord is in control of every event in my life, why does He allow the fearful times to come?”  There is a simple answer to this question, as well as a more complex answer.  Let’s look at the simple answer first….  The Bible is clear, everything the Lord allows in the life of His people is for their benefit…

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”

 As His people, we can know for certain that everything that takes place in our lives is allowed for our benefit.  In one way shape or form we will gain by going through this time of anxiety, doubt, and fear.

 Now for the more complex answer to our question, “Why does God allow the fearful times of our lives?”

#1 – These difficult times in our lives are used by Him to get our attention.

We all live in a busy world.  Unfortunately, for many of us, we get so busy that we do not take the time to listen to the leading of the Spirit in our lives. The Lord uses the fearful times in our lives to bring us back to Him and to be more receptive to His leadings through studying His Word.  When fears enter our lives they drive us to our knees approaching Him in prayer.  As we come to Him in prayer and Bible study, we come listening and willing to obey His will.  The prophet Hosea makes this clear for us in Hosea 5:15, as he describes the reason for the dark times Israel was facing….

I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. “

 Why does He need to get our attention?  Many times, during the course of our lives we allow sin to creep into our lives, or we cling to tightly to a possession in our life, we have gradually drifted away from Him.   As we seek His face through prayer and Bible study, He shows us His will and  guides us to a closer walk with Him.

#2 – These difficult times are placed in our lives to prepare us for greater service to Him.

The Lord uses the fearful times of our lives to strengthen us and prepare us for future service for Him.

The fearful times of our lives can be used to increase our faith, teach us to count our blessings, to   under the importance of spiritual blessings and minimize the importance of temporal blessings.   Also, these times draw us closer to Him, and gives us a firm foundation of experience in His will and ways.

In Ps 64:9-10, we find several aspects of this principle… “And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

When we come face to face with His power and glory we will become better witnesses for Him.  Why? It is during these hard times of life that we begin to consider His workings and dwell on His purposes, as well as His greatness and gracious intervention in our lives.   This, then, leads us to a greater trust in Him, more gladness during the hard times and an increase in glory and honor to Him.

All of these characteristics are used by Him to make us better servants.

# 3 – These difficult times come in our lives to prepare us for future trials to come.

We live in a fallen world.  We live in a world that is slowly decaying due to the affects of sin.  This is a very sad, yet true fact of life.  Because sin exists and its affects upon us,  we will always be faced with hard times in our life.  Many times the Lord allows us to go through hard times now so that we will be built up to face future trials.

Let’s look at the life of the young boy David.   When David was a young boy he was given the responsibility care for his father’s sheep.  During his tenure as shepherd, David was faced with great trials.  At different times, David was faced with protecting the sheep during attacks by predator animals.  Specifically, a bear and a lion attacked his flock.  At the time these attacks took place, David was faced with dark, fearful life experiences.  He had to risk His own life to protect the sheep he had been called to protect.

It was these dark events in his life that prepared him for an even greater fearful event…. facing the giant Goliath.

Remember the account of David facing Goliath?  Please notice what David said in 1 Samuel 17:32-37…

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”

 Clearly, we can see that David’s dark times of facing a bear and a lion had prepared him for the future fearful time of facing the giant Goliath.   Could it be that the current trials we are facing in life are being allowed by God to gradually build us up for greater trials that lie ahead?  This is a real possibility.  If this is so, it is a wonderful display of our Lord’s love for us.  He loves us so much, He is taking the time to prepare us and equip us, so we can handle the future dark times of our lives.  David recognized this fact about the Lord in Psa 121:5-8…

The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

 What a great Lord we serve, He uses even the fearful times of our lives to help us and prepare us for the future…. To God be the glory great things He hath done.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have seen that the Bible clearly promises that the fearful times in our lives do not have to overcome us.  We can be victorious even when we are in the midst of these dark, seemingly hopeless situations that we face….

How can we know if this promise applies to us?  David, in Psalm 27:1, touches on this subject.

[A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

 In these verses, David links his relationship to God with the application of His promises to us.  David describes his relationship to God as “the LORD is my light and my salvation”.  David here says that the Lord has given him the “light” of knowledge and understanding of the truth of His Word.  He goes further and says that the Lord is his “salvation”.

It is only when we have been enlightened with the truths of His Word and we have received deliverance from our sins, that we can apply His promises to our lives.  Have you ever been forgiven of your sins?  Have you ever come to Him understanding your spiritual needs and His divine supplies?

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

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4 Comments

  1. Patti (PJ) says:

    Hey Rob! I am loving this series of lessons. It is helping me so much. For some reasonh, I always remember David and Goliath of course, but I forget about the Bear and Lion. Maybe this will help me to remember and be one of my examples I use in the future. The shape of the world comes up a lot in conversations I have with people. They don’t understand why I always say I’m not afraid. Even though we live in perilous times as long as we know God is in control and we have faith in Him we have no reason to be afraid. I guess part of my thinking comes from not having children to worry about. I’m sure it would be harder to feel this way if I had children and grandchildren depending on me to live and show them the way to God righteousness. As it is, I’m not good at remembering scriptures for everything I say, (I wish I was) but I just continually tell people that fear is NOT of God, and that He has everything under control. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, this is ALL in His Plans.
    Congratulations on the new job. I hope you will enjoy it. I know you must have prayed about it, so it was in God’s Will. May you find peace, and prosperity in your new employment.
    God Bless, You and Your’s,
    PJ

    • Rob Barkman says:

      PJ,

      Thanks for the kind comments. Yep, I have to agree with you…. we really hav eno need to fear because our Lord is in control. The problem is, because we are swtill in our sinful flesh, we have a tendency, at times to take our eyes off the Lord and begin to fret and worry. That’s why it is important for us to be reminding other Christians, and ourselves, about the need to not fear when trials come our way. I have a family to take care of so a job was really no option for me. I’m just very grateful after being unemployed that the Lrod has seen fit to give my a job that takes care of my families needs.

      May the Lord bless you PJ.

      Rob

  2. Hi Rob – (I’ve been away for a while and trying to catch up)

    One of the biggest joys of the Christian is that we KNOW that whatever happens in our life, God is in control. He is totally trustworthy and has supplied ALL we need to live a victorious Christian life.

    Fear is faith in satan and he is defeated.
    Faith is trust in God and He CANNOT be defeated.

    Angela

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Angela,

      I hope your away time was enjoyable and not one that was simply of necessity.

      About the Lord being in control… you are ABSOLUTELY correct. I find I have to remind myself of that everyday, I guess it is due to my sinful flesh and getting too caught up with the troubles in the world.

      I am just so thnakful we have a wonderful Lord to run to in these troublesome times.

      May the Lord continue to bless you Angela.

      Rob

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