2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7

 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We are living today in a climate of fear. I went shopping in Sainsbury’s on Friday and I was appalled at what I saw. Not the empty shelves so much, I expected that, but the panic that has gripped people.

People have been buying extra freezers so they can stockpile food, much of which will go to waste, while others, usually the elderly and impaired, the sick have to go without.

I know Corona virus is serious, but do we really need toilet rolls to fight off what is a lung infection?

I remember a visit to East Berlin back in 1981, when we had an acclimatisation tour because I was stationed in West Berlin with the Army.

The East Berlin tour guide proudly showed us all the sights including a supermarket which only had 3 things for sale. Black bread, potatoes and cabbage. We are nowhere near that, we have fresh supplies of food coming in every day and people should not be panicking, but they are.

I am sure that in this situation, God is speaking to His children. He is asking us, do we trust Him? Because if we do, then we should be the people who remain calm in the eye of the storm, who keep their heads while all around them lose theirs.

We are the people who should set an example to all those in the world who are behaving as if the end of the world is round the corner.

What does the word of God say?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Nola and I have been reading Psalm 91 over ourselves and the church for the last two weeks, and we will continue to do so until this virus has gone.

We are standing on the Godly truths this Psalm has.

It starts, He who dwells in the secret place of the most High.

Who is this place secret from? Not from us because we are able to say there, dwell there. It is hidden from the enemy, so he can’t find us!

The Psalmist talks about deliverance. He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler.

A fowler is a bird catcher. They use nets called mist nets because when they are spread out in the trees , the birds don’t see them. So the devil uses invisible traps to try and catch us, but our God will deliver us. Even if we can’t see the net, He can.

Verse 4 says His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Not the truth you see with your eyes, that the world is in the middle of a pandemic, that people are dying in large numbers, that food stocks may go down, that travel and social activities have to be stopped, but His truth.

His truth is that the shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of the enemy, Ephesians 6:16

His shield is all the protection we need, because He tells us we need not be afraid of what comes by night, or in the daylight, because we have His shield of complete protection.

A thousand may fall at your side, 10 thousand by your right hand, but it shall not come near you.

The world and his wife can come charging at you, but they wont get to you before God strikes them down. Just as the Israelites in Egypt were saved from the danger that touched the Egyptians, so we are saved also.

When he says we shall see the reward of the wicked, it means we shall also reap the reward of the righteous!

Have you made the Lord your dwelling place? God is asking us as individuals to check our hearts and make sure that we are in that place of safety, that secret place, where nothing can harm us. We believe, Nola and I, that we will get through this time, and when the virus is gone, we as a church will still be here, intact, without anyone missing when we call the roll.

If we have made the Lord Most High our dwelling place, what does it say in verse 10? No evil shall befall you, nor shall ANY plague come near your dwelling.

The wonderful truth is that God, our loving Lord, has assigned an angel to each one of us, so that we won’t be injured in any way.

He says that we shall trample the lion and the snake, the images of evil and strength. They cannot harm us because here in this Psalm we see the word given to satan repeated. In Genesis 3 God said to the serpent, I will put tnmity etween you and the woman. He shall bruise your head, but you shall bruise his heel.

In other words, that enemy can’t get himself high enough off the ground to do us any real damage, cursed to eat dust and crawl on his belly forever.

A bruise to the heel is a serious injury. We could say that Jesus was bruised on His heel when he went to the cross, but the devil had his head stamped on firmly. Sin and death were defeated on that great day, and we are the victors. We are the ones the Lord speaks of when He says, because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him.

There is the covenant made between God and man. I will be your God if you will be my people. We will be raised up because we know Him, He will be with us in trouble and He will honour us.

What have we done to deserve so great a reward? We have believed. We have placed our trust in the invisible God who is 3 in 1.

He promises to give us long life, not just long but full of blessings and promises fulfilled, a journey of highs and lows, mountain tops and valleys, always accompanied by Him.

Psalm 23 says yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me.

The greatest promise we can receive from this Psalm 91 is left right until the end.

With long life I will satisfy Him and show Him my salvation.

Every time I read that, I feel stronger. I am saddened by the attitudes displayed by greedy selfish people who are acting out of fear. Fear brings panic, and panic brings out the worst in people. Remember where started.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The next time we venture out, call on that power, show that love to others and remember that we are in this world but not of it.