Category Archives: Christian Living

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.”

Part 3: Build your House in ’09

The Roof

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve worked on our “house”.  First we laid the foundation with the Word of God, http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=5 next we built the walls through the Power of Prayer http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=26 .  Now it’s time to put the roof on and start to tie the house together.  The roof of our house will be built through the worship of our Lord and Savior.  For this discussion, I want to focus on the act of “corporate” worship and posture of our heart as we individually worship throughout our daily activities.  So what is worship, where do we worship and how do we go about it?  Why is it so important?  One author says this about worship:

“Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mind set. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others, it’s occasional visits to special services. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We’ll try anything — until something else comes along.”

Does the tourist mindset describe your worship?  Hopefully you’re not just going through the motions, dragging yourself into church once or twice a week because you feel obligated.  No, instead it should be an opportunity to come together as a church body and worship God.  Just as we mentioned in the Prayer blog, worship is all about the posture of your heart.  17th century author Matthew Henry describes it this way, “It is not enough for us to be where God is worshipped, if we do not ourselves worship him, and that not with bodily exercise only, which profits little, but with the heart.”  Our heart should be defined by gladness and joy, seeking to worship the Lord in the “splendor of His holiness”. Psalm 29:2 Psalm 96:9 Psalm 100:2  We read in Hebrews that not only should we be filled with joy, but likewise present ourselves before the Lord with a reverent heart.  Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”  Because of this attitude of our hearts, worship need not be confined to a building or structure, although this is primarily where our corporate worship takes place.  In Acts 17:24-25 we learn that, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”  When we come together in corporate worship, the church “body” not the church “building” serves as the place of worship.  After all, the church body is the body of Christ. 

When we unite in the House of the Lord for corporate worship, with the correct posture of heart, the Bible gives us some insight into how to act or what should take place.  Our worship is a time to glorify the Lord through song, prayer, and to receive instruction from the Word of God.  I Corinthians 14:26 describes it the following way, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”  But is this worship merely confined to one day of the week?  I think one common misconception is that a “church service” is the only time of worship; before and after service we continue on with our daily lives.  I’ve been guilty of this attitude in the past.  We sit through an hour or two of service, feel somewhat convicted for the sins in our lives or the distance that’s come between us and God due to that sin and then we leave going on with our “old self” until the next week’s service.  Worship simply cannot be a week to week “activity”.  Early 20th century preacher/author A.W. Tozer illustrates it this way, “If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.”  That’s pretty a profound statement.  Think about exactly what that statement says.  More importantly, think about it next time you feel worship is only on Sunday mornings.

Worshipping the Lord throughout our daily lives can sometimes be difficult because we allow ourselves to be consumed with work and routine activities.  But what I think the problem for so many of us is perspective.  Rather than trying to create a specific time for structured worship, we should focus on creating an atmosphere of worship.  Much like the prayer discussion, I think we can worship without ceasing when this atmosphere is created.  What I mean by this is that it’s ok to go to that meeting or write that paper, bathe the kids, or prepare dinner.  But when we create the atmosphere of worship, we can carry a song of worship in our hearts, praise the Lord when we’re walking to that meeting, or pray just to praise Him.  Hey there’s a concept – praying without asking for anything, but just to glorify the name of the Almighty!

There is no doubt that a lack of worship in our lives, just like prayer, can significantly impact our walk with God.  A house cannot have just a foundation and still stand.  It has to also have strong walls, and a well-built roof that pulls everything together.  Each part is dependent on the other.  It’s this “roof” of worship that allows us to glorify the Lord in song and praise and to also receive His instructions for our lives.  Worship can be corporate with the church body, but should also be something individual that’s not only on Sunday, but everyday.  Andrew W. Blackwood offers this reflection, “The time has come for a revival of public worship as the finest of the fine arts…While there is a call for strong preaching there is even a greater need for uplifting worship.”  The Bible tells us that in everything we do, do all for the glory of the Lord I Corinthians 10:31, this includes worship.  In closing, I want to leave you with the divinely inspired words of the Apostle Paul, Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Have a Blessed Day!