Devotions

Monthly Archives: December, 2017

Thanatophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #6: Thanatophobia
Noble Baird| Community Center Director

Thanatophobia. If I was a betting man, I would bet that this is a fear with which a majority of the world struggles. This fear, is the fear of death. At the time of writing this devotional, noon, it is estimated that there have already been a total of almost 80,000 deaths in the world today. We have all experienced the affects of death in some capacity. Whether it be the loss of a family member, friend, co-worker, teacher, or maybe a favorite public figure, we have all suffered because of death. However, thanatophobia is a fear that can be overcome.

In Genesis 3, we have what is often referred to as “The Fall.” This was the time in our history, when Adam and Eve were overcome by temptation and sinned against God. From that moment, sin entered the perfect world which God created. As a penalty for this sin, death also entered into our world. As God’s Word and our history has unfolded over the course of thousands of years, life and death have been a constant. As new life enters our world, life also leaves it. Fast forward to the night where angels rejoiced and shepherds traveled to worship a King; God gave us a Savior who would pay the penalty for a fear which has plagued this world since it became corrupt. As we read through the Gospels, we see our Savior Jesus conquering over death. He came with a purpose and a plan, which was fulfilled at the cross and in the tomb that was emptied three days later.

Death is very real and if I am honest with all of you, it has been a fear that I struggled with at a time in my life. Yet, when I take a step back and remember the Savior who conquered death for me, before I was even born, I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” As I finish writing today, the death count has now risen to an estimated 82,000. Yes, death is very real and yes it is scary. However, as followers of Christ, death should not give us a fear, but a sense of urgency. An urgency to proclaim the Gospel and to make sure that we do everything within our power to share the message and love of our amazing Savior who conquered the fear that plagues so many in our world today. So, when you have those times of fear, take a step back and proclaim those words boldly as Paul did, for we have already won the war and we will spend eternity with our Savior! “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Nomophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #5: Nomophobia
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

In 1983, the world was introduced to the first commercially available cell phone. The DynaTAC 8000 hit retail shelves in 1984 at the low price of $3,995! Amazingly, this phone had a battery life to last for 30 minutes of talk time and only took 10 hours to charge. Fast forward over three decades and over 95% of Americans own a cellphone, with 75% being smartphones. As our culture here in America continues to grow, become more fast-paced, and our schedules continue to fill, we have become dependent on these little devices in our pockets.

For many of us, it is through these busy schedules that we are able to provide for our families and able to give back to God a portion of the blessing He has given us. However, in this fast-paced culture, we can often forget to take a step back and breath. In Psalm 46:10, David writes (as God is speaking through him), “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Jesus understood what it meant to be still. Yes, He had a busy schedule during His ministry here on earth. He was constantly traveling, speaking, healing, and He had twelve men He was discipling the whole way! However, countless times throughout the New Testament, we read of how Jesus took time to rest, pray, and remember His Father who was in control of it all.

Nomophobia, is the fear of being out of cell signal range or without our cellphones. If I am completely honest, there have been times in my life where this fear was very real in my life. However, when I remember the words of David and the actions of Christ, that fear is taken away. Now, I am not saying that cellphones are evil and we should not have them. Being in ministry, my phone has given me the ability to pray with people who are hundreds of miles away, video chat my missionary friends overseas, and has helped me get to Canada and back without a big outdated map! Yet, this reminder to be still, is crucial in the business of the world we live in. So, as you continue your week, I challenge you to take some time to set your phone down and truly just disconnect. Take some time to pray, rest, and remember the One who is in control. Be still.

Panophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #4: Panophobia
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Panophobia or Pantophobia comes from the Greek word ‘Pan’ or ‘Panto’ meaning ‘all’ and ‘Phobos’ meaning fear. It is the fear of all or everything. The word ‘panic’ is derived from the name of the Greek god ‘Pan.’ This is the fear that is associated with panic or anxiety. It is the fear that something bad is going to happen.

You have probably heard this quote before even though we do not know who said it, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” Take a moment and think through that phrase. Tomorrow might catch us off guard, but it will not catch God by surprise. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We do not know what tomorrow may bring, but God is there. He is in control. He has a plan. He is watching out for us. Going further into Romans 8 we read, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” God held His Word in providing salvation for us. He will provide for us in the future. Abraham had to experience anxiety in offering up his son Isaac, but God showed up. Abraham felt so blessed that he named the place “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).

The key is to ‘let go, and let God.’ It is the mindset that we give the controls of our life to the Lord. We stop pushing our personal agendas and seek His plans. Proverbs 3:5-6 say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Trust God with today and tomorrow. Give Him full access to your resources and your calendar. He will make them better.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Gamophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #3: Gamophobia
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Gamophobia comes from the Greek word ‘Gamos’ which means marriage and ‘Phobos’ meaning fear. It can be the fear of marriage, but it is defined larger than that; it is the fear of commitment.

Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Following the Lord is the key to success. The verse even says, “He will act.” When we choose to follow the Lord, He will get involved. He will show up. David uses several other directives in writing this chapter: “Trust in the Lord” (verse 3), “Delight yourself in the Lord” (verse 4), and “Be still before the Lord” (verse 7). Commitment is essential and involves focus with a willingness to act.

Pilate was not willing to commit to the Lord. He knew Jesus was innocent, but folded. Matthew 27:24 says, “So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” It is sad. Pilate was self-reflecting and ‘saw that he was gaining nothing.’ Pilate was committed to himself. It did not end well for him. He had an excellent opportunity to step up and take a stand for the Lord. He cowered. He probably did not want to lose his position, financial status, and ‘upright’ reputation.

Charles Stanley has said, “Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.” We need to be willing to step outside of our comfort zone and make a difference in the life of people we know and those we do not know yet. The legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, made a statement about his football team that relates to the church, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Together we are better. We need to commitment to the Lord, His work, and His people.

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” Zig Ziglar

Monophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #2: Monophobia
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

Monophobia is the fear of being alone. Many times in my time in the service I felt alone. I can recall clearly the time I was in boot camp, we had just finished everything and we were prepping for bed, I grabbed my Bible and sat near my rack. I opened the Bible to the Gospel of John and I began to read. As I read, others around began to ask questions and began to look down on me for what I was doing. One of the guys in my division came up and began to tell me how my faith was worthless. He scowled how my God was weak, how He had not saved me. He even said how no matter what I read it was a bunch of made up tales meant to control the masses. At that moment, being a church kid, I never felt more alone. I never felt more scared, vulnerable, and persecuted. My life was built on the faith that what Jesus had done, He had done for not just me but all of humanity. He died for all of our sins, for us to have a relationship with Him. Tears streaming down my eyes, I laid in my rack hiding my face as to not be seen by others. The fear of being alone is such a crippling fear. We are not meant to be alone, and that fear, that doubt, will crush and break an individual as it almost did to me.  

In Acts we see the history of the church in all of its splendor. An account by the physician Luke takes a look at the apostle Paul who was being tried before the ruling council in Jerusalem. In Acts 22, the story unfurls in a beautiful way. Paul is brought before the council and testifies that he believes in the redeeming power of Jesus and how He changes lives as He changed Paul’s own life. As he tells his testimony to the ruling council, the Pharisees and the Sadducees began to argue about what he says. In the midst of the argument the Lord was standing with Paul and said to him “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (Acts 23:11). In the midst of a trying time, the Lord will be with you as He was with Paul in the most trying time. 



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.