How to Handle Fear in 2015 – Part 2

Well, I was in the midst of writing this second part when all of a sudden I accidentally closed the window where I was writing. I fear doing that when I write. I was just about to finish the article, as a matter of fact. So, Let me attempt to remember what I so wonderfully had written…

I grew up with fear. I was afraid of my two older brothers beating up on me. I was afraid of doing something wrong and getting caught by either my father or mother. I was afraid of not making the right grades in school. I was afraid of taking tests. I was afraid of Marco who bullied me in elementary school. I was afraid of losing my parents or my siblings. I was just a scared kid; I had fear.

As I grew older, I was afraid of asking a girl out on a date. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of not graduating from high school. I was afraid of my future. I was afraid that parents would get a divorce. I was afraid of driving. I was afraid of leaving my room.

As a Pastor you would think that I have gotten over my fears. Now that I am 48 years old, the biggest fear I have is germs. That’s not a good thing when you’re a Pastor. After all, you have to shake people’s hands even though you have no idea where their hands have been. Then there’s the occasional “close” talker. You know the types: they stand real close to you and you can feel their breath on you when they are talking; they stand so close you can hear them breathing; they stand so close that you can even see their nose hairs sticking out…

I digress…

At any rate, fear is a real thing that I have dealt with and continue to do at times. I am sure that there are some of you who deal with fear either on a constant basis or now and then as well. It grips us. We have no idea what to expect when we enter an unfamiliar place. Fear takes hold of us when we get around a whole bunch of people with whom we have nothing in common. Fear arrests us at times when we are worried about our current familial situations or financial situations. Fear is a real malady by which all of us are afflicted if not all of the time at times.

In the first part of this series, we learned that when we have a fearful heart, we can turn to the Lord and He will answer and deliver us from all of our fears (Psalm 34:4). In the midst of fear, God is surely able to deliver us. It takes us learning to seek after Him (Matthew 6:25-34), and when we seek after Him, He will be found! Then when He is found, we need to keep our focus on Him instead of our fears (Psalm 4:8; Philippians 4:8, 13). In Jesus Christ there is safety and security (John 14:1-6) and because of this, we need to fix our eyes on Him.

Knowing these things, we do not have to be slaves to fear. And believe me, for some fear is their master. Paul the apostle wrote some encouraging words to us:

Romans 8:15: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

1 Timothy 1:7: For God has not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Because God has gifted us with the spirit of power and love and discipline, we can overcome our fears whatever they may be. But notice that it is God who has given us these things. It is not something that we have within ourselves per se. Rather, it is a dependence and trust in Him and in His Word. Trusting God casts out fear.

Psalm 56:3-4: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?

Psalm 56:10-11: In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Man cannot do anything to me that is going to cause me to fear because I know that God is with and for me and I know that He will never forsake me!

Hebrews 13:5-6: Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

Fear grips us at times. But when we turn to the Lord for help to overcome our fears, they dissipate. Fear arrests us at times. Sometimes the fear seems to be overwhelming but God’s love casts out fear. Fear keeps us at times in a frenzy, but we have nothing to fear because of God’s presence with us.

To overcome fear in 2015, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has said to us:

John 14:1-6: “Do not let your heart be trouble; 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.”

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!