Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 9 September 2018
Page 15

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

Controlled by Fear

Marilyn LaStrape

Marilyn LaStrapeWho or what is it that causes us to fear? Why do we sometimes allow this emotion of faithlessness to rule our days, weeks, months, years and virtually our lives?

The July/August 2010 Christian Woman magazine featured an article, “God Is in Control” by Diane Mauck and Janet Jenkins. They pointed to Jeremiah 18 to serve as a reminder of the One Who is in control of this world. In that chapter, the potter’s expert hands spun the clay, marred the clay, and then reformed it into a usable vessel. In the concluding paragraph of that section, sisters Mauck and Jenkins wrote, “God’s eternal existence, His control of history and time itself, is reaffirmed over and over in Scripture and is so designed as to allay fear. And yet, there is unrest and even fear among many today concerning the future of our nation.” That observation is as true today as it was in 2010. For Christians, Psalm 9:19-20 must be embraced and trusted. “Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight; put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.”

One other reflection on the plague of controlling fear comes from James M. Tolle in his book, Living Without Fear. He wrote:

No enemy of mankind has caused more misery and unhappiness than fear. In its devastating destruction and disintegration of personality and character, this major sin of humanity has plunged innumerable souls into a veritable [real and genuine] hell on earth. It cripples constructive effort; it produces confused and frantic minds; it results in sleepless, restless nights; it expresses itself in selfishness, thoughtlessness, and greed; it paralyzes the will; it destroys inner unity; it upsets physical health and shortens lives. It is first, last, and always a curse and blight on mankind.

Adam and Eve were the first to experience fear or being afraid. Fear was not in their vocabulary! This negative emotion became crystal clear when they disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. God had commanded them not to do this and told them why—they would surely die. They vainly attempted to hide when confronted, and then, the perpetual blaming others began. Mankind has been plagued with fear since that day. Fear abounds from being “afraid of our own shadows” to fearing the end of the world.

The only kind of fear that God wants us to have is the spiritually healthy reverential fear of Him, His judgments and His Word. God expects those who submit to Him to do so with the highest respect and adoration that their spiritual mind and subsequent speech and behavior can express. The irrevocable truth of these passages is but a smidgen of that expectation throughout Scripture.

Jesus said it best. “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him” (Luke 12:4-5).

The Bible overflows with passages and examples of the faithful who faced situations in their lives that caused them great fear. The space allotted for this article would not scratch the surface of the virtually countless accounts of those who had legitimate fears but absolutely refused to be controlled by them. So, what are we to do? Where are we to turn? When fear of any kind begins to grip our minds, our thoughts must immediately turn to Scripture.

By daily living in God’s Word, we will overcome all our fears.


If I Died Last Night

Martha Lynn Rushmore

Martha Lynn RushmoreI heard a saying, “There are two important days we should think about; they are ‘this day’ (today) and ‘that day’ (Judgment).” We should only be concerned and working on these two days. How are you and I doing to have a great reward on Judgment Day? We do not need to worry about yesterday as it is gone, and we do not need to worry about tomorrow because it is not here yet.

I heard this sermon a while back, and I thought it was very timely for all of us. If I died last night, where would my soul go on Judgment Day? Will I go to that eternal, heavenly home where Jesus built a mansion for me, or will I go into eternal punishment that God has prepared for Satan and his angels? Will I hear these great words from my Jesus, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant enter in to the joys of your Lord,” or will I hear these awful words from my Lord, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, I never knew you.” My goal is to go to Heaven and to take as many with me as I can.

Do you think that you and I can go to Heaven alone? Maybe, but if we do not try to take someone with us, I believe it will be hard to gain our heavenly home. We are told to go! Does “Go” in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:16 mean for all to go teach or just a few of us to teach? To “Go” may be laying a tract down in a hospital waiting area, leaving it in a restroom or putting it in some other place. We do not have to be seen. We can quietly leave some information so someone can pick it up. A person may not read it but just throw it away, and someone else may pick it up. We can invite our families, neighbors, friends, acquaintances or even someone we do not know, to learn about the Lord. We are told to go, but we are not told how to go.

Here are some questions that may be asked on the Judgment Day. “How did you hear about the Gospel of Christ?” “Have you ever heard or read the Word of God?” “Has anyone ever tried to teach you?” “Did you offer anyone literature, ask someone to go to worship with you or invite anyone to study the Gospel of Christ with you?” What will we say to the Judge on Judgment Day?

Will I have to say, “I never went with my friend to services” or “I would not study my Bible”? “I did not think it was all that important to become a Christian.” “God is loving, and He will not send me to Hell.” Do you really want to stand before the Lord with these lame excuses?

Can I be lost if I never heard the Gospel? There are laws made by God. He has told me what I must do to inherit eternal life. If I did not follow His laws, what will happen to my soul? Unfortunately for me, I will lose my soul to eternal punishment because I never had the opportunity to know God’s Word. I am not the Judge. Jesus died on the cross for my soul and yours. We must do as He commands in His Word.

If I died last night, would my soul be ready to meet Jesus at the Judgment? Did I obey the Gospel of Christ? Did I hear the Word of God described in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God”? Did I believe the Scriptures, as they teach, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16)? Did I repent of my sins as found in Luke 13:3, 5, “I tell you, no, except you repent you will all likewise perish”? Then, did I confess Christ as the Son of God? In Romans 10:9-10, we are told, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Then, of course, have I been baptized for the remission of my sins as I am told in Acts 2:38? “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

If I died last night and I was a Christian, did I remain faithful to God’s Word all my life? Did I follow God’s Word as closely as I could? Did I put God and His church first in my life? Did I try to teach others about Christ? Did I set the proper example of what a Christian is supposed to be for others to follow?

If I did not remain faithful to the Holy Bible, did I repent, or did I die before making things right with the Lord? Simon was told by Peter in Acts 8:20-24 to repent and pray for forgiveness. I am only promised now! God did not promise me—or anyone else—a specific time to die. Did I worship every time I was able, or did I sporadically attend worship? Did I let things interfere with my attendance, such as vacations, company coming, staying home to watch something special on television or I was just too tired to go worship my God? Did I think it was okay for me to miss the assembly occasionally and that God would understand (excuse me)?

If I died last night and left this world as a faithful Christian, wouldn’t that be wonderful? I could stand before my Lord as His faithful servant. Revelation 2:10 says to live a faithful life even unto the giving of one’s life for Christ and His church. I have always tried to live, speak and act as a Christian should to the very best of my ability.

At the Judgment, God will say to me, “Enter in to the joys of the Lord.” Was I perfect? No! I was not perfect by any means, but I did try to speak like a Christian, to act like a Christian, to dress like a Christian, to go where Christians should go and to do my best to live like a Christian. Louis, my husband, says, “If it is yellow, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be a duck.” So, if I look like a Christian, speak like a Christian and walk the Christian life as a Christian ought to do, then it is reasonable to conclude that I must be a Christian.


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