Monday, November 23, 2015

Do Not Be Afraid

I watched the news like everyone else did. The stories coming at us through the television screen hurt deeply. There was disbelief. I could almost hear the cry of the atheists, "How could a loving God allow this to happen?"

The evil that exists in our world is very real, very frightening and is seemingly everywhere. So how do we make it through each day? How do we manage to stay sane when the world around us seems to be going crazy? Let's explore that, my friends, with a few Bible verses. First is this . . .

"4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." - 2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan controls this world and the people who do not know God. Remember that, ALWAYS, as you watch the news. Satan is doing this stuff! And now, one more chunk of scripture to absorb into our minds and into our hearts. A prayer offered by Jehoshaphat as they were about to be attacked by three armies all at once. The people of Jerusalem gathered together at the temple and Jehoshaphat prayed this prayer.

"5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! 7 O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8 Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. 9 They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’

10 “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. 11 Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” - 2 Chronicles 20:5-12

That certainly sounds like a prayer that we might offer up to God these days. Did you catch the line in verse five that said "the community of Judah and Jerusalem?" The entire nation of Israel came and prayed! When was the last time we as a nation did something like that? 9/11? This is how God responded as He spoke through one of the men standing there - Jahaziel.

"15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

The nation prayed, God answered, and then God delivered.

"24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped." - 2 Chronicles 20:24

The solution to the world's problems can be found in this story. It can be found throughout the Bible!

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." - John 14:1-6

The lesson brought forth in this story is one that needs to be remembered and preached to the world today. When people talk about ISIS and they talk about terrorism, explain to them the ways of the Lord. Tell them about the safety and shelter they will find in the arms of Christ. That knowledge, that saving faith, is something this world desperately needs to know.


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