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Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

Are you paralyzed or affected by fear?  anxiety?  worry?

A prayer by Scotty Smith to encourage you today:

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s timely, stunning, and encouraging to realize that the most repeated command throughout the whole Bible is “Do not be afraid—do not fear.” The angels spoke these words to startled shepherds at your birth, and you repeated the command to a devastated Mary on the morning of your resurrection. Now you speak these liberating words into our hearts unnerving stories: “Do not be afraid!”

Because you are the First and the Last, Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of anything between Alpha and Omega. You are God, and we are not. You’ll never have to say “Oops” about anything in world history, or in our stories. You never “try” to do anything. You never have to scratch your head in confusion. You never have to resort to plan B. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will, from naming the stars to numbering our hairs. Glory!
Because you are the Living One, who was dead and who is now alive forever, we don’t have to be afraid of Judgment Day or this day; for your death on the cross was our Judgment Day, and your resurrection is our assurance of being eternally and fully accepted by God. Now the refrain that’s constantly sung over us by the whole Trinity is, “There is now and forevermore no condemnation for those who are in Christ!” Not only is there no condemnation, there is only full delight! What wondrous love is this, indeed!
 Lord Jesus, because you hold the keys of death and Hades, and to everything else, we don’t have to be afraid to die or to live. You’ve robbed the grave of its victory, you have removed the sting of death, and you have defeated the devil and all the powers of darkness! We don’t have to be afraid of people and their opinions.
 We don’t have to be afraid of world powers and terror. We don’t have to be afraid of failure and its consequences. We don’t have to be afraid of not being enough or having enough. We don’t have to be afraid of getting older or being forgotten. Yes, yes, YES!
You will never leave or forsake us, Jesus. We’re secure and held compassionately, in the palm of your hand. The saints in heaven are joyful than we are, but not more loved. Free us more fully from our fears that we might live more fully to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and powerful name.

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Ken Currie, lead pastor for outreach at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis addresses the issue of awkwardness in evangelism and how we can deal with it.  He begins:

Evangelism is counter-cultural. It’s true everywhere on the planet, but perhaps it’s especially so in our increasingly post-Christian Western society. We live in a polite culture, for the most part. Talk about religion? You just don’t go there. Talk about how many tornadoes have come through, and how the team is doing, and how the city has new recycling bins. But Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners and risen from the dead? You just don’t go there. So they say.

For the time being, it seems the greatest threat to gospel-telling in such a society is not that we will be hauled before the city council, beaten, and have our property taken away. What we are really dealing with is some awkwardness.

Awkwardness is perhaps the biggest threat to evangelism for far too many of us.

I’ve done a little research and can confirm to you that there is not one documented case of someone dying, or even being severely injured, by awkwardness. Not one. . . .

Keep reading if feel that sense of awkwardness sharing the gospel.

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This beautiful testimony will be an encouragement to those who struggle with anxiety and panic in their lives.

 

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Ed Welch offers this fresh look at 1 Peter 5:6-7.

It sounds very simple—and it is—but it changes everything. This is the secret to dealing with fears and anxiety. The words of God, and the comfort of the Spirit, become much more obvious when we are repentant and humble before him. No deals—“if you spare me from this suffering then I will . . .” Just simple trust. We trust him because he is God, not because he is going to immediately remove our anxieties or our fear-provoking situation.

Interested in the secret?  Read it here.  I think Ed is on to something.

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Faith over fear

I will not resist You when You move Your hand to mold me.

I will not insist You show me all Your plans today.

I will not despise the tools You’re using now to shape me.

I will not require understanding to obey.

 

And if I refuse to fear, when the future is unclear,

knowing You are here close beside me.

When I haven’t got a clue what it is that You’re up to,

even then I know that You have not abandoned me.

‘Cause faith is believing in things that are yet unseen.

Faith is believing God will intervene.

(I couldn’t find the source of this. If you know, let me know and I will give attribution)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? ” (Psalm 56:3–4, ESV)

 

 

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Stop being afraid!

When Jesus walked on the water and his disciples were terrified, he spoke to them, “Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid. (Mark 6:50). This is only one of tens of times in the Bible where God reminds us not to fear.  Here are just a few of the psalms that remind us to stop being afraid, to stop worrying, to stop being anxious.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ” (Psalm 5:11, ESV)

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ” (Psalm 9:9–10, ESV)

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ” (Psalm 18:1–3, ESV)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ” (Psalm 23:4, ESV)

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. ” (Psalm 62:1–2, ESV)

“when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. ” (Psalm 63:6–8, ESV)

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ” (Psalm 91:1–2, ESV)

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge! Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! ” (Psalm 143:8–10, ESV)

“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. ” (Psalm 145:14–15, ESV)

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. ” (Psalm 145:18, ESV)

 

 

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I’ve never really thought of it in this way:  behind your worship, stands your fears.

“All of us are worshipers—of something. It’s that simple. We’re created, designed, and wired for worship. Being human is to be a worshiper. It’s one of the biggest distinctives that mark us as human beings in this universe filled with living creatures.

The English word worship derives from the idea of “worthship,” meaning that we all serve those things to which we attribute ultimate worth. Worship is a posture of the heart. It’s an attitude of loyalty and trust toward something—someone—in your life that you believe makes life worth living. Thus, we all worship something or someone. This is true whether you consider yourself to be religious or not, spiritual or not, Christian or not. Typically, whatever we worship is our “non-negotiable.” It’s that one thing, should we lose it or part with it, which would bring both devastation and hopelessness.

What you choose to attribute ultimate worth to—what you choose to worship—depends on what you fear the most. If you fear loneliness, you worship relationships. You depend on them to save you from a meaningless life. If you fear not being accepted or esteemed, you worship your social network, the way you look, the car you drive, or the amount of money you make. You depend on these things to validate your existence. If you fear insignificance, you end up worshiping your career or your accomplishments.

Behind everything you worship is some fear that, without this person or thing, you’d be lost. Life wouldn’t be worth living. Your fears cause you to attribute ultimate worth either to things such as success, reputation, family, relationships, or to God. Either you believe your life would be meaningless without your friends, or your career achievement, or your children, or your possessions, or your social status, or whatever, or you believe your life wouldn’t be worth living without God, because you know he alone can provide everything you need (and, in fact, long for)—justification, love, mercy, grace, cleansing, a new beginning, eternal approval and acceptance, righteousness, and rescue.

We’re all worshipers—but God is the only reliable object of worship because nothing and no one extends these things like God does in the person and work of Jesus Christ.”

From Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels page 119-120 as posted by the author

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A prayer to conquer fear

Tullian shares a prayer that his friend Scotty penned recently–a prayer about fear.

Lord Jesus, how timely, stunning and encouraging to know that the most repeated command throughout the whole Bible is “Do not be afraid”. The angels spoke these words to startled shepherds at your birth, and you repeated the command to a devastated Mary on the morning of your resurrection, and now you speak these liberating words to my heart and conscience, “Do not be afraid!”

Because you are the First and the Last, Jesus, I don’t have to be afraid of anything in between. You are God, and I am not. You will never say “Oops” about anything in world history or in my own life. You never “try” to do anything. You never have to scratch your head in confusion. You never have to resort to plan B. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will, from naming the stars to numbering my hairs. Glory!

Because you are the Living One, who was dead and who is now alive forever, I don’t have to be afraid of judgment Day or this day. For your death on the cross is my judgment Day and your resurrection from the dead is my assurance of being eternally and fully accepted by God. Constantly sung over me by my Father, and all my brothers and sisters in you, is the most liberating of all lyrics, “There is now and forevermore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ!” Not only is there no condemnation, there is only full delight! Oh my goodness!

Because you hold the keys of death and Hades, Jesus, and to everything else, I don’t have to be afraid to die, or to live. You have robbed the grave of its victory, you have removed the sting of death, and you have defeated the devil and all the powers of darkness! I don’t have to be afraid of people. I don’t have to be afraid of failing. I don’t have to be afraid of getting old. Yes, yes, yes!

Place your right hand on me today in the gospel, that I might be freed more fully from my fears and live more fully to the praise of your glorious Name. Amen and Amen forever!

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Fear makes things worse

Here’s an example of how Spurgeon gave to the winds his fear and what this lesson taught him:

I remember well, one night, having been preaching the word in a country village, I was walking home alone along a lonely footpath. I do not know what it was that ailed me, but I was prepared to be alarmed, when of a surety I saw something standing in the hedge, ghastly, giant-like, and with outstretched arms. Surely, I thought, for once I have come across the supernatural; here is some restless spirit performing its midnight march beneath the moon, or some demon of the pit. I deliberated with myself a moment, and having no faith in ghosts, I plucked up courage, and resolved to solve the mystery. The monster stood on the other side of a ditch, right in the hedge. I jumped the ditch, and found myself grasping an old tree, which some waggish body had taken pains to color with a little whitewash, with a view to frighten simpletons. That old tree has served me a good turn full often, for I have learned to leap at difficulties, and find them vanish or turn to triumphs.

Half our afflictions are only appalling in prospect because we do not know what they are; and if we will but in faith patiently await them, they will be but light and transient. Thus, by chasing away the gloom of our dark imagination, God often makes darkness light before us. Much, again, of the darkness which does really exist is exaggerated. There is some cause for alarm, but not one half the cause which your fancy pictures. “All these things are against me,” says Jacob: “Joseph is not, Simeon is not; and now ye will take Benjamin away.” There was something in this complaint. Joseph was not with his father, Simeon was kept in ward; but the old man had pictured Joseph devoured of an evil beast, and Simeon given up to be a perpetual slave in a foreign land.

His fears had magnified the trouble which existed. And, believer, so probably it is with you. You shall find that the load which seems now to be far too ponderous for you to lift, shall be easily carried on the shoulders which divine grace shall strengthen if you have but confidence enough to venture upon the task. That cross is not made of iron, it is only a wooden one; it may be painted with iron colors, but iron it is not; it has been carried, ay, and a weightier one by far, has been carried by other men aforetime – shoulder it like a man, shoulder it like a man of God. Take up your cross daily, and go forward with your Master, and you shall find that mountains shrink to molehills, giants are seen to be but dwarfs, dragons and griffins are but bats and owls, and the leviathan himself a defeated foe.

Daily Spurgeon

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Never be afraid

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to an all-knowing God!”–source unknown

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