Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
A Psalm of David
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.”
Psalm 138: 7
“Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the tale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.
The passionate tempest will rush and will roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains;
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.
Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God’s heavens, His love shall make thine,
Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplift them on high
To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.
The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes thee for safety within;
The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,
And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.
Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;
God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm.”
Mrs. Charles Cowman
Streams in the Desert
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the color and the drunken hilarious brightness of the king’s face was changed, and his terrifying thoughts troubled and alarmed him, the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together.”
Daniel 5: 6
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose – Part 7
“The Fear Factor”
Definition of fear: “Alarm and agitation caused by the expectation or realization of danger. Feeling apprehensive.”
“Fear paralyzes faith.”
Is there an area in my life that is controlled by fear?
Is there any way in which I have not moved forward in my life because I am afraid?
“Slavish fear of God is to be put away. The right fear is the fear of losing God.”
“The most audacious despiser of God is most easily disturbed, trembling at the sound of a falling leaf.”
Several years ago, there was a popular so-called “reality” show on T.V. here in the United States called “The Fear Factor.” Much to my surprise, when I went to my computer not long ago to check out my facts on this strange program that seemed to hold out such allure to some fanatical viewers. Obviously, what appeared to me as a gross exhibition of people allowing themselves to be covered with bugs or subjected to infestations of rodents or whatever other indelicate acts of extremely revolting behavior, just happens to be very popular.
Indeed, I suspect that some of the show’s participants were truly “frightened,” at least I know I would have been, for all of us have “fears” that can “scare us to death,” so to speak. I’m one of those individuals who has experienced so many unusual events while flying in airplanes that frankly I’d prefer travel by rail or car or walking, which I read are more dangerous then traveling by plane.
In one of my last air-travel adventures, the smaller commuter plane I was on somehow got too close to the 747 in front of us. At the altitude where we were cruising, the turbulence from the much larger plane caused our little plane to act like a child on a slip and slide as we tipped sideways and back and forth in a pocket of air. The screams that pierced the silence on the plane were unsettling enough and I was hanging onto the arms of my seat in what I call a “white-knuckle” grip when all of a sudden the man next to me, a well-dressed businessman who had earlier bragged to me about all his traveling expertise, threw his arms around me as if he was grabbing a life-preserver. I now laugh at the absurdity of the situation but at the time I looked at his quivering body and said the first thing that popped into my head: “Hey buddy, if you think I can save you, you’re absolutely wrong!”
Interestingly, when our plane finally landed safely at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, as we taxied up to the gate, all the passengers burst into thunderous applause. But when I stood up to grab my Tote Bag which I’d stuffed under my seat, my legs began to tremble. I mean knee-knocking together shaking. My body reaction which I thought “calm” Dorothy was incapable of experiencing, still surprises me. Maybe you can completely relate to my fear of flying. Or maybe there’s some other activity that frightens you just to think about it.
If we carefully read our study text for today, Daniel 5: 6, we immediately recognize that while there are fears that may keep us from certain activities we find unnerving, there’s a greater fear that penetrates the core of every godless human being when they recognize that their Divine Creator has called for an accounting of their life here on earth. I really appreciate the way The Message Bible paraphrases Daniel 5, verses 5 and 6:
“At that very moment, the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the lamp-illuminated, whitewashed wall of the palace. When the king saw the disembodied hand writing away, he went white as a ghost, scared out of his wits. His legs went limp and his knees knocked.”
Daniel 5: 5, 6
The Message Bible
This description in Scripture is unique to those who are out of the will of Almighty God. When confronted with their wayward living; their scoffing behavior directed at the sacred; and their recognition that God is asking for them to give an account for the time they have spent on earth ridiculing what is “Holy” – these mockers wither under the scrutiny of God Almighty. Yes, fear does become a factor when looking at the powerful hand of God.
It is in the face of the overpowering fear that enveloped the godless King Belshazzar that the repeated words of Jesus, while on this earth, stand in stark contrast as He tells His devoted followers, over and over again, “Be not afraid.” If ever there are calming and comforting words which soothe my heart in our world today with all we face, it is Jesus’ clarion call, “You have nothing to fear. It is I. I’ve given you a spirit of love not of fear.” Ringing out above the din of earthly noise, the soothing voice of Jesus resonates in your heart and mine, “My perfect love will cast away all your fears.”
Other than Jesus, I find that the Psalmist David may well have spoken about fear more than any other Biblical writer. In Psalm 56, when David was being held in the clutches of the Philistines in Gath, contemplating the seriousness of the predicament he was in, his heart gained courage when he took time to look up to the residence of his Most High God. It was then he uttered these words, “What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You. By the help of God I will praise His word; on God I lean and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?” Do you want to live a life free from fear? Then as David encourages us: “Don’t look around, look up!”
The author and pastor A. B. Simpson, in 1897 compiled a book of daily readings, which has been carefully updated, entitled Days of Heaven on Earth. In his comments on Psalm 56: 3, Pastor Simpson leaves us with these inspiring words:
“I shall never forget a remark George Mueller once made in answer to a gentleman who asked him the best way to have strong faith. ‘The only way to learn strong faith,’ replied the patriarch of faith, ‘is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm in severe testing.’ What Mr. Mueller said is very true. The time to trust is when all else fails. If we could only realize the value of our present opportunity. Even while we are passing through these great afflictions, we are being held in the very soul of the strongest faith. If we will only let go, He will teach us in these hours the mightiest hold upon (His) throne which we can ever know. Be not afraid. If you are afraid, just look up and say, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee,’ and you will thank God for the school of sorrow which was to you the school of faith.”
“Awake, Our Souls! Away, Our Fears!”
Isaac Watts Hymn Title
“In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?”
Anna L. Waring
“Fear not…I have called you by name; you are mine…Fear not, for I am with you.”
Isaiah 43: 1, 5
“Lord, in the Garden of Gethsemane You shared with everyone who has ever been afraid. You conquered fear with love and returned saying, ‘Do not be afraid.’ In the light of Your love death has lost its sting and so has fear. Lord, may Your love be the key that release me from fear.”
“For the Lord did not give us a spirit of fawning fear, but He has given us a spirit of love and calm and well-balanced mind.”
II Timothy 1: 7
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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