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God's written word

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'Be not afraid'

By Ken Begley

Thank God everyday you live here in the United States.   

For all our problems, I believe it is still the most free country in the world. We may not follow the Bible very well but we do have the right to read — or not to read it — and then use our God-given free will to do what we please.

In many other countries, people are so threatened by the Bible that you would be shot down where you stand if you professed a faith in Jesus Christ. Forgive me, but if you don’t believe this to be true then you are most incredibly ignorant or naive.

I’m not a good man.  

I know my faults and they are legion. I don’t worry about someone telling lies about me. I worry about someone telling the truth about me. That would be damning enough.

Still, about five years ago,  I decided to read the Bible from beginning to end. I’m ashamed to say that at age 50, it was my first time.  

Everybody can look at the same words and come away with different feelings as to what they mean. It must take a lifetime of reading and studying the Bible to know God. I don’t pretend to be a Bible scholar. But here are a few thoughts from an admittedly ignorant man just beginning to try to be acquainted with God.

God is a parent that demands respect. He is the father, we are his children. Good parents demand respect from their children, especially if they truly love them. They use this respect to guide their children through life. We want them to be good people. We want them to be responsible. We want them to love and be loved. We want them to be happy. God is no different.

God does expect us to fear him and says so often.

This sounds funny from a parent, but it’s true and makes sense. Nothing makes a parent angrier than to have a child do something stupid or dangerous because they fear what peers will think if they don’t. A parent wants the child to fear more about what they will think. 

Why?  

We care more about them than anyone else possibly could. We want the best for them. God is our parent.

God looks at death differently than we do.

There are parts of the Old Testament where God told his chosen people to wipe out whole nations. Sometimes he sent unbelievable destruction down from heaven upon sinful, faraway lands.  

Doesn’t this bother you? 

There had to be children and babies that were killed as well. How could a loving God do this? How could God let this happen and abandon the innocent as well as the guilty?

God did not forsake them.  

God knows that death is just a doorway onto a better life for the innocent and the faithful. God is the judge and these folks will live with him forever when they are caught up in the just retribution on evil. Pray for those remaining rather than for those dead in God.

God constantly asks for our trust in him and his actions that affect our lives.

God knows what we need in our lives more than we do. We must trust God in all things and not try to take control of our lives out of his hands. Be thankful for getting the things you want in life but also be thankful for the things you don’t. There’s always a reason when God is in control. If you can’t trust God on earth for the short time we are here, then how could you trust God forever in heaven? If you can’t totally trust God then how could heaven be heaven?

Finally, God will give you total free will to love Him or reject Him.  

It’s all up to each one of us individually. But I know rejecting God and his way for our own comes with terrible consequences. God made us. God knows how we should live. God knows how we will hurt others or ourselves if we don’t freely follow Him. But he won’t force us.  

We will all die one day.

We will individually face an all-knowing God in final judgment for what we did or failed to do.  

It’s a scary thought isn’t it?

Still, the most repeated verse in the Bible to come from God or his messengers is, “Be not afraid.”  

It’s meant for those that try to follow God each day, fail, but then get back up and try again.  

It’s meant for those that are abused by others, but forgive, even when not asked for forgiveness.

It’s meant for those that are hurt by others, but then pray, for those that are hurting them.

It’s meant for those that are tired of this world, but realize, that God still has missions for them to do until that final breathe of air leaves their body.

It’s meant for those that show true love even if there is no love around them.