"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
This month, for our Monthly Basic Devo, I felt impressed to let you know: you are brave!
Yes, you are!
The devil has worked overtime the past few years trying to lock the world up in fear upon fear. The demonic spirit of fear has been running rampant seeking whom he may devour. He uses paralyzing thoughts, discouraging circumstances and panic-ridden headlines to keep people in bondage to fear.
Perhaps you saw the headline that Oprah revealed she was so fearful of Covid she stayed in her $40 million dollar mansion for one full year and is continuing to wear a mask on airplanes (or her private jet?), although the mask mandates have been lifted for over a month. To be honest, when I heard that my heart went out to her. I felt compassion for this influential woman who apparently lives in fear. (I'm not throwing stones, Oprah is a Girl-Boss extraordinaire, but even a Boss can be locked up by fear!) Of course, for her or anyone who has a compromised immune system, it's wise to exercise caution and be led by the Spirit, but being paralyzed by fear is not God's plan for Oprah -- or anyone else.
So, let's talk about it. What does God say to us about being brave and living above fear? Better yet, how does the Lord want us to dominate fear? What does God want us to know about using wisdom and living by faith to walk in a way that is free from fear? Thankfully, He has LOADED His Word with His instructions on these matters. In fact, there are over 365 passages about overcoming fear -- one passage for each day of the year!
In this month's Devo, I will share a few excerpts from my Life Basics Bible Study titled, "BRAVE: living a fearless life" to encourage you in the reality that YOU ARE BRAVE ... here are a few excerpts from BRAVE:
The climbing wall was a new attraction at our annual church Halloween-alternative party. How hard could it be, I wondered? I thought I was pretty tough as I strapped into the climbing wall harness. All I have to do is grip the little rubber things, start climbing and ring the bell, right? No problem! While I was getting buckled in, I noticed my kids and dozens of other children gathered around the wall to watch Mom—aka, one of the pastors—climb the wall. Soon, I heard other moms standing by and cheering me on. It hit me, “Oh no, now I have an audience and I have to do this! I have to get to the top and ring that stupid bell!” I double-checked the harness to be sure every thread was intact and feeling confident, I began the climb. The first six steps were a cinch. I was just a little more than half-way up the wall when it hit me: fear! Suddenly, I froze. I could feel my legs shaking. I didn’t move. I just clung to the wall, gripped with fear. Looking down wasn’t good, and when I looked up at the bell it seemed to be a mile away. The next step seemed farther away than the previous ones, and the grips seemed to be getting smaller. I wrestled within myself, “I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. I want to go home now . . . but, I can’t be a wimp. What do I do?”
I was still frozen and basically velcroed to the climbing wall; I did not want to move. I could hear my kids down below, “C’mon Mom, you can do it.” I heard the other moms cheering. Suddenly, I heard the man holding my harness ropes from below. “I’ve got you ma’am,” he said, as he gave a gentle tug on the rope to let me know that indeed, my life was in his hands. I started to move one leg up as if I would try to take the next step, when the man holding the harness gave me a stronger tug and actually helped to lift me to the next grip. When I felt him tugging on that rope and helping to pull me up that climbing wall, I realized that someone stronger than me was holding me up. He made me feel brave! I felt a sense of peace and comfort, and I was energized to finish the climb. The man holding the rope “pulled” me up the entire way as I moved to the top.
Finally, I rang the bell! I was quite happy it was over, and equally happy that I had overcome my fear to ring the bell. No one but the “harness man” and me knew the real story. It was only knowing he was holding me up that gave me the confidence and peace to finish the climb.
How true this is in our lives!! Sometimes when we look at the walls in front of us, it can look scary. When we realize that the Lord God Almighty loves us, has a tight grip on the rope and gently pulls us up to victory after victory, we can relax in His care, free from fear. It’s my prayer that as you go through this Life Basics Bible Study, you hear the Holy Spirit saying, “I’ve got you ma’am” or “I’ve got you sir.”
You Make Me Brave
Anxieties, phobias, worry, nervousness, being scared, freaking out, and engaged in full blown panic are not God’s plan for His children. Sometimes mental challenges, emotional issues, chemical imbalances, toxins and allergens from our diet and a host of other natural causes incite anxiety and fear. Sexual, physical, mental and spiritual abuse can keep a person bound in fear. People who live in obsessive-compulsive behavior patterns often suffer from a root of fear. Sadly, people are afraid to die and they are afraid to live. While Christian therapy and anti-anxiety drugs have their place - the Prince of Peace is still alive and well. Jesus is the same storm-calming, disease-healing, demon-binding, miracle-working, peace-restoring Savior as He has always been.
Ever made these statements? “I’m so worried . . .” That just worries me to death . . .” “I’ve always been a worry wart . . .” Fear, anxiety, phobias begin in our thoughts and are confirmed in our words. It’s no wonder that in one of the classic passages on worry, Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying . . .” If you want your fear factors to multiply, just start saying all the things you are afraid, anxious and phobic about! God wants our minds to be free from anxiety, worry and cares. If we don’t take control of our thoughts, they become imaginations; if we don’t take control of our imagination they become strongholds. You can tell if you have a stronghold of fear, anxiety or phobias in your life by listening to yourself! Do you find yourself saying things like, “I’m so scared. Well, you know me, I’m just all nerved up. That’s just the way I am!” Is that the way “you” are? Is that the way God wants you to be? God wants your life full of His peace and His love which will drive out fear, anxiety and phobias. Really! If we will give God’s Word our attention, He will replace our fears with His peace and love.
Peace of mind is God’s plan. He wants us to live in a state of peace and He’s provided the way for that to be a reality in our lives. Are you ready to be honest? Let’s make this our prayer as we look at the fear factors, peace and love. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24, (NKJV)
Our Jamaican friends have it right with their daily phrase, "No problem, mon!" -- this really ought to be the confession of faith for every Christian!
Did you know Proverbs 12:25 tells us about the anxiety-removing power of a "good word," "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." (NKJV) Maybe you could start your day with a few good words, like:
Today, is a good day, "no problem, mon!" Today, the joy of the Lord is my strength! Today, I love life and I have a thankful heart!
These simple phrases actually have life-changing power!
The power of our words cannot be overstated when it comes to being brave. Jesus said this,
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV)
Notice the power of our words! Jesus said, "do not worry, saying..." meaning -- we feed the fuel of worry by saying words filled with fear and anxiety. On the other hand, we can feed peace by saying, too!
Not only are our words important, but the things we fill our mind and heart with will determine our level of peace. The more you feed on God's Word and the knowledge of God, the more grace and peace are multiplied to you. (2 Peter 1:2, NKJV) The more you keep you mind fixed on Jesus, the more He keeps you in perfect peace.
Have a wonderful and fearless week keeping your mind fixed on Jesus!
Hey...did you hear this recent testimony about brave believers helping courageous Ukrainian refugees?
All of our Getting a Grip on the Basics books that have been translated into Russian are now being used in Ukrainian refugee camps in Switzerland. Right before Easter, a pastor friend of ours serving in Switzerland emailed us requesting access to all of our "Basics" books translated into Russian. As Ukrainian refugees poured across the border into Switzerland, he said this, "Our church is very involved with the Ukrainian refugee situation and besides shelter, food, clothing, German lessons, visa assistance, we have also started a Ukrainian church service. People are getting saved and I would love to use the "Getting a Grip on the Basics" in Russian for new converts (actually they all need it). ...our Ukrainian Service that has grown to over 100 people from the initial 40 who gathered in our church cafe the day after they arrived. We have over 5000 Ukrainians who came into Zurich and they are all in a special chat group -- and next week we are going to invite them all to our Ukrainian Easter service. We have people from Russian Orthodox to Baptists and Charismatics, that’s why I said that "Getting a Grip on the Basics" will unite them in a powerful way."
Of course, we were thrilled to hear of what God is doing in his church to help these refugees and we immediately emailed him the PDF copies of all four "Basics" books in Russian! (See books covers and links below.)
As a financial and prayer partner with The Basics With Beth, you are helping us make a difference in various parts of the world! Thank you!
"GETTING A GRIP ON THE BASICS" COLLECTION IN RUSSIAN