Fear flees in the face of Jesus.
The valley of the shadow of death. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid. Fear. Held captive by fear. The shadow of death. Not actually death itself. The shadow may fall on my path, but the shadow itself is not to be feared. Can a shadow do any harm except to inspire dread? He saw the wind? How can you see the wind? The effects of the wind, sure. But the actual, physical wind? Unlike the shadow the wind is unseen, its damage, however, is painfully evident. Fear no evil for I am with you. I Am. Peter took His eyes from Jesus and fear became his focus. Teach me to be captured by courage not held a captive to fear.
Truth. A love that lasts forever. A God Who will never give up on me. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and a fountain of life. Better a little with the fear of the Lord than riches with inner turmoil. Creator of life. Sustainer of life. Lover of the soul. Kinsman-Redeemer. Giver of all good gifts. Healer of all hurts. Close to the brokenhearted. Ever present Help. King of kings. Lord of lords. Spirit. Savior.
Born with a bent toward sin. Naked in need of the covering of grace. Take up the cross and find a wardrobe overflowing with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. A dream-closet filled with articles of clothing that reflect the character of Christ. Hanging in that same wonder-filled space, stuffed in the back so no one can see are the items that should have been tossed away years ago. Anger, resentment, hate, bitterness. The choice ever before the eyes, and the heart. What shall I wear today? Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with Him. Micah 6:8
Face-to-face with fear. The armed and armored behemoth towers over the gentle shepherd boy cupping five stones in his hand. The reluctant prophet beleaguered by aquatic acids. The bent-down, faithful servant of the Most High sharing peaceful slumber as an angel harnesses the jaws. Three friends who refuse to worship the gold fellowship in fire to emerge unscathed. The God-Son’s hands caress the wood in his shop knowing it’s always about a far greater purpose. To be complete, to be sound. Shalom. Yahweh Shalom.
All life fashioned by His hand. All events filtered through His fingers. Trust born in the light, blooms in the dark as He works in silence, invisible yet with effectiveness. Always working for His glory and the good of those who love Him. In the debilitating despair, in the depths of disease, in the darkness of death. Where are You? My God, why have You forsaken? Silence does not mean distance. A never-sleeping Yahweh clears the path strewn with trials or carries the beloved through them.
The radical, persecuting tentmaker turned itinerant Jesus freak. Heavenly revelations beyond the imagination. Earthly troubles beyond bearing. Shipwrecks. Snake bites. Beatings. Imprisoned. Lashed. Stoned. Robbed. Weary. Sleepless. Hungry. Thirsty. Cold. Naked. Content. Martyred. To live is Christ. To die is gain. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties.
The fearful enemy gathers. Outnumbered beyond measure. Strategize. Gather the armor. Prepare the weapons. Spread the alarm. No. Pray. Fast. Cry out for guidance. Act with courage. When alarmed, resolve to ask of the Lord. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Wait. Watch. And then plunder the enemy.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19
Utopia in a delightful garden. In the beginning. A slithering snake hisses luring lies. God is holding back His best. You will not die. You will be like Him. The thought tickles the mind. The image pleases the eye. The taste delights the tongue. Eyes now see nakedness and shame. Death. Banishment. Suffering. Separation. The road to the cross begins. Our need. The Perfect Mediator Who will pay the ransom for all. The One Who will set the prisoners free from their sins. The Defender and Advocate. The One Who lives to intercede for His own.