Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why Should I Worry When Your Love Surrounds Me?

Happy Easter, Everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful day with family and friends celebrating our Risen Lord!

I don't know about your Easter Service, but mine was literally a God-send. It is amazing how mysteriously the Lord works, placing us in just the right place, at the right time, to hear the right message!

As we were waiting for the service to start, I was people-watching, and I found myself literally coveting (yes, in church...this is why I need a Savior) the precious women with their wonderful husbands and their adorable children and/or precious pregnant bellies. While I am in absolutely no rush to get married and start a family, I know that those are things that I want later in life, and I am desperately afraid that they will not happen! I don't know what it is about being in church, but I always feel this sense of urgency to move this plan along! I was sitting there thinking, "God, my whole life, the only thing I've known for certain is that I want a family of my own. When is it going to be my turn?!" *keep in mind the previous "I'm in no rush" statement....I'm telling you: I need a Saviour!* And, just moments later, as our wonderful worship set is finishing up, and we are seated for the offertory, God just laughed right in the face of my plans.

You know the Lord has a sense of humor when, as you're sulking in your loneliness and the fact that life isn't what you expected, your high school boyfriend's new wife sings the offertory song. Now this might not seem ironic in any way to those of you who don't know me, but let me tell you: for me, there couldn't be anything more humbling, no better way to shut me up with a classic "My will be done" from our Lord than to have that beautiful woman with her spectacular voice sing Natalie Grant's "Alive" in that very moment. It was an instant reality check for me that, no matter how detailed my planner may be, or how many dreams and schemes I come up with for my own life, God is in control, and it is not my will, but HIS WILL BE DONE! With this new mindset, we began to listen to the sermon.

The theme for today's sermon was "Do Not Be Afraid: The First Post-Resurrection Command," and it focused on how, in Christ's Death and Resurrection, we need not fear ANYTHING for Christ has overcome it all - even death! How appropriate!!

The main passage of Scripture was Matthew 28:1-10, and the focus of this "First Post-Resurrection Command" came specifically from versus 5-6a:

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.'"

Pastor Scotty Smith made the whole congregation laugh when he said, "God could have sent that angel to say 'See!? I told you so! Now, go get your act together!'" But instead, his First Post-Resurrection Command was DO NOT BE AFRAID! The Lord commands us not to fear 366 times throughout the Bible in multiple different ways - one for everyday of the year - even Leap Day! So what do we still have to fear?! Well, Pastor Scotty went on focusing his message on some of the most popular fears, and how, through the Gospel, we can accept the commandment of "do not be afraid:"
  1. Death - Hebrews 2:14-15
    Jesus conquered death to give us life, so do not live it in fear!
  2. Judgement - 1 John 4:16-18
    Jesus died to give us grace - we are pure and blameless in the eyes of the Lord!
  3. People - Proverbs 29:25
    Now this was the big one for me. Scotty said, "Some of you are afraid of being with people, and others are afraid of being without people - of loneliness. Of being seventy-years-old and unmarried, of not having kids, of feeling like your life didn't count because you didn't share it with someone else." Um...insta-tears. This hit home, and not in a small way. My biggest fear in the world is being alone! *See above rant about husbands and babies* But the truth of the matter is, as Scotty pointed out, I have no reason to be afraid because the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me! And his plan for my life is far greater than anything I could ever plan on my own - praise Him! 
  4. Suffering - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
    Do not be afraid to hurt! Struggle brings perseverance! And God is with you no matter what!
  5. Not Having Enough - Hebrews 13:5-6
    Jesus is enough!
  6. Not Being Enough - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
    We should not be preoccupied by what we see in the mirror, but focus instead on who we are in Jesus!
  7. Not Mattering Enough - Luke 12:32
    We are "little flock," and that is all we will ever be! But the Father is pleased to give us the Kingdom! Hallelujah!! WE ARE ENOUGH!! 
Like I said, I just felt like Scotty was speaking straight to me, and it was just undeniable that God wanted me to hear just that: YOU ARE ENOUGH! I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU! DO NOT BE AFRAID! I DIED TO TAKE AWAY YOUR FEARS! It was just such an amazing Easter morning, and I left feeling alive and rejuvenated - ready for the brand new opportunities ahead! It was the perfect way to start a new week! I hope you are feeling renewed and refreshed as well! God Bless You All!!

blog title courtesy of Andy Cherry's Nothing to Fear...another incredible song that gave me chills in worship this morning!

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