Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Sometimes, life within the guard rails might seem confining but it is actually very liberating.

For as we respect those rails as our protectors, we can focus on enjoying the journey, not fretting every moment about our car heading off the cliff.

That’s how it is with our respect for God and His Word.

When we realize that faith is not a feeling but instead a determination of direction, we gain confidence that our lives will actually mean something more than having perpetual happy moments.

It is the respect for God and striving to honor Him that keeps us on the road and not smashing against guard rails.

Or worse.

When we live honorably because of loving Him and knowing the consequences of not doing so, we are free to thrive as people who love and serve others.

Consider the words of Proverbs 14:27 —

“Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.”

Never stop drinking from that fountain, my friend.

Life as God desires for you is in that cup.

As always, I love you

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If you see somebody troubled by worry, you can help them transform from “worrier” to “warrior.”

I’m not talking about martial arts training or paying off their debts or resolving their health issues.

I’m talking instead about helping them to know that they’re not alone.

Encouragement is everything when it comes to having victory over worry.

Here’s King Solomon’s view on the matter:

“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25)

Notice the directional element to Solomon’s sentence — worry => down…. encouraging => up.

Look around your workplace or home and lift somebody today with your words. Help them toward becoming a warrior of faith and away from a worrier in fear.

There are battles against the Enemy that need won and warriors are much better suited for the conflict than are worriers.

Everybody likes to win. Let’s share with them our confidence that the battle of eternity has already been won by Him who conquered the cross.

As always, I love you

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God asks us to do things at times that are frightening to us because of our presumption that bad things might happen.

Many Christians are afraid to tithe, thinking that God won’t keep His promise to more than make up for the larger gifts to ministry.

Many Christians are afraid to forgive, thinking that if the person hurt us once and it really stung, then that same person will hurt us again and it will sting even more because we could have avoided the pain.

And many Christians are afraid to look for ways to talk about their faith with co-workers, neighbors, relatives, classmates and various other relationships. People have made it clear to them before that they didn’t want to hear about religion and many believers don’t want to catch grief again for evangelizing.

So are we to reject tithing, forgiving and faith-sharing just because of our fears?

You know the answer.

God never criticizes us for having fears. We are human, after all.

What He expects from us, however, is that fear never trumps our faith.

What He expects is that we’ll do what He calls us to do, even those things that shape our faith before we share His message.

There is a potent, relevant passage in Exodus that speaks to this principle. It involves God’s efforts to grow and shape Moses’ faith in advance of the history-changing ministry in Egypt before the escape from bondage.

God called Moses to lead the enslaved Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. But that involved Moses going back to Pharoah’s palace and perhaps facing the long-delayed consequences for murdering an Egyptian 40 years earlier.

Not only was Moses afraid of facing the music in Egypt, he had no confidence that the Hebrews would listen to him.

There’s a lesson here for each of us — God never asks us to do something that’s not good for His Kingdom and good for ourselves.

If He calls us to it, He’ll get us through it. And He’ll provide the power we need if we provide the leadership His people need.

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you?’”

Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied.

“Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him.

So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.

Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.”

So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. (Exodus 4:1-4)

I’m not sure what calling of God on your life has been put on hold because of your fears.

But you certainly know what it is, whether trusting God with tithing or forgiving or with evangelizing.

Reach out and grab the tail of that snake that has been causing you to step back from obedience.

Do what Moses did, believing as Moses did — take your fears by the tail and watch the threat become a great tool for ministry.

From fear to faith. It’s a journey we can all make as we take God at His word.

As always, I love you

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We rarely say it, but our thoughts and actions sometimes show it.

I’m talking about the belief that God cannot or will not do what His Word promises.

To claim faith in Christ but not faith in the Bible is folly. For Jesus had a 100 percent confidence in scripture.

Shouldn’t we?

Oh, but I do trust scripture and trust God.

Do we really?

Here are questions to ask ourselves to assess if we really trust God and believe that He is able to make all grace abound to us at all times so that we can abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8)

Will God give me the strength to forgive no matter how hard it is or how much another has hurt me?

Will God give me richer, more potent sleep if I spend 30 less minutes in bed each night in return for spending 30 minutes more each day in Bible reading and prayer?

Will God provide for my life needs if I provide the tithe and other offerings that He calls for in His Word?

Will God give me wisdom to help an unsaved person better understand the gospel if I agree to look at Bible questions with the person?

These are not easy initiatives, this forgiving, this sleeping less, this giving more, this teaching more about personal faith.

“But nothing is impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37).

Let’s lift the limits of our faith in the God who has no limits to His power, His authority and His love.

What boundaries are your fears trying to draw around the power, authority and love of God?

Forgive. Meditate. Tithe. Testify.

For nothing is impossible with God.

As always, I love you

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It would be great if our journey of faith could be graphed with a straight line heading ever upward.

But it can’t.

We’ve failed during our time in the Lord and that graph line looks more like a bouncing stock chart and nothing like a heaven-bound centerline.

I was reminded of my life’s pattern of non-linear faith while reading from Matthew 14 this morning.

The chapter in the One-Year Bible contains the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s brief experience of doing the same.

For a moment, Peter’s faith line was arching toward heaven.

There’s a problem with moments, though. They don’t last very long.

“Lord, if it’s 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?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

I see in this passage a cycle of faith that we’ve all experienced many times in one form or another and which, unfortunately, will continue to encounter until we head to heaven. Hopefully, though, the frequency will decline as our faith grows.

What cycle is that? Faith => Flesh => Fear => Failure => Faith

The fact is that faithful people who go to church and read their Bibles and pray and tithe and volunteer — all the things they should do — are just as susceptible to failure as anybody else if the voice of “flesh” gains too much volume in their hearts and minds.

Peter felt the threats of the world and thought of his flesh’s weakness and fear set in.

When fear set in, the voice of the flesh grew louder than the voice of faith.

That’s when failure began.

Thankfully, when all was lost, he cried out in faith.

Restored, he proceeded in confidence until the next time the cycle repeated itself.

This is our life, too.

Let’s do our best to trust faith more and flesh less.

That sinking feeling is never good.

As always, I love you

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Being afraid of ungodly threats is not sinful.

In fact, it’s common among believers.

Whether it is a health threat or a financial threat or a family breakdown threat, the looming calamities we sometimes face are pregnant with potential danger and we are blind if we don’t recognize them and prepare to respond should fear become fact.

Being afraid doesn’t show a flaw of character. Not displaying faith amidst the fears does.

There was a subtle but certain lesson in this regard that was woven into the account of Gideon recorded in Judges 7.

After God had sifted Gideon’s army from 30,000 down to 300 who didn’t let fear trump faith, the young commander was told to go and conquer the pagan Midianite army camped in a nearby valley.

God knew that this assignment was not logical from a human-thinking standpoint — 300 men against thousands and thousands of bloodthirsty, Hebrew-hating soldiers.

God knew that Gideon might have fears of completing the assignment.

So this is what our gracious God said to Gideon:

During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.” (vv. 9-11)

Clearly, Gideon was afraid of the Midianites.

That’s why he and his assistant went to spy out the camp.

God was even more gracious, of course, and allowed Gideon to hear that some in the enemy camp were afraid of what God might do against their army.

Rather than display a collapse of faith, Gideon’s fear prompted his reconnaisance of the camp and subsequent affirmation that God WAS in control and that victory WAS going to happen.

It’s a good story, this account of Gideon in Judges 6-8. I hope you’ll read it today.

For now, though, I simply want you to know that it’s OK to have concerns — or even fears — when faced with challenges that can’t be avoided.

Just remember that the closer you move to confronting the “enemy” circumstance that God has called you to face, the closer you will be to hearing God’s comforting, guiding voice and to seeing/feeling God’s sovereign power and plan.

This has been true in my life with various threats and it will be true in your life as well.

We just have to make sure that our faith is stronger than our fear.

As always, I love you

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