Those who have read my series, will remember me saying that when God speaks once, we should be sure to listen. When He speaks twice, we better sit up and take notice! But when He speaks three times, we better be taking what He says to heart and acting on it! The following verses appeared on my Facebook author page Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday’s verses are shared first in this list, as leaving them in this order revealed a thought I wish to share at this time. Without getting hung up on translation, reference, or provided links if any, I invite my reader to read through the following verses without stopping.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NIV) http://bg4.me/1byUU1B
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. ~ Isaiah 41:10-13
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Psalm 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8&9
The message I received as I read these verses this morning, was that tough times are coming, but I am not to be afraid of those times, nor afraid of those who might bring the tough times, but my trust is to be in God. My Lord and Saviour is my Protector, my Saviour, the source of my strength. I gain that strength by spending time in His presence, by choosing to draw near to God with a pure heart. However, I am to let go of those things that have stained my hands, I am to come before God seeking His cleansing and washing, because I cannot wash myself. God asks me to be single-minded, to be focussed on Him first and foremost even as the waves of life rise around me.
My life has not been easy the last several months in particular, nor has it been easy the entire time I’ve been a single parent. But these verses are not looking at what has been. They are not looking at the challenges I have come through. They are speaking of the present and of the future. As we look at the world stage, with shaky economics, threatened food sources both by companies and by changing climates; when we look at the touchy nature of various national governments, when we see the spiritual climate growing darker in many regions of the world, it can be tempting to grow fearful, crawl into a hole and not come out. But that isn’t what God has called the Bride of Christ to be doing. He is calling to Her, calling to His Church, calling to His Children to crawl out of their holes, put on the whole Armour of God which is putting on Jesus Christ Himself, and calling Her to go out into the world to make a difference, to stand up for what is right and to shine the Light of the Gospel. Christ said this would result in persecution, offense, and even death. If you’ve ever marvelled at the resolve of the martyrs of old, they took such verses as those shared above, to heart. Their focus was not on their attackers, their captors, or their executioners. Their focus was on the One Who stood waiting for them to come home as He stood to welcome home Stephen in the book of Acts.
But not all of us will die. Not all of us will come against such fatal opposition. Instead, many of us will face a more sinister and less visible form of persecution; that of character assassination, refusal in being hired for jobs, character defamation, smearing of reputations, etc. This is the western style of persecution, and it is particularly effective because we as a Church have given in to “fear of man” and in fact have used the tolerance ruse as a means to justify this fear. It is not politically correct to stand up for what is right and true in a society that is hell-bent on ensuring such a level of relativism that confusion is reigning more and more in the minds of youth and young adults to the point that anarchy is better than going with the establishment. It is into this fray that God calls His Church to raise up the standard of the Scriptures yet again. It is not popular and will raise hackles, but we are not to be afraid of those who can kill the body. Instead we must give answer for our lives to the One who can kill the soul too. When we stand before God, He will want to hear how we used our lives for His glory, how we used our time for His cause, and will we risk the sadness and disappointment on His face by saying we ran and hid as the unwise servant did in Christ’s parables? Or will we instead hear those coveted words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy reward!”
But for all these challenges, there is comfort offered too. When we draw near to God, when we become single-minded toward Him, when we allow Him to be our strength and protection, there is a sense of security, safety, warmth and intimacy that no human relationship can touch! There is a peace that doesn’t make sense to those around us, and it comes from that close relationship with the Lover of our soul.
So reach up your hand and let God take it. Let Him envelope you in His protective love, and in that love, lead you out into a world that needs you.