Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE MEANING OF CRISIS

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Satan delights in causing “panic attacks” in a crisis situation. The Chinese have an interesting lesson in the two characters chosen for their word “crisis.” One character is danger and the other is opportunity. The inference is that in every crisis experience, both elements are present. So a crisis is a dangerous situation presenting an opportunity. When you focus on just the danger, you become paralyzed by fear. Focusing on the opportunity, however, enables you to fly with wings of faith. It is we, ourselves, who choose on which of the two we will focus.

Similar reasons for our personal fears also keep us from being the voice of God in a fallen world on behalf of His church. There is a time for Christians to speak out forcefully against the injustices and sinfulness of our own society and culture. This is especially true in situations where we can help our brothers and sisters who suffer. But fear can keep us tongue-tied. As the church, we must learn to speak out and not be cowed by fear.

As mentioned before, Pastor Simeon Popov was a recognized authority figure among the evangelical Christians of Bulgaria. Although his church was officially registered, the police were constantly watching his activities because he didn't agree with the restrictions imposed by the authorities, in particular those concerning evangelizing.

One day at a secret river baptism early in the morning, the group was all ready in their white gowns when Simeon saw some “shadows” moving behind the bushes. He realized immediately that they were agents of the secret police spying on them. One of them, who was awkwardly hidden, had a camera.

Without hesitating, Simeon called to him, “Hey, you. Come a bit closer!” The man sheepishly approached. “Since you have a camera, why don’t you take a picture of our group?” The police officer was so surprised that he just did it without asking questions. Then the ceremony of baptism took place as planned! A few days later, the secret police agent was even fair enough to give the photograph to Simeon who kept it and made copies.

Remember, when we are fearful, we can claim the promise of Scripture: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

RESPONSE: Today I will not walk in fear but in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Pray for boldness for pastors today in countries where Satan tries to bind them with fear.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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