Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Will You Like Heaven?

In 2001, the movie, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” was released in theaters. This was Peter Jackson’s acclaimed portrayal of the first of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy of novels by the same name. The central love story in the film is between Aragorn, the future king of men, and Arwen, an Elven Princess. (Stick with me here, there is a point!)  Like all Elves, Arwen can choose to live eternally. However, should she choose to marry Aragorn (a man) she could forfeit immortality in exchange for human mortality. In a famous scene from the movie, on the eve of Aragorn’s dangerous journey, Arwen declares her love for him by giving him the Evenstar, a jewel that is mysteriously joined with her life spirit. In doing so, she tells Aragorn, “I choose a mortal life.” While this makes for an interesting plot twist and moving gesture of love, isn’t this really a foolish choice? Why do we watch a scene like that without cocking our heads in disbelief? Do we not value immortality? Do even Christians find the concept discomforting?

When my children were younger I asked them if they wanted to live forever. And, surprisingly their candid answer was no. They were a little frightened by the concept. After being shocked by their response, I started routinely asking other teenagers the same question with similar results. Why would the concept of eternity frighten so many Christians? David Lloyd George may have the answer when he said, “When I was a boy, the thought of Heaven used to frighten me more than the thought of Hell. I pictured Heaven as a place where time would be perpetual Sundays, with perpetual services from which there would be no escape.”

Our problem is that we have bought a lie about what eternity in Heaven will be like. And, we compound this by teaching the same lie to our children. Truly, this is a much bigger problem than we care to admit. The enemy uses such lies to twist our thinking so that we don’t look forward to eternity. This becomes an effective tool for removing the foundation of our salvation and faith, which is hope. Eternity in Heaven is as much a part of the Gospel and our salvation as the concept of home is a part of marriage and family. In John 14:2-3 Jesus said of our marriage to Him, “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” He is speaking about the culmination of our salvation in marriage to Him. He is speaking about Heaven, which is the eternal home that He has prepared for us, His Bride. And, this is something to be greatly anticipated.

So, what does the Bible truthfully teach about the nature of eternity and Heaven? To answer that question, we will not necessarily focus on the end times or on what Heaven is like today. Rather, we will begin our discussion in Revelation 21. This chapter of Revelation describes what Heaven will be like after the Rapture, after the Great Tribulation, after the Second Coming of Jesus, after Armageddon, after the Millennium, and after the Judgment. This Heaven is the eternal “New Heaven.” By the way, for more in-depth study, Randy Alcorn authored a book, “Heaven,” which is an excellent and exhaustive resource analyzing all of the many scriptures on this subject. I highly recommend every Christian read it. I gained a fair amount of inspiration for this and related posts from Alcorn’s faithful analysis of these Bible passages.

When you are asked about what Heaven or eternity will be like, what pictures come to mind? What we are taught about Heaven often depicts us wearing white robes, sporting tiny wings and harps, and flying around on clouds singing. Alternatively, we are taught in church that we will spend eternity bowing at God’s throne singing praises all day every day. But, does the Bible truly support any of this? The answer is “No!” These pictures are not even true in describing angels in Heaven, much less humans. No wonder we look at eternity or Heaven with discomfort, because such descriptions are totally void of appeal, even to God. Does any Christian live their life that way now? Do people have to drag you out of church every Sunday because you just can’t stop bowing and singing? Does any Christian want to live every moment this way? Does God really want us to live every moment this way?

You have probably heard it said that this world is not our home. This is accurately lifted from Hebrews 13. But, which “world” is this passage actually referring to? Does this passage imply that there will be no “world” at all in eternity? The answer is no. In the final two chapters of the Bible God reveals to us that He will ultimately re-create both a New Heaven and a New Earth. Then, He will literally join the two for eternity as has never been done before. It is God’s plan to renew all of creation, not just man. He will renew the Earth and He will even renew Heaven. And, the New Earth will be a physical place. In fact, Revelation 21-22 along with other passages describe this New Earth as having atmosphere, mountains, water, trees, people, animals, houses, cities, buildings and streets, just to name a few. God will re-create Earth into a global Paradise that makes the Garden of Eden look like your back yard. And, in Revelation 22:3, we are told that we will serve Christ on the New Earth, working for His glory. Can you imagine how awesome that will be to live with a perfect body on a perfect Earth rapturously enjoying 100% of everything we do? In doing so, remember that we should not read into the New Earth anything that is wrong with the current Earth. This New Earth, its global paradise and its permanent physical access to the New Heaven will be our new and eternal home. It is what we were originally designed to enjoy.

The truth is that our human identity is a fusion of both Spirit and flesh (physical). God purposefully created us as physical beings. In contrast, God and angels are spiritual beings. And, God will re-create us into new physical beings even for eternity. Therefore, we will be eternally physical. And, our New bodies will be perfect (1 Corinthians 15:40-44). Imagine all of the pastimes that you love to do here on Earth today, including swimming, running, climbing, diving, and possibly even flying. Biblically, there is no reason to believe that we will not continue doing all of the things we enjoy forever. The only differences are that we will be able to do physically more, and perfectly so in perfect surroundings. And, most importantly, we will take frequent advantage of free physical access to God, our Heavenly Father, at all times. That is true immortality that we would forfeit for no one.

Will you like Heaven? I sure will. And, I can’t wait to get there! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Moochers or Producers

In April 2013, the President finally submitted his version of the next fiscal budget to Congress, albeit a few months late. One of the controversial measures of his budget that has not received much media attention is his attempt (in violation of campaign promises) to “rein in cost-of-living adjustments for veterans’ benefits and Social Security.” All the while, he offered no such “reining in” of most other government handouts to other “entitled” groups. What does that say about the morality of this budget? What would the passing of this budget say about the morality of our elected leaders? What does the near zero opposition by the media and the electorate say about the morality of our nation?

In my prior post, I exposed how our country has foolishly exchanged our long-standing Judeo-Christian moral framework for an empty counterfeit that I referred to as “the pursuit of happiness.” This happiness-based morality is one that seeks to make legal whatever makes individuals “happy.” And, this also results in attempts to appease the self-centered masses with handouts borrowed from our children and grandchildren. The President’s budget is yet another example of just that. In truth, the morality of a nation is easily measured by what it values. And, what a nation values is easily measured by a combination of the government spending that it expands versus the spending that it cuts. And, in the case of the President’s budget, he seeks to expand the vast majority of handouts (to those who paid in or served very little), while cutting those that belong to veterans and the elderly (those who paid in or served very much). On its face, that is quite easy to judge.

On January 20, 1961, in the concluding statements of his inaugural speech, John F. Kennedy famously said, “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” How can anyone morally argue against the values of those wonderful words? They are even more profound today than when they were first spoken. And, they are more ignored today than ever before. The truth is that we were not founded as a nation for the purpose of taking from producers to give to moochers. In fact, the Preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Our nation and its Constitution were designed to “provide” for the common defense and “promote” general welfare, not the other way around. Frankly, it is unconstitutional to provide general welfare at the expense of “common defense” (as the President’s budget seeks to do). And, it is simply immoral to rob from veteran Peter to pay freeloader Paul.

Constitutionally speaking, veterans, who risked their lives to protect our country, are the group who are most entitled to compensation from everyone else. And, they should receive compensation from our country for the rest of their lives, without attempts at cutting. Veterans’ benefits should be the last thing cut, if ever. And, if someone dies in service to their nation, their family should receive compensation for what would have been the rest of his or her life. This does not mean that a life has a monetary value. It simply means that we value their service and should provide for the family that endured such a great loss in protecting the rest of us. With regards to the elderly, for the most part, they have responsibly paid into Social Security their entire lives. They should not pay the price for our government’s irresponsibility. With regards to freeloaders, if someone takes a handout they should serve their country in some way (military or otherwise). Therefore, if someone is unwilling to serve, they are unworthy of compensation. And, breathing does not qualify as service.

Regarding Biblical support for such conclusions about morality, Paul implored us in II Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” It could not be clearer than that. Also, I Timothy 5:18 says, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Further, God’s law requires that the wages of those in military service shall be comparable to (the same as) wages for those who stay home (I Samuel 30:21-25). God also required that the cost of war should be paid for by the enemy (Numbers 31:27). With regards to the elderly who have contributed (loaned) to Social Security, Romans 13:7 says, "Pay to all what is owed to them."

I have much doubt that the President’s budget will pass with the necessary votes, as he has yet to successfully pass a single budget during his last four years in office. But, it is the attempt, the lack of specific accountability, and the lack of our national outrage that speak volumes about the lack of our morality.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

In 2006, Columbia Pictures released the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” (The title was misspelled in reference to a scene in the movie) This wonderful film was based upon the true story of Chris Gardner, who rose from near homelessness to become a successful businessman through an amazing and admirable example of persistent will and determination. The defining quote of the movie was during a scene where Gardner was speaking inspirationally to his young son, “If you want somethin', go get it. Period.” He was trying to impress upon his son the importance of not letting others stop him from realizing his dreams. In hindsight, the name of this film and the nature of this quote unintentionally point to a devastating intersection in which we find our culture today.

The name of the film was ultimately inspired by a document central to the founding of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jefferson and adopted on July 4, 1776, marking the nation’s birthday. The guiding quote of this document is the sentence that opens the second paragraph, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I referred earlier to a “devastating intersection” in our culture regarding these quotes. By that I am referring to how we have foolishly exchanged a true moral framework for an empty counterfeit. There is no question that America was generally founded upon a Judeo-Christian moral framework. The quote from the Declaration of Independence even cites as “self-evident” “truths” that these particular Rights were “endowed” by our “creator.” We know from reasonable study of American history, that our Founding Fathers and Drafters were guided by the Bible, the Biblical God, and the moral framework to which these relate. In fact it was to God that they were referring in that sentence. However, in the past 60 years or so, as a nation, we have rapidly exchanged this Judeo-Christian moral framework for a moral framework based upon…happiness. Even American author and social commentator, Sarah Vowell, admitted, “While I gave up God a long time ago, I never shook the habit of wanting to believe in something. So I replaced my creed of everlasting life with ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’” Like Vowell, America has replaced what is well understood morally, with a new conviction that holds that we should all be free to do whatever makes us happy. In fact, this pursuit itself has become the new moral ideal. And, therefore, anything claimed to even remotely stand in the way of one’s personal pursuit of happiness is deemed immoral. This is absolutely devastating in every way as it replaces a true moral framework focused on the greater good of all with one focused strictly on self.

Finding happiness is not a right. Rather, the freedom to pursue happiness is a right. Happiness is not a state of being to which we are entitled. Rather, happiness is something that you have to pursue on your own. No government or law can grant anyone happiness. And, regardless of our moral framework, happiness will still elude most people. The flaw in this new happiness-based morality is also clearly displayed when a “group” in society claims some “thing” makes them happy. Then, when normal laws prohibit that "thing", the "group" claims that they can never be happy. But, if that is true, then they must be totally unhappy solely because they can't have that "thing". Does that really make sense? Are they truly prohibited from pursuing happiness? This is absolutely absurd, especially since many people claim happiness through wildly illegal things. If adult incest makes consenting adults happy should it be made legal? How about polygamy? How about prostitution? How about gambling? How about access to crystal meth? How about personally owning a nuclear warhead? If subjective individual happiness is the new moral line that is drawn, then there is no line. That is because personal happiness is not a universal moral absolute. Therefore, there is no moral framework. And, I submit to you, where there is no moral framework, ironically happiness will be the last thing found, if ever.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.” The Christian knows (not just believes, but knows) that true happiness (both temporal and eternal) can only be found in God. All other pursuits directed at any other theoretical sources will ultimately fail. It is good to support another person’s right to pursue happiness within the confines of reasonably established morality. But, it is foolish for a Christian to adopt a position that assumes happiness can be sought and found outside of true morality and God. It is one thing to politically advocate for pure freedom as a goal. It is wholly another to adopt a false morality in our arguments. Christians should never align in any way with a false morality.

Further, pure freedom is actually not freedom at all. Pure freedom immediately results in senseless anarchy. Therefore, true freedom, not pure freedom, should always be the goal. And, in order to experience true freedom, proper moral constraint must be recognized. For example, our Constitution recognizes our right to freedom of speech. However, you don’t have the Constitutional freedom to walk into a crowded theater and falsely scream “Fire!” when there is no fire (pure freedom). As another example, imagine if we followed, without moral constraint, Gardner’s quote from the movie, “If you want somethin', go get it. Period.” True freedom can only be expressed and experienced within proper moral constraint, as Gardner admirably demonstrated throughout his life. The question is which moral framework should serve as that constraint? True morality is the only guide rail to properly limit freedom, thereby making the pursuit of happiness possible.

Comedic actress, Carrie Snow, once said, “The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase: if you pursue happiness you'll never find it.” And, motivational speaker, Denis Waitley, added, “It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” With God added, I actually agree. This begs the question of whether a morally blind person can truly know how to find lasting happiness? The answer is no. Christians hold the truth regarding the only way to find real and lasting happiness. In our public discourse, we should not oppose this truth. Instead, we should proclaim it. Christians should honor God's morality at every opportunity and without dilution or deviation. This honor should be evident in our words, how we live, what we advocate and how we vote. And, we should never be aligned with those who would nationally exchange the purest and truest form of morality with such a devastating and void counterfeit as human happiness.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Morning After

On April 30, President Obama’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced its lowering of the age at which underage girls can buy the Plan B One-Step pill without a prescription (a.k.a. “the morning-after pill”). They decided that girls as young as 15 years old should be allowed to purchase the morning-after pill without any supervision or regulation in spite of the fact that sexual activity among and with minors is illegal in many jurisdictions (California for example). The morning-after pill is for “emergency contraception” and is typically taken after intercourse for the purpose of interrupting an unintended pregnancy. Two days after the FDA announcement, Obama publicly affirmed, “I’m comfortable with it.” Obama, who claims to be a Christian, is comfortable with his administration’s decision to do this. As a Christian are you comfortable with this?

At an extremely rapid pace we are almost daily witnessing the dramatic decline of the morality of our leaders and their governance. But, what is more sad is the similarly rapid rate of decay in the righteous spine of those in the church as this decline happens around it and within it. Far too many Christians today are more comfortable with being "politically correct" than being morally correct. “Politically correct” is an oxymoron. “Politically” implies the position in question appeals to the masses and their theoretical “moral” center. Therefore, if a position on a moral issue is aligned with the fallen masses, that position has a high probability of not being morally correct. “Correct” implies right. Right is where we derive the noun, righteousness. There is only one righteousness, God’s. And, there is no other. It is highly probable that if you are behaving or thinking politically correct, you are not aligned with God’s righteousness. Said another way, God is far from politically correct. In fact, His Word, the Bible, is quite controversial politically. Do you believe God is comfortable with Obama's decision? When presented with the contrast and choice between God’s righteousness and political correctness, the true Christian has no choice but to side with God. This is the only right or correct position between the two. But, sadly, this is not the reality in which “Christians” seem to live today.

For example, I have heard many of my Christian friends feed me the cliché, “You should separate religion from politics.” How is that even possible? I would argue that aside from clichés usually being shallow, this one is also unreasonable. For example, the cliché itself is unable to avoid its own dictate. Notice how the cliché uses the word, “should.” Whenever someone invokes the word “should” with a personal directive, they are invoking a form of morality (religion). In other words, the cliché could be reworded, “I think you are behaving wrongly when you don’t separate religion from politics.” Do you see the obvious logical fallacies? There is no such thing as a politic that is void of religion. Even atheists generally hold political positions that seek to impose “should” and “should not” laws upon others based upon some measure of morality. That is religion mixed with politics. For example, environmentalists generally are not aligned with the Church, but they push a religion of their own. They generally believe in faith that American corporations and their American consumers are destroying the Earth. This belief or religion seeks to politically impose rules about recycling and carbon emissions, that encroach upon the freedoms of others. Their arguments are laced with moral, even righteous indignation. And, their charges against others are highly judgmental. How is this not mixing religion and politics?

Before we leave this empty cliché, another important distinction to make is that there is also no such thing as a religion that lacks political ramifications. For example, what you believe about the nature of life and death has political ramifications. What you believe about the freedom of religion and religious expression has political ramifications. In fact, political persecution is growing at a life-threatening pace against those who dare to preach or proclaim truths from God's word. Hate crime legislation is being drafted in various states directed at those who simply recite the morality of the Bible. Not only is that wrong and unconstitutional, but even some "Christians" are foolishly joining this politically correct chorus. In truth, this cliché was cleverly conjured to silence Christians and their pastors. There truly is only one religion (Christianity) that is targeted with this dangerous cliché.

The next cliché too often used by Christians is, “We should support our elected leaders.” Really? Where is that in the Bible? The Bible implores us to respect and pray for our leaders. It is clear that God is in control and allows men and women to rise to positions of political authority, good and bad, to ultimately achieve His purposes. But, God does not call on His followers to blindly support or agree with authority especially when authority violates God’s righteousness. When our leaders are governing immorally and issuing rules that clearly violate even a child’s morality, our prayers should be directed at their repentance, not at blessing their immorality. Can you really pray in support of our leaders when they allow fifteen year old girls to purchase the morning-after pill over the counter without parental involvement? Can you, a Christian, really be comfortable with this position? Shouldn’t our prayers be directed at reversing this instead of supporting this? Shouldn’t our voices be similarly opposed?

The Bible is littered with numerous examples of God’s followers openly and righteously opposing their leaders in both policy and personal behavior. In Matthew 14, we read about the jailing and ultimate beheading of John the Baptist because he openly opposed Herod’s stealing of his brother’s wife. To politically correct "Christians" I ask, “Should John the Baptist have just supported Herod?” “Should John the Baptist have separated religion from politics?” Even Jesus Himself during His trial refused to respect Herod's questions with even the slightest response. In Revelation we read of the followers of Jesus refusing to receive the mark of the Antichrist and the resulting persecution. Should followers of Jesus Christ support the government leaders regarding receiving the mark of the Antichrist? Should followers of Jesus Christ separate religion from politics during these end times?

In Matthew 10:16-42, Jesus speaks at great length about how His true followers will face persecution from our leaders, even to the point of incarceration and death, for openly following Him and opposing authority. It is as a result of open opposition that we will face persecution, not open agreement. God calls us to take a stand, not sit down. For our beliefs, many of us will take up a cross and follow Him unto death at the hands of authority. And, in this, Jesus encouraged us and implored us to stay true to Him, not them. The day has come when Christians are being forced to oppose their God or face punishment by our elected leaders. And, according to God's word, it will only get much worse. In many respects, Christianity is the purest form of rebellion. And, for those who stand against political correctness in obedience to God, the morning after will be sweet. For the politically correct, they might avoid such persecution by following clichés over Jesus. Unfortunately for them, there is no “pill” that will remove regret on the morning after.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Agreeing with Faith over Fear

The original horror movie, “Fright Night,” was released in theaters in 1985. It was a film about a teenager, named Charley Brewster, whose new neighbors turn out to be vampires. In desperation, to help him hunt down the vampires, he recruits a washed-up actor named Peter Vincent, who hosts a TV show called “Fright Night.” There is a profound scene where the two of them confront the main vampire. The older Peter Vincent fearfully holds up a crucifix and commands the vampire, “Back, spawn of Satan!” In response, the vampire chuckles, grabs the crucifix, crushes it and throws it aside saying, “You have to have faith for this to work on me!” With that Charley steps in front with his own smaller crucifix holding it up with clear faith in his posture and the vampire cowers back in fear. This is a great picture of the difference between fear and faith in God. In many respects fear is the opposite of faith. In fact, it is reasonable to argue that faith in God and fear don’t coexist.

It is one thing to fear what we know. It is yet another to fear what we don’t know. How many times have you faced a dilemma or a potentially challenging situation that could either turn out “bad” or “good”? In those situations, have you ever resorted to fearing the outcome over adopting a more hopeful expectation? Why do we do this and how can we stop? The first step is to recognize that fear is faith misplaced. It is a leap of faith to fear a bad outcome that may not happen.

It is one thing for our minds to consider what bad things might happen, even if to be wisely prepared. However, when that affects our emotions to the point of conjuring fear, then we are choosing to agree with fear over agreeing with faith in God. And, the enemy deceives us into thinking that agreeing with fear is more acceptable than agreeing with faith. He has even convinced our culture to treat agreeing with faith as weird. The truth is that the fearful outcome and the hopeful outcome are both based upon the unknown. Therefore, agreeing with either outcome requires belief in or acceptance of the unknown. We must decide between fear of what we don’t know and hope in what we don’t know. They are both choices of faith. So, isn’t it foolish for the Christian to agree with fear over faith in God? A Christian who believes in God and calls Him Father absolutely must agree with faith and hope over agreeing with fear. With every situation, we can come into agreement with faith and into disagreement with fear. And, from scripture, God implores us to do just that. This is a choice of one faith over another.

Romans 8:15 addresses believers in saying, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” The truth is that fear is an emotional tool of the enemy that he uses to enslave us. On the cross, Jesus paid to deliver us from a spirit of fear and deposited in us His very own Spirit, a Spirit of sonship. Far too many Christians walk through their lives burdened by a religious spirit that enslaves them to fear. They are acting like slaves by relating to God the Father as the Godfather. In truth, if you are a Christian you are a son or daughter of the benevolent King of Kings and have inherited everything that goes with that. This is best illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal Son. When the faithful son returned from the fields to find a party in honor of the rebellious son, he refused to join the party. His father came out to ask him to reconsider joining the party. The faithful son responded to his father in Luke 15:29-31, “‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’” The faithful son was too busy “slaving” for his father out of an attitude of fear versus realizing his relationship through an attitude of sonship. And, the father immediately rejected his son’s posture by immediately calling him “son.” Fear is a slavery rooted in doubting God’s promises to His children. The God of the universe calls us “son” or “daughter.” He fights for us, His children. The power of God that we once feared now stands behind us and at our Kingdom disposal.

Last, but certainly not least, faith is also a shield against our enemy. That is why, in the famous passage on spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:16 it says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Dealing with an enemy that is characterized as a “roaring lion” without a shield is beyond foolish and will result in agreeing with fear. Without faith, the “lion” wins and the Christian cowers. With faith, the opposite happens. Like Charley versus the vampire in “Fright Night,” it is faith in the hope of God’s promises which enables us to “extinguish” not some but “all the flaming darts of the evil one.”

For example, imagine you are unemployed for an uncomfortably long period of time. But, you have a job interview in the morning. You don’t know the outcome of the job interview. So, you can choose to agree with one of two outcomes based on faith. You can agree in faith that the interview will go well and you may get the job. Or, you can agree in fear that it will not go well and you will remain unemployed. Either can happen and both are unknown. Agreeing with faith that God will take care of us whether or not we get the job will result in hope and an attitude aligned with God. Agreeing in faith that you will not get the job will enslave you to fear and potentially become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For the Christian, which choice is more foolish? Even if you agree in faith that you may get the job and you don’t get the job, you still have hope in God’s promises that He will still take care of you. You still have no reason to choose fear. Choosing to agree with fear is faith that is poorly placed.

For many of us, the enemy is allowed as an earpiece because adequate meditation on God’s word and God’s promises is a largely forgotten discipline. Proverbs 1:33 says, “but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” Reading God’s word is the best and most sure way to listen to God. When you find yourself succumbing to fear in any way, shape or form, decide to agree with faith. In these situations, if it is not so easy, I challenge you to meditate, even to the point of multiple audible readings of some or all of the following verses (and there are plenty more where these came from):

  • “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.” Isaiah 41:10
  • “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Isaiah 41:13
  • “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:24-26
  • “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” II Timothy 1:7
  • “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6
  • “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
  • “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Psalm 46:1-3
  • “But now thus says the Lord…‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’” Isaiah 43:1-2
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:30-34
  • “So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:7
  • “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
  • “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” I Peter 5:8-9