August 26

Today's Bible Reading
            I Samuel 18
            Romans 16
            Lamentations 3
            Psalms 34
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalms 34:4)
 
THE TRAGIC BONDAGE OF THE SPIRIT OF FEAR
            We have discovered from the Psalmist that there is such a thing as a good fear.  We are instructed, indeed, to fear the Lord. Now we are told that God wants to deliver us from our fears.
            Of course, the fear that every person should have is the fear of meeting God in our sins. This was the fear of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It was there that God was so gracious and merciful. He provided a covering of animal skins for Adam and Eve before He removed them from the Garden of Eden. He gave them the promise of a Redeemer who had come and shed His blood to cover their sins. If you have not been born into the Family of God, then you should fear the day of the coming of Christ, for you will have to face God in your sin. The good news is that God has provided forgiveness for those sins and deliverance from fear through the Cross.
            Now, God has given us the deliverance from all other fear in the triumphant blessing of the Spirit of faith. I am glad Paul gave Timothy the answer, and therefore we have it today.
            “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the Gospel according to the power of God.” (II Timothy 1:6-8) Here, Paul gives us three things that enable us to be free from the bondage of fear.
            He has endued us with power. When I was in the eighth grade, there were several bullies who enjoyed a good fight and wanted to give me a hard time. I was wise enough to have a good friend who was bigger and tougher than any of them, and we walked home together every day. I was not afraid because of my big friend who walked beside me. God assures us, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” If you have the spirit of fear, it is because you have forgotten the Spirit of God that is within you. God has given us this spirit of power.
            God alsoenriches us with love. How can love deal with fear? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (I John 4: 18) Listen to this verse from the Living Bible. “We have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly. His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what He might do to us, and shows that we are not fully convinced that He really loves us.”  (I John 4:18 -Living Bible)
            So the Child of God, who is a new kind of species, can say, “Lord, no matter what happens to me, I know that You love me, and because You love me, and because You are all powerful, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
            God alsoenlightens us with a sound mind. The word “sound mind” really means God has given us discipline, self­ control, or a discerning spirit.  We feel many things, not because of reality, but because the deceiver has made us afraid. To approach every situation with a sound mind means we are to take these things and look at them in the clear light of God's Word.  We must look past what might happen at the immediate moment, and realize that God is ultimately victorious.
            Now, remember that the devil does not want you to know this. People don't come to God because they are afraid of Him. You don't have to be afraid.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            As we continue to focus on some people groups throughout the world, let's remember several groups in Belize, an English speaking country in Latin America. Pray today for the Mayan peoples, the Garifuna, the Chinese immigrants, and the East Indians who are almost entirely Muslim and Hindu.