[forthright] Saying No to Fear/The Way of Faith

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 13:21:14 -0600
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Saying No to Fear
by Tim Hall

It had been awhile since Lebanon received any
mention in the news. With all that is going on in
Iraq, Iran, and Israel, no one seemed to notice
Lebanon. All that has changed in the last few

Since the assassination of former prime minister
Rafik Hariri on Valentine's Day, the Lebanese
people have been demanding the withdrawal of
Syrian troops and influence. These people now want
to run their own lives, and they're ready to stand
up to anyone who blocks their path. Mass rallies
in recent days have caught the world's attention.
As Dennis Ross observed in the current issue of
"U.S. News & World Report," the Lebanese people
"have said no to fear. They would not be silenced
or intimidated as they rejected the fraudulent
elections and corrupt governments imposed on them"

We've seen it before. In Eastern Europe in the
late 1980's, the strong desire for freedom led
people to stand up to intimidating forces. In more
recent days, people in Iraq and in the Ukraine
have demanded a change in the options given them,
and have braved threats and violence to make it
happen. Could Lebanon be the next success story?
It's too early to say, but courage will be
necessary to regain control over their own

People throughout the world are intimidated by
another despot, one who forces decisions people
often don't want to make. The tyrant's name is
Death, and everyone has heard of him and seen the
results of his deeds. Even those who want a better
life often shrink when he turns his vicious glare
upon them. Vows that were made to live differently
are quickly abandoned when he points to freshly
dug graves.

But Jesus came to liberate us from Death. Those
who still tremble at the thought of death are
failing to exercise courage. We're not referring
to a foolhardy courage that ignores reality, but
well-founded bravery based on what Jesus has
accomplished. "Inasmuch then as the children have
partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise
shared in the same, that through death he might
destroy him who had the power of death, that is,
the devil, and release those who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"
(Hebrews 2:14,15, NKJV). The enemy has been dealt
a fatal blow. All his threats are now hollow, if
we place ourselves on the side of the God's son.

A shout of victory can be heard from Paul in 1
Corinthians 15:54,55: "So when this corruptible
has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put
on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the
saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in
victory.' 'O death, where is your sting? O hades,
where is your victory?'" No longer must we cower
in fear before this tyrant. Through the power of
Jesus Christ, we can stand boldly before death and
declare our freedom from him!

For too long this enemy has occupied our lives and
convinced us to live godlessly. Now, however, the
captain of our salvation is in charge, and we
happily proclaim our freedom from fear of any foe.
 From this day forward we will say no to fear, and
yes to life!

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COLUMN: Outlines of Faith

The Way of Faith
by Greg Tidwell

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen. For by it the
people of old received their commendation. By
faith we understand that the universe was created
by the word of God, so that what is seen was not
made out of things that are visible" (Hebrews

Faith, a confident commitment to the truth of God,
is central to authentic Christianity. As Paul
reminds us: "... we look not to the things that
are seen but to the things that are unseen. For
the things that are seen are transient, but the
things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Corinthians

It is through faith that we understand that the
events recorded in Genesis are literally true. We
can know, for example, that God created the world
in six days only because God tells us so, and God
does not lie.

This same outlook of faith directs every aspect of
our lives as Christians. "For we walk by faith,
not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).

It is no surprise that people who begin doubting
one part of the Bible often end up doubting it
all. You can't maintain that Scripture is errant
in affirming the special creation of all life in
six days, but inerrant in affirming the deity of
Christ. Both understandings come to us, not
through our empirical observation, but through
faith. As Peter affirms: "Though you have not seen
him, you love him. Though you do not now see him,
you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is
inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the
outcome of your faith, the salvation of your
souls" (1 Peter 1:8,9).

As God's people, let us consistently maintain the
complete truth and authority of everything God has
told us in Scripture. With uncompromised faith,
let us continually strive to be faithful in all
that we teach and in all that we do.

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