Fear, it's a powerful emotion. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of a positive biopsy report? Are you afraid your marriage isn't going to work out? Are you afraid you're going to lose your job? How do you deal with fear? What does God say to us when we're paralyzed by fear?
That's today. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, Motivating Christians to Live Like Christians. Thanks for joining us as Chip continues his series, Finding God When You Need Him Most. In just a minute, he'll dive into a passage of scripture that'll give us perspective and hope, even in the most terrifying circumstances. And as Chip begins this message, he shares how this particular psalm ministered to him during a really trying time in his life. So if you have your Bible ready, let's join Chip for his talk, Experiencing God When You're Gripped by Fear. I have written in my Bible a little note next to Psalm 46.
It's in green ink, and it says Duke Medical Center, 2, 1992. And in parenthesis, I have, Mom's Dying. And then highlighted in a green highlighter pen, it says, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.
Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging. That was 1992, and I was at the Brown Shoe Inn with all my family. My mom went in for just a very normal checkup. She had battled a very rare blood disease in the Lupus family.
She took only an overnight bag. It was just for some additional tests, and she never left. I got a call. She got a systemic infection in her blood, and we did what families do. Before long, they were talking about amputating, I mean, huge body parts to save her life. She was on life support, and we stayed in a little room like many of you have been in next to the ICU where you discuss and try and figure out when do you pull the plug and why. And then you begin to deal with issues in your heart and in your life internally that you've never thought about until then, especially when it happens to be a real key family member. My mom was the glue of our family.
She held everything together. And then as you sit there in quietness with brothers and sisters and some relatives and father, you deal with family issues you've never dealt with in all the years that you've been there. And I needed God up to that point in my life more than I ever needed Him. And I experienced more of God in 1992 up to that point than I have ever experienced. I learned that God is my refuge, that God would be my internal strength, giving me moment by moment whatever I needed to go through facing inward issues and external issues and that He was available. He was a very, very present help in my time of trouble. Therefore, I didn't have to be afraid. What I experienced is what God desires all of His children to experience in various times of need.
And we're going to look at Psalm 46 because I think if there's a classic portion of Scripture about how to overcome fear when we're paralyzed and overwhelmed by fear, I think it's Psalm 46. But this will be the first of eight that we're going to look at. And what I long to do and the reason I've chosen this is I believe we're living in a day where there's incredible need. We're living in times of amazing uncertainty. Sometimes we get so busy day to day, you forget what's going on. There are issues in the Middle East that could break any moment. We're seeing things line up with Europe moving in situations and their economy. We've watched the stock market.
We don't even think about it when it drops and goes up a hundred points in a day. Despite all the different things you may hear, there's going to be some real problems somewhere over what's going to happen and how it's going to work out. We're living in uncertain times. And not only that, we live in uncertain times when I believe the view of God among believers, let alone unbelievers, has fallen to an all time low. So when we really have trouble, when we really have a need, we run to God, but we don't even know what He's like. And not only do we not know what He's like, we don't know how to experience Him. We're living in a world of almost biblical illiteracy.
People don't know where to go in the Scripture and once they get there, how do you experience God? He wants to meet you. You hear, He wants to love you. He wants to uphold you.
But you know what, that doesn't happen in a vacuum. And so my dream when we get done with this series is that you will know when fear begins to grip your heart, you can open your Bible to Psalm 46 and you can drive a stake and you can go through Psalm 46 and you'll know that truth, God will meet you. Now you have fears and I have fear. What do we mean by fear? Webster says fear literally is sudden attack. It's a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil or pain. It's to be frightened, timid, apprehension, terror or dread.
It's to have those feelings. Now for some of you you're concerned about your loved ones. For others of you that feeling of fear comes when you think about the future. For some you have fears concerning your marriage. For others you have fears because you're not married. Some have fears of being alone. Some have fears of the dark. Some of you struggle with panic attacks and no one knows it.
You lose your breath. Some of you hate crowds and are overwhelmed by fear. Some of you are just fearful of loneliness and when everyone leaves you just turn on things all over the house. Others of you have financial fears, job fears. You have fears about aging parents. You've got fears about your kids and how they're going to turn out and who they're running around with. You have fears about retirement and how you ever pay the bills. You have fears about where you're going to live and if you can keep affording what you're doing.
But there's one fear I think that's universal. When you hear the word, when you go to the doctor and you hear this one word, fear strikes your heart because it happens to six and eight year olds and it happens to 68 year olds and that word is cancer. A family that I've known well and a young man that I was very close to had medical problems, had a lot of ups and downs and they could never figure out what was going on. They did the GI test and the whole battery of tests. They could never quite figure it out and I remember vividly the day when they found out what was wrong and they let him know he had cancer. What do you say to a mom and dad, let alone a 22 year old boy who just found out he has cancer? And at this point obviously they don't know exactly what kind. They don't know the implications. Is this one of those low grade kind?
Is this a life threatening kind? All those were unknowns. But imagine yourself in a hospital room with all the dreams you have of your son and your family and all your schedule comes to a screeching halt. And my job was to be their pastor. And so I drove and I prayed and I said, Lord, what do I say?
I don't have any resources that can help them, but I know you do. What could you give me that I could give to them so they could experience God? And I walked in the room and we had a little chit chat and then I sat on the edge of the bed and I opened up my Bible to Psalm 46.
Well why don't you just listen to it first and then I'll give you an overview of it. Imagine yourself in your time of great, great fear and listen to what God would say to you. It says God is our refuge and strength and ever present help and trouble.
Therefore we will not fear. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall.
God will help her at the break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall. He lifts his voice and the earth melts. And then the refrain, the Lord Almighty is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars to cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow, he shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. Be still. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth. And then the refrain again, the Lord Almighty is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. As we look at the psalm I want to give you a little overview. At the top notice it says a song of hope and confidence. See every psalm was actually, it was a song, this is the hymnal of the Old Testament.
When they got together and they did worship, they didn't do like choruses or they didn't have 18th century hymns because it wasn't the 18th century. They sang out of the book of Psalms. And this is a song of deliverance and confidence for life's darkest era. And there's a few musical cues that let you know where the stanzas are. Notice the little word on the right at the end of each stanza, sila. And the word sila means, it's a musical term but it means a pause and it means a point of quiet reflection.
And so that tells you where. The first stanza, pause. Third stanza, pause.
Third stanza, pause. Martin Luther made this famous, in fact as you read commentaries most of them will have either the entire story or in one commentary it says, the old hymn, a mighty fortress is our God, was taken from this psalm when Martin Luther's life was on the line as he in his time of fear went to Psalm 46. What I want to do is read each section and then I want to give you a lesson from it and develop the text so that when we leave you will understand it and you will know how to experience God in your time when fear paralyzes you. The first three verses talk about God our source of hope.
Now follow along if you have a teaching handout why don't you go ahead and pull that out. It says God is our refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble. That's who he is. Now notice the therefore. Since that's true, therefore we will not fear. And now get this, he takes the two most indestructible, stable things that he can think of and by way of hyperbole he says if all the pillars in your life of all the things that we know we can count on even if they are removed it doesn't matter because God's consistent. Therefore though the earth give way and the mountains would fall into the heart of the sea and though its waters war and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, what's he saying? God and God alone is your only security.
That's the theme. God is our source. Here's the life lesson. The life lesson is we don't have to be afraid because God is for us. In verses one, seven, and eleven there's an interesting little phrase that kind of literal translation if you have a little pen you might mark out when it says God is our refuge.
A literal rendering is God is for us a refuge and then it's God is for us a strength. See you do not have to be afraid because God is for you. He's not against you. He's not waiting for you to mess up. When you're in trouble and you realize 80% of the trouble you brought on yourself God doesn't have his arms crossed and smiling saying see.
That's a childhood picture but it's not a biblical one. God is for you. He wants to meet you. Now what exactly is he for you?
Three things out of these first three verses. First for you he is a refuge. A refuge is a defensive place of protection.
It takes care of the external issues. A refuge is where you can run to and once you get inside you can shut the door and you're okay. God says he is for you. He will be a refuge.
Not a big steel building. Not some tunnel underground that has rocks all around it and food storage but bigger than that the God of the universe says I personally will be your refuge. You can come in to me and I will wrap my arms around you and I won't let anything touch you. I will be for you a refuge but that's not all. Not only does he promise external protection but notice he will be for you a strength.
This is provision from within. This is the power to endure. By the way he only gives this minute by minute, moment by moment. He's not a strength for tomorrow. There is no such thing as hypothetical grace. See we all worry about tomorrow. What about the job tomorrow?
What if this relationship goes south in a month? What if I don't have and you know we get all anxious, we get all uptight, we get fearful, you know why? There's no grace in tomorrow. How do you know tomorrow is even coming? Your only responsibility, my only responsibility is trust God for today. And he says he will be your strength. If you need this much grace to make it through this hour that's how much grace you get. If the next hour gets tougher you need that much grace that's how much grace you get. Moment by moment he says for you I will be your strength. But then you might say to yourself I bet that's only for superstars.
I bet that's only very selective. I bet God only gives that in real extreme situations. And so notice the third thing he is for you. He is for you a ever or very present help when in time of trouble.
It means he's readily available in trouble no matter how great, no matter how hard. Luther was in that tower and he was sentenced to die. He had an agreement at the Diet at Worms when he was debating whether you could stand on scripture alone or scripture and the interpretations of the traditions of the church. And they said let's discuss it.
And when we get done discussing it you're free to go. They condemned him. They went back on his word and he was in a tower and he was going to be executed the following morning. And he prayed over this passage and God met him. And in confidence he said a mighty fortress is our God. And when they put him on a wagon to take him from the tower to where he was going to be executed a band of his followers came on horseback, swooped him off, took him to a German castle and there he hid and there was a baron in the castle who had his own army. And for a year he hid out in a castle. And in his down time he translated the New Testament into German. And for the first time in history the Bible was put in the language of the common man.
Amazing. See God showed up for him and God will show up for you. You might ask though how does it work? How does it specifically happen that God is your refuge?
Do you have ooey gooey feelings? Do you just have a mystical mist that comes in the room? I mean how does it work for him to be my strength and my refuge and be available? Well verses 4 to 7 are going to answer that question and here it is.
Here's what God says. His presence, God's presence is the reason for your hope. See what he says is he will show up right where you're at in his supernatural presence. He will be with you.
He will enter in with you in relationship, in your fear, in your trouble, in your hurt, in your anxiety and he will enter in it with you and his presence, his very presence will sustain you. Listen as I read. Now as I read this notice this is written for a Jewish audience. It's written by David. He's going to use some phrases that at first shot you're going to say I don't get it.
You'll get it in a minute, okay? There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. The holy place where the most high dwells. God is within her presence. She will not fall.
God will help her, his presence, at the break of day. Nations are in an uproar, kingdoms fall, contrast, but he lifts his voice and the earth melts. He's in control.
The Lord Almighty, literally the Lord of Hosts, the Lord Sabaoth, means the Lord with all of his armies, all of his resources. The Lord of Hosts, where is he? He's with us.
Literally it's the same way. He's for us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. Life lesson from this, God's presence provides an unlimited supply of joy, protection, security and deliverance even in the midst of our most severe adversity. God's presence, he himself is going to enter into your life and he has an unlimited supply, did you hear the word I used?
It sounds crazy, doesn't it? Of joy, protection, security and deliverance even in the midst of your most severe trouble. Let me ask you before I go on, what would that be? If I gave one of those markers to everyone in the room and we had a whiteboard and I said, would you walk up and write on the whiteboard, what's your greatest fear? What would you write?
Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Experiencing God When You're Gripped by Fear from his series, Finding God When You Need Him Most. Are you wrestling with an unexpected crisis right now or trying to come to terms with a wrong done to you?
Whatever the struggle is, you're really desperate for help. In this series, Chip highlights a few meaningful Psalms that can help us move from merely knowing about God to understanding his power and presence. Discover the ways God deeply cares about us, no matter what we're facing.
If you've missed any part of this series, let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. I'm joined in studio now by Chip and Chip, we heard you talk a lot about what Living on the Edge is doing now and what we hope to do in the future. But through all of that, there's one issue that continues to pop up that really tugs at your heart. So why don't you take a few minutes and share what that is?
Thanks, Dave. I have lots of dreams and passions, and I'm excited about a lot of things that God is allowing us at Living on the Edge to do. But I have to tell you, my greatest concern is the next generation. You know, Teresa and I, we've got 12 grandchildren, four grown kids, and I've watched how the world's changed. I see my grandkids bombarded by social media and lies and gender fluidity and just things that break my heart.
And I watch them, you know, their parents are working hard to help them swim upstream. My greatest concern is that we help the next generation. And what I know is that has to begin with helping pastors.
Seven out of eight children and youth pastors, according to a recent study by Barna, said they don't have a biblical worldview. We need to help those many young people that are really on fire for Christ be empowered to share with their friends. And I think maybe more than anything else, we have to help parents.
It is so hard to be a parent. And so creating new resources and helping them navigate the challenges right now, that is so deep on my heart. And so in 2023, we're rolling out a division to do something to really help the next generation.
For us, it means an investment in staff, in technology, in doing things we've never done before, in partnering with people who do it at the highest level. And what I would say is, if you care about your kids and your grandkids, would you partner with us in December? And every gift that you give up to December 31st to be matched dollar for dollar. Thank you for praying and giving whatever God leads you to. Go to livingontheedge.org and please make a gift today. And as Chip said, your support will help us create tools and resources for parents, grandparents and pastors to effectively disciple this next generation. Now, if that's something you are passionate about, visit livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003 to make a gift. And right now, every dollar we receive will be matched dollar for dollar up until December 31st. That number again is 888-333-6003, or go to livingontheedge.org.
App listeners, tap donate. Well, here again is Chip to share some final thoughts from today's talk. I'd like to ask you a very personal question before we end today's program. What did you write on the whiteboard of your mind? What is your greatest fear? Actually, when we fear things, we have this uncanny way of pushing them down farther and farther, thinking that if we push them down, they'll go away.
But what they do is give us ulcers and insomnia and produce stress. And so I want you to get it up on the whiteboard and I want you to know God understands your fear. In fact, Psalm 46 is written from God to us for when we fear. I want to give you one verse to meditate on to begin to battle the fear that you feel within you. And then I want you to join us in our next broadcast because we're going to develop this text and give you some very specific tools to handle your fear.
Isaiah 41 10. Here's what God says to you today. Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will help you. I will support you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. God is saying to you, don't be afraid over and over and over through Scripture. He says to courageous men in difficult times, don't fear. He says to Mary, don't be afraid. To Joseph, don't be afraid. And he says to you today, don't be afraid. I am with you always.
Let me help you. Great encouragement, Chip. Well, just before we close, would you stop for a minute and pray for Living on the Edge today? We've never seen a greater need for God's truth to go out than right now. And by God's grace, Living on the Edge has been able to provide encouragement, teaching and personal discipleship resources to more people than ever before. So thank you to those who support us in prayer. God is doing amazing things. Well, for all of us here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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