Facing Our Fears

The Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” —Judges 6:12

A mother asked her 5-year-old son to go to the pantry to get her a can of tomato soup. But he refused and protested, “It’s dark in there.” Mom assured Johnny, “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. Jesus is in there.” So Johnny opened the door slowly and seeing that it was dark, shouted, “Jesus, can you hand me a can of tomato soup?”

This humorous story of Johnny’s fear reminds me of Gideon. The Lord appeared to Gideon, calling him a “mighty man of valor” (Judg. 6:12) and then telling him to deliver Israel out of Midian’s hand (v.14). But Gideon’s fearful reply was, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (v.15). Even after the Lord told Gideon that with His help he would defeat the Midianites (v.16), he was still afraid. Then Gideon asked the Lord for signs to confirm God’s will and empowerment (vv.17,36-40). So, why did the Lord address fearful Gideon as a “mighty man of valor”? Because of who Gideon would one day become with the Lord’s help.

We too may doubt our own abilities and potential. But let us never doubt what God can do with us when we trust and obey Him. Gideon’s God is the same God who will help us accomplish all that He asks us to do. By Albert Lee

The Lord provides the strength we need To follow and obey His will; So we don’t need to be afraid That what He asks we can’t fulfill. —Sper

We can face any fear when we know the Lord is with us.

Servant Joseph

Genesis 37:1-17

The story of Joseph is one of my favorites in the Bible. I mention him frequently because there’s so much to learn from this successful young man. As a matter of fact, his youth is an important lesson in and of itself, and today’s passage reveals two of his character traits that we should try to emulate.

First, he demonstrated a servant spirit early in life. In every exchange between Joseph and his father or his masters, he embodied the very picture of respect and discipline. The young man never acted out against those in authority over him; on the contrary, he continually went out of his way to serve others.

Second, Joseph realized at a young age that God was controlling his life. How else can you explain his relentless pursuit of excellence throughout his various trials? Despite all that happened to him, Joseph remembered the divine visions the Father had laid on his heart in his teen years (Gen. 37:5-9). He was convinced that there was a plan for his life and that somehow, sometime, God would reveal what it was.

Whether you are 17 or 77, the lessons of Joseph’s life are valuable. It is never too late to learn the art of service or to recognize God’s perfect plan. Even better, it’s never too late to help someone else discover these things.

The Dreadful Day of the Lord

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5)

This is the next-to-last verse of the Old Testament and so marks the final mention in the Old Testament of the fearsome theme of the Day of the Lord. As the text says, it will be a “great and dreadful day.”

This phrase occurs frequently in the Bible, reminding us over and over again that although God is merciful and longsuffering, He will not remain silent forever. Man’s “day” will end someday, and the day of the Lord will come.

Note some of the other prophecies: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! . . . the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5:18). “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31). “The great day of the LORD . . . is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zephaniah 1:14-15). “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger” (Isaiah 13:9).

The phrase also is repeated in the New Testament, most awesomely of all in 2 Peter 3:10: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (see also 1 Thessalonians 5:2, etc.).

Without trying to sort out the precise sequences and events associated with all such prophecies, it is obvious that the Day of the Lord is a coming time of terrible judgment on all who have rejected or ignored the God who created them. But God’s faithful believers can take great comfort, for then “the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD” (Zechariah 14:9). HMM

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.—Psalm 60:4.

MY cloud of battle-dust may dim,
His veil of splendor curtain Him,
And, in the midnight of my fear,
I may not feel Him standing near:
But, as I lift mine eyes above,
His banner over me is love.

MY son, thou art never secure in this life, but, as long as thou livest, thou shalt always need spiritual armor. Thou oughtest manfully to go through all, and to use a strong hand against whatsoever with-standeth thee. For to him that overcometh is manna given, and for the indolent there remaineth much misery. Dispose not thyself for much rest, but for great patience. Wait for the Lord, behave thyself manfully, and be of good courage; do not distrust Him, do not leave thy place, but steadily expose both body and soul for the glory of God. THOMAS Á KEMPIS.

Where is the way that light dwelleth?

Where is the way that light dwelleth? Job 38:19

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. — As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. — The Father … hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. — Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 John 1:5. John 9:5. 1 John 1:6,7. Colossians 1:12-14. 1 Thessalonians 5:5. Matthew 5:14,16.

That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death

That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death. Hebrews 2:14

Our Saviour Jesus Christ … hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. — He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD shall wipe away the tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 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.

2 Timothy 1:10. Isaiah 25:8. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57. 2 Timothy 1:7. Psalm 23:4.