Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 10 Fear

As David chose to focus on the Lord his fear diminished and his confidence grew, instead of being anxious he was assured. This doesn’t mean that David lived a problem free life, he still anticipated adversity for he says in Psalm 27:2, “when evil men…” and “when my enemies…” David says “when” not “if,” he expects to have times of trouble and turmoil in his life. God provides a way for us to be free from a troubled heart but not from troubled times. You see focusing on the Father doesn’t remove our problems it radically changes our perspective. Instead of living in the panic we live in His presence. David makes a bold statement: “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident” We can have confidence in the chaos because our confidence is based on Christ not our circumstances. As we focus on the Father our faith will be strengthened so that in every situation, we like David we can say, “even then” I will not fear. So, if tomorrow the doctor tells you that you have terminal cancer you can face the future fear free. If your finances fail, or your country goes through a pandemic the economic collapses and you end up laid off without any job opportunities in sight, you can still have absolute assurance and peace. As God’s people we don’t have to panic, we can experience peace and calm as we trust in Christ.  Not only do we need to look to the Lord but we need to:

  • Live with the Lord Vs 4-6

Psalm 27:4-6, “The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.” Being dependent on the Lord means dwelling with Him and it is here that David talks about doing life with the Lord. Now these next few verses are often taken out of context in an attempt to encourage us to put God as our highest priority and greatest desire. While putting the Father first in our lives should be a priority, we need to be careful that we don’t miss the context and the connection these verses have to the subject of fear. The message of verse four is that God is David’s all-in-all, his everything. As David focused on God with every part of his life it enabled him to live with great faith and confidence. David chose to dwell with the Lord not dabble. He had a single-minded focus on God, not a sidetracked one, saying “one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek.” David’s first desired was to “dwell in the house of the Lord” to come close and commune with God. Most people in David’s day only visited the temple, but David wanted to live there. He didn’t want to be a guest of God he wanted to be a resident, “all the days of his life.” Guests come and go they don’t dwell. Unfortunately, guest of God seems to describe many disciples today, content just to drop in from time to time instead of dwell. But David didn’t want a revolving door he wanted a deep and intimate relationship where he could sink his roots down. He wanted a regular ongoing relationship not a sporadic one. How unlike Christians today who prefer to just come and go as they please, their desire is not to dwell, they are not looking for a relationship they are looking for results. Instead of seeking the Father they are seeking a formula, instead of seeking the Author they are looking for an answer. They are looking for a quick fix for their fears instead of looking to the Father. When we come to God only to seek a solution, it will result in a rollercoaster relationship, where we spend our lives running to Him when our lives are in ruin and running from Him once they are repaired. But David didn’t just turn to God in the turbulent times, he chose to dwell in the difficult and the delightful ones. Our tendency is to turn to God only in times of turmoil, to pursue His presence only in the problems. Yet part of the reason we have the problems that we do is that we have wondered away from His presence. Are you going to stray or stay? Are you going to be a temporary guest or a permanent resident? Not only did David live in God’s presence but he looked at God’s perfection. Verse four tells us that he “delighted in the Lord’s perfections.” As he focused on God’s attributes his fears were relieved. When was the last time you focused on God’s faithfulness, or concentrated on His care and compassion?  When was the last time you pondered His power and provision, or saw His sovereignty over your situation? When was the last time you looked at and lingered in His love, or beheld His holiness? If we don’t dwell with Him we will miss the might and the majesty of our God. What about you are you choosing to live with Him, are you residing or running in and out?

 


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 9 Fear

One of the results of this pandemic is panic. Fear is an emotion we all experience. It begins at an early age, from dread over darkness to worry over monsters under the bed. We become aware of anxiety very early in life. As we transition into the teenage years our fears tend to focus on things like rejection, humiliation and failure. As we progress into adulthood the frequency and ferocity of our fears seems to escalate as we face, financial problems disease, death, ruined relationships, aging, crime, the list goes on and on. Left unchecked fear will control and cripple us. Sometimes our fears are unfounded and irrational but more often our fears are based on rational and well-founded reasons like the fear of disease and death. There are many who have become fearful because of Covid-19. But fear is not a new problem we faced fear before this pandemic, and we will face it after. In truth we have become an anxiety-laden society. We all want answers to anxiety, something that will relieve our fears and reassure us. As a result, we start seeking some source of security, something that will instill peace and produce confidence. Some are looking for security in their savings account, while others are seeking that reassurance through a relationship. Others try to fix their worries through work while some put their trust in the government. Yet none of these solutions will bring lasting success, because they don’t offer total security or absolute reassurance. No amount of gold or government can guarantee success and peace in every situation. So, the question becomes, “what’s the antidote to anxiety, how can we have victory over fear?” In Psalm 27:1-3 we read these words, The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. Psalm 27 doesn’t just deal with fear, it details how to face our fears and find victory regardless of whether those fears are real and rational or imagined and irrational. The Psalmist gives us four focal points to conquering our fears and today we are going to look at the first one, a call to:

  • Look to the Lord – Vs 1-3

In verses 1-3 David chooses to focus on God the Father not fear. He expresses confidence in God and an absence of fear in a very fearful situation, not because his fears aren’t valid but because his God is victorious. When we focus on God our fears flee. When it comes to fear this is the consistent and constant message of scripture. When Peter walked out on the water his fear got the victory only when he lost his focus on the Lord. In Isaiah 26: 3 God has said “I will keep in perfect peace all who trust in me, who thoughts are fixed on me!”Our problem today is that we are looking in all the wrong places. Instead of looking to God we look to government. But it was as David focus on God that he realized that he had no reason to fear. This is why David askes the rhetorical question, “Why should I be afraid?” When he and we consider the character of God, who He is and what He can do, there should be no real reason to fear. As David looked to the Lord he was reminded and reassured of God’s light, salvation, and secure stronghold. He starts by stating, “the Lord is my light…” Very often troubling and fearful times are described by darkness, because we feel lost and in need of direction during those times. If you’ve ever walked into a room absent of light and experienced total darkness, you’re first response was probably one of reservation because you were fearful of making a wrong turn and walking into something. This is not true when the lights are on for light enables you to look and see. The same is true in life, difficult dark times can increase our fear because we don’t know which way to go or what to do. Darkness makes life directionally difficult, but David’s fear disappears because he looked to the Lord to be his light in dark and fearful times. As David looks to the Lord, He sees the Lord as his Salvation, which means that he is looking to the Lord as his rescuer and deliverer. David is not looking to self, society, or the state to rescue him, rather he is looking to the Lord as his Savior. Not only is the Lord our Savior but He is our stronghold, not only our rescuer but also our refuge. David’s panic was replaced by peace because rather than focusing on the problems he was focusing on God’s power. As a result, David asked this question, “so why should I tremble?” If God can take care of you and carry you then why would you choose fear over faith? Today are you going to choose trembling or trusting? Are you going to be fear focused or Father focused?