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Monday, September 29, 2014

Pastorgraphs: “Facing Fear”

E-Vangel Newsletter
September 29, 2014

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center

“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205
Pastorgraphs: “Facing Fear”

The greatest resource ISIS (what I call the pseudo-Islamic “Savages” in Syria) has is FEAR. Their brutal mass killings, genocide and beheading of innocents has led their military opponents to drop their arms and surrender – only to be killed in the most horrific ways ever known.

Bullies have been using fear for a long time.

Surrendering to fear never works. That is true whether dealing with Barbarians or your own phobias. As FDR said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Fear is powerful. Just recall the fears surrounding Y2K in 1999 and the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. Visions of cataclysmic events had a profound effect upon millions of people.

Fear has a paralyzing effect. It is at the root of the survivalist movement, where people have abandoned their normal lives to stock up supplies in underground bunkers so they can “survive” the apocalypse just around the corner. In the meantime, they forfeit living the healthy, productive life God gave them as they succumb to their worst fears.

More recently, fear drove our response to Central American children coming across the border to escape violence and death. And a week or so ago, fear caused our Congressmen to run off like frightened dogs with their tail between their legs rather than take a stand (one way or the other) on an important issue that might cost a few votes.

Fear produces cowards. Courage produces leaders.

In the Greek, the word for fear is phobos from which we get our word “phobia”. Psychologists will tell you that phobias are “irrational fears” rooted in the sense that one has “lost control” and cannot deal with the potential (but almost never realized) consequences.

Not all fears are irrational. Fear is a legitimate primal emotion given to us by God to alert us to imminent danger. We should not ignore it. But we must also not be ruled by fears.

The list of things over which you might be fearful is endless. Whether it is fear for your family, health, job, money, relationships, death, or (in your extended world) fear of the economy, environment, or world tyrants, you don’t have to look far to find something that can paralyze you with fear.
Fear is a spiritual matter. Fear destroys hope. I have said many times (quoting my seminary professor, Dr. Wayne Oates,) that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but anxiety (or fear). Put another way, fear is putting your faith into the worst things happening.

Solomon understood this. In Proverbs 28:1 he wrote, “The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.” So much of our precious short lives are wasted on fearing things that never come to pass.

So what is the antidote to fear? You might be surprised, it is LOVE. In 1 John 4:16-18, we read: “God is love…There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he (or she) who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]."
   (Amplified Bible)

To live in fear (or not) is a choice. Only you are in control of that decision. But with the help of God, “perfect love will cast out fear”.

So ask yourself, “What is my greatest fear?” Is it a genuine fear of an imminent danger? Or is it simply a lack of faith (and love) about something that most likely will never come to pass? Come up with a plan for what you will do if it does happen, and then LET IT GO.

So go out there today, and from now on, be fear-less!

In Christ’s Service,
Bill Jenkins

From The Quote Garden:
“I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath--these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely--these are my native air. A John Hopkins University doctor says, "We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-worriers, but that is a fact." But I, who am simple of mind, think I know; We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue, brain cell and soul, for faith and not for fear. God made us that way. To live by worry is to live against reality.”
~ Dr. E. Stanley Jones ~

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