Tag Archives: Fear

See and Don’t Be Anxious

A few months ago, my Bride and I rented a cabin the mountains of North Georgia for the weekend and got away for a few days.  It was a much needed break as we were fixing to enter a very busy season.  There was so much joy in the weekend.  First, to just have time away with Amber was nothing but good.  It’s something that we are trying to make a more intentional part of our marriage as our kids are now older.

While we were there, we did something that seemed so new to us, but was a very good thing.  We took time to talk together and talk with God, before we arrived, and then while we were there, just to ponder what we see for our family in the coming year.  What are some of our hopes and dreams and what areas of our life do we feel like we need to focus heavier in prayer for ourselves and our kids.  It was frontier territory for us, but got us to begin thinking about things a little differently.  This is something that we have felt God really growing us in of late.  What is the frontier?  How do we stretch ourselves and grow.

While we were in this cabin, we made a cool find.  Tied up with a small band, were 3 Devotionalsbooks.  Each one was an old one year devotional from the early 20th century.  They were title God’s Minute, God’s Purpose, and God’s Message.  They were sitting on the lower shelf of a lamp stand and more so for decoration than anything.  How often do guests pick up and read those books?  Who knows.

We took some time to begin reviewing through some of the devotionals.  Such rich writing, with each day written by someone different.  We got such a kick out of those books.

Then we turned to the devotional for that particular day, March 8th, which was written by Rev. William P. Merrill.  A turn of the century Presbyterian minister.  While the date of this message was actually written is shown, based on Rev Merrill’s life, it would likely have been somewhere between the the 1910s and 1940s between the World Wars and the Great Depression.

Anyone reading this message would note, however, that it still applies today.  He starts with quoting Jesus in Matthew 24:6, “See that ye be not troubled” (KJV).  From the ESV, “See that you are not alarmed.”  If you read the full passage, you will see Jesus talking about hearing of wars and rumors of wars, and the things that must take place near the end of the age.  Merrill quotes from Robert Browning’s interpretation as, “Trust God; see all, nor be afraid.

Merrill talks about this being good counsel for anxious times.  To quote what he wrote:

“Good counsel for anxious times! We need it now, and always. 
Some see the disquieting conditions and are alarmed. They lose heart, and give up the fight. Others keep their peace of mind by refusing to face the truth…We are living in a disturbed age. Many are fearful and anxious. The Master is calling for many followers who can face the facts without fear, because deep in their hearts is the grace of a living faith, so that they can “see all, and not be afraid.”

Just ponder that and think about it.  How much do we spend of our time worrying and being anxious about one thing or another.  We know we live in desperate times.  There is so much suffering and struggle going on all around us.  People have lost sight of real joy and are too wrapped up in unimportant things.  We worry about everything.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to not be anxious  Do not worry.  Paul writes in Philippians 4 to “Be anxious for nothing.”  Despite all of this knowledge that, Christ, we are supposed to be free, we can’t experience real freedom, because we still let the worries of this world bog us down.  Just think of the type of freedom that can come when we stop letting the most unimportant things keep us bogged down and worried and anxious.

As Rev. Merrill wrote that Jesus is calling on followers who can rise above of all of that, see that struggle and suffering that is right in front of us, but are not afraid because of the love, joy, and peace that is found in Jesus Christ.  There’s no need to worry, ever.

I write this, not just to those of you reading this, but to myself.  I’d be lying if I said I never worried.  I’m just as guilty as anyone in different situations.  However, when I get reminded in some way of what Jesus said and what Paul wrote and to add on to Philippians 4 that rather than being anxious, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, “ I remember to turn to Jesus in that moment and cast my worries and anxiousness toward Him.

My challenge to you is this.  Spend some time to think about and even write down the things that have you most worried and anxious right now.  Spend time with God and talk to Him about that.  Is that thing, in the grand scheme of God’s Larger Story, really something to get all knotted up for?  Begin to pray to renounce any any agreements made with that worry and invite Jesus in.

The enemy wants to keep you in the bondage of worry and anxiousness.  All that does is keep you in a state of uncertainty, within yourself, of whether you can truly trust what God has already said and promised.  There’s is so much hope ahead for us who are in Christ, should we choose to take the narrow road and follow.  Part of following is letting go of the extra weight, such as worry, doubt, and fear.  Think of it as going on a long hike down difficult trail.  You only carry what is needed.  The unneeded stuff you shed and don’t carry.  Same here.  Don’t carry the unneeded burdens.

I was so thankful to see these devotionals.  This particular writing was so timely.  Look forward to returning to this cabin to dive in a little more.

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Conquering Fears That Tell You No

We all have fears in life, don’t we.  There are those things that we encounter that tell us that we cannot do something.  What fears have you encountered?  It could be anything from riding a roller-coaster, flying in a plane, fear of new opportunities, fear of failure, and even, yes, fear of success.  Fear is something that is so stifling, that it can keep you from perusing your dreams and goals and force you down paths that are completely contradictory to anything that you would otherwise do.  Fear can keep you stuck in a job that makes you flat out miserable.  I know many that have been there.  Either they become too secure in their job and its benefits or they just don’t want to risk going on to something new for fear of the unknown.  This fear can suck the spirit out of you and keep you from ever coming alive.

Dr. Charles Stanley had a great quote about fear.  He said, “Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.”  Does this sound like you or anyone you know?  The fear can come from a number of areas.  It can be your own psychological fears of moving forward or it could those naysayers that constantly want to tell you that you can’t do this or you shouldn’t do that.  Either way, as Dr. Stanley said, fear stifles your thinking and actions and can result in lost opportunities.

The struggle that must be faced by everyone is how to conquer that fear.  What can you do to brush aside the naysayers and that nagging feeling that keeps you from pursuing the goals you have ahead and what God has intended for you?  Elbert Hubbard stated that “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.”  We all know there will times where you will not succeed in one venture or another.  If you never try however, for fear of failing, then you have once again let fear overcome you and your goals.

So how do you conquer those fears?  The biggest thing is to put your trust in God that He will lead you through the challenges and toward the path He wants you on.   Psalm 56:3-4 says, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”  That’s self evident there.  What can anyone or anything do to stop you if you put your trust in God.  He will help you overcome your fears when you trust in Him and let Him take control.

With your trust in God, you can muster the strength to overcome any fear and follow your dreams.  Les Brown stated that “A lot of people do not muster the courage to live their dreams because they are afraid to die.”  Don’t be afraid of where the path goes.  Follow your dreams and goals and follow them without fear.  I have a frame on my wall at home that says “The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”  Know that He is always there.  Don’t be afraid of failure.  Don’t be afraid of success.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Have faith that the path you follow is the one you are meant to be on.  You keep your mind fixed on those goals and they will come to fruition.

So don’t ever let anyone or anything tell you that you can’t follow your passions and dreams.  You can conquer those fears.  I have had my share of those fears over the years of where I may end up.  It is now in God’s hands and he is guiding down the path I was intended to take.  You can do the same thing.  It takes time, so don’t let that stop you either.  Stay focused and you can conquer those fears and come alive!