Happy early Labor Day to everyone. This is an annual celebration of workers and their achievements that originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. At the height of the Industrial Revolution, in the late 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days-seven days a week, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, and people of all ages faced extremely unsafe working conditions. The labor force became fed up and began to show resistance to and protest the current conditions. To help address the protests, riots, and casualties on both sides, President Grover Cleveland, on June 28, 1894, signed into law, Labor Day as a national holiday. Since that time, this “workingmen’s holiday” has been celebrated with parades, picnics, barbecues, and other activities.
We have done it. In the past 6 weeks, we have gone over many fears that several key people in the Bible experienced. By looking at and identifying each of these fears, we see how the enemy works to try to discourage or stop us from accomplishing what God has prepared for us—His plan and purpose for our lives. Our faith in God, which is our total confidence in Him rather than ourselves, is what we need to overcome all these fears. There are many other characters that we could study in the Bible and other fears that we can explore but the main purpose for today’s message is to move us forward from fear to faith—in every trial, circumstance, and situation.
We have been studying for the past five weeks about how we need to have faith in God that is greater than all our fears. We have discussed, so far, twenty different fears that biblical characters and people who we know have faced and overcome through God’s perfect love, grace, and mercy. At the end of this series, we will provide a list of those fears that we studied, along with scriptures that will encourage us to put our total faith in God in all circumstances. But, what are we still afraid of? What have we not yet given up completely in God’s hands? Impossible situations? Dysfunctional relationships? Lack of finances? Serious illnesses? Other major problems? As we have been examining each of these fears, we are discovering that there is NO fear that our faith in God cannot defeat, destroy, and render powerless.
For the past few weeks, we have been examining biblical characters and seeing how they have used their faith in God to overcome their fears. We will continue this series today, but instead of looking at the past, we will be using a real-life modern-day character to illustrate this concept. That person happens to be sitting in this church today. He may not know it, but he is a living testimony of how God works in adverse circumstances, when faith and trust are placed in God alone.
For the past 3 weeks, we have been doing a series of messages called “Faith Over Fear.” We looked at several biblical characters—Moses, Ruth and Naomi, Daniel and his friends—and examined how they overcame their fears by having total confidence in God. Where are we in terms of practicing this very attitude and action of faith over fear? Are our fears greater than our faith or is our faith greater than our fears?
As we journey through life, we are going to face many fears. These fears may occur at any time or in any circumstance. During the Olympics this past week, we saw that even top Olympic athletes, such as Simone Biles, experience fears—fears so great that she chose to withdraw from both team and all-around competitions. In these past two weeks, we have discussed several fears and examined how men and women of the Bible overcame such fears through faith or total confidence in God.
For over a year, we have gone through a time of pandemic and panic, the hope of reopening and normalcy, and now the fear of uncertain danger and restrictions, due to the more contagious Delta strain of COVID-19. In other words, we have been riding a rollercoaster of changes, emotions, and reactions that are always in flux and never seem to end. Through all this, our faith is being tested. By faith, I am not referring to the strength of our beliefs but to our confidence in our God. How much confidence do we have in God to not only bring us through these circumstances but to also help us to accomplish all that He wants us to do?
This past week, Pastor Lena and I have been busy ministering to people who have felt burdened, oppressed, harassed, and/or persecuted by others. Though the people and the situations are different, the common solution is that they need to bring their burdens, concerns, and frustrations to the feet of Jesus. He is the only one who can truly fix things instead of just bandaging, covering up, or ignoring the problems. It is when we come to this place of rest that Jesus not only comforts us, but He also commissions us to do the work that He has called us to do.
Happy Fourth of July to everyone. Today is the day that we traditionally celebrate our separation from the tyranny of Great Britain and our beginning as an independent nation. We call this day Independence Day but it really should be called Declaration of Independence Day. The reason for this is that the war against England already started on April 19, 1775 and it was on July 4, 1776, that the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. It wasn’t until seven years later, on September 3, 1783, that the colonists successfully fought and won their independence from Great Britain. This Revolutionary War was a fight for freedom that not only freed us from England but also gave us the many liberties and privileges that we have today. But our true freedom is not what man has fought for or provided but the True Freedom God has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ.