Do Not Fear….even the Coronavirus?

 

Being in the dark is a common fear of little ones. When our children were small we had a glow in the dark plaque that read, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee (God) from Psalm 56:3.  Claiming God’s promises from the Bible is one of the best ways I’ve found to combat fear.

What causes YOUR heart to tremble?  The coronavirus has the potential to cause even the bravest of men to be afraid.  This very well may be the scariest time many people today have ever faced. So what does God say about fear?

God tells us to not be afraid.

I haven’t counted for myself, but I’ve heard that some variation of, “Do not fear” appears 365 times in the Bible…once for every day of the year.

In Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus was talking to his disciples and He said,

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God knows all about us and cares about how we are feeling. He tells us to not be afraid.

Isaiah 41:10 has become one of my favorite verses.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 reads,

Have not I (the Lord) commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

God commands us to not worry.

Philippians 4:6 says, Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

This is not a suggestion or recommendation and no exceptions are listed…. not even  for the coronavirus.  Notice what Paul is telling the Philippians to do.

  1. Pray about every thing
  2. Supplicate- ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly
  3. Be thankful to God for something
  4. Politely ask God

I’ve heard worrying is like rocking in a chair… it expends a lot of energy but gets you nowhere.

Jesus invites us to let Him carry our burdens.

In Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek (gentle) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The apostle Peter encourages us to turn to God in time of need  with the proper attitude.  I Peter 5-7 says…

..be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

It’s a battle to focus and keep our eyes on God whom we cannot see more than on the problems which swirl around us. I guess that’s why God has to remind us so often to not fear. But once again He promises in Isaiah 26:3, 4 to give us peace if we will trust Him.

Thou (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (sustained by) thee (God): because he trusteth in thee (God). Trust in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everylasting strength.

When we fear and worry, we aren’t trusting God.  Many times we would rather have our own way than God’s because we want to call the shots.  We want an easy, fun, comfortable life.  God is more interested in us becoming more like Jesus and preparing for eternity with Him.  Unfortunately, we learn best during hardships. That’s when we tend to seek God the most.

Times like these often reveal our level of faith or lack thereof. Are we cooperating with God or kicking, screaming, and bucking against His plan for us? Are we accepting and embracing the hardship or becoming angry and bitter?

I’ve heard faith is like film. It’s developed in the dark. Are we willing to trust God and walk through the dark so He can develop and mature us spiritually? Or are we wanting to be God and do things our way? This is a sobering time to examine our hearts, our faith, our priorities. Are we living out what we’ve been saying we believe?

Do not fear. If you are putting your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, and not in anything you have done, you can be assured God is working all things out for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) You can rest as you trust Him. Do not fear.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes Hammersley

September 1, 2018

September 1, 2018

 

 

 

Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus

 

I don’t like storms. The thunder and lightening isn’t so bad, but when the wind begins to bend the trees, I start getting uncomfortable.

Yesterday while I was outside, all of the sudden, the sky darkened and the trees started bowing in the wind. I knew a storm was on the way and my heart beat faster.  It reminded me of a day about fifteen years ago.

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We had just moved to our house in the hollow.  There was a dry creek in the back of our house that only had water in it when it rained.  Then it would fill as the water drained from the surrounding hills to join with a creek in the front of our house.

Tornado warnings and several inches of rain was in the weather forecast that day. In the afternoon, the skies became angry looking as the wind whipped through the valley.  Soon the hard rains came.  In a matter of minutes that babbling brook transformed into a raging river and I panicked.

This was the first time I had seen water rise so quickly. There is a bridge that separates our house from the road.  I knew if the flood waters left its banks, we were trapped.   I tried to call my husband at work, but he had already been instructed to leave his desk  for safety and this was before we had cell phones.

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Nathan touching a critter in the creek that looked like a rock.

My children were ages 2, 6, 8, and 10 and I began to envision us floating away in our house! So I did probably the stupidest thing ever. I got the children in coats, grabbed some crackers and peanut butter, and we dashed out into the rain, thunder, and lightening to aclimb the steep hill behind our house and huddled under a large tree!

Yes, it was a dumb idea, but I don’t think clearly when I’m panicking. I was prepared for us to be there for hours. I have to say, we had a good view of the water activity below. The storm left about as quickly as it had arrived. We had more than three inches of rain in less than fifteen minutes.  The waters crested, left its banks, then receded.

I can laugh about it now, but it sure wasn’t funny at the time.  It was one of the scariest times in my life!  Sometimes anxiety can rise in my heart just as quickly as the creek waters rose that day when I begin to focus on my problems and take my eyes off Jesus.

When I think about the sad affairs of our deteriorating society and country and what my children and grandchildren might face, I become anxious.  Just as I didn’t know then how high the waters would rise  before the clouds dropped the last rain, sometimes  I wonder how bad my problems will get before they get better. Then I begin to worry because I’m focusing on the cares of this life more than I am the Author of it.

Sometimes instead of God removing the storm around us, He chooses to calm the storm within us.

If I spend too much time thinking about my problems, I just get worked up. Worrying is like rocking in a chair. It takes a lot of energy, but gets you nowhere. But if I will lean into Jesus and draw closer to Him during these times, my faith is strengthened as I trust Him and watch Him provide.

I’d like to share some verses from God’s Word, the Bible, that help calm my troubled heart….

  • Thou (God) wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee (God): because he trusteth in thee.  Isaiah 26:3
  • Through God we shall do valiantly. Psalm 60:12
  • But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:19
  • It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  Psalm 18: 32, 33
  • Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
  • I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1, 2
  • Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
  • What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Psalm 56:3
  • Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. I Peter 5:7

If the storm is raging around you right now, I hope you aren’t trying to weather it alone. God loves you and His grace is sufficient to get you through it. Run to Him. He is truly the safest place in this world.

May we keep our eyes on Jesus today,

Gaye Hughes

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What Are You Afraid of?

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If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)

What worries you? What comes to mind when you wake up in the middle of the night? I know I’m worrying when I realize I’m biting my fingernails. Yeah, it’s a nasty habit…one I’ve struggled with all my life.  I’ll have pretty nails for awhile, then a problem arises and by default my nails are destroyed.

Another thing I realize when I see my nails in a pile is that I’m not trusting God.  Worry and fear are diametrically opposed to faith and trust in God.  There are lots of things that can make us fearful. We may be worry….

  • if we’re providing our children with the proper tools to succeed in life
  • if our money is going to outlive us
  • if our job is secure
  • if our relationships are strong enough to endure the trials life throws at us
  • if our health is good
  • if we are fulfilling God’s purposes in our life

And on and on it goes. But one thing is for sure…God does not want us to worry. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. That “cares” not only means He loves us supremely, but He is capable of taking “care” of our problems! “But my God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a promise!

In II Chronicles 17-20, King Jehoshaphat gives us a beautiful example of what to do when the worry warts start surfacing.  This king of Judah was in the habit of seeking God and keeping His commandments. But King Jehoshaphat became fearful because a great multitude was coming against him.

This reminds me of the many foreboding days that my husband and I faced with his  cancer battle.  We were always wondering if the chemo was still keeping the cancer at bay.  All those times we entered the doctor’s office to get the test results, I wondered if this would be the day our world would fall apart… again.  When would the chemo stop working?  After all, the doctor was confident that day would eventually come.  I often felt like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh cartoon walking around with a cloud over our heads wondering when the bottom was going to drop out.

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David Hughes May 12, 2014

I still have some of those days. There has been no sign of cancer in my body for almost a year and a half. The doctor says the more time that passes without the cancer returning, increases the chances that it won’t. My check ups roll around every three months and I wonder. I know worrying will not help nor will it prevent recurrence, but it takes discipline to not worry and trust God.

King Jehoshaphat’s life and his kingdom was at stake here.  We can understand his fear.  What was his response?

He fasted and prayed, “O LORD God of our father, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?  Art not thou our God…? (II Chron. 20:6, 7)

Jehoshaphat told God, “…neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” Isn’t that a wonderful confession and declaration? I love this! And evidently, God did too.  Listen to God’s response to this.

“Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (vs. 15) Ye shall not need to fight in this battle:  set (position) yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem:  fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them:  for the LORD will be with you.” (vs. 17)

Then Jehoshaphat and all of Judah bowed their heads with their face to the ground and fell before the LORD and worshipped Him. Others stood and loudly praised God. (vs. 18) Then….. night came.  Do you ever pray at the end of a long day, sleep peacefully for a few hours, and then wake up and start worrying again?  Time has a way of making us doubt even the surest of promises.

As the people rose early in the morning and entered the wilderness, a place that could have been lonely and scary, Jehoshaphat encourages them by saying, “Hear me, O Judah, …Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (vs. 20)

Then King Jehoshaphat did something quite amazing.  Instead of sneaking up on the enemy, he appointed singers that they should sing unto the Lord and praise the beauty of holiness as they marched toward the enemy! (vs. 21).

“When they began to sing and to praise… the LORD set ambushments” against their enemies and they died. (vs. 22) God fought the battle for them!  I believe He wants to do the same for us today.

There are some important lessons we can learn from this godly king.

  1. He knew where to go for help.

Though godly friends can often give good advice and help us, it is ONLY God who can really help us.  He should always be the first place we look for answers and to make us feel better….not friends, food, shopping, or a bottle.

2.  He knew how to go for help.

Jehoshaphat was serious about his faith and obedience to God. He had already taken away the pagan idol worshipping. He walked with God and kept His commandments.  So when his trouble came, he already had a good relationship with God. Thankfully, God will take us anytime and in any sorry condition we find ourselves.  He is waiting with open arms to forgive us and help us when we ask, but I hope we don’t wait until we’re desperate to have a relationship with Him and ask for His help. We need Him everyday.

3. He knew how to respond to help.

Jehoshaphat acted on God’s promise in spite of his feelings. He trusted that God would keep His word and fight his battle for him when he saw no physical evidence of it.  Now that’s faith!  He appointed singers to go before the army and praise God as if the battle was already won. Then when God defeated the army, he did not fail to give God thanks.  Later, everyone assembled together and blessed the LORD. (vs. 26)

As a result, the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the surrounding countries. (vs. 29)  God was glorified through the victory and praise. So many times God sent angels or He spoke to people Himself and told them to not be afraid.  He says the same thing to us today. “There is no panic in heaven, only plans,” Corrie Ten Boom once said.  May our faith overcome our fears.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Abigail and Gaye Hughes