VIDEO Fear Not – He Who!

For I, the Lord Your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

It’s often said there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible—that is, there are 365 times when that phrase occurs. Sorry to dispel the notion, but in the King James Version of the Bible, there are only 71 occurrences of that phrase. In the New King James Version, there are 11, including Isaiah 41:13.

But no worries! Anything the Lord tells us even once is infallible. Plus, think of all the other similar phrases that fill God’s Word, like: “Do not fret” (Psalm 37:1); “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27); “Fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4); “Be not dismayed” (Isaiah 41:10); “Be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6); “Do not worry” (Matthew 6:25), and so forth.

When you add up all the reassurances God gives us in the Bible, 365 is a low estimate! Of the Bible’s more than 31,000 verses, hundreds and hundreds of them comfort us in fearful times.

Christ’s presence delivers us from all our fears every moment of every hour of every day.

We cannot go where God is not. Look over your shoulder; that’s God following you. Look into the storm; that’s Christ coming toward you. Max Lucado

He Who! – Part 1 // Isaiah 41:1-29

We’re Not God

In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god. ”Ezekiel 28:2

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis recommended asking ourselves some questions to find out if we’re proud: “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, . . . or patronize me, or show off?” Lewis saw pride as a vice of the “utmost evil” and the chief cause of misery in homes and nations. He called it a “spiritual cancer” that eats up the very possibility of love, contentment, and even common sense.

Pride has been a problem throughout the ages. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God warned the leader of the powerful coastal city of Tyre against his pride. He said the king’s pride would result in his downfall: “Because you think you are . . . as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you” (Ezekiel 28:6–7). Then he would know he wasn’t a god, but a mortal (v. 9).

In contrast to pride is humility, which Lewis named as a virtue we receive through knowing God. Lewis said that as we get in touch with Him, we become “delightedly humble,” feeling relieved to be rid of the silly nonsense about our own dignity that previously made us restless and unhappy.

The more we worship God, the more we’ll know Him and the more we can humble ourselves before Him. May we be those who love and serve with joy and humility.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How did you answer Lewis’ questions about whether or not you’re proud? Did that surprise you? Why or why not?

Almighty God, help me to revel in my identity as one You created, knowing You are great and mighty and yet You love me.

When We Don’t Understand

Job 23

Starting at a very early age, children will repeatedly ask their parents the question Why? And this desire for reasons isn’t something we outgrow. As adults, especially during dark times when we cannot figure out what the Lord is doing, we tend to think, If I could just know whythen it would be easier to bear.

In his extreme suffering, Job experienced pain and frustration at God’s silence. He longed to present his case and hear what the Lord had to say. But when God did not immediately respond, Job nevertheless clung to Him and relied upon what he knew to be true: “He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Like Job, we should channel our emotions and responses through the truth of God’s Word. Otherwise, we might be tempted to doubt our Father’s goodness and love, since they aren’t readily visible in times of hardship. But if we trust in what the Scriptures reveal about God’s character and ways, we can endure affliction faithfully, whether or not He ever explains why. After all, God never guaranteed us answers during our time on earth, but He did promise to be with us.

With Christ

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3)

The apostle Paul, looking forward to the time when we shall “ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), wrote: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:23-24).

The fact is, however, that we can be “with Christ” even while still abiding in the flesh, as Paul himself emphasized. This is the great principle called positional truth. “Positionally,” we are already “with Christ,” for that is where God sees us and how He relates to us. He has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Before we could be raised up with Christ, however, we first had to die with Him. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). God even saw us as buried with Christ when He was buried, and this is the great truth symbolized in our baptism. “We are buried with him by baptism into death” (Romans 6:4).

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more” (Romans 6:8-9). He died for us, so our deserved death became His substitutionary death, and His victorious resurrection becomes our own unmerited deliverance from death in eternal resurrection life. This is our position now, and our assured everlasting possession then, for we are with Christ, who “dieth no more.”

This truth is not only a wonderful doctrine, but as we see in our text, a focus for our thoughts, and real incentive for godly living. HMM

The Soul in the Body

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. —1 Corinthians 12:18

Let us review something here that we probably know: the doctrine of the life and operation of Christian believers on earth—starting with the fact that the Christian church is the body of Christ, Jesus Himself being the Headship of that body. Every true Christian, no matter where he or she lives, is a part of that body, and the Holy Spirit is to the church what our own souls are to our physical bodies. Through the operation of the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes the life, the unity and the consciousness of the body, which is the church. Let the soul leave the physical body and all the parts of the body cease to function. Let the Spirit be denied His place in the spiritual body, and the church ceases to function as God intended….

According to the Bible, the whole body exists for its members and the members exist for the whole body. And that, of course, is the reason God gives gifts, so that the body may profit spiritually and maintain spiritual health and prosperity in its service for Jesus Christ in an unfriendly world.   TRA014-016

Lord, I pray today that we in our church might be aware of Your presence, that we might be faithfully exercising the gifts You have given and that we might be a healthy Body that pleases You. Amen.

Midwives in the Henhouse

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.—John 1:13

I was once a farm boy. I learned that when it came time for eggs to hatch, we did well not to help the process along. The chick that had been helped in its birth could be spotted every time. It was weak, and it walked with a stagger.

But that is what we do with the penitents who want to get right with God. Well-meaning people kneel down with the seeking sinners, find a Bible text and pray away until they see a little sign of life. Then, like eager midwives in the henhouse, they pull the penitents from their shells, dry them off, write down their names as converts—and later wonder why they do not develop.

But when the Holy Spirit brings penitents to the new birth, they bounce out into the world healthy and howling. Their sins are forgiven; their burdens have been lifted! FBR082

The will in man is the point of contact which God acts upon us, and, like the helm and the engine of the vessel, it is the directing and impelling power of life….They greatly err who look for its sphere in the emotions. Its seat is in the will. A clear, calm, inflexible choice is the mightiest element in the life of faith. SI215

To One Sorrowing

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

By the time this is in your hands, the first days of stunning grief will have passed. You will take up the threads of each day’s duty, while you face afresh every morning, and take home to your heart every evening, that sense of emptiness which seems almost to swallow up the things that remain.

You must face life—life with that sense of emptiness in it—life with that other life gone out of it. But, my dear child, if God is to be glorified, you must face it in such a way that the shadow lies behind, and not ahead. Your spirit must not dwell in the darkness of the grave, but in the light of heaven. You must not walk through life holding death’s icy hand, but holding to a living faith that, in the very presence of death, warms your heart with a hope that has its kindlings in the everlasting love of the unchanging Father.

Sorrows must come; we know that. We are reconciled even to the thought that to follow Jesus means a multiplying rather than a lessening of our griefs. How could it be otherwise when He was “a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV)?

It seems to me that grief is like a furnace—it either refines or destroys; like a mighty wind, it either tears up by the roots the faith of years, or, sweeping over it, leaves it strengthened and established. You must decide which it shall be. The attitude of your soul, not the storm of sorrow that sweeps over it, will determine whether you remain rooted and grounded; the spirit in your heart, not the furnace of affliction through which it passes, will determine whether you come forth as gold.

If now you turn your eyes on yourself, on your loss, on your own broken hopes, you will walk in the shadow. But if you turn your eyes away from yourself to God, you will walk in the light, leaving the shadow behind.

I cannot explain why weeping with another dries my own tears, but it does; nor why sharing another’s load should make me less conscious of my own, but it does; nor how putting out my hand to save someone else from stumbling in their sorrow keeps my foot from slipping, but it does.

Faith is the only soil in which a sorrow planted with bleeding hands and watered by bitter tears could ever spring up to blossom with new hope and joy for you, and to bring forth good fruit abundantly.

Catherine Bramwell-Booth, Messages to the Messengers