Ways to Conquer Fear
The other day while my fingers danced on my keyboard, suddenly something happened. My muscles tightened. “Cindi, don’t know what’s wrong,” I wrote to my very-wise friend. “I’m stuck, really stuck. My computer says there’s no room on the disk and I’m out of memory.”
Even from far away, she resolved the crisis. “Sometimes,” she wrote gently, “this can happen when you have too many windows open.”
Duh! That’s exactly what had happened. I, the queen of multi-tasking, had so many windows open at once that a mighty draft was most likely blowing my way.
Why do we do that? We open windows in life too—our kids do something off-the-wall for the umpteenth time, and we open the window of worry. When will they ever learn? Money problems don’t let up, so we open the window of anxiety. The doctor’s office leaves a message, “We found something abnormal in the test.” Then we open the window of fear. Our spouse still won’t understand us so we fling open the window of anger.
Then our life gets stuck with no more memory of joy. The file where peace was stored can’t be accessed and the folder of security is empty.
I’ve been there and it’s an ugly place when that folder is empty, when it’s void of confidence, of reassurance or hope. Unable to deal with an unexpected tragedy, I filled the folder of my heart with grief and gloom. At 31, a retinal disease robbed my sight, aggressively, completely, and with no expectation of regaining it again.
That’s when I opened not just a window, but a huge patio door of self-pity. Why me? I asked over and over again. The winds of anxiety and fear blew right through my soul. What will I do being blind, unable to care for my 3, 5, and 7-year-old sons? Where would I find help, answers to my questions, comfort? How could I calm my nagging fears?
In the midst of all those questions, like my friend Cindi, Jesus was gentle to come to my rescue. To remind me and to point to a different kind of fear, the fear that ushers perfect comfort:
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.” Psalm 31:19 (NLT)
And while under His refuge, windows of destructive emotions closed. Doors of wisdom opened instead. They ushered three important truths to conquer fear:
- The God of the universe is watching. He’s listening and is ready to point the way in the darkness.
- He will hold us up, give us strength, and begin a new life in us.
- He will fulfill His promise:
“Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will bring me safely through them.” Psalm 138:7a (TLB)
Father, in the midst of fear that fuels my stress, how comforting it is to know that you, with your mighty power, will bring me safely through all of these frightening emotions. Teach me to trust in you, in your timing and in your ways. Because of you, I will purposefully close each window of negative emotions so I can settle in the freedom from all my fears. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Remember Your Baptism
by Liz Kanoy, crosswalk.org
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.'” – Acts 2:38-39
Three years ago on Pentecost, I attended my godson’s baptism. The pastor encouraged parents and godparents to remind their children and godchildren of their baptisms often. He also encouraged all believers to continually remember their own baptism and to remember what baptism means for those in the body of Christ.
When I was baptized at 23, the pastor prefaced my baptism by saying “there is nothing magical about this water,” and he was right. There is no magic in the water and the water itself will not change you, but there is extraordinary power and hope in the One who makes baptism possible – the One who baptizes in the Spirit and transforms the heart.
Whether you lean toward infant baptism or a believer’s baptism theologically, Christians can all agree that baptism is a symbol of eternal hope in Christ. For Christian parents, their baby’s baptism is a symbol of their promise to raise the child to know and love God. For believers, baptism is a symbol of the lasting hope they possess and a reminder of the promise that has been fulfilled.
Remember your baptism, but don’t just remember the day or the act – remember the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives purpose to all baptisms. Remember that the Lord called you to Himself, and He chose you by name – not by any merit of your own but by His free gift of grace.
Throughout the Bible, we can see that God chose people whom we might consider not so deserving – polytheists, murderers, adulterers, harlots, liars, and all other sorts of sinners and sins combined. His point in showing us the flaws of the people He chose is to remind us that no one is deserving. He can give mercy to anyone He chooses because all have fallen short of His glory, and no one can be justified and sanctified apart from Jesus.
When you remember your baptism, remember that you were nothing and God made you new. You were without hope, but He called you His own. He has adopted you as His child and heir. Remember the sin that caused the world to fall, understand the consequence of sin for every human being, and realize your continual need for the perfect Savior who lived and died and rose for all who would believe.
What do you feel when you think about standing before the judgment seat of Christ—fear or dread? The apostle John says that if we abide in Christ, then when the Lord appears, we can have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame (1 John 2:28). The reason is that we belong to Jesus, who went to on the cross to bear our sins and take the penalty we deserved.
Our future judgment has nothing to do with determining our eternal destiny; that has already been settled. Instead, this judgment is Christ’s evaluation of our deeds—to evaluate “whether [they are] good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The word bad refers not to evil acts but to those that are of zero value. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 likens Christ’s judgment to a fire that consumes every worthless deed but leaves untouched those worthy of eternal reward. Although our life may look impressive by worldly standards, God alone knows the heart’s motives and which deeds are truly good (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Our actions don’t determine whether we spend eternity with God, but He is gracious to consider them for the purpose of reward. Together, let’s seek to live for Him and His glory each day. And let us also rest, knowing that His righteousness makes us worthy of heaven.
“To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy.” – Psalm 28:1-2 ESV
David was desperate. He had prayed but nothing seemed to change. It was as if God was deaf. David had worshiped but still nothing changed.
All the while, it seemed that world conditions were deteriorating and the ungodly were being successful. David’s plea was that God would recognize their ways and reward them accordingly in order to make things right.
Finally, David sensed that God had not really ignored him: “He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy” (v. 6). With this new confidence, David blessed the Lord. He realized, “the Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (v. 7).
His message was, “the Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed” (v. 8). David ended with a prayer that God would save His people, bless His heritage, and “be their shepherd” (v. 9).
Have you had moments like this, when it seems that God is not hearing you? In these moments, continue to seek Him. Even if He seems silent, realize that He really is hearing you. Continue to praise and trust Him. Commit your needs to Him. Be confident that He is aware of the actions of the ungodly.
Rest in Him. Trust in Him. Continue to serve Him and to pray for others