Friday, May 31

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

"The Word of God says, 'Believe!' But how? Make up your mind: fear or Faith; fear or Freedom.  We all choose to believe in something.  If you 'fear', it's like a disease that is both preventable and curable."


"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us." 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9....



Our senior pastor, Pastor Clay Davis, now 80-something years young (our best estimate from nearly 40 years of clues we've gathered), is also our friend and mentor for how to walk in restful faith with The Triune God.  He is a tremendous example of how we can reach to the very heart of the matter of fear and overcome it.  We asked Pastor Clay to tell us how he would explain is the best way to deal with fear that comes to rob us of life, and what advice he would offer others, no matter if they are in the church or un-churched.  We enjoy listening to our beloved elder and family pastor as the "preacher in the church pulpit" though he now shares his wisdom with us from his living room recliner.

Pastor Clay told us how he had received a certain birthday greeting card, with a tractor on the front, that said, "I wouldn't say you are old but..." (inside) "if you were a tractor tire you would be lying on your side, full of petunias."  Then, there was another "friendly" expression, when he said he was told that he lied so much about his age that someone would have to cut him in half and count the rings in order to know just how ole he really is!  In Pastor Clay's wonderful way of expressing how he really feels about his age he said, "God blessed me with a lifelong marriage to my (late) God-fearing wife, with four successful children, twelve incredible grandchildren, retirement, good friends around me, and many other blessings; I am not afraid of growing older."

Many folks, Pastor Clay explains to us, consider "the 'O' word", OLD, to be almost worse than "the 'F' word", FEAR!  Those are people who can't see tomorrow or what it may hold.  They begin to conjure up the unknown things that foster fear.  And fear ushers us right into the shadows of worry and stress.  Webster says that a "shadow" is something that only allows partial illuminations because of some opaque (unclear) object.  Shadows or clouds around us keep the "Son" from shining, leaving way for a fear of the unknown.

Jesus said to the ruler of the Synagogue, in Mark 5:36, "Be not afraid and only believe."  This is all-inclusive, regardless of money, man, sickness, sorrow, ....
... Jesus says, "Fear not!"
... God says, "Fear Not!"
... The Holy Spirit says not to yield to evil spirit imaginations.
As Pastor Clay would say, "That scores three to one; GOD WINS. The Word of God says, 'Believe!' But how? Make up your mind: fear or Faith; fear or Freedom.  We all choose to believe in something.  If you 'fear', it's like a disease that is both preventable and curable."

Let's follow that thought for a moment because there are many people we know suffering through fear, growing older being just one of their reasons.  There are folks who fear what was said yesterday that they cannot take back today.  Then, perhaps, some have fallen into fear from making a mistake today that will lead them to "face the music" tomorrow.  Fear, worry, and undue concerns cause high blood pressure, ulcers, and all kinds of other problems in our body that also come to erode our mind!  Pastor Clay gives a perfect example of this, by telling this story:

"

I am reminded of one of my favorite characters in the Bible, the man with the withered hand.  Let's call him 'Clay'.  He was a basket-case, hiding behind his clothes while he was engulfed (in the spirit) in the shadows.  He was deformed, sickly, an introvert, inwardly ugly, feeling unimportant, somewhat abandoned, and was nearing the end of any hope of ever being accepted by others and considered 'normal'.  In the third chapter of Mark where Jesus went into the Synagogue, the Pharisees were waiting, as always, to trap Him in something He would say or do that could be considered unlawful on the Sabbath day.  Jesus ignored them and, in compassion, called out to the man in the shadows, 'Come out.  Come on, I see you hiding there.'

Jesus seized the opportunity to reveal His Love to those who would choose to accuse Him, even if He knew they would not accept it.  Jesus already knew the heart and dilemma of the shadow-man's broken soul before Him.  Jesus simply said to the man, 'Come out of the shadows and stretch out your arm.'  Wow!  Can you imagine the silence and the anticipation?  The man could perhaps stretch out a good hand, or perhaps even a leg.  But, no, not this ugliness that has never been useful or even able to be moved.  But the man had to feel the Love and Authority in the Voice of The Master.  In that instant of God-given faith, the man reached out to Jesus.  And Jesus reached out to the man and made his arm WHOLE!

In a split second, a new man stood before the crowd.  If the man had said 'no' or walked away, or said, 'not now, maybe later', none of the freedom or anything would have come to happen.  Jesus was really saying, 'Stretch forth your shortcoming, your illness, your troubled finances, your doubts, your fears, your ...(whatevers)!'  Jesus asks us daily to step forth and walk in His Word.  Does that mean we won't have problems or situations?  Absolutely not!  Will He take our hands and walk with us every step of the way?  Absolutely, yes!  He will!  This is a promise He has never broken in the past, and He will never break ever.

In October of 1970, I stepped out of the shadows when I heard His Voice in my heart saying, 'come to Me.'  I have never looked back!  I heard the call from Matthew 11.  'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and I will give you rest.'

"

Are you born again?  Then rest in Jesus.  Are you unsaved?  Step out of the shadows and rest in Him.  How, you ask?  Tell Him you love Him, repent of the sins in your life, commit yourself to Him, and He will do the rest.

Until we take our last breath and we hear our heart beat for the last time, we must make up our mind that we will overcome fear and become one with God in Christ.  If we will repent for our sins and accept the greatest sacrifice and gift that was paid by God's Only Son, Jesus Christ, then we move "out of the shadows" and into "The Light of the world" and to ultimate freedom for eternity with our loving Father in Heaven. 
 
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