Thankful not Fearful
By Chris Rathbone
Whew! What a year it has been! Can I get an amen?! That seems to be the consensus of about everyone I talk to nowadays. Seems everyone wants 2020 to come to an end with the hopes that 2021 will hopefully be better. I tend to agree somewhat. Between the pandemic and the election (they are bout the same in my book, lol) it’s enough for many of us to choose to become a hermit and just leave it all behind! At the beginning of this year, we all hoped it would be blessed and prosperous. With all that has been going on, these circumstances have brought us to the belief that this has been the worst year ever. However, I believe that’s a matter of perspective or how we may choose to look at it. Let me explain.
Our flesh, along with a lot of help from the devil and the mainstream media (and they are bout the same in my book too), has a great tendency to focus on the negative things going on around us or to us. The plan is to get us so fearful that we can be controlled. Satan does his best to steal from us the peace and joy we have in Jesus. If he can cause us to fear then we will forget to be thankful. At the beginning of this so-called pandemic, the media used the fear tactic to make everyone believe that for the most part, we were all going to die. Since around March, the virus has been harped on and the same narrative has been repeated every single day. The government on both sides has used this situation to manipulate the masses by accusing one or the other. Placing blame, saying that one or this one didn’t do enough, and using it for political pandering to somehow gain someone’s vote. Not because they cared for anyone that might get the virus, but because they saw an opportunity. They used that opportunity to instill fear into those that would fall for it and control and manipulate folks in hopes to gain political favor one way or the other. Every day the media says the same thing, over and over. They constantly update the number of cases and get especially excited when those numbers go up somewhere. That way they can keep the fear factor going and keep spewing the same thing day after day. The virus is spreading, we’re all going to catch it. The economy is failing, we’re all going to lose everything. If this one or that one gets elected, the world will end! And that’s just a few of the messages that we are being bombarded with every single day. You get the picture.
You know what? I’m mad. Yes, I’m mad at myself for somewhat falling for it and I’m mad at all of us, especially as Christians, for falling for it. We have given the devil an inch and he has taken from us a mile, or should I say a year. Since all of this began, I’ve watched the church, even my church, allow fear to control us. We’re afraid to have worship, folks are afraid to go to the store, we can’t visit our loved ones in nursing homes, we’re arguing over politics, we’re accusing others if they don’t wear a mask and we accuse others if they do wear a mask. We’re more worried about who someone is voting for than we are if they are going to hell. We have allowed the devil and the media to cause us to forget how much God has blessed us. I advise you to look up the leading causes of death in the U.S. each year and ask yourself why we aren’t trembling in fear every day because of them. I’ll tell you why, because the media hasn’t told us to…
Don’t get me wrong and think that I am making light of this virus because I’m not. My point is that we have allowed fear to control us to the point that it has blinded us to what God has done for us this year. My wife was out of work for 2 months, but we made it, praise God! No, we didn’t do all we wanted, no vacation, didn’t eat out much, not many extras, but we made it! We’ve still got a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, clothes on our backs, vehicles to drive, legs to walk, hands to raise, voice to praise and pray, a church family to worship with, family to love, and a Savior that died for us and walks with us every single day of our lives! Glory to God! Praise His Holy name! Children, He is worthy of all our praise! I’ve had the privilege to baptize 8 people over the summer. Two men showed up at my house, yes that’s right, came to my house and Jesus saved their souls as they surrendered to Him. Another man rededicated his life. Jesus has been preached online, on the radio, and on social media more times in the last few months to many who hadn’t heard it before. I’ve received message after message about how God has used His word to change lives and hearts. Imagine what He has done across this country that you will never hear about on the news. We have been focused on the fear so long that we have neglected thankfulness!
Please, children of God, don’t let the devil and his media take even one more day away from us that we could be praising and thanking our Savior for all He has done. Don’t let fear cause us to lose sight of God’s goodness even amid difficult days. Don’t let Jesus be robbed of the praise and adoration He is worthy of because of fear. He has sustained us, provided for us, loved us, saved and redeemed us! He will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what, and no matter what the devil and the media try to whisper into our souls! Let us live in a place of thanksgiving, not fear!
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I Thess. 5:18
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.
You can read more Good News from Pastor Chris HERE.