April 16, 2009

What are you afraid of? Encouragement. (from my pastor)

What are you afraid of?

(you can view Pastor Don’s blogs at http://www.donbrock.net/)

If you need a good shot of encouragement, find the verses where the Bible says "Don’t be afraid…" Here is one of my favorite:
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, "It’s a ghost!" But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don’t be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!" Matthew 14:22-27 (NLT)

Jesus first told them what to do. Then he told them why they should do it. He told his disciples to get rid of their fear. Did he tell them that there was no danger? No, the scripture states that they "were in trouble." Did he tell them safety is not far away? No, they were "far away from land." Did he tell them the storm was not a big deal? No, it was a big something… strong wind and heavy waves.

The disciples were already doing something. They were in survival mode. They were working the problem – "they were fighting heavy waves."

Jesus said "Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here."

Jesus told his disciples to let go of their fear and replace it with courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is moving forward in spite of the fear.

But here is the key to this passage. Jesus did not tell them "the storm will soon stop." He did not say, "Land and safety is much closer now." He told them to take courage. Why? Because of one thing. Himself! "I AM HERE!"

John MacArthur says it well: "We will never find ourselves in a place where Christ cannot find us; and no storm is too severe for Him to save us from it. He protects His own, whom He will never fail or forsake. Life is often stormy and painful, often threatening and frightening. Some believers suffer more than others, but all suffer at some time and in some way. In spite of that, the storm is never so severe, the night never so black, and the boat never so frail that we risk danger beyond our Father’s care."

For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." Hebrews 13:5b (NLT)

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