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Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 1

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.

I am the first to admit that, at times, I am scared.  I don’t know what the future holds for my family, my country and my self.

It is during times like this that I realize how blessed I have been in life.  There was a time terrorism was insignificant in the world, our nation was being blessed economically, socially and spiritually. Life still contained personal trials and heart aches, but  I had the strength and health that was necessary to face any task that was at hand, in general, life was good.  Sadly, looking back, I realize I did not appreciate the blessings I was given.

I  have no one to blame but myself.  I didn’t count my blessings and now, as I grow older, I begin to see these temporal blessings falling by the wayside.  As these blessings begin slip away, anxiety, stress and fear fill the void.

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:

Isa 41:10 (KJV)

Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 Ps 27

1) [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?

 THE STUDY:

PRINCIPLE #1 – Our God Is With Us During The Fearful Times of Our Lives…

As we face the troublesome times of our lives three basic issues produce the feelings of fear that we experience…

  1. feelings of isolation (no one knows what I am facing, no one can remedy my situation, no one cares about me)
  2. feelings of confusion (why is this happening to me? What should I have done differently?, what can I do now to change my situation?) and finally,
  3. feelings of inability (my circumstances are out of my control, I cannot continue on under this burden, I’ve done all I can and it has not helped)

In our text (Isa 41:10), we are given insight into overcoming all three issues that produce our anxiety and fear.

“Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee:” –

#1 -feelings of isolation – Remember our gracious Lord is ALWAYS with His people. We are never alone as we face the many fearful times in our life.  He is with us, holding our hand through the difficult times that we face.

Do we remember Psalms 23?  It is perhaps the most familiar portion of Scripture known to man.  Within the verses this Psalm we find verse 4:  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

How about Psalms 57:1?  “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.”

Throughout a lifetime of trials and anxious moments, David had come to an understanding that His Lord was ALWAYS with him and that He was the refuge to whom David would flee.

“be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God:”

#2 – feelings of confusion – Remember our Lord is with us to lead and guide us through our troublesome times.  Although we may not understand the path we should take during these times, our Lord does know and He will lead us on a daily basis.  Although confusion may abound as we try to “figure things out”, our Lord will be our mainstay and compass, directing us through the indwelling Spirit to the right path to take.

David wrote about this principle in Psalm 18:28 – “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”   When we are in the middle of the dark times of our life, it is much like being in a darkened room.  We cannot see what lies ahead of us, nor can we perceive how to proceed.   But  David understood, as we can understand, that the Lord, through His Spirit, would enlighten His path.

“I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

#3 – feelings of inability” – Remember, our God is the all-powerful Creator and Lord of heaven and earth.  There is nothing our God cannot do.  He can intervene and change even the most hopeless situations that we may face.   It is during the times of our greatest weaknesses and inabilities that our Lord can display His greatest acts of power and sovereignty.

Paul understood this principle as he came to a point of acceptance of his physical infirmities in 2 Cor 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Isaiah during the course of his prophetic ministry had faced persecution, rejection, mockery all while being ignored by almost his entire nation.  It was only through the many experiences of rejection and seeming failure that Isaiah came to understand this important principle found in Isaiah 40:28-31…

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. “

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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If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Have We No Shame?

SIH STSTA ICON“Sir, have you no shame?” …This question is said to have been used during the questioning of Sen Joseph McCarthy by Joseph Welch during the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954.  In reality, this question was never posed to the Senator.  The actual quote from Welch is as follows… “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” (see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy)

Although this question may have never been asked in 1954…  I believe that now is its time.   What better question could bring into focus the current state of the world in which we live?

Today, the murder of unborn infants is justified by the excuse that the unborn are only a part of their mother’s body, when their DNA clearly shows they are a separate human being.

Today, we see the perversion of homosexuality becoming an acceptable lifestyle, while standing against this sin is being publically described as “bigoted” or “hateful” by “gay rights” groups.

The immorality of conceiving a child out of wedlock, is being trumpeted as valued female independence.  Deceit, in order to advance in the workplace, is now a fact of life and looked upon as a sign of being “aggressive” or “hungry”.

Cheating on the part of our professional athletes has become as common as the lies that are told to cover up the cheating.

The removal of God’s Word from our schools, public places and government is being explained as being “politically correct”, while in reality it is “spiritually wicked”.

A multitude of sins are excused away with no thought of assigning responsibility, nor punishing the wrongdoing.

The morals that used to receive honor and respect are now looked upon with ridicule and distain.

The list goes on and on.

Does our nation not see the shredding of our moral fiber, and the resulting shame we have brought upon ourselves?  Do we not, even now, feel the grave results of this type of behavior in our nation?  Do we not see how we have taken the morals graciously given to us from our Lord, and trampled them under foot?

Again, may I ask “Have We No Shame?”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jer 6:15-16)

THE STUDY:

Long ago the prophet Jeremiah, under the inspiration of the Lord, addressed this issue of a nation who no longer felt shame for their evil deeds.  In the context, Jeremiah addressed the Southern kingdom of Judah, by calling their attention to the heinous sin that had overtaken their society.  What was that sin?  They had left the truths God had given to them, and began living according to what seemed right in their own eyes. (Provs 30:12)   (The condition of Judah during this time period mirrors the condition of our country today.)

Jeremiah 6:15-16 is a short part of the message that The Lord had given Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah…

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:

 

One of the main problems in Judah was lacking sorrow for the sin they were committing.  They had become so hardened toward their Lord, that they were able to commit sinful acts with no shame, nor regret.  It was as if they no longer cared about their Lord’s desire for their nation, but had chosen to turn their back on Him.  In doing so, they were living according to their own set of morals and became blinded to the desires of their God.

 

therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

 

This is the path they had placed themselves on… the path of imminent destruction.  Remember, the Lord had graciously given them His law to aid them and keep them pure and safe.  The morals of the Lord are beneficial to those who live by them.   When Judah chose to turn their backs on His laws, they were turning their back on their own safety, security and aid.   The Lord would now allow them to continue down the path of their choosing until they would end up as captives to the empire of Babylon. Who was to blame for their downfall?… only Judah.  The Lord had shown them the way of safety, they choose to depart from it, and in doing so, they were writing their own ticket to captivity.

This is the exact condition of our nation… we are going down a path that will eventually lead to our downfall.  We can see this on every hand as our nation struggles with economic, political, security, environmental, and most importantly, spiritual ills.

 

Thus saith the LORD,

 

The Lord gives the only true solution to the problems that Judah was facing.  This solution is divided into three distinct parts:

Part #1Stand ye in the ways, and see

 

Recognize the condition they were in.  By looking back at their history and God’s past blessings to them, they would be able to clearly see the sinful acts being committed in their nation.  They could recognize how horribly they had trodden on His gracious acts for them.  By remembering the blessed times, they could see all the blessings that had slipped away, and the grave situation they were now facing.

Part #2 –  and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,

After seeing their need to turn from their wickedness, their next step was to seek out the truths of His Word once again.

Part #3and walk therein,

 

It is not enough for a nation to “go through the motions” of religion.  The truths of God’s Word must be applied by the citizenry.  As the members of the nation turn back to the old ways and realigning their lives to follow God’s Word, you have true national repentance taking place.

 

and ye shall find rest for your souls.

It is only this type of sincere, practical acceptance of the laws of God, that a nation can be delivered from its downward spiral of disobedience and loss of blessings.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For our Nation….

But they said, We will not walk therein.

What a sad conclusion Judah came to, after all of the Lord’s patience, after His grace and kindness towards them, they failed by not seizing their opportunity for repentance.  When push came to shove, they could not bring themselves to turn from their ways and seek to do what was right.

Just as Judah had reached a point of decision making before God, so, too, our nation is facing the same time of reckoning.  With the current economic, political and spiritual problems in our nation today, we now see the handwriting on the wall.  There is very little doubt as to what our nation faces if it continues on the path it has chosen.  Now is the time…  The Lord has placed before our nation a simple, yet extremely important choice, it can be summarized by the following two passages…

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! …

Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”  (Isa 5:20-24)

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;…

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Ch 7:13-14)

United States, which path will you choose to follow?

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If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”