Moment with Jesus – July 23, 2020  Karen Blanchard

I recently listened to a podcast about the invisible war that we are in as Christians.  The speaker reminded us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.  One of the things the Enemy likes to cripple us is with is FEAR.  I’ve felt it over and over again in my household throughout this pandemic – this fear of the unknown, fear of financial instability, fear of the future, fear of contracting the disease, etc.   I’m sure some of you have experienced these same fears as well as others.  God knew from the beginning of all time that we would struggle with fear.  That is why he commanded us not to fear 365 times in the Bible – that’s one commandment for each day of the year.  z

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:10-13

You see, the thing the Enemy knows well about fear is that is keeps us from trusting God. It keeps our eyes focused on our circumstances rather than the One who is in control of them.  It paralyzes us and keeps us from using our gifts for the service of His Kingdom. It can even cause depression and suicide, trapping us within our own hopelessness.

But we find in Scripture that our God is faithful!  He walks with us and we are not alone.  The lies of the Enemy have no power next to the promises of God:

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:6, 8

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  John 14:27

I am reminded of the story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in Daniel chapter 6.  These three men were wise and respected as high appointed officials in Babylon. Other Babylonian officials who were jealous of them were able to get King Nebuchadnezzar to command that all people bow down to a golden statue. When the three men refused to bow down and worship the idol and god of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace which was heated seven times hotter than normal. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego had faith that God would save them. When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire he saw four men walking around in the furnace unharmed – Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, and the Son of God.   This story is a reminder that yes, we will face many fiery furnaces in our lifetime (I believe this is one we are going through right now), but we do not need to fear.  He is in the midst of it with us!

We will be learning a new worship song in August called “Another in the Fire” by Hillsong United.  It references the story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abedneo as well as others in the Bible where God was present in dyer and trying circumstances.  Would you take 5 minutes to listen to it now and meditate on what God is saying to you during this time?  We have hope, my friends.  Our God is with us!