Today Pastor Mickey gave a stirring sermon, beginning with a brief description of some of the fears people may have, such as:
Coulrophobia the fear of clowns
Achluophobia the fear of the dark
Acrophobia fear of heights
Arachnophobia fear of spiders
Thanatophobia fear of death
Hadephobia fear of hell
(For further reading, here is a link listing all kinds of phobias: http://www.phobia-fear-release.com/phobia-dictionary.html)
The last two are especially relevant to most everyone. We all have fears and we all worry about things happening to us and/or to our loved ones. And although this is the time of year people celebrate and spend time with family, this is also the time of the greatest depression. Suicide rates are the highest between November and January. The holidays can heighten disappointments and bring on fears for the coming year. All in all, this is a perfect time for all of us to reflect on our relationships with God.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
1. When you feel overwhelmed, trust in Gods promises and the hope of the Lord will encourage your heart.
Romans 8:31 begins, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? As the passage continues, Paul writes that Christ sits at the right hand of God and has ultimate power to judge. Who can condemn Christ? Nobody! So if Christ made us the promise that He would bless us when we accept Him into our lives, us then we need not worry.
2. The reality of Gods presence can bring comfort in times of pain and a sense of joy in times of distress.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.Psalm 34:3-4
When it seems like nobody is around, God is there. (Remember, as Pastor Miles has pointed out, that sometimes God separates us from everyone so that we can spend time alone with Him.)
3. Victorious living will be experienced in believing more Gods power than in your own efforts in the flesh.
Again we return to Romans 8:31, which reminds us that if God is with us, who can be against us? But the important thing is that we have God be with us.
Pastor Mickey turned us to 1 John 4:18 to illustrate the division of love and fear: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Every story in the Old Testament is a reflection of this. As an example, think of the Jews leaving Egypt or the three men thrown into the fire pit for not bowing before the kings idol. These and many others could never have accomplished what they were meant to accomplish without Gods help and intervention.
4. It is within Gods promises, presence and power that we can experience the peace that passes all human reasoning.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
God is with you; whether you want him there or not. (And you want Him there)!