Too many times we put our confidence in the wrong things. And sadly, faith misplaced in possessions and people always leads to disappointment. In turn, disappointment leads to fear and anxiety. True peace can only be found through faith in God to meet all of our needs. And not just physical needs, but our need for security, safety, protection, and peace. I heard it said that fearless love never comes without facing fearful situations. And let’s face it, this world is filled with fearful situations. But God gives us His promise to never leave our side, no matter who or what we encounter. And when we put our faith in Him alone, we stand on the unshakable foundation of the Creator and Ruler of all things. So whatever the circumstance, or who tries to hurt us, we know we have nothing to fear. For with God as our helper, we too can confidently declare, “What will man do to me?”
I love the quote by Max Lucado which says, “The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident.” Even though fear is a part of life, not all fear is bad. For instance, there is the healthy fear that helps keep us from harm. And lets not forget the fear of the Lord which is the “beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7) But far too often the fear that fills us, keeps us stuck and under the thumb of the Enemy. Think of Joshua. Taking over leadership of Israel was quite a task. But Moses gave him some sage advice. “Be strong and courageous. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:6,8) By applying these words to our own lives, we can break the grip of fear and its hold over our minds and hearts. If you are struggling, give it all to God. Open your heart to His love and your ears to His words as He says to you His precious child, “Fear not, for I am with you.” (Is. 41:10)
In the previous section of Romans, Paul wrote of God’s sovereign power to save His people and of the inability of any other power to separate us from His love. But now, Paul is primarily dealing with the issue of election, or God’s choice. The apostle wants to show us that membership in the family of God has always been by God’s choosing based on His own will and purposes, not on man’s ancestry or anything he does. …
Everyone is in search of peace. That’s why between self help books, online programs, and support groups, finding tranquility is a billion dollar industry. But we needn’t search for the latest thing, or spend even a dollar to find serenity. All we have to do is look to Jesus who promises to give us His perfect peace. The one place the Enemy loves to attack the most is our minds. Because as Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” So when our focus is on our circumstances instead of on the Lord, our minds become playgrounds for Satan to wreak havoc. But when instead of trusting our fallible thoughts we trust God, we welcome His perfect peace into our hearts and mind. Life is hard. And the battle for our minds is real. But perfect peace is obtainable through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For no matter what goes on the world we can count on this. “He himself is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14)
It may come as a surprise, but the two most popular podcasts in the United States right now are not about sports, news or even pop culture. They’re about the Bible. “The Bible in a Year,” hosted by Catholic priest Mike Schmitz, is No. 1 in the U.S. on Apple’s podcast charts, while “The Bible Recap,” hosted by Tara-Leigh Cobble of D-Group, is No. 2. The podcasts rank higher than podcasts by The New York Times, NBC, Joe Rogan and NPR. A Lifeway Research survey released in December showed that 29 percent of U.S. adults had made a resolution about their relationship with God. It was tied for second as the most popular resolution. Read more about the podcasts here.
Federal Judge Halts Covid Vaccine Mandate For Navy Seals
A federal judge has sided in favor of Navy personnel who sued the Biden administration for imposing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate through the Department of Defense. Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction arguing that the Navy failed to respect the religious objections of its personnel. “The Navy provides a religious accommodation process, but by all accounts, it is theater. The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory. It merely rubber stamps each denial,” O’Connor wrote. The injunction halts disciplinary procedures against 35 members of the service’s special operations community for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Actor Chris Tucker Turns Down Movie Role For Religious Reasons
Popular comedic actor, Chris Tucker turned down a lucrative movie role. Tucker was offered $12 million, according to Ice Cube, to reprise his role in the movie, which followed the 1995 hit comedy, and two sequels 2000’s “Next Friday” and 2002’s “Friday After Next.” Ice Cube, who also produced the movies, said Tucker didn’t return to play Smokey because of “religious reasons.” In a recent interview with All Urban Central, Tucker revealed it was because of the weed smoking in the movies. Tucker added, “I never was a raunchy, raunchy comic, but I didn’t think about what I was saying because I was young,” he told Straight.com in 2014, referencing his 1990s films. “Being a Christian helps me in comedy. Read more about the role here.
Dog Leads Police to Injured Owner
Dogs are indeed mans best friend. When New Hampshire State Police responded to reports of a wandering dog on the highway at around 10 p.m., they quickly realized the pup wasn’t merely “wandering.” The dog named Tinsley had a purpose: to take police to the scene of an accident, where two people, including her owner, lay badly injured and in need of help. Police tried to corral the pup, yet Tinsley instead led them past a damaged section of the guardrail and toward the rollover crash of a 2019 Ford F350 pickup, where two men had been ejected from the car, which was totaled. Laundry said after the crash, “She’s my little guardian angel. It’s a miracle how she has that kind of intelligence to do what she did,” Read more about this amazing dog here.
It seems like whenever I turn on the news, there’s some new crisis to report. And with inflation, rising gas prices, and empty grocery shelves, no wonder people are afraid. But the apostle Paul assures us that as followers of Jesus, we have nothing to fear. For our heavenly Father always meets the needs of His children. Now let’s be clear. That isn’t a promise we’ll have everything we want, or that we’ll always be walking on easy street. But it is a promise that we’ll have everything we need, according to God’s purpose for our lives. For we serve the great Provider. And when we trust Him with all things, we have nothing to fear. For, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9:10)
Anxiety is dread, fear, or a strong desire to avoid or escape a circumstance, feeling, or emotion. It can weaken our faith and keep us from being the strong Christians we are called to be. Satan wants to keep us crippled and ineffective in our Christian lives. He has declared war on God’s people. And he wants to intimidate us so that we tuck our tail and run or hide. But God knows that in this spiritual battle, we need His help to be victorious. And He doesn’t want us to cower against the attacks of our enemy.
Instead, we are to stand and be protected in battle. How? By providing “Spiritual Armor” to keep us safe. The first item we must take up and wrap around us is the “belt of truth”. Upon this belt our other armor and weapons are secured. Because deception is Satan’s specialty, we must seek to know the truth that God teaches us through His Word. This exposes the Enemy’s lies which are meant to confuse and trouble us.
Anxiety can make us full of doubt and insecurity. And it’s true that in our own effort, we can never be wise enough, strong enough or good enough to be righteous, no matter how hard we try. But God imputed His righteousness to us through the salvation of Jesus.
The “breastplate of righteousness” is the second piece of armor, secured by the belt of truth. It protects the most vital parts of us and keeps us spiritually alive. Our joy is the eternal life imparted to us by the righteousness of God that can never be destroyed. We are not helpless, worthless or defeated. We are children of the most High God and no matter what comes at us, we are called to be battle ready. In Christ….we can stand and face any circumstance. God will enable us.
Today I challenge you to prepare for battle by putting on your spiritual armor. Have the mindset of an empowered Christian. For God wants you to be confident and able to stand against whatever the enemy tries to attack you with. And remember, you are not alone. For you have the Holy Spirit to guide you!
NASA Hires Theologians To Study Human Reactions To Aliens
Too crazy to be believed? Maybe, but NASA recently hired two dozen theologians at the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton, New Jersey, to offer religious guidance to people if contact with aliens were ever to occur. Rev. Dr. Andrew Davison, a University of Cambridge religious scholar and one of the 24 theologians on the new project, agreed that if humans were ever to make contact with aliens, it would “be useful to have thought through the implications in advance.” Davison notes that a “large number of people would turn to their religions traditions for guidance” if extraterrestrials were found, and what that means “for the standing and dignity of human life.” Read more about the hires here.
Bible Translators Adding 400 Sign Languages To Be Translated
The completion of the first sign language Bible translated from the original languages prompted cheers and celebrations in the fall of 2020. But for the deaf, it’s one down, more than 400 to go. “Still only one sign language of the over 400 has a complete Bible,” said J. R. Bucklew, the founder and former president of the Deaf Bible Society, who now works as director of major gifts at Pioneer Bible Translators. “And still, no other sign language outside of the American Sign Language has a full New Testament. There’s a lot of work ahead of us.” If sign languages were left off that list, the translation alliance would have missed a lot of deaf people throughout the world. Read more about their efforts here.
Kenneth Copeland’s 7 Million Dollar Home Is Considered Tax Exempt
Slimy but not illegal. According to an investigative report by the Houston Chronicle, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has avoided paying $150,000 in annual taxes on his $7 million Texas mansion because of a loophole in the state’s tax code. Copeland’s 18,000-square-foot home, which he built in 1999, is considered a parsonage for his church, Eagle Mountain International, in Tarrant County, meaning that the property is exempt from taxation under Texas Tax Code Sec. 11.20. Under state law, Texas parsonages qualify for a tax exemption so long as it only sits on one acre of land. While Copeland’s house fulfills that requirement, he also owns 24 more acres of lakefront property, for which he only pays $3,000 in annual property taxes. Copeland is considered America’s wealthiest pastor as he has a reported net worth of $750 million. Read more about the property here.
Good Samaritans Run Into Burning House To Save 80 Year Old
A Virginia man and an unidentified stranger ran into a burning house in Norfolk, Virginia, and saved an 80-year-old woman. According to Faithwire, the unnamed man was joined by a neighbor, Derrick Vaughan. They are both being called heroes and good Samaritans. The brave rescue reportedly unfolded after the unnamed hero was driving by and noticed flames coming from the home. Rather than continue driving toward his intended destination, the man jumped out of his car and ran toward the house. There he found and rescued an 80 year old woman who was inside. The woman’s son said he’s grateful his mother is OK, and he’s thankful to the brave men who went inside the home to save her before the fire spun even more out of control. Read more about the rescue here.
Today’s culture conveys to women that we must be focused on achievements. Including higher pay, and external beauty. But a woman of faith loves God with all her heart, soul, and strength (Mt 22:37). She is filled with the Holy Spirit and lives in freedom because of her faith in Christ Jesus. And because of her faith she walks with strength, dignity and peace. A woman of faith is able to experience overwhelming joy not anxiety. And she is also fearless about the future. For she is ready to face anything with God, “laughing at the days to come.”
So, let’s break down Proverbs 31:15 so that this freedom available to all His daughters, is found in us. “She is clothed…” We only need to go into any large department store these days to see how much value women place on clothing. But 1 Peter 3:3 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” Rather, the godly woman will be clothed with her Christ-like character. More of our attention should be set on the conditions of our heart. For our outside shell is fading away.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity;” These two traits fit nicely together, for you won’t find strength of character without the dignity. And you won’t find dignity in a person who is weak. Unfortunately, the culture today seems to be defining a “strong woman” as one who is sassy, disrespectful, insolent and truly un-dignified. Our culture seems to call anger strength, and it’s hurting especially the younger generations in my opinion.
But God’s word is clear, meek has never been a synonym for weak. Because true strength of character comes from strength in The Spirit (Lk 1:80) And because of that strength she can laugh. Why? Because she has no fear of the days to come. For she lives wisely and is prepared for what might come. She knows aging is inevitable and doesn’t care. She knows what true beauty is; a gentle and quiet spirit inside of her. And she can laugh because she is carefree, not running after the things of the world. Instead she trusts and leans on her Savior, encouraging others to do the same!
God’s gift of emotions can be a double edged sword. For with one side we experience love, joy, and gratitude. Yet with the other, pain, fear, and doubt. And make no mistake. Satan wields the bitter side of that blade ferociously and without mercy. But get this. He can only attack if we let him. You heard me. The Enemy can only strike when we allow him a foothold into our hearts and minds.
Paul makes it very clear in his letter to Timothy. God fills our spirits with His strength, power and love. The same power flowing through Jesus as He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and walked on water, resides in us! And that power of God waits with an extended hand for us to grab hold. Because overcoming fear is a two person operation. God gives us the power, but we have to use our sound minds to practice self control. Meaning we are to actively, and intentionally take ahold of our thoughts. And filter those thoughts through the sieve of God’s truth instead of Satan’s lies.
We are in a battle of a lifetime, and I truly believe we are living in the last days. So how am I going to spend the time remaining? One thing I know for sure, is that I’m done wasting it being afraid. I’m tired of running scared. I’m tired of letting Satan control my thoughts. And I’m tired of going down the rabbit hole of “what ifs.” I’m ready to go to war, with God as my Captain.
So the next time I find myself afraid, stuck, and unable to move, I’m going yell out the word FEAR as a call to my Father, Emmanuel, Adonai, and Redeemer. Ruler and Creator of all things, “the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4)