Browsing Tag

Courage

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Lillian Howard on Fear’s Paralyzation-Part 2

(Upcoming: The Digging Deep podcast for October is next Tuesday night.I hope you can join us and we would love to have your comments in the live chat. Comments are a great enrichment to the study’s scope, of course. The winner of the international writing contest for kids will be announced here next Monday, so be watching for that, especially if you are one of those who submitted an entry. Every entry represented a great effort and a significant investment of time.)

How do we stop fear?

To begin with, remember it’s a growth process. You don’t wake up one day and suddenly have no fear any more than you wake up one day and suddenly know everything the Bible teaches on love. And it does start with courage. You’ll never conquer a fear if you don’t do it, and you’ll never do it without courage.

Next, remember why we don’t have to fear.

… the LORD is with you while ye be with him; and if ye seek him he will be found of you… 2 Chronicles 15:2

… If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:5-6

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 1 Peter 3:12-14

The almighty God is with us. We have our Creator and unfailing Lord on our side! His eyes are over us as we practice righteousness! What really is there to fear? The Lord even gives us a specific promise in Matthew 28:20. He promises us specifically that he is with us as we spread his word!

God is on our side, but he doesn’t just root from the sidelines. He does so much more than that.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Isaiah 40:29

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2Corinthians 12:9

But the God of all grace, … make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1Peter 5:10

God gives us strength as we apply our courage. Psalm 46:1-2, Isaiah 12:2, and 26:4 also show that he is our source of strength to help us overcome our obstacles. And part of how he does that is through a magnificent gift.

These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk there in, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means… 2 Thessalonians 3:16

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15

Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

When we walk with him, he gives us peace. He conquered the world, and now we can have peace. He is the very Lord of peace! But my favorite verses from this are in Philippians and Colossians.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7).

But let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Col.3:15).

Peace keeps our hearts and minds from all the cares, fears, and troubles that we give to God, 1Peter 5:7. Peace rules in our hearts, which means it has conquered the fears and troubles that once lived there.

Remember back to our verses against trouble and fear. One definition of the word ‘troubled’ in these verses is ‘causing inward commotion and taking away calmness, or peace of mind’.

In closing, let’s notice 2 Timothy 2:22:

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

We have to follow peace. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t just come to us in this wonderful epiphany. Righteousness, love, and faith come from God. But that doesn’t mean they just come to us. We have to try to be righteous, try to have proper love, try to keep our faith. In the same way, peace is a gift of God, and we didn’t earn it. But we have to let it rule in our hearts. We have to remember that God is with us and give our cares to him.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. Psalm 37:37

Uprightness brings peace. Let’s remember that as we face this tempting and often terrifying world.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Be Brave and Fear Him

You could name lots of enemies of a Christian’s boldness in our world today. One enemy is the overemphasis of tolerance. We’d rather be villains in almost any other category than to be labeled as intolerant or judgmental. (The most quoted and misapplied passage in this culture is Matthew 7:1.) So we stop speaking out about sin. We fear being ostracized. We fear confrontation. 

Another enemy of boldness to speak God’s truth is our busy-ness. Our schedules shout at us. Our commitments bulge in their time limitations. We simply over-commit and there is little time left to write letters to editors, show up at venues like gospel seminars or meetings that serve to inform and embolden, or take time to speak to individuals about the gospel.  We fill up our calendars and then allow them to control us. Their demands often make even the free moments of our lives full of anxiety or dread for the upcoming stress of deadlines and back-to-back responsibilities. They make us physically tired and weaken our spiritual stamina. We lose some of the will to do spiritual battle against wickedness in high places (Eph.6:12). It’s “wrestling”, as Paul put it, and we are too exhausted for that.

One more enemy is worldliness. This is a big one. We slowly become anesthetized, through entertainment choices, the news media, the public education system and governmental influences. We stop thinking very much about the societal departure from truth that is quickly becoming so complete. We start thinking like the world, instead of like the Lord. We are influenced, sometimes unknowingly, by pop culture’s psycho-babble and we become complacent—even ignorant—about the polar differences between the way God wants us to think and act and the accepted norms of society around us. 

Part of fearing him who is able to destroy body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28) is being wise to slow anesthetization by the culture. We simply cannot go to sleep in the devil’s gentle lull of  tolerance, busy-ness and the normalization of sin. See, ironically, those who fear are the brave. It’s those people who’ve developed a healthy fear of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell who are emboldened to stand against His lies in a culture of relativism.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “We Have Contained Them…”

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 12: French troops patrol around the Eifel Tower on January 12, 2015 in Paris, France. France is set to deploy 10,000 troops to boost security following last week's deadly attacks while also mobilizing thousands of police to patrol Jewish schools and synagogues. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) 

The U.S. quote of the week has to be “We have contained them”.  It was President Barack Obama speaking with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. The subject of this containment? ISIS. And this statement was made only a few hours prior to the multiple attacks and carnage that awakened Paris to the horrific reality that 128 innocent citizens had been killed by ISIS terrorists and scores of others wounded.

This is not a political post, but ISIS did not look “contained” as it lit up the city with ambulance and police vehicle lights and as civilians who could still mobilize literally ran for their lives to places they only hoped would be safe from the carefully planned and executed destruction last Friday night in Paris.

That’s the way it is with our spiritual enemy Satan. He is not the kind of enemy we can, with one blast of spiritual energy, soundly defeat and bury forever. Sometimes we think we’ve “contained” him and, if we do, that’s the very time he is able to do the most damage to us…claim the most spiritual carnage. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). If it was flesh and blood, we could kill it and win. It’s principalities and powers. It’s rulers of the darkness of this world. It’s spiritual wickedness in high places. Fighting the devil is a lot like fighting ISIS, only on a massively huge scale. He’s an enemy that we can’t pin down, in this lifetime. In fact, even more resilient than ISIS, the devil is always seeking whom he may devour.(I Peter 5:8). I can never, in this world, say “The devil is contained. He is no longer a problem for me.” In fact, when I begin to feel smug in his containment and in my abilities, that’s when He’s more likely to attack.  Thus Paul’s warning in I Corinthians 10:12: “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” He (Paul) knew that even he, the chosen apostle, had to wrestle constantly to contain Satan—to keep him from reducing the fighting soldier to a “castaway” (I Corinthians 9:27).

Maybe the scariest part about the attacks in Paris for those of us who live on this side of the Atlantic is the statement often found on ISIS-related sites: “American blood tastes the best and we will taste it soon.”  I do not want to ever give an ISIS terrorist the satisfaction or impetus that comes with knowing that  Americans are fearful. But the obvious mood of America must now be, in spite of any words about containment, one of great trepidation. We are an obvious target and we pray that our leaders will find ways to protect U.S citizens from this evil.

The spiritual parallel is glaring. Christians are the target of our enemy, the devil. He is not spending his resources and time trying to tempt those who are already under his power. He wants the blood that is best. He wants those who have the blood of his arch enemy, Jesus Christ.

He wants you and me. He wants our marriages. He wants our children. He wants our money. He wants our time. In fact, he wants me to be routinely going about my life—to the soccer matches, to the restaurants, to the concerts—and even to worship. He wants my ears to be dulled to his blasts and my senses to be secure thinking his attacks are just “part of the noise” that is my everyday routine—until I am a part of the eternal carnage…until my life is done and his destruction has no reversal.

I do not know that the powers-that-be in America are always wise enough to recognize and deter the destructive power of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. But I DO know that my spiritual leader is wise and strong enough to have already ultimately defeated His enemy, Satan. The devil will not take down the kingdom of Christ. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:16). But Satan can still destroy people who are in that kingdom and he would like to sift us a wheat (Luke 22:31). It’s important to remember if you are in the kingdom, you are targeted by the devil. You have the blood that tastes best to his diabolical senses. Yes, he is powerful Yes, he is unthinkably evil. Yes, he is that roaring lion. But your Lion, the Lion of Judah  (Revelation 5:5) is stronger and has already won the war on terror with the Devil. So don’t be a casualty in a war that’s already been decided. Be strong and courageous. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and discipline (II Timothy 1:7). Soldier on!