Three Categories of Forgiveness and Reconciliation Reconciliation not neededReconciliation requiredReconciliation not possible Main idea: Cultivate a forgiving disposition to keep a path to relational r...
The young mom before me was so nervous she could hardly speak. She wanted to believe God and obey Him by trusting Him, but her concern about how the future would turn out was robbing any peace she once had. My heart went out to her.
I'd been invited to a mom’s group to speak on the topic of fear. I prayed and prepared with their list of questions in mind:
My heart was heavy for them. Of course they are scared! I feel scared sometimes, too, and I am an “older woman” in the church!
The world has always been unpredictable; suffering is not new. And the last three years have exploded with fear and uncertainty. It began with, “Have you heard about that cold in China?” Then came lockdowns, masks, vaccines, and social and economic upheaval. Earlier this year, I asked our dad if he had ever experienced anything like this (he is 84), and he said, “No, not at all.”
The recent shooting In Uvalde magnified real fear we can all have. Many are beginning to wonder if life as we once knew it is gone forever. People of every age seem to be afraid. Anxiety is the number one mental disorder treated in our country today.
Yet, the truth of God's Word is still the truth we all need. This world offers no helpful solutions. Our only answer, our only hope, comes from God and His Word to His children.
2 Timothy 1:7 is from a letter Paul wrote to Timothy while imprisoned prior to his execution. Timothy was going to be leading the church, and he needed encouragement to carry on after Paul died. Paul was telling Timothy to be bold and remember all he had because he belonged to Christ.
"Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. … I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:2,6-7).
God doesn’t want us to be afraid; in fact, He gave us a gift, a spirit to combat fear. How can this truth help us fight fear?
The power to fight fear comes from tools, gifts that God has given to all believers who live in a sinful world. Christians have the truth of God’s Word and His indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen them and enable them to live courageously for Christ (1 John 4:4).
It is easy for our emotions to swirl and hijack our minds. But 2 Timothy 1:7 is not speaking of self-reliance but total dependence on Christ, every minute of every day.
This reminds me of the story Corrie Ten Boom told of her own fear and worries about the future. Her father taught her that God would give her what she needed when she needed it – just like he gave her the train ticket right before she got on the train.
This isn’t power in ourselves to be strong and fight well against all the evils of our day. This is divine, godly power, resources for every trial we could find ourselves in. 2 Peter 1:3 encourages us: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence."
We are empowered through the knowledge of Christ! This grace comes straight from our Father to do and say whatever He has called us to. Let us spend our days focusing on Jesus instead of focusing our energy on the things that scare us.
Think of how much you love your children or other loved ones. Wouldn’t you do anything to protect them, help them, save them? God loves you better than you love your children.
God's amazing love radically changes us. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (Ephesians 1:4).
Ephesians 2 says, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
This mercy, this grace, this compassion, is all love. God loved us and saved us, and He gives us a love for Him and a desire to love others well. Without His enablement, we could never do this.
God loved us first and gives us the ability to love Him and others. With this love we can speak truth and live counterculturally in a world that hates everything God stands for.
"Self-control" refers to having a right mind, a mind that is under God’s control. It is not a double-minded, emotional, unstable mind that is whirling in all directions. The only way we can get this is through the knowledge of God.
This comes from reading and studying His Word so that we can know Him well and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Reading the Bible, we learn what God actually says about Himself, His people, and His purposes. That's how we learn that God is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1), and that His “eyes are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry” (Psalm 34:15), and that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).
God gives us the spirit of power, love, and self-control to fight fear and be bold. It is so easy to think we produce this for ourselves, but that isn’t what God says. He wants us to believe Him and all the ways that He has provided for us.
Yes, the world is filled with sin. Things can seem to be getting scarier by the day! That's why I invite you to join me in speaking the truth to ourselves. It will take practice, but we have all that we need.
While this time in history is a challenge, God is the author of time. He knew and planned perfectly that this would be the season in which we would live. Our Father is perfectly loving and good, and He has ordained everything in His perfect sovereignty. He will give all that is needed to live in this world.
Let’s remind ourselves daily to “taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8)