Jesus takes away our fear
Don’t get me wrong, some fear is healthy and good for us. The fear of getting burnt if we touch a hot stove is a healthy fear. But some fears are totally irrational. I took my wife to Paris when were students to ask her to marry me. My plan was to go on one knee on first stage the Eiffel Tower, but my irrational fear of heights prevented me going up the steps (we were too poor for the lift!) It had to be on the Arc D’Triomphe, which is ironically only 7m less high!
I tried my hand at abseiling once – poised on the edge knees knocking with fear, the instructor told me FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real. It was safe, the two ropes were capable of holding a car, so my expectation they would snap was false. The answer to some irrational fears – the ones based on False expectations is a bit of thinking to realise they are not real.
The American Presidential campaign is being run on the politics of fear. Pandering to fear gets votes. I guess for most of us Brits, our main fear is Donald Trump getting in – what a buffoon!
The fear of stepping out can be debilitating. Are you held back by fear? As Joyce Meyer writes “Are there any areas in your life that are being stifled because of fear? Satan is always going to bring fear against us at various times. It’s one of his major weapons—not a cap gun, but a cannon.”
The answer to these fears is a relationship with God. “Do not be afraid” is one of the most common commands in the Bible. It’s a command backed up with a promise “Fear not, for I am with you.” Knowing God personally means we can face fears. The Message paraphrase of the Bible puts it like this “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
If you want to get rid of fear in your life – why not pray to Jesus and ask Him to take it from you.
Worry is feeling uneasy or troubled – can get unreasonable even irrational pretty quickly. It’s like a rocking chair – it’s always in motion but never goes anywhere. As Corrie ten Boom put it: ‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow; but it empties today of strength.’
There are lots of causes of worry – constant noise, iPads, tv, radio, internet, email and traffic – no one else can drive, fractured family life, finances, Daily Mail and even success (when you are failing, you get a pat on the back and a cup of tea). Underneath it though we are not trusting God. Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we’re doing the devil’s job for him!
Some symptoms of worry are mood swings, anger, depression, exhaustion, wanting to run away or die, comfort eating, irritability, sleepless nights and the need to drinking red bull “I was anxious, now I am anxious and excited!”
What’s the answer? Philipians 4:4-9 makes the following points
1 Anchor your joy in Jesus – our circumstances may change but Jesus doesn’t. There’s always reason to complain and… to rejoice.
2 Respond gently – worry doesn’t give us the excuse to behave badly to others.
3 God is near – He is never far, just call on Him.
4 Pray list – the answer to worry is to cast your anxieties on God and leave them there.
5 Meditate – if you worry you already know how to meditate! The Apostle Paul tells us to think on good things to replace what we were worrying about.
6 Accept the peace of God – once you have done the above, allow the supernatural peace of God that transcends understanding to guard your heart and mind.
Don’t worry, be happy! Or at least be joyful, which is a much deeper kind of happiness.
The Gateway Church
Shame is a hugely powerful negative emotion – more powerful than guilt. When we feel guilty we feel tension, remorse and regret and most of us would want to apologise and trying to reconcile. Shame makes us feel small, worthless and powerless and tends to lead to more hurtful behaviour like hiding, escaping or shrinking back. In many cultures bringing shame on the family leads to honour killings.
The Bible was originally written in honour-shame cultural context. What did Adam & Eve feel when they were the first to sin? Ashamed. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection deals with our guilt and shame. Hebrews 12 tells us for the joy set before him “He endured the cross, despising its shame and is seated at the right hand of God.”
Jesus who was in the highest place of honour came and shamed himself as a man dying on the cross to take away our shame. When he rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father – he was restored to the place of highest honour taking us with him. So that we are seated in heavenly places with Him!
A man was married to a woman that he dearly loved for many years. Yet they were never as close and intimate as he desired and he couldn’t figure out why. Truth is she was filled with shame – she had been molested as a young girl and been promiscuous through much of her teenage years. She even cheated on her husband during their engagement and didn’t share her dark shameful secrets with him. After many years she finally told him what she had done and what had been done to her.
The truth devastated her husband who would never have married her if he had known of her infidelity and may have walked away from her as damaged goods if he had known about her lifestyle. At this point she feared he would leave her and want nothing to do with her.
Then he did do the unthinkable: he left their home and she did not know if he would return.
But because he knew the gospel. He went to a shop and bought her a new clean white nightgown. He returned and asked her to undress in from of him and clothe herself in white, which she did. He then said he had chosen to see her not by what had been done to her or done by her, by solely by what Jesus had done to forgive her sin and cleanse her shame. He hugged her and prayed for her and she wept tears that purified her soul as her shame was despised by the love of Jesus and her husband.
If your life is filled with shame – come to Jesus and ask him to cleanse it.
One of the things I learnt when I moved to King’s Lynn is that it always snows during the Mart. And so it has for a good few years, but not this year! That will be a relief for flooded Britain! My wife assures me that “rain before seven, dry by eleven.” That’s not been true in recent months either. A more reliable weather saying is “Red Sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning.” That saying has been around for thousands of years and is a pretty reliable weather indicator (IMHO!)
Jesus even quoted it in Matthew 16. The religious leaders had asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. Jesus replied that although they use the red sky at night saying to interpret the skies, they as a “wicked and adulterous generation” couldn’t interpret the signs of the times. Jesus then refused to give them a miraculous sign, except the sign of Jonah. Why, you may ask? He refused to do a miraculous sign for them, because He knew it wouldn’t help them to repent and believe, they’d just explain it away. But He did say they could have the sign of Jonah.
The sign of Jonah is about two things. The first obvious one is that Jonah was in the big fish for “three days” – a prophetic image that Jesus would die and rise again on the third day. The second is that Jonah was preaching to Nineveh, a non Jewish “wicked and adulterous generation” who actually did repent and believe. In the coming days Jesus would die and rise again and lots of non Jews would repent and believe – a sign of Jonah!
Our generation is no different from any other. We love talking about the weather and saying red sky at night… And we are just as wicked and adulterous generation as any other. Jesus died on the cross and rose again, so we can be forgiven and enjoy a guilt free, shame free relationship with God. So will you be part of the sign of Jonah and believe in Him?
What do you feel about the health controllers who want to legislate our food into being good for us? Those who want to ban salt in processed food, for example. They tell us how many thousands of lives will be saved if we all follow their directives. I’m all in favour of healthy eating and when I get my fish and chips I like to put the salt and vinegar on them myself! But the serious point is the fallacy that we can make ourselves immortal. The death rate is 100% – we shall all die and ignoring that truth doesn’t help live a full life.
We shall all die and how we face that truth affects how we live our lives now. Is death extinction, or a new and greater adventure in life? Our answer that question makes a great deal of difference to how we live every day. I dislike Henry Scott-Holland’s poem, “All is Well.” It begins “death is nothing at all,” but it is taken to mean, “bereavement is nothing at all,” which it certainly isn’t. Grief is devastating and trying to pretend that the death of someone we love doesn’t affect us is no way to find healing. But if there is infinitely more to life than surviving another day, then each day can be illuminated by the reality of eternal life. That is the hope and the joy that Jesus offers.
King’s Lynn Minster
“How much do you think it’s worth?” a question I’ve asked numerous people as we got ready to put an offer in for a new house.
I mean, how do you really judge the value of something?
Well something is really worth whatever anybody’s willing to pay for it. An estate agent advised us the maximum price he’d pay but in the end to secure our new house we paid more. Why do we do that? To us it was worth it. It was everything we wanted our new home to be, so to us it was worth more.
Do you realise how valuable you are to God?
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7 that you are so valuable to Him that His Son Jesus Christ gave his own life on a cross for you.
The price of dealing with your sins, which are what keep you from a relationship with God and a future in heaven was Jesus own life. That’s a high price to pay but Christ was willing to pay it. Why? Because to him you are worth it!
KLCF Assistant Pastor
Does ‘Good Friday’ mean anything significant to you apart from it being a day when the banks are closed?
And is the Easter weekend just an opportunity to have a couple of weekdays off work, meet up with the family (weather permitting!), and eat more chocolate than is good for us? Is it a sort of mini-Christmas, but lacking the build-up and glitter which marked the last big holiday occasion three months ago?
The answer is a resounding NO for Christians, who believe that God, creator of the universe, the wonders of nature and every human being, entered the world as a baby named Jesus Christ 2000 years ago on the first Christmas Day. Good Friday provides a solemn contrast as we remember that 30 years later Jesus suffered a cruel death on a wooden cross because he challenged the authority of the Jewish leaders of the day by placing love, forgiveness and service to others above status, privilege and ritual. But then came the great surprise. Easter celebrates his rise to life again a couple of days later, demonstrating to everyone who believes in him that beyond this world there is a much more wonderful time to come.
Just as spring is a time of new life all around us after the bleakness of winter, Easter Day is a joyful confirmation by a God of love that there is life after death. Does it mean that to you?
By Tony Kendall, Church in the Woottons
Churches Together in Kings Lynn Cookies Policy