Thursday, April 27, 2017

APRIL 27 "ARE YOU AFRAID?"

God wants to slim down that vast numbers of men, going to fight with Gideon, to make sure it's known, that it was He (God) that brought the victory, not their own might. So God thinks to himself, "what's the quickest way to bring that number down, substantially?"  God knowing the hearts of men, goes with fear. Fear strikes the heart of so many men and women serving God today and back then. As the story goes, He tells Gideon, tell those that are afraid, they can return..well that will knock out a couple of thousand...NO, it knocks out Twenty-two (22) THOUSAND men.  You have to read it twice!  It's hard to believe that there was 22,000 men out there that were so afraid and given the first opportunity to return home, they would. God has not always given men the opportunity to not fight because they were afraid. How many times did God tell Joshua, "do not fear, be courageous".  He told Jeremiah, "fear not their faces".  Jesus tells us not to fear for our future in the Gospels. Fear affects all!  It effects all shapes and sizes of men and woman. Fear strikes the heart of the mighty warrior of a man, to the small frail house wife. Whether it's bodily harm or injury, fear of losing a loved one, fear of a financial shortfall, fear of a relationship falling apart, fear of failing, fear of rejecting, fear of being alone, fear...fear...fear, it's in the heart of man and if God was to speak to his Church today and say, "all those who fear, depart" the church would be practically wiped out. Fear is never totally wiped out, it must be conquered day in and day out. We must chose to trust, rather than to fear. "I fear that I will die on this battle field, but I trust God will preserve me in this war; therefore I put on my sword and go to fight".  As it has been aptly quoted, "courage is not the absence of fear, but pressing forward in the face of fear". The opposite of fear, we can say, is peace. Paul commends us in his epistle to "cast our anxieties to Jesus and that a Peace that surpasses all understanding will comfort us". Anxiety = Fear.  Prayer, true prayer, true casting our cares upon Him, "should" wipe out fear and bring peace. This is not always the case, some pray and get up just as filled with fear and anxiety as before they prayed, but that's not how it's supposed to work. Do you fear? Are you part of the 22,000? If you'll be honest, you'll probably say "yes". I know, I fear, but I don't live in fear and there really is a difference. I fear, so I come to God daily, so I don't fear. My fear drives me to God, so that I don't fear and live in peace. As the thunder cracks and strikes in the middle of the night, the little 5 year old goes to the father, climbs and cuddles into bed, his fear drives him to his father and his father then comforts him, the fear leaves and the child goes to sleep. This is how the process is supposed to work with us. Fear should drive us into the arms of our Heavenly Father and then His peace should envelope us and we go on in life, not tormented, not filled with angst and anxiety, but peace and poise. Do you fear? "Yes"  Do you want to return home and avoid the battle? "No" because God will protect and preserve me in His will.