Nothing to Fear

Interesting thing, the concept of fear.  English is limited in its expression of this word.  In French, we use two words.  “craindre” and “peur”.  

The first signifies a respectful fear, demonstrated by the verses in Proverbs that say, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  It carries the idea of special treatment, an understanding of spiritual, physical, mental relationships that make the object of our “fear” something different than ourselves.

Think rabid dog, lion on the Serengeti, dad when you’ve wrecked the car.

The second term is closer to our word terror.  It is not about understanding, it is unreasonable, uncontrolled.

Think horror movies, phobias, bogey men.

“For our God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and love and of a sound mind.”

When Paul penned these words to Timothy, he was speaking words of encouragement to a timid young man.  Over the years we have come to look at it as saying God does not want us to fear anything.  The words in scripture that speak of God’s love, His presence, His power and majesty are many, and where our focus should rest.

But…

I was praying and apologizing for words I had spoken that were meant as warning but were taken as terrorizing.  I want the former, never the latter.  God then reminded me that He put words of “fear” in scripture too.

“For our adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We should never be in “peur” of satan.  He was defeated, eternally, at the cross.  We are free, Spirit filled, powerful.  We should always understand that we are in a fight for our lives, a fight for the lives of those we love.  It is not pretend.  It is not churchy hell, fire and brimstone.  It is war.  It is bloody.

There’s a difference between courageous and fearless. 

To The Last Man

What do you do when you’ve lost all hope?

What is your choice when you’ve done everything and all you hoped for is gone?

What do you do when all have betrayed you and you’re left alone, unwanted, unloved, forgotten?

The problem with the TV generation, the movie, Hollywood, Super Hero people who live their lives through the stories they see on a screen is they never know what to do.  When real life happens and things don’t go as planned, when there is no reset button to push or magical potion to fix all the problems, those that have not lived real life will lay down.  They will give up and let death take them.

Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gently into that dark night.”  His stanzas speaking of there being more to do, to live, to “rage against.”

And in the light of this promiscuous culture, the family decimated by media, divorce, infidelity, pornography, addiction and abuse, it can seem that our hope, the promises we stand on, are awfully, woefully thin.

God’s love is not absent.  The power of the Holy Spirit has not waned.  But our reliance, our grasp of who He is and who we are in Him, is pitifully weak.

“Do not go gently into that dark night.”

So, though at times my hope is lost, I will stay in His word.  Though, at times, my faith is built on sinking sand, I will put on my helmet, my belt, my shoes, my breastplate, my shield and my sword.

And though I am bloody from every battle I’ve been through, I will rage against these giants and say, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of satan’s army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in America.”

And with my dying breath, I will let my children know, the children of my blood and of my spirit, that the living God reigned in me and I was His, will be His, forever.

Stand with me, by your prayers, your love, your worship, your sacrifice.

What kind of fight is in you?

Being an averaged height person, I always liked to quote, “it ain’t the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”

So many things come at us.  They attack and tear, condemn and hurt, messing with our faith, our hope.  And those hurts are so real, so painful, so overwhelming.

When Paul said, “We wrestle not with flesh and blood…” He wasn’t minimizing the damage we withstand.  And because the tools, the weapons wielded by our enemy, so often are flesh and blood, it becomes confusing.  We all know the broken places inside us though.  We know the reality of the emptiness we feel in betrayal, in tight fisted words.  We know the bruises of anger and hatefulness.

So what do we do?  what do we do?

I guess, right now, I’m turning that question around.  What do you want to do?  I’m asking myself, what do you want to accomplish?

Do I want the fights that I can “handle”?  Do I want the warfare that my wisdom and strength can conquer in?  I don’t think so.  Because just like those fights, temporal, worldly, so often meaningless, my victories will be the same, temporal, worldly, meaningless.

I want a God fight.  I want a war that only He can win.  I want a marriage that only He can secure.  I want a life that only He can bless.  I want to conquer enemies that dwell in the eternal, that war in the spiritual, that destroy not just the body but the heart and soul of my people.

I will be a warrior that fights by His rules, that wears His armor, that conquers in the name, the almighty name of Jesus Christ.

The size of the fight in this dog, is God sized, is Holy Spirit sized.

Come at me bro’.  Enemies of the cross – you don’t stand a chance!