All posts tagged: Fear

The fear illusion

If I have learned anything this past month it is that fear is an illusion.  It rises up in our minds and creates a smoke screen. As Susie Larson from Faith Radio says, ‘we cannot underestimate the destructive impact that undealt-with fear has on our lives’. She goes on to quote brain science expert Dr. Timothy Jennings: “Fear is an intruder, an unnatural invader, like a flesh-eating bacteria – ravaging and deforming all of creation.” Jesus tells us that: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV) In our society there is a constant fear of having things stolen.  I remember growing up we never locked our homes when we went out. Today we are double checking to make sure everything is shutdown. We are living in constant fear. But in this verse, I believe Jesus was talking about how He would give us an abundant life and He was referring to fear as the thief who steals our …

Sky diving over Palau Credit: Richard Schneider/Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s okay to be afraid

Sometimes we are being pushed out of our comfort zone and often think fear is telling us to pull back. But in reality it’s a signal to move forward, push through the fear and jump. I have been acknowledging my uncomfortable feelings these past weeks. At times I almost feel paralyzed by fear and anxious thoughts. Have you ever felt this way afraid, nervous and excited all at the same? It’s an uncomfortable feeling. And often we judge ourselves for being afraid of our next big step. We have this misconception that fear is telling us “not” to do it. Well, the good news is that fear is just a natural emotion that means you are stretching yourself out of your comfort zone. Being stretched is uncomfortable in the physical and the natural. Growing and expanding beyond where I have been comfortable for some time now. Fear is a normal part of life, but it is an emotion we must control before it conquers us. Writing for Proverbs 31 Ministry, Bobby Schuller says: “Fear is …

Grocery Store Credit: Province of British Columbia/Flickr/Creative Commons

Report: Religious people have more self-control when it comes to shopping

According to a study by three researchers from university business schools,  Didem Kurt, Boston University, J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh and Francesca Gino, Harvard Business School, religious people not only spend less than non-religious but they are also less likely to make impulse purchases. The study that involved looking at the results of five earlier studies on spending habits also included the group’s own research. In their study, the three researchers put 800 people through a variety of “hypothetical” shopping scenarios and as well tests to evaluate how strong their religious beliefs were. What they discovered is that an incremental increase in religious belief resulted in a 5% decrease in spending and impulsive buying. This confirmed results from a survey of spending by 2,400 people in 10 states in 2011 and 2012, conducted by Point of Purchase Advertising International. It showed that people living in more religious counties not only spent less money on groceries than people living in less religious counties, but also had “fewer impulse purchases.” There are undoubtedly a variety of …

Credit: Jessica Meckmann/Flickr/Creative Commons

Pushing through our fears to victory

Choosing to push through our fear often means not knowing what lies on the other side of it. We waver wondering if we are doing the ‘right’ thing or if we’re going to end up making another mistake. It is always the ‘right’ decision to push through your fear.  Many times we won’t know what the outcome will be, but we do know that God is with us in the good and bad decisions of our lives. The Lord will work it out because we did the ‘right’ thing trusting Him in our decision to move beyond our uncertainty. The great men and women of faith had a deep understanding that God was always with them: “King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” (Acts 2:25) It is the same belief that all of us need. When we push through our fear God honors our choice and walks with us. The whole weight of God’s presence, power …

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Reach for your thread of hope

God’s faithfulness has been my lifeline through  the desperate times when it seemed that there was no hope in sight and nothing to reach for. But at the last moment when my faith was at its lowest and my desperation at its peak, a  very thin thread of hope would appear dangling in thin air, barely visible . This was the case of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment – it was her last thread of hope. Mark said she had suffered at the hands of physicians for years (Mark 5:26) and the fringe of Jesus’s cloak was her lifeline. “20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well.’” (Matthew 9: 20-21) There is a thread of hope hanging from the hem of Christ’s robe just for you. Desperation and fear often brought me low, but it also positioned me to …

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What Christians need today — courage

YouVersion Bible App was created in 2008, since then over 295 million people have downloaded the app for use on their phone, Ipads and computers. According to this year’s stats, so far this year the app is being downloaded 1.4 times every second of the day. In the same time frame, people are also sharing ten verses with friends. But YouVersion also provides the most read verse of the year and in some ways this provides an insight into what believers are facing around the world. Outside of North America, the most read verse is: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASV) In America, the most read verse is similar but with a slightly different twist: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV) The verses portray how things are changing …

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Fear of the Words

[by Keith Hazell] What are the most fearful words that most people hear? It could be “you have been laid off” or “ I  am leaving you” or perhaps “We are bankrupt”. All of the above are words which strike their own fear into the hearts of the hearers. However one of the most fearful words we hear is “ I am sorry but you have cancer.” These words carry with them fear and unbelief. We cannot believe that we have been “chosen,” singled out for such a horrible thing. To many of us who hear this, it is like we have heard a death sentence and that we need to prepare ourselves for the inevitable events that will culminate in our passing. More than 21 years ago I received such information from a urologist. My initial reaction was like most of us… “ I guess my days are numbered”.  In my early 50’s I had not reckoned on a truncated life. However, the devil reminded me that both my siblings died early as a …

Don't let fear dominate your life. Street art in Dublin, Ireland. Credit: Giuseppe Milo/Flickr/Creative Commons

Achieving your full potential — deal with your fear

There is an interesting parable in the Gospels that I believe Jesus purposefully told to prepare the disciples for Christ’s eventual departure. It would be a harbinger of what was to come. I am referring to the teaching on talents found several times in the Gospels. It appears in different forms and at different times, and it seems Jesus told this parable multiple times, because it was a message His disciples needed to hear. In the account recorded in Mathew 25:14-30, a ruler is going on a long journey and decides to leave his wealth or talents in the hands of his slaves to invest, until he returns. This parallels Jesus departure from earth, the bestowing of the Holy Spirit and His gifts (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8) and then Jesus second return. What are the talents? I  believe in God’s kingdom, they are the giftings (spiritual and natural) and callings that God has bestowed on every believer. The Lord has tasks for us to fulfill before He returns. Some of them are spiritual and some …

Huli Wigmen tribesmen, Papau, New Guinea Credit: Didrik Johnck/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ten-foot angel said “I am not going to let you kill her”

It was February 24, 2009, when Canadian missionary Sue Ambrose heard the sound of someone running up behind her. She turned and saw a madman coming at her with an upraised machete. She remembers screaming “No” and the crazed man yelling “Yeah, you” then the blade deflected off her skull, chipping bone, and slicing off skin and hair. Stunned Sue fell to the ground, but continued to fight back. When the man thrust the large knife into her hip, she grabbed the blade to stop him from striking her again severing several tendons in her hand. From Salmon Arm, BC, Sue and her husband Mark serve as Wycliffe missionaries in Papua, New Guinea. She was returning to the missionary compound after buying food at the local market for the students at the Bible and literacy school where she and her husband minister. She used these walks as a time of meditative prayer and that morning she was contemplating a verse she had spoken to people about that morning: “Whoever desires to save his life will …

Breaking the yoke of insecurity off your neck. Credit: flintlocker/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dealing with Insecurity: The workaholic

If you are insecure, you do things that can break your heart. In 2 Kings 4:8-22, we read the story of an older couple who were prominent in the community (v 8). Undoubtedly, they were wealthy. The man was a farmer and had a number of servants working for him (v 18, 22). They were the rich and famous of Israel. The man’s success defined who he was and he had an image to uphold. They had everything except a child. When the prophet Elijah showed up in the community, the wife cordially invited him to stay at their large home. When Elijah was ready to leave he asked Gehazi — his servant — what type of gift he could give the woman for her generosity. Gehazi said she was without a child. Elijah went to the wife and prophesied she would have a child by this time next year which occurred exactly as Elijah predicted (v 17). Between verses 17 and 18, someone hit the fast forward button. We are not told how much …

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Meditation: A kind of hush

The other day I was sitting in the car waiting for my mother. Fall was upon us and through the pouring rain, the only real colour to be seen was in the leaves. The rest was mostly grey. Everything seemed so serene and a stillness came over me – a hush if you will. This scripture came to my mind: “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20) These beautiful ‘hush’ moments usually come without notice, yet just when I need them. The noise and cares of the world can creep in and clutter my soul. Before long I am feeling unsettled and sadly like no one cares. The disciples felt similar emotions one night in a boat when a terrible storm occurred. Jesus was asleep then and the disciples came to him and said, ‘Teacher don’t you care if we drown?’ (Mark 4 :38) The bible says Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush be still’ …

Fear not, for I am with you.... Credit: Eric Wagner/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t ‘fear’ the coming darkness

An article in the Daily Mail on changes taking place at Canterbury Cathedral in London, England speaks of a significant culture shock coming for western Christians. For years, we have lived in a bubble where we could go through our day not worrying we would be attacked for our faith. But that bubble is bursting or at the very least there is a noticeable leak. Police in England have just announced they will be stationing armed guards at Canterbury Cathedral in England. Built in 597AD, it is one of Britain’s oldest churches.  This is not the church hiring its own security staff, but rather police sending in protection. And in a country where police typically patrol without guns, these guards are armed.  The article added that protection will be given to other unnamed churches and public venus. The police made this decision in response to recent attacks on churches in Europe by Muslim extremists. In July, an 84-year-old Catholic priest in Normandy, France had his throat slit by Islamic extremists in front of his congregation during …

Central Java, Indonesia Photo: Piyaphon Phemtaweepon/Flickr

Dealing with fear

In December 2001, Pastor You Yong was praying in his church in Magetan, Indonesia when members of the Laskar Jihad army surrounded the church and kidnapped the Christian pastor. Pastor You had started a small church in 1996 and it grew to over 100 people. The majority of the congregation were converts from Islam. The Muslims were outraged. Indonesia has a population of about 250 million and 85% are Muslim. In a couple of provinces, they have even managed to set up Sharia law. Though Christians only make up 12% of the population, they are the fastest growing religion in Indonesia. Yong’s church was part of that growth. The Muslims complained to local authorities that Yong was causing disharmony. When they were put off, the Islamic leaders called in the Laskar Jihad army to deal with the situation. The Jihadists threw a bag over Yong’s head and dragged him off for interrogation. They beat and threatened Yong. They held a machete to his neck and Yong thought he was going to die. But during this …

The real reason the media and atheists mock Christians — cowardice

In an interview with atheist Phil Zukerman expressed his opinion on why the media has so actively mocked Christians while giving Muslims a free ride. Zukerman is a professor at Pitzer College where he teaches secular studies. He also writes a blog where he actively criticizes Christianity and Judaism. The Gospel Herald reported on the interview. According to Zukerman the reason is very simple — cowardice. The media are terrified of Muslim extremists and possible physical retaliation so instead they mock and deride Christians. Zukerman said Muslims treatment of women and gays is much more “problematic,” but the media will not say a word. The professor even admitted as an atheist he criticizes Christianity and ignores Islam for the same reason because he fears for his family. In the interview he stated: “I would never write the same kind of stuff that I do about certain religions — Judaism, Christianity, LDS — that I would about Islam because of straight up fear.” Gospel Herald also pointed to a recent interview host Bill Maher had …

Is your problem a giant or an optical illusion?

[by Dean Smith] I love castles. One of my bucket list goals is to visit England and explore at least a couple ancient fortresses. However, there is one, Bodiam Castle, that I may take a pass on. Located in Kent, it is a popular castle and because of its huge moat very photogenic. You may have already seen pictures of it. But there is something strange about this castle. It is not all that it seems. Sir Edward Dalyngrigge was given permission to build the castle in 1385. He had been a faithful servant to King Richard II fighting for the English king in the Hundred Years War. It seems back then, like a car, you had to have a license or “crenellate” as it was called then to build a castle. I guess Kings wanted to control who built castles because they could be used for you or against you.

The greatest horror show of all time and why it happened?

[by Dean Smith] What is the greatest horror show of all time? I am sure a number could be thrown out. For the record I hate horror shows, but while attending Bible School I ended up going to the movie Alien. I remember my friend and I almost running back to the car after watching it, we were so terrified. On Halloween evening in 1938, a CBS radio station in New York City broadcast a script of H.G. Wells’ book War of the Worlds. During the first two-thirds of the broadcast, it was treated as an actual news cast. People were so caught up by the story that portrayed an invasion of New York City by Martians that many actually fled their homes in fear. CBS was bombarded by calls about the invasion. Surely these would be considered contenders, but still they are not terrifying enough to top my list.

A quiz at Ohio State University says Christians are dumber than atheists

According to a report by Campus Reform, an online quiz developed for the Psychology 1100 class at Ohio State University (OSU) states that Christians are dumber than atheists. Campus Reform is a conservative group that according to its website “exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.” The quiz posed this question: Theo has an IQ of 100 and Aine has an IQ of 125. Which of the following statements do you expect to be true? Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian. Aine earns less money than Theo. Theo is more liberal than Aine Theo is an atheist, while Aine is a Christian. The correct answer was the first one: “Aine is an atheist, while Theo is a Christian.”