Tag Archive: fear


Staying Free of Fear

Having managed to move past what for some is the most fearful time of year, Halloween, it begs the question “How can we stay free from fear?”

MaskWhen I was four years old and staying for a couple of weeks at the end of October with my grandma in St. Charles, MN, the doorbell rang.  I made the unwise choice of answering the door before she could get to it and there, under the porch light stood two individuals, not much taller than I, in the most grotesque rubber masks (at least I hoped they were masks) shouting “Trick or Treat!!!” at the tops of their lungs.  To say I was frightened, was an understatement, but I don’t think I went all hysterical or anything.  But that incident did, apparently, leave a lasting impression on me.

To this day, even as an adult, I prefer to walk on the other side of the block or shopping mall away from anyone wearing a mask. I never sat on Santa’s lap, or came anywhere close to an Easter Bunny, and when I had to work at McDonald’s in the ’80’s helping with Ronald McDonald shows, I was good around the actor who became Ronald, but when he was in costume, I was nowhere to be seen!  To say that I’m not a huge fan of clowns of any kind, nice or villainous, would be an accurate statement.

As a child, I certainly never thought in these terms, but as I grew and became more aware of my own emotions and thoughts, I realized that seeing someone in a mask was all about lies. I wanted to see truth, the real person, not a fake, not an act, not a lie. I want to know what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s truth, what is a lie, so I can make an educated decision about it and make the right choices for me.

That being said, we live in a world of lies and deception, fakery, and illusion.  Our movies and TV programs are filled with it and often they only seek to instill fear.  We honor and adore actors who portray heroes and villains for their acting capabilities to make us believe the lies and enjoy the fear — at least for the moment.

But in the real world, there are plenty of fearful things going on and the media plays to that and makes things seem so much worse than  reality would dictate.  Racial issues, diseases from only God knows where, strife, tensions, financial woes, power struggles — personal and world wide, murders, suicides, kids on drugs, unspeakable evil seems to be rampant.  Fear of the future, Fear of lack, Fear of sickness and disease, Fear of loss.  As the Apostle John says in one of his letters to the church, fear has torment.  Where does it stop, and when?

Well, as with everything, it stops — or at least the hold that fear has on us stops — when we choose to believe what God says, rather than what the world, the flesh (us, our mindsets), and the devil says.  Why live in fear when there is a better way?  We were created for God’s pleasure and as a way for Him to show us His love and mercy.  He is the God of peace, not fear. The reason we get into the messes we do is because we are searching for peace, love and joy in all the wrong places.

dove

Let me share some of God’s words that may help you if you feel fear today (or any time):

“7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”  2Timothy 1:7  Amplified Version

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“10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”  Isaiah 41:10  Amplified Version

 

Memorizing Scripture, rehearsing them in your mind, quoting them, putting them in first person — all are great ways of getting the Word of God down in your spirit so that when those times of fear come, you can recall them and remind yourself that God is bigger than any fearful thing you might encounter.  He is in control, not your fears.peace

One of the coolest Scriptures in the Old Testament, and applicable to us all today, in my opinion, is Joshua 1:8, 9.  If we would take it to heart, I believe God will keep us safe from the fearful things in this world, and cause us to prosper in every area of our lives.

“8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good [a]success.

Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Amplified Version

Don’t be afraid….Be courageous and confident in God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uganda Bound (Part 2)

Judy almost packedYou may recall that a few weeks ago I shared an email from Judy, a long time friend of mine who, at the age of 67, is getting the opportunity of a life-time–a missionary trip to Uganda to share her faith and testimony with children and others she meets along the way.

To prepare for her trip she asked those who wished to participate to join with her financially so that she could buy toys, clothing, etc. for the children.  Here are a few of the photos she shared of her endeavors so far:

Judy's trip to UgandaJudy's trip to Uganda3ready to go to UgandaFred and JudyThough she leaves behind her husband, Fred (a saint of a man!), four grown children and gobs of precious grandchildren, she will find it a joy, I’m sure, to minister to others outside her comfort zone.  A month long trip full of experiences, good and bad, that she has promised to share with us during her visit and after she returns home.  I’m so excited for her and hope you will lift her up in prayer and good thoughts for a successful time of giving to the children in Uganda.

Should you wish to find out more about the ministry that she will be working with during her stay, please visit: http://www.shepherdslove.com/

Much has gone into the preparations for this type of trip, much less prayer for months prior, and, yes, years in Judy’s preparation to overcome fear which had plagued her for most of her life to one degree or another.  This is why I’m so excited to support her new venture, because I know how impossible this trip would have been years ago.

So, Judy, knowing you leave in a day or two, I want to wish you every success, blessings abundant, and safe return to your beautiful family in a month or so from now!  We look forward to stories of God’s “little miracles” in Uganda as I’m sure they will bless your heart.  Have confidence in God as you travel.  You are in Good Hands!  God’s Speed!

“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.  And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”  1 John 5:14-15  The Amplified Version

 

Uganda Bound!

Last time we shared Tami’s Story, one that I hope you have taken the opportunity to read and check out the link provided and let God speak to your heart as to what He wants  to do through you:  pray, give, correspond, or something else that will benefit those suffering through a cancer diagnosis.

However, since then, I received an email from another dear friend I don’t often hear from and this is what she had to say:

Dear Family and Friends,  

Am I ever surprised!! God is sending me to Uganda for the month of October to help out in a Christian orphanage. Yes, I am excited and pleased beyond what words can express!! I am pinching myself to be sure this is really happening to me, a 67 year old homemaker from Citrus Heights. I’d better back up and fill you in on how all of this came about. 

As a child I dreamed of travel and seeing new and unusual places, studied geography and collected stamps. After college graduation I planned to visit Europe with friends and meet my Austrian pen pal in Vienna. The Lord had other plans; instead three days after graduation I married the man of my dreams. Over the next 45 years I read missionary stories and was inspired and awed by these amazing adventures of God doing the impossible through human lives. However fearfulness and caution ruled my life. There was absolutely no way I could imagine leaving my comfort zone! 

During the last few years I have been deeply challenged and affected by our Pastor’s messages and the Word of God as I have studied the scriptures at a whole new level in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). My faith has grown and I am ready to take the leap! I desperately want to be a world changer beyond anything I have ever done. 

So why am I going to Uganda? Well, I met an amazing woman while attending a seminar sponsored by BSF in 2012. She shared that she and her husband had started an orphanage in Uganda in 2006. I was all ears and eager to read about her adventure in her book Twinomujuni, Uganda Chronicles. I fell in love with Uganda and the people, completely mesmerized by her captivating journey. She invited me to go along on their next trip; Fred agreed that I should go! (Please keep him in your prayers. He is the one who will sacrifice the most.) I have my passport, (first one ever), am getting my shots, shopping for suitcases and skirts, and most importantly planning activities for the children. I will be paying my own way. However I could use extra funds to buy the children toys and craft items. If you can help with this, even a few dollars would be welcomed. I also ask for your prayers. International travel and living in a third world country will not be easy. I need God’s physical strengthening. I also desire for His love to pour through me to the precious people of Uganda. I pray for opportunities to pray for the brokenhearted and physically ill, to speak words of comfort and encouragement, and to serve in any capacity the Lord opens to me. 

I’d better close for now. Thank you for taking time to read this and to support me in any way you feel led. 

With a heart for Uganda, 

Judy”

So, what does that have to do with anything, you might ask?  For me, this was a challenge from the Lord:  “What are YOU (me) going to do about this opportunity I’ve placed in front of you?  She is your friend.”   (I chose to help in any way I could so this is why I’m sharing her story with you as well as helping as God directs with the toy fund.)

Now, as she mentioned in the email, my dear friend has had quite the bout with fear over the years and the fact that she is going to a foreign country absolutely astounds me!  To God be the glory!  Outside of all the things God has done in my own life, this is a yet another great example of why I’ve got confidence in Him!  He gives us strength in our weakness and heals us in every area of our lives as we give Him permission.

Secondly, I wanted to let you know that we will be following up with Judy for more of her story as the weeks progress.  She will be sending her personal experiences during her stay there, if she can, and I’ll be sharing them with you on this blog along with photos when possible.   In the meantime, she suggested a couple of books that have been inspirational and helpful to her, which you might find of interest as well.  Twinomujuni, Uganda Chronicles by April Dobbs or her website:  http://www.shepherdslove.com/.  In addition, you may wish to read further on another blog about Uganda:  http://www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/  as well as a book by the same name, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.

I hope that you will hang in there with me to hear more about Judy’s incredible adventure.  I know God will do great things through her!  Should you be interested in hearing more, contributing to her toy fund, or praying for her, please let me know and I would be happy to forward your information to her.

God is so good and loves you and all the people of all countries so much that He is even seeing fit to send a grandma from California to minister His love to a few children thousands of miles away from her secure home!  Wow!  I know she would appreciate your prayers and encouragement as well.

Let’s go with her and see what God will do!

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Fear? or Faith!

I came to my computer today not having a clue …well, that’s not altogether true.  I had a couple of ideas, but the point remains that I wasn’t quite sure what God wanted to say.   And, if He’s not saying anything, then there’s no point in my bringing my “drivel” to the table because what I have to say isn’t going to help anybody!

What makes you afraid?

My initial thoughts were having to do with fear and how it ravages our lives.  Our country is in a pickle right now..on the brink of changing forever, possibly.  In the world we currently live in we have fears for our safety, fears for our children and their future, fears of the outside world and those in it who might try to destroy us, fears about our marriages or lack thereof (being alone for the rest of our lives), fears about our looks, our jobs or lack of jobs, fear of lack, fear of rejection, and on and on and on it goes.   There is no lack of things that we can be fearful of.

We are soon approaching Halloween, which often manages to be a way more intense event than just a bunch of little kids getting obscene amounts of candy from neighbors, family and friends.  Fear escalates among the younger set, in particular, during this time of year.

I think I saw these guys in a dream recently!!!

This is due in part to all the scary movies and cartoons that venture on to the TV for over a solid month…Family TV at that, a place where “scary” should not be.  We attempt to assuage our children’s fears by telling them “it’s just a movie” or “it’s not real” but the images are there nonetheless, and will pop out in their dreams in the middle of the night or stay in their memory to come out at some other time when least expected.  And all year long there are the Chiller movies, Syfy scary movies, and all the others combined, but during the month of October they bring out the “big guns” and scare the livin’ bejeebers out of us with movies that don’t normally appear except around Halloween.  Then, if that weren’t bad enough, the movie industry companies try to outdo each other to make the “scariest movie ever” to put on the big screen in theaters during that time frame.  (Don’t think anyone will ever beat Hitcock’s thrillers tho’…just my opinion).  What is it about our society that loves to scare itself so much?

On other fronts, we are daily blasted with bad or fearful news coming from the media, radio, TV, internet, newspapers, magazines, books, etc.  Crime of all kinds has not only increased but intensified in its’ brutality.  The suicide rate shows fear is a very tragic reality to far too many of our family members and friends.  It is no wonder that fear runs rampant in our culture and people are suffering deeply because of it.  We are surrounded by fear.

Well, I have good news!

This morning as I was reading my Bible, something I do not do as often as I would like or should, but I ran across a scripture that really blessed me and I would like to share it with you because God has something to say to us.

You can be free from fear!

I actually started in Hebrews 11 reading about all the heroes and heroines of our faith, accomplishing all they did without, in many cases, seeing the fulfillment of their faith until we came along so many hundreds or thousands of years later.  From Adam’s son Abel, offering a better offering than his brother Cain, on up to King David and some of the prophets…it was quite inspiring.  I would encourage you all to read those stories as well.  But as I read further and reached Hebrews 13, I found some verses that I’d underlined years ago, and was blessed all over again.  Perhaps the words will encourage you too.

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)!  [Assuredly not!]  So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified].  What can man do to me?   Hebrews 13: 5, 6  The Amplified Version

What a fabulous promise we have from God!  If you are His child, you don’t need to be afraid when those tormenting thoughts come to discourage and threaten you.  He’s got you firmly in His mighty hand and will not fail you in any way or leave you without support.

Books by this author are awesome! Check it out!

Yes, this world is full of plenty of things to fear, but grab hold of this Word, and so many others in the Bible that will encourage you.  Check out Isaiah 41:10,  2Timothy 1:7, Psalm 91  just to name a few. Memorize them and speak them out loud during times of fearfulness so the enemy of your soul can hear them too.  These are weapons that God has given us to fight the “fear war”.  They are very effective and will help you when you are struggling with this vicious enemy.  You’ll be surprised how that fear will dissipate when you start speaking faith words instead of doubt, unbelief, and fear.  I’ve tried it, lived it and I know it works.

Be bold and courageous!  God is good and He is on your side!

When I was a kid, the only thing I can consciously remember being afraid of was being left alone.  My parents were forced to go away for a few days to tend to all the things that have to be tended to when a parent passes away.  My grandfather on my dad’s side had died and of course, my dad had to be there to help his sister close up the house, etc.  Mom traveled with him to help in whatever way she could as she had gone through this herself several years before.

As a seven or eight year old I was panicked wondering what would happen to me if something were to happen to both of them while they were away.  I was told that my mom’s twin brother had whatever necessary authority to raise me in that event, the thought of which left my blood running cold.  I like my aunt and uncle and cousins well enough, it’s just that they were soooooooo far away in Minnesota, and I was currently in Idaho.  I would have to get used to a new place, meet new friends, new school, and the downside just kept flooding into my thoughts.

I spent the few days they were gone with neighbors whose son and daughter were my best friends.  We had a lot of fun together, but boy oh boy, was I eternally grateful when my parents came home!!  I doubt they ever knew the fear I had felt, but it all dissipated once I saw their faces!  Up until that time I don’t think I’d ever been so glad to see anyone in my life.

In the many years that have followed, I’ve had several other occasions to have fear, as I’m sure you all have as well.  Sometimes, especially when I was in the midst of my family breaking up, the fear was so intense at times I could do nothing but roll up into a ball, the fetal position I think they call it, and cry and wait until the wave of fear subsided.  Other times, fear for my children or grandchildren would evoke those same types of feelings, but not quite as intense.  Fear of physical harm, fear of being alone, fear of rejection, fear, fear, fear.

Sometimes fear seems to come in “like a flood” or a dust storm!

We’ve all felt it in one way or another, but the one thing I’ve been constantly  reminded of since receiving Jesus as my personal savior and Lord of my life is that God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind!  (found in 2 Timothy 1:7) 

Ok, then, where does fear come from, and how can you get over it?  Well, someone years ago came up with an acrostic for fear:  False Evidence Appears Real.  So often this is absolutely a truthful saying.  The enemy of our soul has a way of throwing situations, or the possibility of certain situations, into our lives that may never happen or most likely will never happen and then he lies to us about them making us think they are a “done deal”.  Our response, all too often, is to panic as if this situation is real and we go off the deep end.  Our confidence in God is shot all to pieces because we start blaming Him as if He let it happen, when in fact, nothing has happened at all.  It’s just all in our minds where the enemy has a field day lying to his heart’s content!

Once again, I refer back to the divorce I went through many years ago.  I was in effect forced out on my own because the children were going to stay with their dad partly because I was going to have to work two or three jobs to survive and had no time left to take care of them, nor did I drive or have a car to get them back and forth to the Christian school where they were enrolled.  Even though God had given me Scriptures to reassure me, I was still in panic mode as I had no skills to sell myself into the business world I thought, and my future seemed doomed for failure.  The enemy had a “field day” in my brain for awhile, to be sure!

However, as I lived each day and relied, trusted and leaned on Him one day at a time (more like one minute at a time!!!!), things slowly fell into place and none of the lies I’d been hearing in my head and believing would happen came to pass.  As I spent time in the Word of God, listened to Christian TV, tapes, and Christian music to encourage my soul, I gained more strength, more insight, more knowledge, and pretty soon, fear began to lose its grip.

I cannot say that I am fearless in every area of my life, but now I know that fear doesn’t come from God.  So, when I do find myself in fear, I know that I need to get closer to Him and stop listening to the one who is spewing the lies, and start listening to the postive, uplifting voice of the Spirit of God through His Word.

At the name of Jesus, fear must go!

I am certainly aware that some fears are rooted in things from our past as a child or in the womb or perhaps even far back into our ancestry that have been passed down to us, however, even those things are able to be loosed from us if we are willing to give them to the One who can bring healing and restoration.

If you have experienced or are experiencing that debilitating, gut wrenching fear that many of us have known, may I encourage you to stop listening to and then repeating the enemy’s lies out of your own mouth.  Turn to the life giving Word of God instead.  You will literally feel a difference in your soul and your heart will be encouraged.  What have you got to lose??  Fear!

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