February 2, 2017

Dear First Pres,

   Are you feeling afraid? It seems to be a common theme in our country these days. People are afraid of all sorts of things: some are afraid of what this new administration will mean for our country; some are afraid of the threat of terrorism; some are afraid of being deported; some are afraid of too many foreigners in our land; some are afraid of losing their health insurance; some are afraid of increased government spending; some are afraid of the liberal agenda; and some are afraid of the conservative agenda. If you’re listening, then you’re hearing it too. People are feeling afraid.

   I’m no expert in fear, but I do know that sometimes fear is a good thing. You can probably remember times in your life when you didn’t do something that you knew was wrong for fear of being caught, or times when fear actually helped you make the wise choice. But on the other hand, you can probably also think of times in your life when fear kept you from doing what was right, or held you captive, or simply, wreaked havoc. 

  So, when we’re afraid we need to pray. Paul instructed the Philippians, “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).  We need to ask Him for help in understanding if our fears are grounded in reality or grounded in some kind of falsehood. We need to seek Him about what actions we should or should not take. And, we need to surrender our lives to Him anew, asking for His perfect love to cast out our fear. 

   And, when we recognize others who are afraid, we should have grace for them (all of us have been there); we should encourage them; we should show them Christ’s love; and we should point them to Jesus.  He is the One who said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

   In the 11 o’clock service on Sunday we sang a song that was a great encouragement to me: This is My Father’s World. Listen to the last verse: “This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!”

   Friends, may we remember this great truth: we live in our Father’s world.  Not only will He reign in the end, but He reigns even now.  What good news for a fearful world!

Blessings,

Jeremy

P.S. This Sunday, during the Education Hour, I encourage you to join us for the First Pres Forum. This will be a very important gathering to talk about the work of the Vision Team, and the potential impact it will have on our church.