Sunday, November 22, 2015

No Room in Love for Fear

By Pastor Ed Evans

“There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love.” – 1st John 4:18 (Message)
For the past weeks and months Americans have been treated to the fearful actions of Islamic extremists who think nothing of slaughtering people, even blowing themselves up if they can take innocents into death with them.
Over the past week the news has been filled with the recounting of Muslim jihad slaughter of French people, deadly raids and hostage situations, French bombing runs against the ISIS enemy forces, violent incidents in England, Africa, and Belgium, as well as in Syria.
Even as this is happening, with blood yet running in the streets, the President of the United States boasts he will bring thousands more Muslims into America as refugees. There are already thousands of Muslims in America, some in business, some in training camps across the U.S., some in prison for incidents of jihad violence. This has led the American people to proclaim loudly that they wish no more Muslim refugees right now. They have proclaimed that desire to the news media, to their State Governors, Congressmen, their Senators, and the President.
Still, President Obama proclaims the FBI and DHS vetting of refugees will protect the American people. Even as he does, the Director of the FBI and a member of the Senate Commission on Homeland Security admit they cannot adequately vet that number of foreign immigrants as quickly as the President wants them moved into states across the U.S.
As of this date, 27 State Governors have said they will refuse to allow Syrian refugees to settle in their states, citing the necessity to protect the people of their state. These refusals come even after the Supreme Court has said only the President has the authority to refuse refugees, and only he can say where they will and will not be resettled. The 27 Governors, who control the funding to support such resettlements, continue their refusal. Congress has also passed a bill defunding any Syrian refugee program, in response to a week of vociferous contact by their constituents.
The President’s unkind response was to belittle the American people, speaking fro the Philippines, for being afraid of “widows and orphans.” However, it has not been lost on the American people that nearly all the photos of crowds of Syrian refugees are of men who are of military age, with no “widows and orphans” in sight.
I think it is obvious that much of this refusal, by the people of America, by their Governors, Congressmen and Senators, is driven by the continuing Muslim violence in Europe, and the many individual instances right here in the United States. At its core, it is cold, hard, fear.
There is an old saying many of us probably remember from our high school sports days, that says when things get tough, the tough get going. Our football coaches used it on the playing field, and over time, it became useful in other areas of our life. “When things get tough, the tough get going.” Basically, when the situation facing us becomes difficult, that’s when the strong, the hard, the determined knuckle down and come up with solutions to the problem. That old saying has been attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President John Kennedy, and to football coach Knute Rockne.
Whoever said it first, it is still the best way out of difficult problems. Sitting around moaning about our circumstances, becoming emotional over them, closing our eyes and pretending nothing has gone wrong – all useless reactions. But this is what we see much of the world doing, plus looking for others to blame, others upon whom we can wreak our vengeance for our mistakes in not stopping it sooner.
For the Christian, for those whose worship and faith are grounded in the Living God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, none of that is necessary. Believers in Jesus Christ actually do live in a different, an altered if you will, world. Psalm 20:7 tells us, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." The American military is the best-trained, the best-equipped, with an ability and a prowess that is respected all over the world. It is often said, “The enemy knows our name.” They watch for our mistakes, our weaknesses, to exploit them to their advantage. But especially in this case, it is not America’s military prowess and ability that will make the difference. Our enemies are the enemy of God. This is His war. He will win it His way.
And what should His children be doing in the meantime? We should be remembering 1st John 4:18 – and the Message version says it best -- standing strong in His Word, without fear, acting in love. “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love.”
In every circumstance during this difficult period before us, remember love, without fear. Stand in His love, plan in His love, act in His love. Then, be still and know that He is God, and watch Him work. Amen.

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