How do you worship when fear tries to take over your heart? For insight, look at the disciples when they were in a storm and Jesus was right there with them.
“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Matthew 8:23-25).
Jesus got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed and said, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (8:27).
When you have big waves and little faith, you’re going to have fear problems, but if you have big waves and big faith, then you know God’s got this. So, when you’re in a turbulent moment, whether it’s on a plane or a boat or wherever you are, remember that fear is not from God. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Every single day we need love, power and a sound mind. But when fear comes, it removes those things. The opposite of power is weakness; the opposite of love is not hate but selfishness; and the opposite of a sound mind is a brain full of irrational thoughts.
When fear strikes, we usually are not understanding who is right in front of us — Jesus! A believer’s faith can never rise higher than who he sees God to be. When we see God for who he actually is — how great he is — then our faith begins to rise and fear begins to dissolve.
Isaiah says, “Lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid … Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9). He is saying, “Those of you who fear, your God is here! This is who he is. This is what he looks like.” And he looks mighty impressive! “[He] has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (40:12). Two-thirds of this planet is covered with water and at places the water goes eight miles deep. According to scientists, the total volume of water on planet Earth is incalculable — too many gallons to even express. And our God holds that water in the hollow of his hand.
“[He] measured heaven with a span” (49:12). Consider the span of your hand — from the tip of the pinky finger to the tip of your thumb. Our God is so big that he measures the universe with his hand. So, consider that the next time you are tempted to fear. Think of the hollow and the span and remember the bigness of your God. Then shout with Isaiah, “Here is my God!”
After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.
Where is heaven? What will we do when we get there? Well, we don’t know where heaven is, but we do know that a new heaven is coming, as well as a new earth.
In heaven, we will learn things that simply cannot be contained by the human mind here on earth. We’ll have access to the mind of Christ himself, which is unlimited. And he will undoubtedly teach us about all things eternal.
Consider for a moment the seeming infinity we see in space. Our own solar system is said to be at least five billion miles in diameter, and yet it’s a mere dot in the universe. Scientific discoveries show there is system after system after system, seemingly without end. It is absolutely staggering to the mind.
Even as our solar system races through space, revolving around the sun, countless other systems are moving one upon another as well. And it is all taking place according to God’s divine order. It stands to reason, then, that in heaven we are going to be doing things that are incomprehensible to our human minds.
But best of all, we will be with Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). According to Paul, heaven — being in the Lord’s presence for all eternity — is something we are to desire with all our hearts.
Jesus describes a huge gathering, when the angels “will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31). Millions of God’s glorified children will sing hosannas to the Lord. What a sound of victory and praise it will be: multitudes of orphans crying, “Father! Father!” Imagine the beam of delight on Jesus’ face: “For such is the kingdom of God,” he has declared.
Then come the martyrs, those who once cried for justice on earth, crying, “Holy, holy, holy!” Then a mighty roar comes forth, a sound never before heard, as multitudes from all nations and tribes dance with joy and sing, “Victory in Jesus!” When Paul was caught up into heaven, he “heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful to a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4). Paul said he was staggered at what he heard there, and I believe he was hearing a preview of the singing and praising of God by those who will be rejoicing in his presence forever.
We know from Scripture that storms and great trials come to all who have truly given everything to Christ: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Moreover, as you hunger after the Lord — if you are determined to seek him with your whole heart, setting your mind and soul to obey his Word — you will continually be a target of the devil’s envy.
The most trying of all spiritual battles takes place in the mind of the believer. Many Christians battle thoughts that are oppressive, fearful, unlike Christ. They battle memories of past failures and end up feeling unworthy of fellowship or God’s blessings. There aren’t always answers for all the reasons believers suffer, but one thing is certain. Satan is always behind it.
The devil wants to rob God’s saints of their rest, their intimacy, their hope of paradise with the Lord — in short, all the things he lost when he was cast out of heaven. The moment you made a decision to be totally devoted to Jesus, and God’s concerns became your concerns, you became a target of Satan’s wrath.
Even though your faith might be weak right now, Satan will not let up on you. He is determined not to allow any chance for the Holy Spirit to rekindle that flame in you. For this reason, Paul warns us not to be ignorant of the devil’s wiles: “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). If we ignore the enemy’s tactics, we may allow him to gain a foothold, or advantage, over us.
Paul writes, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (11:14-15). Paul’s warning here is crystal clear: Satan uses ungodly people as messengers of his wrath and envy. And, according to the apostle, these people have infiltrated the church. Have you ever met such people?
The fact is, we’re all going to be in a fight until we die or Jesus comes back to earth. We may be given seasons of calm, but as long as we’re on earth, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. But we have been given weapons that are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We have been equipped with weapons that Satan cannot withstand: prayer, fasting and faith. Hallelujah!
In Psalm 21, David wrote, in essence: “Lord, you pour out blessings and lovingkindness on me before I can even ask. And you offer more than I could ever conceive of asking.”
David is referring to some awesome work that God performed for him in the spiritual realm. It is something that gave David victory over his enemies, answers to prayer, overcoming power, and unspeakable joy. And God did it all before David could even go to prayer, unburden his heart or present his request. Once David finally did pour out his heart, he discovered that God had already made provision to defeat his enemies. David’s victory was assured before he could even get near the battlefield.
Indeed, when David wrote Psalm 21, he was speaking of a literal battle. This psalm is a companion chapter to Psalm 20, both referring to a battle described in 2 Samuel 10 where Israel’s enemy, the Ammonites, had hired Syrian battalions to wage war against David. David’s military leader Joab and a choice army defeated the Syrians soundly in an overwhelming victory, and the enemy fled in fear.
David rejoiced, thinking, “That’s the end of the Syrians. Our army dealt them a death blow.” He wrote, “I have wounded them, so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet” (Psalm 18:38). Yet, the enemy regrouped and began plotting yet another attack (see 2 Samuel 10:15).
Of course, this story is about more than David’s troubles with the Syrians. It is also about followers of Christ today and our battle with Satan. It’s about a battle we thought we had won long ago —at a time when we thought, “I’ve finally won the victory.”
God gives us the story of David and the Syrians to reveal to us a crucial lesson. Every victory we win over the flesh and the devil will be followed by an even greater temptation and attack. Satan simply will not give up in his war against God’s people. Once we defeat him, he will redouble his forces and come right back at us.
David made this statement of faith just before going to war: “You set a crown of pure gold upon [my] head” (Psalm 21:3). The crown David mentions here is a symbol of victory and dominion. David was saying, “I’m going to war riding on God’s promise to me — a crown of victory!”
Receive the Lord’s promise to you today.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:9-10).
Right now, the world is in frightening disorder. God warns his faithful ones so that when sudden disaster strikes, they are not swept away with fear. God’s people must know that whatever happens, it is not an accident or a random act. They are to have the peace of Christ in their hearts, knowing that God is still master of the universe. In this way, they will have been warned and they won’t panic when other men’s hearts fail them for fear.
Many Christians might cringe when they read the message Peter delivers, and inside they might wonder, “Why do we have to be reminded of this? There’s so much bad news and stress already.”
Peter went on to say, “Since you know this beforehand, beware [be on your guard] lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3:17-18).
Paul also preached: “Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Considering these two apostles’ messages, what might we expect the word to be for a society about to be judged in our time? We find that word coming from Paul and it is directed to Christ’s beloved: “My prayer for you is that you pursue intimacy, grow in spiritual understanding, and walk worthy of Christ” (Colossians 1:9-10, paraphrase).
What is required for such a pleasing walk? Paul tells us: “As the chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another, whoever has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you forgive” (see Colossians 3:12-13).
Examining your walk with Christ means looking not so much at what you are doing but rather at what you are becoming. Peter and Paul are both saying, “Don’t fear what is ahead. Keep God’s Word in remembrance at all times, through all things. And meanwhile, let the Holy Spirit make you into a different, more Christlike person.”