This year (2021) is the third year that I have used a daily devotional book written by Chris Tiegreen. He has written a number of devotional books and each one that I have read so far is excellent. I get a lot of inspiration from his words – they sometimes push me to study more of the Bible, research for more information and details and it then sometimes results in my articles. (You may have noticed that I fairly often use quotes from him.)
This morning as I read my devotional, it caused me to think again about the condition of the world today. In my personal opinion, the entire world is in a real mess right now. The USA, for such a long time, has been the primary stable shining example to the world. But things have been changing here for quite a long time; and, it seems the descent into immorality and chaos has accelerated so fast for at least the last 20 years, I hardly recognize it anymore. There are things happening that I could never have imagined I would see in my lifetime. If I allow myself to think about it too much it could become distressing. I try to pay attention enough to current events to stay informed but do not do the information overload that I did for a while.
Evil seems to have permeated every area of our lives. So many negative things are being done and said by so many in positions of authority that it strikes fear into our hearts. But we need to remember that fear does not come from God – it is a very powerful tool used by Satan – primarily in an attempt to control us. When you are full of fear and someone speaks something that sounds like they are trying to help and make things better, it only makes sense to listen to them and follow their ideas/suggestions. However, too often the things they are saying are not one iota better than what was spoken to start with that frightened us, consequently exacerbating our fears. It is important that we learn to discern for ourselves what is truth and fact and what is a fabrication and most likely pure manipulation. We have to do a better job of thinking for ourselves rather than being led about by others that do not necessarily have our best interest at heart. Our inclination leans to believing those in authority, convinced they want what is best for all of us – but unfortunately it has become obvious that just is not true any longer. There are far too many that are power hungry and greedy and if it will benefit them, that is all they seem to care about.
The scripture that was the basis for today’s devotional was John 14:27. Jesus is speaking to His apostles and says (TLB): “‘I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’” [Emphasis mine] So in other words, kick fear out of your life!
I also like the way that particular verse is stated in the Amplified translation: “‘Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]’” [Emphasis mine]
So I want to share with you a part of what the devotional I read this morning said. (Please forgive me for quoting so much of it, but it is worded so well I do not want to try to paraphrase it myself):
“One of Jesus’ favorite classrooms was the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. Once He was asleep in the back of the boat when a storm raged and His friends panicked, but He calmly woke up and told the storm to be quiet – and it obeyed. On another occasion, He sent the disciples across the lake ahead of Him, and when they were being tossed around in a dangerous storm, He came to them walking on the water. In both cases, His Presence changed the nature of the crisis. And in both cases, He taught foundational lessons about fear and faith.
“This is not an unusual dynamic. Jesus still allows storms in our lives. He continues to teach lessons about fear and faith, and His Presence still changes the nature of the crisis. He comes to us in the midst of a storm – often after He has allowed us to reach a point of panic – and calms us, the storm, or both. He reminds us that faith is the key to overcoming, that fear undermines faith, and that keeping our focus on Him destroys fear and builds faith. He teaches and strengthens us best not when the weather is calm but when the waves are about to overwhelm us.” (Chris Tiegreen) [Emphasis mine]
My thoughts are that we are in a fairly dangerous storm right now. A storm that is likely being allowed in order to get our attention – enough so that we recognize the flagrant evil around us. But we must stop trying to fix things in our own strength. We must stop depending on other people to fix things. We must learn to discern the truth from the lies. We must get on our knees and pray for our heavenly Father to send us the help we need to make a difference. We must rely on our faith so deeply that it pushes all fear out of the way so that it cannot possibly overwhelm us.
I will say that from the beginning of 2020 through all the pandemic, shut downs, etc. I have stayed pretty calm with little to no anxiety. (What little I did experience was very early in the situation.) I have tried to use the appropriate precautions I felt were necessary and do the things recommended to boost my natural immune system; but, I refused to let the daily reports strike my heart with fear. I have felt a lot of frustrations and some anger about how things were/are being handled by the authorities and the media; but, I refuse to be a sheeple just blindly following along without question.
I am a child of God and as a believer He lives in me. He is more powerful than the evil forces in this world and I look to Him to resolve things when He determines the time is right. But I also believe that Christians in general are not doing enough – they are letting circumstances rob them of their peace, living in fear and not stepping up in faith. As Mr. Tiegreen said, we need to keep our focus on Him so that He can destroy fear and build our faith.
My article published on June 27, 2021 was titled “Trouble With A Capital T” and I addressed in detail my thoughts on the condition of things in the world today and what we can do about it. If you did not read that, you might want to check it out – today’s article is almost like a follow-up to that one.
So I encourage you to seek out the perfect gift of peace and the calm offered by God. Reject the fear – build your faith.
Written by Karran Martin – August 9, 2021