hoping to send podcast tomorrow . . . while recorded, i-cloud malfunctioned
Chicken Little, the sky is not falling – I know because I am winging my way home from a wonderful weekend in Edmond, Oklahoma, where I had the privilege of preaching in two worship services. Just playin', with the Chicken Little reference - hear me out, okay?
‘Wait, hold on . . . you flew, voluntarily . . . now?’
Yes, of course. Have. You. Met. Me.?
Friday, I went to the grocery store in San Clemente and on Saturday, I got to witness the scenarios in three different airports. Needless to say, I saw the same expressions on faces as you have seen on television—people are gripped with fear.
We have all drunk the Kool-Aid of the frantic 24/7 media who have whipped intelligent people into an absolute panic. Don’t judge me yet; if you are reading this, it is because you are somewhere on the spectrum—that is, standing somewhere between a modest faith in God to an unwavering, not-to-be-shaken, no holds barred faith in him.
So could I please have your attention for a few minutes:
Fear is not of God.
‘Come on now . . . everyone is afraid,’ you say… ‘Doesn’t God sometimes speak to us and move us through thoughts of fear?’
No, fear is not of God. Actually, Fear is a wake-up call, Friend.
Segue. If you have never noticed before, it is oft insightful to pay careful attention to folks’ last words, particularly folks you respect. Before he ascended into Heaven, Jesus commissioned his followers with a few words in Acts chapter one, verse eight:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you . . .
Power. Not fear, Friend. Power.
Some of the last words of beloved Paul – teacher, encourager, missionary and martyr -were to his young protégé, Timothy. Besides telling him he should not let older people look down at his youth, he emboldened him with these Holy Spirit-breathed words:
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love of power and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy one, verse seven.
Interpretation: we who know God are to step into that
spirit of love,
that spirit of power,
that spirit of a sound mind and walk confidently.
‘Power?’ you ask. ‘What in the world kind of power do any of us have right now?’
Come on now. (intonation best heard on the podcast- link above) I will remind you what Jesus told his disciples right after he told them he would be leaving them – you remember, back in John’s gospel, chapter 14? Jesus said that it was better for him to go away, because while he had been with them, the Spirit who he would send would be in them - to comfort, guide and even advocate for them. And for you and me too!
Christianity is the only faith or religion in the history of the world where God not only came to live with us, he came to make it possible for us to have relationship with him, and then, get this: he lives today within us. Read that sentence again.
So, power, friends … power? Yes! Paul described it this way:
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. Romans chapter eight, verse 11
In light of the present pandemic, we should of course be wise, we should be cautious and follow expeditious guidelines, as the wisdom of God is prudent, it is discerning, and knowledgeable. In addition, we should apprise ourselves of ways to build our immune systems and the dangers of throwing caution to the wind. However, we should not be given over to fear.
~~>Living in fear is the quickest way to deplete your immune systemWhereas, putting your trust in the God of the universe who has not been caught off guard in any way by the Coronavirus,
will allow you to live free of anxiety and to rest well. <KEY!>
The greatest ‘go to’ scripture in the last year and a half also comes from the quill of Paul, who wrote:
Do not be anxious about anything.
But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
Let your requests be made known to God.
And the God of peace which transcends all understanding
Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.6-7, NIV
Turns out choosing to be grateful …
choosing to be thankful,
improves the body’s natural immunity too.
So, let’s choose to be FAITHfull, not FEARfull.
p.s. I found the attached - a link to a great podcast which includes helpful information by Dr. Josh Axe: https://rhythms-for-life.simplecast.com/episodes/special-dr-josh-axe-py5x48_j
p.s.s. I know that I have recently cited Romans 8.11 and Philippians 4.6-7, albeit in a different translation, but that is because these verse we must bear in mind.