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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Do Not Fear

By Mark Moseley

    Fear paralyzes.  Fear of failure.  Fear of retribution.  Fear of persecution. Fear of being ostracized.  Fear of being ridiculed.  Fear of negative consequences.  Fear of embarrassment.  Fear of losing friendships.  Fear of losing status.  Fear of losing possessions.  Perhaps even fear of losing our lives.
    We stand amazed at the courage of the apostles.  They stood before rulers and kings with unflinching determination.  “We cannot stop speaking what we’ve seen and heard” was their mantra and “Jesus is the risen Lord” their battle cry.
    Theirs truly is a remarkable transformation.  Reading the gospel narratives hardly gives us confidence that these men can be trusted to turn the world upside down.  One would hardly describe these men as “courageous.”
    But something happened to the cowardly little group who fled the Garden of Gethsemane.  They saw a risen Lord!  They watched Him ascend into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God.  But that was only part of the reason for their courage.  They had something more.  They had a promise, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  They had the promise they were not and never would be alone.
    Sometimes we worry because we know there is fear in our hearts.  We cannot deny it.  The apprehension is there.  And because it is there, we wonder if we will be able to hold fast in the face of the enemy.  We worry that we will shrink back in midst of battle.  Sometimes we become discouraged because we have not quenched every self-doubt.  We think our faith has failed.  Not so!
    Ideally, we will stand brave and tall without any doubt or fear.  That’s where we are heading.  But until that day, all we need is just a little more courage than fear.  Just a little more faith than doubt.  Just a little more strength than weakness.
    So what if we step forward with trembling legs into battle - as long as we stepped forward!  So what if we struggled mightily with temptation before we overcame - as long as we overcame!  So what if our voice was a little timid when we spoke out - as long as we spoke out!
    Ah, friend, let us ever be reminded that we too have the promise!  If we are hesitating, if we are weakening, if we are fearful, stop and become aware of His Presence.  The Lord is near.  Listen for His voice, “I am with you always.”  So, do not fear - forge ahead!

- via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org


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