A Source of Hope In a World of Fear (#512)
Is the world becoming a scarier place, and if so how do we avoid the fear that paralyzes so many people? Regularly the media confronts us with the rise of terrorism, government corruption and irresponsibility, the catastrophic possibilities of climate change, mass shootings, and a polarized culture that can no longer collaborate for a common good. That leads Wayne and Brad to a conversation about fear and how we can find hope even in these trouble times. They talk about the Day of the Lord, the book of Revelation, and how to deal with times when you can't trust God's care for you, especially when you think you have evidence to the contrary.
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This podcast really spoke to me in such a large way today with such hope and encouragement. You both put into words so much of what my walk has been since leaving the “organized congregations” about 15 years ago. I first read “The Shack” which opened my “God hope chest” that was suppressed by man’s influences. I knew there was more to Father than I had been taught and I am enjoying the journey each and every day finding out more and more about him. Thank you again for your podcasts!
Great podcast guys…seems at times the best stuff comes through when the conversation just flows.
About fear, I don’t know where I first heard it, but it has stuck with me, that fear is sin. And it seems the more you sin, the more fearful you become. Of course, if it was as easy as simply to stop sinning, there was only one person who roamed the earth that was sinless. But, it is possible to sin less.
I’m often comforted by the fact that in Jesus’ darkest moment, He too felt forsaken by His father, and even said so aloud. Yet, as a follower of Jesus, I somehow expect to never encounter this feeling? A servant is no greater than his master.
I think that listening to this podcast, reminds us (again) that God’s ways are definitely NOT our ways. A broader question to ask is: “Did you FIND Jesus? Or did God REVEAL him to you? This question came to mind when Brad discussed the fact that God showed how He was with Brad in every phase that Brad doubted His existence. Our flesh feels as though He’s abandoned us. But He’s teaching us a very important spiritual truth. And HIS truths take time to learn.
Billy Graham erroneously asked “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” That flies in the face of Jesus telling Nichodemus “And NO man hath ascended up to Heaven….” (John 3:13). I think Paul’s writings in Romans 7 should have us asking this question: “If you die each day, would you experience heaven?” By that I mean dying to self, taking up our cross and following Him. Dying to our desires so that His desires are greater in us. And we live reflecting His light in us as we go about each day. And we live as His salt in the world. Another writer noted “Light & salt don’t argue. Maybe there’s a deeper lesson that must be lived.
Come to think of it. EVERY lesson is a deeper one to live as Jesus reveals Father’s will to us.
I think the story of the prodigal son best describes our relationship with Jesus. No matter how much He reveals Himself to us, we still need to recognize our need for Him and make our way toward Him, then He will come to us.
I’ve heard the expression, ‘The devil is a perfect gentleman, he won’t go where he isn’t wanted.’ Jesus is also the perfect gentleman to an extent, but the primary difference is His absence in our lives, not his presence, results in negative consequences. But it is through our own volition whether we choose to receive Him.
In Wayne’s book ‘Finding Church’, we are asked to redefine the church as not a place we go on Sunday, but as a relationship with a believer. Finding Jesus doesn’t require a redefinition of Jesus, but rather, as you say, a revelation. But I don’t think it is a question of semantics…where Jesus is Heaven is also. Graham in his exhortation is not necessarily saying we initiate the moving, only that we are aware of our destination, as contrasted to Hell.
Just read your journey and wanted to respond.
I have not found the enemy a perfect gentleman. He wants to kill and destroy everything in my life with no boundaries as to his tactics. If I did not believe in a Father of love and kindness I would find it quite easy to believe in a devil of hate and fear. A kick you with hard leather shoes while you are writhing in pain on the ground kind of hate. That spirit is everywhere today. The scripture talks of men’s hearts failing them for fear. Our politicians are using that tactic to gain a following.
But to be changed through my Father’s love……… That is a quite a different matter entirely. To live with my own sin so apparent and to know I am loved so completely. I do not understand that kind of love. Jesus loves me, and there is nothing I can do about that. And it is not a manipulative, you reallly should change, I can just barely stand you but because I died for you I must, let’s hope you keep getting better kind of love. It is free, complete, filling, tangible, accepting, dog jumping in my lap licking the top of my head kind of love. A love that slowly crowds out the sin in my life. Crowds out the fear as well.
You left off the second part of my statement to make your point. James 4:7 says resist the devil and he will flee from you. There are instances that through certain actions, we can open the door to demonic activity. Yes, the devil is more powerful than we are, but only God is sovereign.
Enjoyed the conversation about hope in the midst fear and ran across the link below shortly after listening. Its a great reminder (from pop culture, of all places) of where (or to whom) we go when fear creeps in. If you, like my family, love the Peanuts, you gotta check it out! Charles Schultz knew exactly where our security lies:
There is so much to fear in this world. Getting out of bed has its own risks. I believe there is a spiritual onslaught happening particularly against believers. I am reminded of the first temptation: Has God said…? Isn’t that we wrestle with every day. Do we believe his promises?
I wrestle each day with the truth that God cares for me and will take of me. And while I am learning to lean on Him, reminding myself to trust him, relaxing in His declaration of care of and for me, I am prone to wander and forget. It seems what I so certain of an hour ago is quickly forgotten in the moment and I must once again remind and return to what He said. There is certain no straight path of faith but a wandering and tottering like a small child taking his first steps with no certainty that I will finally figure it out and walk with confidence. I wonder if that is even possible?
I believe, Lord help my unbelief.
I wonder if we would struggle with fear less if we trusted our hearts more than our minds. The point is: love is experiential; not cognitive (the experience of love predates the mind’s interpretation of the experience). The mind is mutable and easily manipulated. The mind relies on promises, but to the heart promises aren’t necessary…just the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Thanks for your thoughts Kent.
I suppose if the heart was fully open and able to experience love, then it would be easier to experience heart things, but after years of putting up walls around my heart for self protection from a very early age, it makes the ability to experience with the heart a bit uncertain and even vague. The walls have come down a lot, but there remains residual effects and a not knowing what to expect (head knowledge again).
I also am a very cognitive person, intrigued by how things work conceptually – actually a left and right brained person, and the Lord has given me a journey that encompasses both a mind and heart process that seems to work for me. For me, truth usually needs to start in my mind seeping down into the pores of my heart before I am actually open to an experience. I am open to experience when my mind has determined that it is safe to do so. The Lord has proven himself to be safe through reading truth in his word and comprehending it, but also through Him speaking to me words I understand and that bring revelation.
There is a word in Hebrew “yada” that translates as “knowing” It was used both in Adam “knowing” his wife sexually and is also used in reference to “knowing” the Lord. Yada translates into a variety of meanings: To know, recognize, understand, to have sexual relations, to be respected, to be known, to make oneself know, to show, teach, make know, to be aware.
Some of these are experiential (heart) and some of this is mind. If there is one word in Hebrew to describe all of that, I am not sure I can really separate my mind and my heart, or minimize my mind’s contribution to experience.
As you can see my mind is at work here, but the beauty of “knowing” these truths propels me forward to looking for Him and “knowing” him. I would imaging, experiential “knowing” propels one forward to “knowing” truth.
Appreciated your thoughts John. Seems that toddling and then returning and turning to what He said is part of that process. Seems to require a lot of patience and slowing down..no? Smile