No Fear!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 26-28; Acts 22

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation.
        Should I fear anyone?
    The Lord is a fortress protecting my life.
        Should I be frightened of anything?
When evildoers come at me trying to eat me up—
    it’s they, my foes and my enemies,
    who stumble and fall!
If an army camps against me,
        my heart won’t be afraid.
    If war comes up against me,
        I will continue to trust in this:
    I have asked one thing from the Lord
    it’s all I seek:
        to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life,
        seeing the Lord’s beauty
        and constantly adoring his temple.
Because he will shelter me in his own dwelling
    during troubling times;
    he will hide me in a secret place in his own tent;
        he will set me up high, safe on a rock. (Psalm 27:1-5, Common English Bible)

Fifteen or so years ago, there were t-shirts that were the style. On the front was a logo for the shirt that would simply say, “NO FEAR!” Then, on the back would have some kind of quote on the back like, “A Life Lived in Fear is a Life Half-Lived – NO FEAR!”

About the same time, there was a reality television show on NBC (I think it was NBC). They would have contestants doing all kinds of things to show they were fearless. They called the show, “Fear Factor.”

I often wonder why we seem to gravitate toward things that are intended to motivate the fear in us. I have never been a fan of horror movies. Whey do I want to go and pay good money to see a movie that is intended to scare me. Watching the national news can do that for free.

God gave us fear for a reason. Fear keeps us from getting hurt. I freely admit I am afraid of snakes. I know it is an irrational fear. The snake on television cannot possibly hurt me, but I fear it anyway. I believe God gave some of us a fear of snakes as a way to protect us from snakes.

So, how do we reconcile the idea that is my belief, God gave us fear to protect us, with what David says in our lesson? Here is verse 1 again, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Should I fear anyone? The Lord is a fortress protecting my life. Should I be frightened of anything?”

In truth, I can’t answer that question. I honestly don’t know how I should answer. Perhaps I shouldn’t feel afraid of snakes. I know I shouldn’t have my irrational fear of snakes. I guess my thought goes, “Does the fear prevent me from serving God, from doing what God asks me to do?” If it does, then I really have a problem.

To the best of my knowledge, my fear of snakes has not prevented me from fulfilling my call. I would say, I must be fortunate because the thing I fear most is not something that keeps me from fulfilling my call from God. Others are not so fortunate.

I have often wondered if those who say they fear nothing are actually telling the truth. I do have my fair share of fears. Maybe I have more than my fair share. However, what I do not fear is the future, both in this life and the next. I have reached a point in life where I know there are likely more birthdays behind me than there are ahead. I do not fear because I know the promise of God that with the faith I place in Jesus Christ, I will spend eternity with God. In that, I have no fear.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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