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Courage and Fear

January 2nd, 2017

Courage and fear are mutually exclusive

 “Jesus came to them, walking on the water.” Mark 6:48 NLT

My thoughts and comments today are about “courage and fear.”

Life involves some frightening moments. A new year may include new uncertainties, challenges you must navigate with faith rather than fear. Or you may carry concerns with you from the year just concluded. A change of calendar does not exempt you from the same or similar concerns. And a new year may introduce problems you do not anticipate. There is good news for either possibility.

Mark records an instance of miracles on either shore of the Sea of Galilee, as well as a harrowing night of panic, fear, and despair of survival between those miracles. Read Mark 6:45-56 NLT. In the first miraculous event, at the end of a day of teaching and ministry Jesus fed a crowd of thousands with just a boy’s small lunch. In the second, Jesus healed many of the sick and suffering who were brought to Him. Between these two exhilarating experiences was a perilous, night time journey across about four miles of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus had sent His disciples ahead of Him while He remained to pray. In the dark of night in the middle of Galilee, the disciples encountered a life-threatening storm – too far to return to where they were safe, yet too far to journey on to where they would be safe. Men, well acquainted with the sea, despaired of survival. Mark described them as, “in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves.” I love the description of Jesus’ arrival, “Jesus came to them walking on the water . . then He climbed into the boat and the wind stopped.” Who walks on water except God? Who commands the wind and sea and they obey?

I observe two things. The wind and waves that threatened and frightened them were exactly the elements that carried Jesus to them. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV. When Jesus comes, the frightening elements are calmed and profound peace displaces fear. You can face any storm with Jesus alongside.

The Psalmist knew the only Source of true peace, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Psalm 61:2-3/23:4 NKJV. In His presence, you are always safe.

In whatever circumstance, now or in the unforeseen days ahead, you will discover Jesus alongside you. What frightens you today? World events? Health issues? Marriage challenges? Family concerns? Job insecurity? Inadequate finances? Uncertain future? God will come to you, even in the turbulent waters that threaten. Courage and fear are mutually exclusive. Fear will overwhelm you unless faith displaces fear with courage.

Today, I pray for you to discover a new courage in whatever you encounter on your journey.

Christian Communications 2016

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Better Together

August 11th, 2014

On a personal note: after this mailing of EDL, Gayle and I will be taking a few weeks to celebrate our 50th anniversary – though a year late! The importance of the occasion and the travel involved dictate that the writing of EveryDay Life be set aside, to resume in September. I will miss the discipline and enjoyment of sharing my thoughts from God’s Word, as well as reading your kind responses and comments, but anticipate resuming my joyful assignment upon our return. During these weeks, let me suggest that you use the option of browsing the archive of more than 1,100 previous devotionals available at the EDL website: www.allenrandolph.com. I look forward to our return and our visits together around God’s amazing and practical Word.

Blessings, Allen Randolph

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“That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:12 NIV.

Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “better together.”

Let me journey a little further on our recent theme of encouragement. The Bible is clear, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV. Human nature is a bundle of contradictive inclinations; for example, a person can long for meaningful closeness with others, while at the same time requiring privacy from others. Relational intimacy can seem threatening; isolation can feel discomfiting.

At every level of personality, our fallen natures conflict with the Creator’s intention. At creation, God observed all that He had made, then declared, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God’s solution was, “a companion who will help him.” Genesis 2:18 NLT. God’s assessment is unchanged and His solution remains the same. People need other people.

Jesus chose His disciples, “to be with Him.” Mark 3:14 NKJV. Much of God’s intention for you begins with a call to divine companionship. I think the mention is significant that when Jesus gave His disciples power over unclean spirits and all kinds of disease, He sent them, “two by two.”  Mark 6:7 NKJV. Jesus knew they would face challenges and feel rejection, and partnered them for the mutual encouragement they would require. Together is a better option.

The Bible is full of such examples: Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and others. In prison, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life . . bring Mark when you come, for he will be helpful to me.” 2 Timothy 4:10-11 NLT. It is a wise individual who recognizes his or her need for others.

“I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:9-12 NIV. The encouragement of each other’s faith provides a mutual strength.

Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one . . pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. Solomon reasons that your efforts together are more productive; help is more readily available; comfort is found in company; strength is compounded. Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others. You will not reach your full potential without the meaningful fellowship of others. And some measure of others’ accomplishments and fulfillment requires yours. Encouragement is neither complicated nor extravagant; it can be as simply expressed as a genuine interest, a sincere inquiry, an affirming word, a heartfelt prayer, an overture of assistance, or an act of generous benevolence.

Today, my prayer for you is to be as encouraging to others as someone has been to you.

Christian Communications, Inc.

 

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Daily Bread

May 29th, 2012

“Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 11:3 NKJV

On your horizon will be challenges beyond your experience.

My thoughts and comments today are about “daily bread.”

Life comes to you one day at a time; your necessary provision for life comes from your Father one day at a time as well. I think most people recognize their lack in some measure. Working harder, thinking longer, or getting richer won’t solve every problem. Everyone needs help sometimes.

Our great-granddaughter, Kaylee, is now one month old. She is helpless, fully dependent on the grace, love, and assistance of those who love her, for any and everything she needs for her health and growth. She will grow, and learn to do those basic things for herself, but she will always need some help from God and others – just as you and I do.

You were not born self-sufficient; you will not become self-sufficient entirely. You will have needs beyond your ability to satisfy. On your horizon will be challenges beyond your experience. You won’t know everything you will need to understand; you won’t have all the perseverance life will require; you will face situations and people for which you lack wisdom.

Life will confront you with things unexpected, things for which you are unprepared – injustice, false accusation, financial disaster, medical emergency, health crises, terribly accidents, social abandonment, emotional trauma, and too many other unwarranted tragedies to list. It is foolish to think that you can be equal to everything that could occur in a lifetime. Life doesn’t afford you ample storage of reserve and resource for whatever may come your way in a lifetime. You meet life in smaller, daily doses.

Finally, the good news. There is nothing that touches your life that is bigger than God. You will not face anything without God, unless you choose to. You won’t have to confront all of those frightening things at the same time. You will experience very few of those in your lifetime, but you will not be exempt from all things that frighten and hurt. That’s why you will want help.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray; He gave them a model prayer. Read Luke 11:1-4 NKJV. This prayer provides a grand view of the intimacy of your relationship with God and the dimensions of God’s faithfulness to you. The prayer Jesus taught them teaches how life works, beginning with “our Father!”

Everything you need begins there – in His heart, from His hand, out of His love. You can have a unique, personal relationship with God who is your Father. In every circumstance, God’s will for your life can be preeminent, “on earth as it is in Heaven,” that grace flows when we “forgive everyone who is indebted to us,” and your cry, “deliver us,” leaves every evil intent impotent of harm.

I purposefully left this simple statement for last; “Give us day by day our daily bread.” Bread symbolizes basic needs that are common to us and necessary daily. As I stated above, you meet life in smaller, daily doses. Sufficient help is available every day from the one unfailing Source; you only need to come to your Heavenly Father and ask , “Give us day by day our daily bread.”

As surely as God fed Israel each day in the wilderness with manna He gave and they gathered, He will give you your “daily bread.” “Some gathered much, some little . . he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. No one is to keep any of it till morning.” See Numbers 11:7-8/Exodus 16:16-19 NIV. God’s provision was day by day only.

My prayer for you today is that you live confidently in the ample supply of God’s love.

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