Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 … Fear or Faith?

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 225 

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Cece Winans singing … His Strength Is Perfect … poignantly singing of how God is always there to give us His strength when our strength is seemingly gone.

Highlight Verse[s]: Habakkuk 3:19 [NLT] … 
19 The sovereign Lord is my strength! 
… We should be grateful in all things.
Highlight Passage [context]: Habakkuk 3:16-19 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… The Prophet gained the faith to overcome his fear and was able to sustain his joy amidst trying, even disastrous, circumstances.

Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … Isaiah 41:10 [NLT] … 
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
… But do we believe it?

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … Romans 8:28 [NLT] … 
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
… One of God’s toughest truths to live out when we’re confronted by dire circumstances.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … 2 Corinthians 12: 9 [NLT] … 
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
… In the midst of painful circumstances, Paul remembered Jesus’ words.

Reference Passage #4 [NLT] : … 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT] … 
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
… Feelings of fear CAN NEVER come from God.

  My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Karen Wolfe used a personal story to illustrate how fear can sometimes blunt or block our faith. The ODB author wrote: The doctor’s words landed in her heart with a thud. It was cancer. Her world stopped as she thought of her husband and children. They had prayed diligently, hoping for a different outcome. What would they do? With tears streaming down her face, she said softly, “God, this is beyond our control. Please be our strength.” 
What do we do when the prognosis is devastating, when our circumstances are beyond our control? Where do we turn when the outlook seems hopeless? 

My favorite OT character is the Prophet, Habakkuk. I so identify with his vulnerability and willingness to take his fears to God, which he did in the opening chapter of his poetic journal. And like the word picture in the ODB entry above, God, like the doctor, gave Habakkuk a very bad prognosis. And tho the Prophet didn’t want to hear God’s words, he finally realized that God was in control; and that God loved him and His people in spite of the impending horror. And, as one reads in Hab. 3:16-19, Habakkuk came to a place where he trusted God and was able to hold on to his faith in the midst of the fearful times.

If my readers today have taken the time to meditate on the linked song and the truths from God’s word above, we, who are in Christ, should realize that a spirit of (i.e., feelings) of fear NEVER come from God. Such feelings of fear are only provoked by our spiritual enemies and part of a default of our sin nature. But in Christ, as the song declares [and we read in 2Cor. 12:9], God’s strength is able to supplant our fears in the midst of trying times and give us the strength to live on in faith [see Isaiah 41:10 and 2Tim. 1:7].

My Prayer Today:   Abba Father, … King Jesus, … I Your strength today, Lord!   … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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