專注在信心上來面對恐懼──FACING FEAR WITH A FOCUS ON FAITH

MONDAY MANNA

最近因為疫情,你是否覺得專注我們周圍的考驗和苦難有多麼容易嗎?很多人失去了與真實世界的連結,因為他們在維持社交和簡單的正常生活時,很不幸地都受到限制。因此我建議所有人也許應明智的改變方式:專注在信心上來面對恐懼!

對許多人來說,好像是一個巨大的改變,但是我知道它對我有用。如果我們希望能夠在這個新的現實中存活下來,這些令人不安的時刻就需要採取巨大的改變方式。太多事情似乎已失去控制,我們很容易陷在不確定的巨浪中。

身為必須維持重要業務的企業主,能夠每週在辦公室呆六天,還能透過電話、電子郵件和Zoom線上會議和客戶開會,真是很好。我的客戶需要我,我也需要他們。我能夠鼓勵許多人,因為我們大家都在面對這場尚未停止的危機。

這讓我想到了一段著名的聖經,在馬太福音14章22-36節記載:耶穌用五餅二魚餵飽了五千人之後的一個晚上,祂派自己的門徒到湖的另一邊,祂自己上山祈禱。第二天一早,耶穌以一種非常不尋常的方式接近他的門徒:在水面上行走。當門徒第一次看見耶穌時,他們很害怕,並在恐懼中喊叫起來,以為自己看見了鬼魂。

耶穌連忙對他們說:「你們放心,是我,不要怕!」 彼得說:「主,如果是你,請叫我從水面上走到你那裏去。」耶穌說:「你來吧。」彼得就從船上下去,在水面上走,要到耶穌那裏去;只因見風甚大,就害怕,將要沉下去,便喊著說:「主啊,救我!」耶穌趕緊伸手拉住他,說:「你這小信的人哪,為甚麼疑惑?」 他們上了船,風就住了。」(馬太福音14章27-32節)

像使徒彼得一樣,如果我們只注意周圍的動盪,我們同樣也可能會陷入沮喪和絕望。但是看看彼得開始下沉時的反應。他迅速喊道:「主啊,救我!」而那也就完全是耶穌所做的,耶穌伸出手,從海浪中救出了彼得。彼得知道他迫切需要幫助,不然他就要淹死。而就像幫助彼得一樣,耶穌一直等著我們呼喚尋求祂的幫助。

詩篇46篇1-3節一開始就說:「神是我們的避難所,是我們的力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。所以,地雖改變,山雖搖動到海心,其中的水雖匉訇翻騰,山雖因海漲而戰抖,我們也不害怕。」

詩篇中充滿了確信,就是在我們遇到麻煩的時候,主會在那裡。同時聽聽使徒彼得在彼得前書5章6-7節寫下的這些話:「所以,你們要自卑,服在 神大能的手下,到了時候,他必叫你們升高。你們要將一切的憂慮卸給 神,因為他顧念你們。」

彼得很早就知道他的主會在需要時扶持他。只要任何人願意信靠耶穌,祂就是隨時的幫助,如果你不相信聖靈的力量、缺乏我們前面所討論的信心,請考慮在這個令人不安的時期,採取大膽的行動,以相信進入祂的懷抱。你只需單純承認自己罪惡的本性,願意擺脫罪惡的方式,並請求祂接受你進入信徒的大家庭。當完成這些簡單步驟之後,你就能開始專注在信心上來面對恐懼了!

Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年,他熱心於將自己與神的關係書寫出來,目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員,在2014年時,他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。

反省與問題討論

  1. 在過去這段長期的挑戰中,不論是新冠疫情,或是社會動盪,甚或許多其他沒有預期的發展,你最大的恐懼是什麼?
  2. 人們經常談論「信心」,但是他們的行為卻背道而馳,缺乏信心。你如何定義在本週週一嗎哪所討論的信心?
  3. 你是否聽說過耶穌的門徒先行在湖上,然後看見耶穌從水面上朝他走來?你覺得彼得的反應如何?如果你是他,你覺得自己會如何回應?
  4. 文中引用詩篇46篇講述了上帝是我們的避難所和力量,是我們在患難中隨時的幫助。你覺得這有帶給你安慰嗎?這段經文對你有什麼意義? 

備註:想知道聖經中關於這個主題的更多信息,請參考以下經文(因經文篇幅較長,請參閱未列出的經文詩篇46:1-11、耶利米書33:2-3、約翰一書4:16-18)

以賽亞書40章27-31節
40:27 雅各啊,你為何說,我的道路向耶和華隱藏?以色列啊,你為何言,我的冤屈 神並不查問?
40:28 你豈不曾知道嗎?你豈不曾聽見嗎?永在的 神耶和華,創造地極的主,並不疲乏,也不困倦;他的智慧無法測度。
40:29 疲乏的,他賜能力;軟弱的,他加力量。
40:30 就是少年人也要疲乏困倦;強壯的也必全然跌倒。
40:31 但那等候耶和華的必重新得力。他們必如鷹展翅上騰;他們奔跑卻不困倦,行走卻不疲乏。
耶利米書29章11-13節
29:11 耶和華說:我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。
29:12 你們要呼求我,禱告我,我就應允你們。
29:13 你們尋求我,若專心尋求我,就必尋見。
希伯來書12章1-3節
12:1 我們既有這許多的見證人,如同雲彩圍著我們,就當放下各樣的重擔,脫去容易纏累我們的罪,存心忍耐,奔那擺在我們前頭的路程,
12:2 仰望為我們信心創始成終的耶穌(或譯:仰望那將真道創始成終的耶穌)。他因那擺在前面的喜樂,就輕看羞辱,忍受了十字架的苦難,便坐在 神寶座的右邊。
12:3 那忍受罪人這樣頂撞的,你們要思想,免得疲倦灰心。


FACING FEAR WITH A FOCUS ON FAITH

By Jim Langley

Have you noticed how easy it is to focus on the trials and tribulations that surround us these days? Many have lost touch with reality as they sadly deal with limited opportunities to socialize and carry on a fairly normal lifestyle. What I suggest we all might wisely do instead is, face fear and focus on faith!

That may seem like a drastic step to many, but I know it works for me. These troubling times require drastic measures if we expect to survive this new reality. So much appears to be out of control, and we can easily get caught in the waves of uncertainty.

As the owner of what was deemed an essential business, it has been good to not only spend time in the office six days a week, but also continue to meet with clients via telephone, e-mail and online Zoom sessions. My clients need me and I need them; I have been able to encourage many as we all deal with this ongoing crisis.

This has reminded me of a well-known Bible account, found in Matthew 14:22-36, when Jesus sent His disciples to the other side of the lake while He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. This was the evening after He had fed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Early the next morning, Jesus went to His disciples in a very unusual way: walking on the water. When they first saw Him, His followers became afraid and cried out in fear, thinking they were seeing a ghost.

“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it is you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come.’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down” (Matthew 14:27-32).

Like the apostle Peter, if we focus on the turbulence all around us, we too may sink into depression and despair. But look at Peter’s response when he started to sink. He quickly cried out, “Lord, save me!” And that is exactly what Jesus did. He held out His hand and rescued Peter from the waves. Peter knew he was in dire need of help or he would drown. As with Peter, Jesus is there awaiting our calls for help as well.

Psalm 46:1-3 begins, “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 its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

The Psalms are filled with assurances that the Lord will be there in our times of trouble. Listen to these words of the apostle, found in 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Peter knew firsthand that his Lord would lift him up in times of need. Jesus is available to all who place their trust in Him. If you are unconvinced in the power of the Holy Spirit and lack the faith we have been discussing, please consider taking a bold step of faith into His arms during these troubling times. You simply must admit your sinful nature, be willing to turn from your sinful ways, and ask Him to accept you into His family of believers. Once you have done this simple act, you can start to face fear and focus on faith!

© 2021, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. During this long period of challenges, caused not only by the pandemic but also by social unrest and many other unexpected developments, what has been your greatest fear?
  2. People often talk about “faith,” but their actions betray an absence of true, trusting faith? How would you define the kind of faith being discussed in this Monday Manna?
  3. Had you heard the account of Jesus’ disciples going ahead of Him on the lake, and then saw Him walking toward them on the water? What do you think of Peter’s reaction? How do you think you would have responded if you had been in his place?
  4. The psalm quoted tells about God being “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Do you find this comforting? Why or why not? In what ways could this passage become more meaningful for you?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages:   
Psalm 46:1-11; Isaiah 40:27-31; Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:2-3; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 4:16-18



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