When I am Afraid
My kids used to listen to a CD from Steve Greene that was full of songs that, while not quoting exactly, reinforced some of the memory verses they were working on. On road trips to the various activities that a young family might have, we were constantly hearing the sounds of scripture coming from the radio and from the voices of my children. There are times we need to be reminded, even by a child, of truths that sometimes fall back into our own foggy memories. One of these songs was “When I am Afraid,” which you can listen to with the YouTube link below.
The song is based on a couple verses from Psalm 56 –
“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” (Ps 56:3-4 NLT)
There is something remarkable in hearing the child’s voice sweetly singing this truth… and we need to be reminded! There are many things that can instill fear in us: a rapidly changing culture, death of a loved one, children who are walking away from the faith, financial situations that seem out of our control, surprise health crises, any and every effect experienced from our fallen world… yet we need to be reminded daily that God is on His throne, He is not surprised at our situations, and He loves us.
My prayer for you today is that no matter what the challenge you face today, face it in confidence that you are loved by God who is infinitely bigger!
Lord, I pray for Your people today… that they remember that when they fear they can trust in You. Give them confidence that what You have said about yourself is true, that you are sovereign, that You love them, and that you are in Control! -AMEN
For His Glory,
Jesus Shall Reign
Psalm 72 is labeled in many of your bibles as a “Prayer for the King.” Though in its original context the Psalmist was writing for an earthly king, verse 18 connects all of the prayers for originator of any success or victory – God Himself.
“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonders. Blessed be His glorious name forever, the whole earth is filled with His Glory.” (Psalm 72:18-19 CSB)
Nearly 2000 years later, Isaac Watts transformed the Psalm into the hymn we know today as “Jesus Shall Reign.” Though it isn’t often sung in many contemporary services today, it is good to listen to and sing this great hymn of the faith as a reminder that it is JESUS who reigns.
This coming week at First Evangelical Free Church, we’ll hear a sermon that reminds us that we are commanded to bring the Gospel to all nations… starting first with those we are surrounded by. So often it is easy for us to forget as we are faced with the problems of immediacy (food, rent/mortgage, work stresses, etc.) that through it all we have a sovereign Lord who alone does wonders.
This week, read through Psalm 72 and listen to this take on the Hymn from the group Enfield and remind yourself that we must not only acknowledge but declare that JESUS REIGNS!
For His Glory,
Remember to Sabbath
If you’ve been following the bible reading plan from last week, on Monday you would have read the creation account in Genesis 1-2. This year as I read Genesis 2:2-3, I took a moment to ponder the rest God modeled (and later commanded in Genesis 20:8-11) as part of our worship. We know from Romans 12:1-2 that a significant part of our worship is tied up in becoming more like Christ. Though we have examples and commands from both the Old and New Testaments, we often ignore any idea of rest.
That’s not to say we aren’t well accomplished at the act of leisure. We often find plenty of time to do “relaxing” and fun activities as a break from our routine, but when we Sabbath we are to find time to not merely cease from activity but also reflect on who God is and what He has done and is doing. We have all had periods in our lives where the pace of our days seem to leave no quiet moments…no moments to remember what blessings we have that God has given us!
This week, try to find a moment to Sabbath… even if it isn’t a full day. Find even 30 minutes to an hour so that you can reflect on all that God has done, all that He is, and all He has promised to do! You’ll find that despite the frantic pace, you can find peace and rest when you remember to Sabbath.
For His Glory,
How many of you have made a “Resolution” for this year? It always fascinates me to see the things people resolve to do as the calendars change over: weight loss, education, personal habits improved… all of these things are wonderful goals, but have you considered a SPIRITUAL resolution?
Paul writes his prayer for the church in Colossians 1:
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
I’m sure that all of us can look at this passage and see areas in our own lives that could use some improvement. As we begin this coming calendar year, this is my prayer for all of you… that your habits and preferences increasingly align with a lifestyle and thinking that reflects the Gospel. In effect, that you walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. If you are looking for some resolutions to help you in that, here are some suggestions!
1. Read through the Bible in a Year. There is no better way to align our thinking and behavior to God’s will than to read His word! You can find a great One-Year reading plan here that is chronological and at a very reasonable pace. You can find the plan here
2. Commit to Praying every day. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us that we should pray without ceasing, but if we are honest it can be hard to have meaningful prayers each day. Commit to pray once a day in a focused, intentional way for five minutes. If you need help guiding your prayers so they don’t feel forced, I highly recommend Donald Whitney’s book Praying the Bible. You can find it as low as $7, and it an excellent resource for any library! You can buy
3. Make fellowship a priority. Hebrews 10:25 gives us a strong command to treasure, and not forsake, the regular gathering of believers. With today’s culture, I’m fully aware that Sundays are no longer left alone by employers, schools, sports teams, and community events. Even so, do not let those things become more important than gathering with other believers. You may be able to get excellent teaching from your favorite YouTube preaching channel, but you are missing out on one of God’s great gifts to you… the church
I hope you all have a great year in 2020, but even more I hope that you grow in wisdom, knowledge, and discernment as you become more like Christ!
For His Glory,
Zach Kellner is the Associate Pastor of Worship at FEFC