June 30

Today's Bible Readings
     Joshua 2
     Psalms 123-125
     Isaiah 62
     Matthew 10
''And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
            Jesus exhorted His fearful Disciples, ''Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."  This is destructive fear. Jesus wanted them to know that they would face incredible adversity and opposition when they preached the Gospel, but they were not to be afraid.
            Consider some great Biblical saints who trusted God and overcame fear even in the face of death.
Moses chose ''rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, and by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king." (Hebrews 11:25-27)
The three Hebrew children, while in exile, were unafraid of Nebuchadnezzarand his fiery furnace. (Daniel 3: 16-18)
Daniel was not afraid of the decree of King Darius and the den of lions. By faith, he defied the king's command, knowing he would be cast into a den of hungry lions. (Daniel 6:1-28)
Stephen, who was one of the first deacons, became the first martyr of the church. As they stoned him while he was on his knees, he prayed, ''Lord, do not charge them with this sin." (Acts 7:54-60)
Paul wrote to young Timothy about his own coming death, ''the time of my departure is at hand. I've fought a good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith." (II Timothy 4:6-7)
It seems that there are two elements that will deliver you from destructive fear, whether it is the fear of death or life, failure or loss, people or position, rank or power.
            FAITH:You cannot have faith and trust God, and be fearful at the same time. You cannot truly trust God and worry. Paul tells us to take ''the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Fear is one of Satan's fiery darts. The shield of faith will extinguish it.
            LOVE:There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. When we speak of perfect love, we are not talking about your love or my love, but the love of God. Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart with God's perfect love, and there will be no room for destructive fear. Perfect love produces reverential fear. We are to worship, praise, and exalt God in holy fear. That will eliminate the fear of man.
The Republic of Vanuatu in the Pacific has approximately 200,000 people and is rapidly growing. This country is 91% Christian. They have recently had a wonderful ingathering of souls which has strengthened the church. Vanuatu's motto is ''In God We Stand." Pray that the leaders of this complex little nation may be an example in doing so. There have been many martyrs who paid for spiritual freedom in this country with their lives. We praise the Lord for them, and pray that their example will continue to strengthen the church today.
''I am convinced from what I know of world conditions that the only hope of our day is a religious revival."
Dwight D. Eisenhower