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Friday, October 26, 2007

Fear not

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"Fear Not"
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1). "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:17,18).
One of the great sources of fulfillment as a father is when our child comes and says, "I'm afraid Daddy." It's fulfilling because we can take our child in our arms and provide assurance, safety, and comfort for most things in their young lives.  But there are some issues we really can't do much about. Since Ester has had many hospitalizations, medical procedures, and surgeries I recall numerous occasions of her dealing with fear, particularly when she was getting an IV. Though Brooksyne has always been with Ester in every medical procedure over the past 18 years I wasn't always able to be by her side.  If I wasn't there she would scream out for everyone in the room and outside as well, "I want my Daddy!"  After that plea went unanswered then she cried out "He-----lp me Je-----sus!!"  That always brought out some surprised looks from the medical personnel.
Certainly there are many situations that induce fear. Fierce storms, financial issues and terrorist threats number among many other troubles that instill fear. Scores of families in California have experienced some degree of pyrophobia or perhaps arsonphobia.
There is a positive aspect of fear as well. We are told in Scripture to "Fear God", although this is different than all other kinds of fear.
Someone began collecting phobia words many years ago as a hobby and now has a listing of over 500 phobias since 1995! I am sure everyone will find something on the list they struggle with. I happen to deal with hypsiphobia.
The longest phobia listed and a word I rarely use in my sermons is "hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia".  I fear I would pronounce it wrong (which amazingly is not yet identified as a phobia so I will suggest a new phobia, "pronunciationophobia.") In my line of work I sure hope I don't deal with too many people who have "homilophobia."
Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, "I was afraid" (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. It's still that way today and they seem to keep coming up with new causes for fear!
I find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated "Fear not" (or generally "Do not be afraid" in the NIV). This phrase is found sixty-two times from Genesis to Revelation. In today's Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.
Today I encourage you to listen carefully for the voice of our heavenly Father.  He speaks gently to your heart reminding you to put your confidence in Him. Some of you are really struggling with fear as you read this. It's crippling you spiritually, emotionally, and perhaps even physically. When I take the time to stop and really consider my emotions I realize that I experience fear and anxiety most when I'm not trusting in what God has said or what He has shown me through His  character traits.
God continues to speak, "Fear not". He truly cares for those who belong to Him.
Fear not my child I'm with you always,
I feel every pain and every tear I see.
Fear not my child I'm with you always,
I know how to care for what belongs to Me. *
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father I will not fear for You have redeemed me and called me by name.   You know when I pass through the waters and You have promised to be with me; when I cross through the rivers they will not sweep over me.  When I walk through the fire I will not be burned for You walk with me.  Though trials may engulf me with paralyzing fear, I can conquer the enemy of fear just as Jesus conquered the power of death.  May the resurrected power of Jesus subside my fears and doubts and increase my faith in the Holy One of Israel.  Amen.

Here's the phobia list I referred to in today's message.  Interestingly this list does not include Islamophobia nor does it include Christianophobia or Christophobia, although articles on each of these can readily be found on the internet. In reality though I believe the word phobia has morphed in these and actually other instances to mean "disagreement with" or "hatred of." 
Christianophobia blog (although this blog does not appear to have current articles.)

If you are curious as to several of the phobias I mention today merely copy and paste them into a search box or use the above mentioned
phobia list!

Hypsiphobia is the fear of height although more precisely I have a fear of edges with a drop off. Actually I am not afraid of the height itself, being in a tall building for instance. But if I, a loved one or anybody is on an edge I really get a squirmy feeling.

As of 10/26/07 the word "pronunciationophobia" is not in Google's index nor can I find any reference to a fear of pronunciation or pronouncing words. Brooksyne and I agree that this is a fear that many would have although we really don't need to list another phobia!

Today's music:
* "Fear Not My Child" by Carman.  You can listen to a good part of this song on his website.
"When I Am Afraid"  (Audio)
"No Need To Fear" (Audio)
"Whom Shall I Fear"  (Audio)

Harvest time
I am working on a sermon that this picture illustrates.
I took it in a restaurant in eastern Lancaster County.

Today's lead photo "Fear Not" is
actually the front of a greeting card!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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