Fresh Manna 2007© by Pastor Tim Burt
Psa 27:1 (NIV) “’The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
When Renee and I were young with four small children, although we were quite busy running our Small Groups at church, we wanted to do more. We wanted to get involved serving in children’s ministry. One of the reasons we wanted to help besides our love for children, was to take what we learned in the classroom and use it at home to help our kids grow spiritually. We were hungry to learn anything we could to be better parents.
One of the things we learned is something I’ve written about before. We learned just how much small children are afraid to go to bed and to sleep at night. Their imaginations are vivid. They become very active with fear at night.
We learned that the parents of most children let them watch horrible and violent and scary things on television. They also let them read about witches or creepy things in library and other books. And then there was the escalating of video games that were violent and had scary creatures. It all seems so innocent on the surface and most parents assumed that all the other parents let their kids watch these things, so they did too!
Week after week the kids would ask us to pray for them because they were so afraid at night. They were afraid of the dark. They were afraid of what was under the bed. They were afraid of the boogie man in the closet. They were afraid of the burglar outside the bedroom window. The shadows, the dark, and their imaginations were hard for them. We did not get the impression that the kids shared with their parents they were afraid of these things. Maybe because their parents would have given them the pat answer, “there is nothing to be afraid of now go to sleep.”
It was through this repeated experience in Children’s church that we realized our own kids battled the same fears. As adult children they tell us the stories of their fears back then. We by the grace of God and the instruction of the Holy Spirit learned how to help them defeat the enemy in this area.
Renee had established the habit of taking the children to the library once a week when they were very small. We had little money back then and this was a free event they all looked forward to. We had a plastic crate for each of them to use to hold the books they would check out each week. Either Renee or the both of us (when I was in town) would screen each book to make sure there was no witchcraft or witches, no creepy creatures, no violence, and especially no books of children that expressed bad attitudes. (You wouldn’t believe how many books feature characters with bad attitudes.) The kids like dinosaurs and since they are real we let them pick out books about them as long as they didn’t come across too scary.
Although Renee and I had little money, we had made a decision early on to spend the little extra we had on resources for the kids that would help them grow and develop. We bought every Christian children’s book, video, and age appropriate Bible from our church bookstore that we could possibly afford. The long term effect this had was that it created a real love for reading in all our children and put good things in their imaginations. We didn’t know it at the time but learned later that helping children develop reading skills is one the most beneficial things you can do for their academic development. It helps them to learn academically all the rest of their life. That turned out to be true for our kids because they were all straight A students every single year of their life. That wasn’t the goal we were after at the time. We were just trying to protect them from the things that produce fear in children when they were little. We read Bible stories from their books to them each night and talked to them about how the angels of God were there to watch over them. It isn’t that our children didn’t ever have some of those fears. They just had less of them. They learned overcome them helping them to go to sleep much easier.
Fear is a very real thing. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment…” God doesn’t want us to be the victim of fear but Satan would like to control our lives with it. Fear is the strategy of terrorist – Satan being the worst of them all. 2 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God does not want us to be controlled by fear. He wants us to become overcomers of fear. 1 John 4:4 says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he(Satan and every demonic spirit) who is in the world.”
There are two kinds of strongholds the Bible speaks of. One is the realm of fear and imagination that floods a person’s mind. The goal is to lead them to thinking upon every wrong thought with the hopes of getting that person to walk those thoughts out. God wants us to demolish those kinds of strongholds. 2 Cor 10:4 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
The other stronghold is the one spoken in today’s Fresh Manna verse. It is the stronghold of God and the Hebrew word it comes from implies an inpenetratable fortress of God – a safe place. “’The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? We are to learn to overcome our fears and to teach children to overcome theirs. Learning that our mind belongs to us and not Satan, and learning to take dominion over our thought life is where it all begins.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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