Friday, December 21, 2018

When God Is In Charge!
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      A marvellous story of faith has come to us from the Second World War. In the Battle of Britain, the German Luftwaffe rained down about thirty-five thousand bombs upon London during nightly air raids, causing terrifying fear and tremendous destruction and mayhem in large parts of the city!
       For months, as sirens wailed out warnings of approaching German bombers, the general population automatically hurried toward the nearest Air Raid Shelter! People learned to look after one another during the nightly raids and the ‘morning after’ walkabouts and clean-ups!
       After a terrible night of bombardment, an elderly woman was not seen in a certain neighbourhood for several days. Her neighbours assumed that she had either been killed by the falling bombs or that she had gone to the countryside to escape the danger, disruption of life and incessant noise!
       Some time later, a neighbour spotted the elderly woman walking down the street and articulated his happiness that she was alive and well!  “It’s nice to see you back”, he said. “I have not been away”, she replied.  “Where have you been?” he asked. “I've been at home”, said the woman!“What have you been doing at home during the air raids?” inquired the neighbour. “Sleeping”, she answered! “How could you sleep with all the noise and explosions?” he asked.
     “Oh”, she replied, “I was reading my Bible and found in Psalms 121: 4 where it declares that God doesn’t slumber nor sleep, so I thought there was no point in both of us staying awake.”
     The Bible says: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea. I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” (Is.41: 10)
      Fear is a corrupting, constricting and crippling agent!  Fear corrupts through the unbelief it breeds in the heart! It constricts the flow of the Holy Spirit and reduces the fruit that faith produces! Its crippling effect erodes the peace and joy that results from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour! 
      Why?  Fear hampers the normal functions of the Gifts of the Spirit, making victims and spiritual dwarfs out of servants and emissaries of our Lord!
     Fear is divisive, demeaning and destructive! It creates a divided heart which brings only condemnation and confusion! The Bible states: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1: 7-8)
     Fear is demeaning because it makes you think, say and do things that makes you look foolish, puts you outside the will of God and is out of character with Christian living! It is destructive because it destroys your confidence in God and His Word and therefore your fellowship with Him!
      The Bible confirms: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3: 20-22)
      What is the underlying cause of condemnation? Plain and simple: Sin! And what is the antidote or solution for the serious problem of sin? The answer in a nutshell, is the Blood of Jesus!
                                        WHAT CAN WASH AWAY MY SINS?
     The Bible says: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sins.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all sins.” (1 John 1: 7, 9)
      When the sin is cleansed away, condemnation leaves and faith leaps to the forefront! Then, miracles occur as God answers prayer in response to sincere faith-filled petitions coming from a clean heart!
      Fear brings trepidation, torment and terror!  It is an enemy, but fear can be neutralized, beaten and vanquished!  The Bible states: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.” (2 Tim.1: 7).
      Since God does not give anyone the spirit of fear, it is evident that fear comes from Satan, who is the ENEMY of God and mankind!
      The Holy Scriptures declare: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4: 17-18) 
     Jesus said: “The thief (Satan) cometh not but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I am come that ye may have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10). Former alcoholic and drug addict, James Payne, wrote a Gospel song titled John 3: 16.  Here are the lyrics: 
Alone one night at the end of my rope
In a hotel in Nashville praying for hope
        In my hand was a Bible I had read as a child
     On the table was the bottle that was driving me wild
        I poured the whiskey into the glass
       Praying that somehow I could forget my past
     Then I remembered how Jesus had died on the tree
     I poured out the whiskey and fell down on my knees
        The night Ol’ Jack Daniels met John 3: 16
       God’s Word broke the chains that he had over me
          I traded Tennessee whiskey for Calvary’s tree
          The night Ol’ Jack Daniels met John 3: 16
     That is the exact reaction that occurs when the spirit of fear meets the blood of Jesus! When His powerful blood sweeps over our souls, fear must leave immediately! There is NO ROOM for satanic bondage of any kind in the life of a Christian!  The Blessed Holy Spirit makes us free from sin, guilt and fear. And He keeps us free for God’s glory! Praise His name forever!
     U.S. President Roosevelt stated: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” In many cases that is true. Because fear is a spirit, when it digs its deceptive tentacles into a victim, raw fear often proves to be far worse than the object of the fear!
      There is a story in Middle Eastern folklore of a great warrior who meets a mythical rider carrying a gigantic scythe! His name was Death!
     Addressing him, the warrior says: “I have just come from a battle where I left 5,000 men dead. Where have you been and where are you going?”
      The mythical rider replies: “I have just left the area to which you are heading.”  Inquiringly, the warrior asks: “How many dead will I find there?”  Death answers: “The plague killed 5,000.”
      The next week, the great warrior again meets the mythical rider on the windswept desert. He hails the scythe - carrier with a shout: “You lied to me. The plague left 20,000 dead. You told me that you had killed only 5,000!” 
       Death replies: “I told you the truth. 5,000 perished from the plague.  The rest died of fear!”
      An old adage says: “Cowards die a thousand times before their death. The valiant tastes of death but once!”  Without doubt, fear is a real enemy and a robber.  The Bible character Job, after having been attacked by Satan, confessed: “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.” (Job 3: 25)
      The Psalmist King stated: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. From whence cometh my help?  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.  He that keeps Israel will not slumber.  Behold, He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Ps.121: 14)
      This Scripture text has been greatly misunderstood because of an apparent error in translation.  Instead of a comma after the word ‘hills’, there should be a period. And instead of a period after ‘help’ there should be a question mark!  He wasn’t looking to the “hills” for help, but to the Lord Who made heaven and earth!  The entire psalm must be taken in context!
      The original Hebrew conveys the message that there was danger lurking in the hills. As King David scanned the hills assessing the danger he asked, “How well are we defended?  Where is our help going to come from?”  Then he answers his own question: “Our help will come from Almighty God, Who made heaven and earth.  He will help us because He is Israel’s keeper and He does not slumber nor sleep.  He’s on call 24 hours a day!”
      When things go wrong and it appears that the bottom has dropped out of everything, that is not the time to become afraid or to panic!  God’s Word says: “And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” (Ps.50: 15)
      Jesus said: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you life.” (Matt.11: 28). If we must doubt, let us doubt our doubts and put our trust totally in Jesus Christ our Lord! God is trustworthy and good. His mercy endures forever. His intentions toward us are only for our good and His Word is infallible, immutable and inerrant! (Jer.29: 11; Ps.117: 2).
     We must listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Helper which the Father has sent to lead, guide, direct, comfort and heal us! Remember, the Word of God is a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Ps.119: 5)
     Here is a powerful promise of God to us all: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou live in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and he shall bring it to pass.” (Ps.37: 5)
      He is duty bound to keep His Word to us! Satan is duty bound to obey us when we speak in Jesus’ name, against his evil and cruel designs. Our Lord has given us the legal right and power, to use His name to bind Satan and cast him out of those that he has afflicted or possessed! And we – God’s children – are duty bound to serve Him with all our ability by His grace and power, until the He returns for us in the rapture of the Church, or the hour of our death!
     Here our Lord’s GREAT COMMISSION to His Church: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt.28:19, 20).
      “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs hall follow them that believe; In My NAME shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;; They shall take up serpents (like St. Paul on Malta – Acts 28: 3-5); and if they drink any deadly thing (by accident), it shall not hurt them 
    He promised: “I will never thee nor forsake thee.” (Heb.13: 5); “…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt.28: 20). And that is good enough for me! Amen