Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears? Oh My!

Lions and Tigers and Bears? Oh My! We are living in tumultuous times where every day seems to be laden with its own dose of drama, and disappointment. I have never seen a day in the 4+ decades that I have been on this earth where so many are gripped by fear. For those of us who are so driven by today’s 24/7 barrage of daily media, I will boldly state that we are now living in a day where fear is the order of the day! The economic ills of our land have so many panicking over the possibility that an entire lifetime’s worth of savings just might go down the drain in the days to come. The medical communities of our land are noting a rising spike in the amount of cases of depression, panic attacks, and other mental disorders. One would be remiss to not admit that we are now living in challenging times.

Isn’t it totally amazing that many of us are in the midst of feeling much like Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz when she realized that the new land that she had come to know was not Kansas by a long shot? How did we get here? Did we miss this onslaught because we were so caught up with the hustle and bustle of today’s fast-paced lifestyles? Is there a way out of this mess that we are now in? Would the only solutions to the ills of this day, be those presented by the candidates of our political parties? Where does one go when one simply wants to scream? Does anyone know how deep-seated the pain is that many are dealing with? Where is God in all of this mess? Has God forgotten us? All of these are questions that many are asking!

My Brothers, and My Sisters, I am highly cognizant that we are living in a day that has many of the greatest challenges of our age. We face so many challenges from so many different corners that sometimes it would seem that it is just too much to keep up with it all. Well I want to let you know that God is yet on the Throne! God is called a very present help in times of trouble in Psalm 46:1. God is and should be our only true refuge in a day where the Tsunami-Scale Winds of Fear and Calamity are blowing so greatly. I want you to know that we as believers are not sailing on a sinking ship! You are not on a losing team! I would submit that we are now traveling into unchartered territory, but there is no reason at all to be swayed by fear.

The Holy Writ states in 2nd Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. It is indeed mind-boggling how many of the scriptures in the Holy Writ can so soothe a troubled mind. God has not gives us the spirit of fear that so permeates the day in which we now live. He has nothing to do with the spirit of this age that has some so messed up that they would put a shoe on their head, and a hat on their feet. It is God’s intent that those who are called by his name would prosper and be in health, not only as it relates to their material lives, but also as it would relate to their peace of mind. Peace of Mind is one of the rarest commodities in our age. People are seeking peace of mind through the bottle, illicit sex, and the use of prescription drugs, liquor, and the dope man. Where can one go for a little peace of mind? Does anyone know how much it costs? I know that I have heard that God can make a way, but why hasn’t God made a way for me yet?

I know that we can defeat the spirit of this age by trusting, and believing in The Word of God. None of today’s challenges has taken the Word of God by surprise. The disappointments, and trials of today were foretold in The Holy Writ so long ago. We are even admonished to realize as the Psalmist extolled in Psalm 30:5 that Weeping May Endure for a Night, but Joy Cometh in the Morning. Our trials and pains will not be here forever. Disappointment, Distress, and Fear are not the permanent cards that any of us have been dealt in life. We serve a God that relishes in the Prosperity of his servants. I am not talking about Bling, Jets, Yachts, or the trinkets that so many in this world have come to lust after. However; God is concerned about your general well being and the daily needs that you need met. God is even interested in giving you the very desire of your heart if you delight yourself in him. How does one delight oneself in God?

Delight oneself in the Lord would mean that one would not spend hour upon hour watching television, and then only spend five minutes a week outside of Church studying the Word of God. The Word of God is essential if one needs a guide to weathering the storms of this day. The Word of God has stood the test of time, and it is the only offensive weapon mentioned in Ephesians 6 where we are admonished to put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The Word of God is called the Sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6. The Word of God is the only true offensive weapon that a believer has in this day of fear mongering. I wholeheartedly believe that if we are to defeat the spirit of fear in the day that we live in it will be with the Word of God. When we are told on a daily basis that recession, and depression are right around the corner for our land, would it not stand that more than ever we should hold on to the truths espoused in God’ Word? Can the God of the Bible bring us out of the mess that we are now in?

The Scriptures record that the God is no respecter of persons. God didn’t favor the sages of old more than he favors you, and I. The same way that God showed up in lion’s dens, fiery furnaces, prisons, horrible pits, in the midst of famine, in the miry clay, and in the midst of a stormy sea for those who took up his Holy causes in the Bible, he is ever ready and willing to do the same for us. God can deliver in this day because he is a present help. I would not be as excited about witnessing to others about the goodness of God if I believed that God’s deliverances were for days gone by. God is still a deliverer! In a day of escalating change, and distortion, The Word of God is the one constant that is not subject to change. Heaven and Earth may both pass away, but the Word of our God will stand forever. Should we not invest our attention to the one blessed constant in life?

While so many will be caught up with the lions, tigers, and bears of this age as Dorothy and Her Crew of Misfits were in their trek to locate The Wizard of Oz. Will we have to resolve to trust God during the most trying of times? These trying times are trying for each of us, but they are not trying for our God who has already declared the end from the beginning. While we are pondering so often to figure out viable solutions to the ills of our world, our God has already worked each and every concern that we may have out! Don’t let fear’s icy clutch grip you, and keep you from reaching for God’s Best. God has already prepared us a way of escape from the many lions, tigers, and bears that this age will present us with. Oh My!

Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith


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