Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

26 Words for Worried Times – Part 1

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26 Words for Worried Times – Part 1

Isaiah 43:1-3

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.”

In the midst of our worst fears come the faithful words of our Father:

  • BUT NOW

The first two words to listen for and pay attention too are the first two words in Isaiah 43; “But now.” With God there is always a “But now … ” Even in the darkest despair we can have hope because of Him. It’s in the depths of our despair that God speaks words of life, the worst has happened, the thing you feared most has overtaken you But NOW God reveals his providential hand. When fear comes faith always looks to and listens for the “But now …. “ We have a God that wants to give us a new perspective and a new promise. The bible is filled with God’s “But Now’s” In Matthew chapter 8 we find a man stricken with leprosy. His facial features are slowly rotting away, his hands and feet end, not with fingers and toes, but useless stubs. The nerve receptors in his skin have been destroyed, making him unable to feel and so he is susceptible to injury and infection. Wounds he doesn’t even realize he has fester and ooze with infection. His community has rejected him, his religion has condemned him, even his family has forsaken him. He finds himself living in the fear of failing health and being forsaken by family and friends. But then he meets the Messiah and with two words, Jesus changes everything. For the leper, God’s “But now,” is “Be clean.” His fear is replaced by faith, his failing health is replaced with healing, and rejection is replaced with rejoicing.  Over in Mark chapter 4 we find the disciples casting off to row across the familiar waters of Lake Galilee. Several of them had spent most of their life trolling these waters and would have been as familiar with the tides and currents of the sea as they were the streets of their home towns. They had nothing to fear because everything was familiar and besides, Jesus was right there with them asleep in the stem. What could possibly go wrong? But soon the calm sea begun to churn, the wind whistled and the waves washed over their boat. The boat began to be battered by the storm, no sooner had it crashed over one wave than it began to climb the next. They start to sink as wave after wave washes more water over the side of the side of their boat than they can bail. In a few moments the boat will capsize and they will all be swept under. As their worst fears become a reality they cry out and God’s “But now,” for the disciples comes again in two words, “Be still.” You see for every sickness, for every storm, for every discouragement and every defeat, for every failure and every fear, God has an answer. When the worst becomes a reality faith looks and listens for God to say, “But now.” We have a God who can turn our groaning to gladness, our problems to praise and our sorrows to song. Not only does faith listens for the words “But Now” when things are at their worst but also the words:

  • FEAR NOT

Judging from the response of those in the Bible who saw angels they are fearsome to behold. When they appeared people usually responded with fear, either fainting, or falling face down on the ground and the first words angels usually spoke were, “Fear not.” But in our culture we have so romanticized angels that I think we have lost an appreciation for this. The same is true of Jesus, because of popular paintings many of us have a mental picture of a meek and mild Messiah. Yet when the disciples saw him walking on the water they mistook Him for a ghost, and Jesus had to tell them, “Fear not.” The same thing also happened after His resurrection, again the disciples mistook the Messiah for a ghost and again He offered them the promise of peace. How is it that God, His Son, and His angels can so confidently command His people to “Fear not?” Are they living in some kind of divine state of denial? Don’t they see the chaos and concern, don’t they care about the pain and the problems we are going through? The answer is seen in the words that follow, Fear not, “I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” We no longer have to fear because we are:

  1. Bought

We are the redeemed; we have been bought by His blood. On the cross of Calvary Jesus Christ defeated the devil and He defeated death. One of man’s greatest fears is that of dying, but because of Jesus we no longer have to fear death. Not only does the power of His blood free us from future fears but it also provides us a promise over our past. Because we are redeemed our past is passed away. For many our past can be a prison, one of our greatest sources of stress. Instead of living in the redemption we end up living in the regret. But on the cross Christ canceled the debt; He paid the price for our past. We have been bought and brought out of the slave market of sin, not only saved but set free to walk in the newness of life. Because of God we no longer have to live in guilt, we are forgiven and free; our sin is removed from us as far as the east is from the west. When the enemy tries to intimidate you with your past mistakes and regrets remind him you are redeemed. Not only are we bought but second we

2. Belong

“I have called you by name; you are mine” One of our greatest fears is being forsaken. Every one of us has a need to be needed. We all long to belong and God reminds us that He not only knows us but wants us. We are his very own and are called by His Name, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We belong to God, we are called by His name, and He can say, “Fear not,” because God knows that he’s going to be with us no matter what. When fear comes look to and listen for the words of your Father, remember the “But now’s” and “fear nots” for you have been bought by Him and you belong to Him. As you look back on your life what are the “But Now’s” and the “Fear Nots” God has spoken into your life? Take time to remember and record God’s faithfulness in your life, write them down share them with your family and friends.

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