FAITH AND FEAR

 

 

Death scares me. I love my life and I don’t want it to end.

There’s also a part of me that wonders what the afterlife is really like. What if it’s different from what the Bible says?

Some people might think that my fears are unchristian and a threat to my faith. On the contrary, I think that they’re not only normal who honestly isn’t afraid of the great beyond? — but they also play an important role in my faith. Fear doesn’t prevent me from having faith; fear actually presents the possibility of great faith.

It was no great thing for Peter to walk on land, but to lower himself over the side of the boat and splash through whitecaps toward our Lord — that took faith. We can, of course, allow fear to overwhelm us to the point of losing faith. But we can also channel our fear into Peter’s desperate cry as he began to sink, “Save me, Lord” (Matthew 14:30).

Having faith does not mean that we’re not afraid. It gives us the courage to stand tall and to hang on in the middle of our fears. And the greater our fears, the stronger our faith can become.

We place our faith in Jesus, whose resurrection has defeated death. If we minimize death and claim that it’s no big deal, then w inadvertently also cheapen Christ’s resurrection that conquered it. But if we honestly admit that death is the enemy that terrifies us, then we can begin to appreciate the unparalleled power of the resurrection. Faith isn’t about suppressing fear and pretending that everything is okay. But it does allow us to swallow hard— with shaky knees and sweaty palms and cling to God’s promise that we will live again. Death is frightening, and for that reason it provide the ultimate test of our faith. —— Mike Wittmer

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LESSONS OF THE COKE BOTTLE

Pastor Louie was preaching on the pervasiveness of sin. “It’s everywhere!” he stated emphatically. He told about waiting for a traffic light when he saw the man in the car in front of him finish his Coke, open the door, set the glass bottle on the street and drive away.

“That was wrong!” Louie said. “It was a selfish sin! He could have caused someone to have a flat tire or even an accident.” We don’t typically think of littering as sin, but it is clear evidence of our inherent selfishness.

Later, as Louie was greeting people by the door, a Bible professor at a local Christian University said quietly as he walked by, ” Sin puts the bottle on the street, but grace picks it up.

Now, many years later, Louie has not forgotten the lesson of that scriptural principle. It comes right out of Romans 5, one of the most uplifting texts in the Bible describing the grace of God. Adam’s transgression brought sin into the world. and its consequences spread to all people. But God responded with grace, offering forgiveness through His Son to all who choose to believe. The human race sinned, and God answered with abounding grace.

God does much more than just “pick up the bottle,” He cleanses the heart of the transgressor! —- Dave Egner

     Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,

     Freely bestowed on all who believe!

     You that are longing to see his face,

     Will you this moment His grace receive ? —-Johnston