All posts by John

Christian saved by grace through faith.

Fear Not!

Has anyone been watching the news recently?  Seen the headlines?  Everything seems to be fear driven, filled with words like crisis, turmoil, recession, collapse.  Everything is fear, fear, fear!  It’s being forced on us like it’s how we are supposed to feel.  As if we have no other choice but to fear.  In fact, as Christians, fear is the exact opposite emotion we should feel.  In Ken Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus, “Fear is a complete anti-God state of mind.  It is a good thing turned bad.”  Fear is all around us, especially these days, and if not dismissed, it will devour us.  Need a quick example, look no further than our fear-driven stock market that’s full of speculation and uncertainty.  Take a look at the definition of fear from Merriam-Webster: 1) an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger 2) anxious concern 3) profound reverence and awe especially towards God.  Interesting how the first 2 definitions are anti-God, while the third is of God.  Sounds like two diametrically opposed definitions, yet they both come from the same word. 

In accordance with fear, we need to look at how fear is spread.  When someone promotes something undesirable, the dictionary defines them as a “monger.”  Combining this idea with our thoughts on fear and we get “fear-monger” defined as one who gets great joy and excitement by making others fear him.  Who’s “him?” Well since fear is the anti-God, we can surmise that this emotion is from Satan.  It’s the exact opposite of hope and trust in God.  Fear has often been referred to as the devil’s faith.  Pretty powerful!  An unknown author provides the following acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  I think that says it all right there.  If this is true, why then do we allow it to control us?  Why do we even tolerate the thought of fear in our media obsessed world?  The answer is quite simple… when fear motivates us, it creates within us a humanistic worldview and forces us to remove our trust in God.  This is what the world is all about.   I chose to classify fear as humanism because when we get trapped in the snares of fear we begin to turn to ourselves and think “what am I going to do,” “how am I going to solve this,” or we take the proverbial ostrich approach and bury our head in the sand, hoping that the fearful situation will soon pass.  As Ken Blanchard states, “Being agitated by fear into fight-or-flight thinking and behavior is life threatening in the most personal and profound way.”

In his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  While this has become a very famous quote and strangely enough was given during the bank panic of 1933, this quote is not entirely true.  The only thing we have to fear is the Lord God Almighty.  The bible tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 English author William Gurnall poses this thought, “We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”  What does that say about our society and how far we’ve fallen?  What does it say about us when panic and fear rule our lives?  We’ve allowed man to create fear in our lives because of our inadequate fear of God.  The goal of fear is to create instability comparable to building your house on the sand.  We know what happens when our house is built on sand… it collapses.  Only when our foundation is built on the rock are we able to stand.  Matthew 7:24-27  When we fear God, there’s no room for fear of anything else.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 During the midst of our current storm and the ones to come, do not be fearful, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me [Jesus].” John 14:1 As Jesus teaches us, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:4-5

Psalm 112:1-10 “Praise the Lord.  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.  His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.  Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.  Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.  Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.  He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.  The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.”

Pennington finds Spirituality in ’08

In 2008, Chad Pennington revived his NFL career and was rewarded with his second comeback player of the year award.  After 8 up and down seasons with the New York Jets, Pennington was cut prior to the ’08 season and was signed by the 1-15 Miami Dolphins.  Pennington displayed his strong leadership skills by orchestrating an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs.  But it wasn’t this change of scenery that led to the resurgence of him and his team.  It was his total submission to God.  A local newspaper Daily Mail near Chad’s alma mater, Marshall University, details a radio interview from Sports Spectrum last week where Pennington shared the following, “I have been playing football a long time and I have considered myself a Christian for a long time,” said Pennington.  “But this season is the first season that I felt like I totally let go of my career and let the Lord have control of it. It was the most rewarding year I have had in the NFL because I felt I grew closer to the Lord.”  Chad realized it’s not enough to just be a Christian without fully trusting in the Lord.  In our lives it’s often easy to say, “I am a Christian”, while still selfishly having our own agenda.  It’s only when we submit to the will of God that we are truly able to move forward and grow spiritually.  What are you holding on to?  Wouldn’t it just be easier to let go and turn everything over to God? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Christian Music gets Counselor suspended

For a few weeks now, I’ve been reading stories about a Christian persecution taking place overseas.  I’m not talking about remote countries where tribes are fighting daily, or a radical Muslim group, this persecution has been taking place in Great Britain.  Let me just provide you with a brief overview of the latest two:

February 12, 2009 – U.K. A school secretary’s 5 year old daughter who mentioned the name of Jesus was scolded by her teacher for doing so.  Because her daughter became so upset over the matter, the mother emailed a prayer request about the situation to some of her friends at church.  The school found out about the “prayer email” and now the secretary faces disciplinary action for professional misconduct because of both her and her daughter’s profession of faith. WND

February 2, 2009 – U.K. A Christian nurse was suspended for failing to display “personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity.”  Her crime?  The community nurse visited an elderly woman and asked the patient if she could pray for her, to which the patient said no.  When she returned home that day, she found a message on her answering machine stating that she had been suspended without pay and would be forced to attend a disciplinary meeting.  She has since been reinstated. WND

I don’t recall hearing either of these in the mainstream media, as they were likely dismissed as trivial, but there are patterns of this behavior that are beginning to take shape.  Which is why I wasn’t surprised when I heard the latest story of Christian persecution.  Except this time it happened in the United States, specifically in California.  The story broke in 2006, also not covered in the mainstream media, but a lawsuit was filed just last week on behalf of a veteran youth counselor, for abused/abandoned children, who was suspended 6 weeks without pay.  Her crime, “exposing children to unapproved religious activities.”  You might be thinking, “Who is she to be preaching to kids about her faith?  Those children could have different beliefs and she shouldn’t try to influence them.”  Maybe, only she wasn’t preaching or sharing her own faith.  The counselor had taken four teenage girls on an approved field trip to the Anaheim 5k run and then to the beach.  While there, the group watched a surfing contest from the pier and overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  Let me repeat that, the group overheard a few minutes of Christian music.  This resulted in the suspension of the youth counselor. The counselor has since filed suit on February 13, 2009, for religious discrimination. ChristianPost

I know these are just three incidents and there are a lot more, many of which are happening in countries of our closest allies, but many also are happening here in the U.S.  This isn’t a pattern that is short-lived or isolated.  I believe this is what is coming.  I don’t say that to strike fear in the heart of anyone, but for it to serve as a wake-up call to Christians everywhere.  Now is the time to strengthen your faith, return to church, begin reading your Bible and praying. 

Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”