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Tuesday Thoughts 9-12-17

There are few things as contagious as fear.  On this day after we have remembered the tragedy of September 11, 2001, this is fresh on my mind.  Along with everything else going on that bitter morning, I remember the fear.  It seemed as though everyone was scanning the skies, even in rural, small-town America, afraid that the unmistakable shape of an airliner would appear over the horizon.   That was understandable, given the unstable events of the day.  But life is full of an endless procession of calls to fear that have no such foundation.  Still, we are quick to catch fear-fever.  Like the old story of Chicken Little, we’re eager to take up the call, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”  You name it, we fear it.  Rising gas prices, falling stocks, eggs and coffee that are bad for you (or are they?), and even what might happen, mute the vibrant colors of life into a dull grey hue that will fade to black if we let it.  That kind of life is so far from God’s intention for those He created in His own likeness!  If you can personally identify with this problem of fear, I want you to know that you don’t have to be stuck with it.  The eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah gives us a better way.  Check out verses 12-14a: “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary…”  This hits the nail on the head!  We fear, and when we nurse that, it becomes dread.  But wait!  This doesn’t say fear and dread are going to be gone, it says we should fear and dread God instead!  Stick with me here.  There is one important word that completely changes the definition of fear and dread.  That word is “holy.”  God is holy.  What, exactly, does that mean?  The straight-up definition of the word is “set apart.”  But we need more, don’t we?  God doesn’t just occupy a different space or have a “reserved” tag around his neck.  What sets our Lord apart is His goodness!  Psalm 34:8 states it as clear as a bell: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!”  Since Jesus built the bridge of relationship between us and our Creator, we have the sweet opportunity to be connected to the all-powerful, good God.  So why are the words fear and dread still used?  This fear is a fear of missing it, this dread, a dread that I’m on my own instead of safe in my Fathers tender, but powerful, care.  Consider it this way:  If it’s true that the One who made us and everything has control over all things and, out of his perfect goodness, has good things in store for us, what crippling fear and dread could any other person or circumstance hold for us?  The Bible sums it up this way: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31b (NLT).  I’ve written about fear before and I will do so again because it is so easy to be overcome by the unknowns.  To keep from falling prey to it, we must elevate the Almighty to the place of utmost importance and walk that out by following His direction.  (that’s called the Lordship of Christ in your life).  So stop a moment and name your fears.  Don’t pretend they don’t exist…there’s no help in that.  Write them down.  Then bring them to Jesus!  Confess the hold those fears and dreads have on you and ask, yes, ask Him to connect you with His power over all that junk.  He will be your sanctuary and joy will rise up within you!

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