April 18         
   
Today's Bible Readings
     Leviticus 22
     Psalms 28, 29
     Ecclesiastes 5
     II Timothy 1
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
(II Timothy 1:7)
 
THE TRAGIC BONDAGE OF THE SPIRIT OF FEAR
            The Scripture instructs us to fear God. In fact, we are told that this is the beginning of wisdom for the child of God. Now we are told that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. It is tragic that many believers are in bondage to a spirit of fear.  Consider three things a spirit of fear will do in your life.
            Fear will affect your memory.  It was fear that caused Timothy to forget. Look how verses 6 and 7 are connected.
The idea is that fear had caused him to forget his spiritual gifts and abilities. If you are afraid today, it is because you have forgotten who God is and what He has done for you.
            Fear will limit your ministry.  In verse 8 we discovered that Timothy had failed to share Christ and failed to stand up for the apostle Paul. It may have been because Paul was in prison and Timothy was afraid of what might happen to him.  Fear had shut his mouth and paralyzed him. Many believers are paralyzed because they have listened to that sinister minister of fear, the devil, rather than listening to God. I heard about a man who was robbing a bank. This was his first robbery and he was very afraid. He shoved his gun to the teller, took the money bag and pointed it at her and said, ''don't stick with me. This is a mess up."  Fear will do that to you.
            Fear affects you medically. Fear can literally weaken our bodies physically. I Timothy 5:23 lets us know that Timothy was not well physically. Was Timothy afraid because he was sick, or was he sick because he was afraid? I believe it is a fearful disposition that literally made him sick. People who are carrying a load of fear may actually have heart failure. Jesus told us that one of the signs of the last times would be, ''that men's hearts would be failing them because of fear."
Here Paul gives us three things that will enable us to be free from the bondage of fear:
            God has endued us with power.  “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
            God enriches us with love. I John 4: 18 tells us that perfect love casts out fear. At first, I misunderstood that verse because I knew I couldn't love perfectly, but I am glad to tell you that the verse means that God loves me perfectly. Listen to it from the living Bible. ''We have no fear from someone who loves us perfectly. His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us... '' (I John 4:18)
            God enlightens us with a sound mind.  The word ''sound mind'' literally means God has given us discipline or self-control or a discerning spirit. With a clear mind focused on the Word of God, we will look beyond what might happen to us at the immediate moment and realize that God is ultimately victorious.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Among the most beautiful and panoramic sights of my lifetime is to look down from the mountain above on the Principality of Monaco with its capital city of Monte Carlo. Approximately 35,000 people live in this principality. It is a culturally Catholic country, an expatriate community of 84%. This is one of the most materialistic places on the planet. Pray that God will overcome the materialism and a spiritual awakening will take place in the beautiful city of Monaco.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
            “There is a place, a silent, trusting hour, when God Himself descends and fights for thee.” Where is that secret place?         Dost thou ask where? Oh, soul, it is the secret place of prayer!''
Author unknown