[forthright] In the Grip of Fear/Chief Micanopy's Surprise

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 16:38:01 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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Welcome to our newest columnist, Paul Goddard!
In the Grip of Fear by Tim Hall
Chief Micanopy's Surprise by Paul Goddard
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COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

In the Grip of Fear
by Tim Hall

One of my favorite quotes goes something like
this: "My life has been filled with terrible
misfortunes -- most of which never happened"
(attributed to the French essayist Montaigne). I
understand his point. Too often I've tossed in my
bed thinking of the dreadful scenarios that lie
ahead. But they usually don't happen. And if they
do come to pass, it's not to the extent I
expected.

Fear stalks many, and it can be difficult to
escape its clutches.

Making matters worse, God is not pleased with
those who are in the grip of fear. The "cowardly"
(KJV - "fearful") are grouped with murderers,
idolaters, liars, and other evil people who are
destined for "the lake which burns with fire and
brimstone" (Revelation 21:8, NKJV). From this it
appears that we should also be afraid of fear!

God does not condemn us for the natural response
we feel when confronted with danger. Fear becomes
sinful when we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed
by it. If God provides a way to escape fear,
shouldn't we have faith enough to break out?

Here's how the psalmist described God's promise to
his people: "I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4).
 From what was this man delivered? From real
dangers that confronted him, of course. But would
he not also have been freed from imagined or
exaggerated dangers? Knowing that God was by his
side, he would have felt confidence and courage.
He would be able to step forward into the dark
future, knowing that he was not going alone.

The letter to the Hebrews is designed to instill
courage in Christians who are timid by nature. One
passage that should help release us from fear is
Hebrews 13:5,6: "Let your conduct be without
covetousness, and be content with such things as
you have. For he himself has said, 'I will never
leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say,
'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can
man do to me?'"

The soldiers of Israel looked at Goliath and said,
"He's much too big; I'm afraid of him." David saw
Goliath as puny when compared to God (see 1 Samuel
17). Faith sees the obstacles of life in a
different light.

When fear seizes our souls, let us lift up our
eyes to God. He will do for us as he has always
done for his people. We can be delivered from all
our fears.

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COLUMN: Up for the Task

Chief Micanopy's Surprise
by Paul Goddard

It was a cold day in Florida, when multiple gun
shots were fired, sending the blue-coated Federal
soldiers scrabbling for cover.

Just five days before on December 23, 1835, Major
Francis Dade led his men out of Fort Brooke
(Tampa) to reinforce the troops stationed at Fort
King (Ocala).  Fort King was one hundred miles to
the north, and Dade commanded 107 soldiers armed
with the best modern weapons.  On December 28th,
he announced to his men that they could relax
because they had successfully passed through
Seminole territory. "Have a good heart. Our
difficulties and dangers are over now, and soon as
we arrive at Fort King you'll have three days and
keep Christmas to rest gaily."  Filing into two
single lines, the men put their flintlock rifles
under their standard cold weather "Great Coats" to
protect them from the rain.  

Near the Little Withlacoochee River, just 25 miles
from their destination, 180 Seminoles lead by
chief Micanopy struck with surprise from the
palmetto bushes.  Micanopy fired the first shot,
killing Major Dade. This was followed with a
volley, killing 50 more.  The remaining soldiers
struggled furiously to get their weapons out, and
a guerrilla-style battle was waged for eight
hours.  At the end, only two soldiers survived the
ambush to tell of the "Dade Massacre." That
morning when the soldiers set out on their
journey, they were reassured that they were safe,
but Micanopy's coming was a complete surprise.

How many will be eternally surprised when our Lord
returns? (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11) His
coming will be like a thief in the night, yet
every eye will see him. One day, we will hear the
voice of the archangel, hear the trumpet call of
God, and we will see the dead in Christ rise,
followed by the living.  What shall we do to
prepare for this surprise?  

Encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.  Christian, are you
up for the task?

"Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon.
Many will meet their doom. Trumpets will sound.
All the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies,
going where no one dies, heaven-ward bound."  R.E. Winsett
 
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