Fear Not Tough Stuff of Life (#60/61)

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Zechariah 8:13  “And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing:  fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

Zechariah 8:15  “So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah:  fear ye not.”  (KJV)

Do you ever wonder why Christians have such a hard time in this world?  Have we believed the lie that “if I trust Christ as Savior my life will be easy?”  This is not what we find in Scripture!  All of the disciples and the apostle Paul died a martyr’s death except for John who was boiled in oil and then exiled on an island alone as an old man.   Today, in the twentieth century, more people have died for their faith than the previous 2000 years combined.  We are a curse among the heathen (unbelievers).  Persecution.  But why?  And if this is the case then pray tell why should I not be afraid?  These are reasonable questions.  This is a cost we need to count.  As believers, “repenters” as my Romanian friends say, are we willing to die for the cause of Christ?  If not, His Word says we are not worthy of the kingdom.  (Luke 9:62)

I think the thing we fail to account for is the enemy.  Satan is not some cartoon character that teases and tempts with mischief.  He is a deceiver.  His native language is lies.  He divides.  He brings discord.  He causes dissension.  He loves to hear us moan, groan, gripe, and complain.  He comes seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.  He is not nice!  He does not play fair.  He loves the fact many believe he is harmless.  He blinds.  He counterfeits.  Think about this; when he rebelled in heaven, he fooled a whopping one-third of the angels into following him!  Can you even fathom this fact?  Angels get to make choices too, and they decided heaven was not enough??????  Scripture has much to say about our enemy.  He has deceived us into thinking we don’t need to know his tactics!  No general would lead his army into battle without first knowing the enemy and making that knowledge available to his troops.  This is how you win the war.  Our Commander in Chief has given us all we need to know about our enemy!  Given us a NAME with authority and instructed us to USE it.  That name is JESUS!!!

Here is our GREAT NEWS!  We may be a curse now, but God will save us and make us a blessing!

As I write this, Sherri Burgess, wife of Rick Burgess of Rick and Bubba fame, has written and released a book born out of their family’s deep sorrow.  Eight years ago the enemy came and took what was not his to take – the two year old son of Rick and Sherri Burgess.  Rick and Bubba are often maligned for their faith which is “in your face” Peter and Paul kind of faith.  They are cursed by the enemy.  But God has taken their tragedy, a radio show, and a book to speak to thousands experiencing a similar loss so they too may find comfort, healing, and may even come to know who God really is: God Is Good even in the midst of great struggle.  Sherri says “we were so happy” before her precious Bronner died (and Sherri never says “died,” because he just changed locations – he is with Jesus).  Sherri now says, “if even one person finds comfort and faith in Christ, Bronner’s death will not have been for naught” and this will give her great comfort.  God is blessing her faithfulness.  He is in these days doing well unto her house.   Their story illustrates we have no reason to fear.  God wins every time.  We may not be able to see it but God is in perfect control, even of the enemy.  Do I understand all the implications of this?  Heavens NO, but I do believe God can work all things together for GOOD, even the most horrendous events (just read the story of Job).  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Who do you know whose life exemplifies this?  They live in faith and everyone marvels at the strength, the courage, the grace, the compassion, the love, and the joy seen in their lives.  They are a visible and vocal testimony to the faithfulness of our Great God.  

What has the enemy stolen from you and your family?  Do you feel persecuted because of your faith?  The word says in the last days, hostility will increase toward believers.  (II Timothy 3; Matthew 24:9)  Can we hang on to this promise: He will save us, He will do well to us, and we will be a blessing?  The Old Testament was written for the Jewish nation and Christ made us  (the church) His bride.  The Jewish nation becomes our family and therefore, this is our assurance too!  Please do not miss this fact.

Another fear not to comfort our souls when dark days come and they surely will.  He is faithful!  This I know.   We shall be a blessing!

Treading is easier when you know the Rescuer is on the way,

Yvonne

Days of Elijah

Articles for your personal review:

The Greatest Story Never Told: Modern Christian Martyrdom, by Susan Brinkmann, 2008, The Catholic Standard and Times.

Counting the Cost Accurately, by Sarah Zylstra, 2013, Christianity Today.

For those who may not know The Burgess’ family story, it is easy to find.  Google Bronner Burgess funeral on youtube, go to Amazon and look up Bronner: A Journey to Understand, or go to rickandbubba.com and read Sherri’s blog.  The power and grace of God are on display for all who will see.   You may not agree with or understand all that is written but you will admire one mother’s courage and vulnerability as she shares her very personal journey through the valley of the shadow of death in life’s most difficult loss.   I bet you know a Rick and Sherri in your community.

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Dedicated to Malley Jane and her family.  She and her family are still winning hearts and inspiring lives in our community.

Add your dedications of those families you know who have inspired you to live in faith in God through their loss.  We would love to hear their special story!

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About Yvonne Jones

I am at heart, a LIFEguard: "big" sister, mama, grandmother, aunt, friend, swimming coach, lifeguard trainer, and registered nurse. I am in the business of alleviating fear through education and lots of hand holding. As a swimming instructor, I have taught people of all ages to overcome fear of the water and I marvel as fear gives way to fearlessness, as panic turns to pure joy, as tears dissolve into giggles of glee, and pennies retrieved from the bottom of the abyss become trophies. As a nurse, I have been privileged to walk up to Heaven's gate as patients and family are welcomed home, witnessed the miracle of birth, helped mend broken hearts, and cared for the elderly as they wait. Scriptures number one admonition is "fear not." Question is HOW??? The Word becomes our swimming instructor and can help us learn to "tread water til Jesus comes." Something my students often thought I was going to make them do! So welcome to my pool! Jump in the cool water. Let it refresh your soul and feel the unseen hands of the Master Lifeguard lift you up and out of the deep water. Who knows, you just might even walk on water!

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