Eastport United Methodist Church
Monday, May 20, 2013
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
JANUARY 23, 2011
1.23.11 – Fear Knocks But Faith Always Answers
Sermon by Sally Hight, Certified Lay Speaker
Let us Pray: Lord I ask that you decrease me so that you may be increased and magnified in the words that you gave me to speak so that someone today is released from the stronghold of fear that is consuming their hearts and minds right now. It is in your name I pray, AMEN
Have you ever been at a point in your life when it seems like no matter what you do your world is crashing down around you like a house of cards. You’re at the end of your rope and you can no longer hold on. When the fear from whatever is happening creeps deeper into your mind and soul and begins to take control of your emotions. The fear traps you into believing that things will never improve; that your life will become an intricate tangled web that you can never escape. The fear will start to fill the voids in your life that should be reserved for our faith and trust in GOD.
Never be ashamed about your fears because fear is a natural emotion. See, we all fear a lot of the same things: losing our health, our finances, our families, our friends. We fear not getting promotions or even losing the jobs we currently hold. We fear growing old, but even more we fear death.
Some of the most famous people suffer from some of the same fears we do, for example:
· John Madden ‒ a 6’4”, 300 lbs, Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles, coach for the Oakland Raiders and football commentator, suffers from Aerophobia (a fear of flying) so badly that he traveled only by bus his entire playing, coaching and broadcasting career.
· Harry Houdini – the world’s greatest escape artists suffered from Claustrophobia (a fear of closed-in spaces); now the fact that Houdini dreaded tight spaces makes his feats all the more impressive.
· Marilyn Monroe one of the world’s greatest actresses and most photographed woman during her reign in Hollywood suffered from Agoraphobia (fear of public or open places), very odd that an actress would suffer from this.
· Famous people not the only people that have fears or phobias; Like television personalities Starr Jones and Kristi Alley, I suffer from Obesophobia which is a fear of regaining or gaining too much weight. And Kevin Hight, a former Marine and correctional officer suffers from a very severe case of Chorophobia which is a fear of Dancing, which I am very very grateful he has (LAUGH). But remember, no matter what your fear or phobia is, GOD has an answer for you and it lies in the simple understanding of GOD’S presence in your life.
When King David penned the words of Psalm 27 verse 1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” You see David knew the true meaning of the word “fear” better than anyone else, because his life was a series of one vicious attack after another because at one point in his life he was the #1 fugitive on King Saul’s Most Wanted List. His picture was hanging in local Israel post office. (LAUGH)
Now you may never find yourself in David’s situation, but your fears and phobias still plague you from time to time, but you must maintain a sense of certainty, a sort of calm in the midst of a storm by letting GOD be in control of the circumstances. Don’t deny the situations or problems you are facing, because they won’t just go away, but don’t let them define your worth by taking counsel of the fears. See your life in a much larger perspective since GOD’S presence provides a defense against these frightening circumstances.
Remember, the LORD doesn’t merely give light, but HE is the light; nor does HE just give salvation, but HE is salvation. GOD doesn’t just help you discover a refuge, a place to be safe, HE is your safety. HE chases away the shadows of despair. HIS control is never undermined. HE is all powerful and LARGE AND IN CHARGE.
Like David, you must know with certainty that the answers to the mounting troubles you face is found in your PRAYERS AND WORSHIP. So boldly take your cry to GOD for HIS help and then do something that we all must work on ‒ “WAIT.” Now this is a word we never like to hear. Our children whine and pout when we tell them to wait, and the complaining doesn’t stop as they get older.
But contained within the word "wait" we have a clue as to what waiting does. The origin of the word is to twist, stretch. The tension which occurs during the time of waiting is what produces the strength which is the benefit of waiting. A rope is made strong by the twisting of the fibers together so that it can take the tension when the time of testing comes. We are made strong by God’s grace when He puts us under pressure.
The willingness to be strong and take heart is the same desire found in Joshua 1:9 where Joshua is told not to be discouraged, not to fear. What then is the man or woman to do in the face of adverse circumstances? He or she is to wait….but that implies hope, a confidence in God that He will answer the prayer and vindicate the oppressed.
Our world is impatient. We want everything right now. We've got instant tea and instant coffee, instant computers and instant banking and instant re-dial on our phones. There's a website that has pictures of funny signs, one actually reads, "Antiques Made While You Wait." This is almost as bad as the one that said, “Ears Pierced While You Wait?" (You don't leave them there and pick them up later!)
Things that are worthwhile don't come instantly: Maturity, character, wisdom, perceptiveness, and holiness. All through the Scriptures, God tells us, be patient for the coming of the Lord; wait on the Lord; they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; don't grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest if you don't give up. Yet we are an impatient lot.
When we are in turmoil, we become fearful, we want answers immediately. But God commands us to be patient, to wait. He’s won the victory. Sometimes we can do little except to wait and believe. A Jewish refugee wrote an inscription on a wall outside Cologne, Germany, during World War II: "I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I'm alone. And I believe in God even when He's silent."
But God has spoken. God has an answer for us. On what basis can we be certain that our fears will not come true, that God will leave us to be destroyed by whatever monsters plague us by day and night? This may have been David’s story, but I’m not David. How can we claim this fearlessness in the face of frightening circumstances? How can we know the presence of God’s grace?
We can have confidence that God is our light, our salvation and our refuge, for it was His own Son who, while evil men came to take Him to be falsely tried and murdered, spoke and they fell to the ground. It was Jesus who knew far better than any of us the horrors of abandonment as He hung on the Cross, as He cried out to His Father, "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" But He was not completely rejected - for the Father received Him, as we know, on the third day when He rose from the dead. It was then that He could see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
His success is now ours - Jesus Christ is the light of the world; with Him we will never walk in darkness. Christ will keep us safe; He is the rock on which we are set secure. AMEN
Our fears have trapped and consumed us. But we are tired of living under the weight of our fears. These verses reassure us of your presence and confirm that you are able to deliver us from our trouble. Please give us your love and power to replace these fears because your perfect love casts out the fears. We thank you for promising to give us the peace that only you can give. We receive that peace now as we ask you to still our troubled hearts. Because you are with us, we don't have to be afraid. In the name of THE FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN