How to Handle Fear in 2015 – Part 1

It is 2015! Fear has struck the hearts of many people. From the economy to terrorism to lawlessness people are wondering how to handle the fears they have for this new year. In this article, I will give you many verses from the Bible that deal with various aspects of fear. It is with hope that you will find peace in 2015 no matter what happens around you or with you.

When you have a fearful heart, for whatever the reason may be, consider these verses:

Psalm 34:4: I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

In the midst of your fears, God is surely able to deliver you from all of them. It is a matter of seeking after him. When you seek him, the Bible says that he will be found (Isaiah 56:6). Jesus even put it this way:

Matthew 6:25-34: For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and HIs righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Seeking after the Lord is the key to dispelling any worry or fear that you may have. “Well, you just don’t understand how hard my life is. I worry all the time and just don’t know what to do about it.” By seeking the Lord, this is the first step to overcoming your worry or fear.

When you are focused on whatever it is that you are fearing, change your mind by focusing on what is true and consider these verses:

Psalm 4:8: In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Knowing that there is so much terrorism going on around the world, fear has literally gripped nations that are being attacked constantly. However, you and I can lie down and sleep trusting the Lord who is our security and safety. No other can truly keep us safe like he does. Because this is truth, we can dwell on this idea of safety in the Lord. Even if we were threatened by someone, the alternative is not bad. We get to spend eternity with Jesus Christ if we know him as Lord and Savior. In him, there is safety and security. Read what Jesus said:

John 14:1-6: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

The way that Jesus Christ was going was the way of the Cross. But even knowing that Jesus Christ was going to go the way of the Cross, he tells us not to have a troubled heart. In other words, we do not need to worry or fear because he is who he is and we are who we are and we need to trust him because he is God. Moreover, he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him. So the joy that is set before us is that Jesus Christ has been preparing a place for us. Jesus Christ’s joy was as follows:

Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus Christ’s joy was that he endured the cross, endured such hostility by sinners against himself in order that we might not grow weary and lose heart in this darkened world we call home.

Merry Christmas to All!!!

So there are a lot of people who don’t enjoy Christmas because of all of the commercialization of the holiday. Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? That it is considered a “holiday” more than a time of remembrance of what it is that Jesus Christ did on our behalf? After all, when you consider what Paul the Apostle wrote:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)

You see, this is the true reason for why we celebrate Christmas. It is the fact that Jesus Christ existed as God but left His authority as God and although He was still God, He emptied Himself. After He emptied Himself, He took the form of a bond-servant and became like you and me. He lived His life as a carpenter and started His ministry at thirty years of age. He walked everywhere He went and had no place to lay His head as He ministered to the throngs of people. Although they loved Him for a time, He was despised but read what the writer of Hebrews said:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endure the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

This was the joy of Jesus Christ! This is what we celebrate! And although He faced hostility from sinners like you and me, He still did what He said He would do, that is, He would die according to the Scriptures, be buried and would be raised from the dead according to the Scriptures (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

So, forget about all of the commercialization and quit complaining about it! Just enjoy remembering what Jesus Christ has done, what He continues to do by saving people from their sins, and that one day soon He is returning to catch us away to be with Him for eternity!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

My BIG Mistake…ugh!

Have you ever made a mistake? I mean a really big mistake? Well, in a moment of frivolity, I made a mistake. It is foolish to say things that you really don’t mean when joking around with friends. Wait! It’s just foolish to say things you don’t really mean! So, here’s the story–and it is a true story–unfortunately, it’s my story…

A few days ago, my eight year old son gave me a note from school about a party that his class is having. It requested that we send $3 with him to school for this upcoming Christmas party. Playing the Scrooge I complained that I already pay a lot of money in property taxes which include school taxes. Then I wrote on the paper that very thing and said that I thought it was ridiculous to pay anymore than I already pay! Then, in a moment of sheer foolishness, I told my son to show his mother the note and then give it to his teacher.

Now here’s the lesson for me: Don’t tell your eight year old to give anything to his teacher if you really don’t want her to see it! Second, don’t forget to tell your wife, who knows your sense of humor, about it so she makes sure that it is not returned to your eight year old’s teacher. Finally, don’t be stupid and say foolish things! Well, I obviously did not follow the third lesson, but it is a teachable moment for my son…and me.

When my son told me that he had given his teacher the note, I turned as white as a sheet. Needless to say, my wife socked me on the arm and asked, “What were you thinking?!?” My response, “Well, I was only kidding! I didn’t really expect for him to give the note to his teacher!” My son retorted, “Dad, why did you tell me to do that if you were only kidding?” Talk about embarrassing.

The following morning, I walked my son into the school to ask forgiveness from his teacher for my foolishness. She was glad to see me. She told me that she was about to send me an email asking for me to come and see her and wanted to speak with me about my note. I immediately asked for forgiveness and apologized profusely to her for my foolishness. I told her how I jokingly say to my wife that there’s too much government waste (which in reality there is but there are also some very good programs out there as well). I’m always kidding with her about her job and what she does all day and we get a laugh out of it. I said all of this in front of my friend while I was writing that on the note from school. After explaining this to my son’s teacher, she ended up laughing with me and all is alright now that everything is clarified.

You see, my wife works for a government agency. My mother worked for a government agency. My twin sister used to be a second grade teacher. My oldest sister is school teacher. My nephew is a school teacher. My step-dad is a school teacher. I have more family that have teaching degrees and have been in ISDs for years and years. I know that they each struggle with budgetary items for their classrooms and jobs. It’s the nature of the beast. I also know and realize that teachers are constantly spending their own money to help their students throughout the year. They have to supply many of their own supplies for their careers. It’s much like a mechanic having to buy his own tools or a pastor who has to buy study materials which are his tools.

Things are expensive nowadays. Teachers are some of the least appreciated people it seems (so are preachers!). My joke was not appropriate nor was it appreciated by anyone. Foolishness generally is not appreciated and it is certainly inappropriate.

I asked my son to forgive me for my gaffe and he did. I asked his teacher to forgive me and she did. If I have offended you I ask you to forgive me as well. I’m thankful that they forgave me and we have laughed about it since then, but the ramifications will continue for a time. Then, when the dust is settled, I hope people will simply realize that I’m just as human as they and we all make mistakes…BIG mistakes…ugh!