Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fear, Anxiety and Worry

This is the second sermon in the series on Emotion and Devotion at Sojourn, and it was so good! Our Psalm this Sunday was Psalm 46.

God is our refuge and strength,
[b]A very present help in [c]trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the [d]sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. [e]Selah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her [f]when morning dawns.
The [g]nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He [h]raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
[i]Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
[j]Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the [k]nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

The Bible has over 300 verses that tell God's people not to fear. Some referenced from this Sunday are: Genesis 15:1, 21:17, 2 Chronicles 20:15, Isaiah 7:4, 41:14, 44:8, 54:4, Jeremiah 1:8, Daniel 10:2, Matthew 10:28, 14:27, 28:10, John 14:27

Pastor Daniel told us that fear is a gift of reminding us we are fragile beings, and this points us to the need of something beyond us that is firm and stable to hold onto. Our humanness reminds us we need God.

So when we are afraid we can go to:

The God Who Hears and Cares (v 1-3)
He is our constant helper and can handle the worst imaginable circumstances. He is also our protection and safety, the only One who can keep us. Because of this we can run to Him the moment we begin to fear. Name your fears to God! Then recognize you are in for a battle. Fears are real and they are always there to remind us of our human state. Worries will not vanish just because we tell God about them. In fact as we grow we will deal with these fears on deeper levels. But God has already won the victory and remembering what He has done will help us to be victorious in our fears.

The God Who Is With Us and For Us (v 4-9)
God is over everything and the mountains would fall at the very word of God. This means God can handle anything that is thrown at Him. We need to re-imagine our situation in light of God's power. What is it God is doing? How is God going to change this situation? Imagining means learning the basics, the ABCs of redemption. The Holy Spirit animates our minds to see what God can do and magnify Him and not ourselves. Then relinquish you fears to the Lord. He has everything in His hands so we do not have to fear.

The God Who Saves Losers and Failures (v 10-11)
The psalmist says the "God of Jacob". Jacob was a deceiver and manipulator. He did many evil and foolish things and yet, God was His God and God used him as bad as he was. That means God will use us too! So resist the impulse to work it all out in your own strength. We cannot will ourselves into right thinking, nor do we need to perform and work to act like everything is OK. God wants us to go beneath the surface and really get things done with Him in His way. Then rest in the God who welcomes us sinners and sufferers. The God of Jacob is our God too. We can come before God as we are. Do not wait until you get it right or have the right motives, because this will never happen. We cannot get it right without God.

Come to your God as you are and tell Him all of your fears.

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