All posts tagged: Fear

76 | Three signs you are being plagued by a ‘spirit of fear’

In this podcast, I briefly look at three indicators that may suggest you are being controlled by a Spirit of Fear.

The Cure for Fear

Last week, I wrote about not fearing Covid. Respecting it and doing what you can to reduce your risks of contacting it is not fear. It is common sense. Fear is rampart these days. People have allowed fear to disrupt their lives, weaken relationships, and alter their daily routines. So how do we deal with such fear, especially when it seems almost warranted? The Bible has the answer: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18) Doesn’t this sound good? No fear in love? So, the answer is to love. But it is more than that. I have some good friends who love their spouses and their children dearly and are still fearful that they will not survive covid. Christian platitudes and slogan sayers claim that that fear is the opposite of faith and therefore these people don’t have enough faith. I challenge those people to lay next to their wives and listen to them wheezing and coughing as they struggle for their next breath. Yes, fear is …

Analyzing the Election Results in California and Canada, and the Attitude of Faith vs Fear

by Dr. Michael L. Brown Americans are not happy. We do not like all the COVID restrictions. We resent the latest lockdowns. We plan to resist the mandate. We are beyond the breaking point. At least that’s the impression I get as I read reports on conservative websites and interact with friends and colleagues. But exit poll results from California tell a very different story, with confirmation from Canada as well. I’m talking about the rejection of the efforts to recall Gov. Newsom in California and the reelection of Prime Minister Trudeau in Canada, where the COVID restrictions have been much more comprehensive and oppressive. Yet in both cases, it appears that a majority of voters affirmed the way COVID was being handled in their state and nation, respectively. According to ABC News, “Just about 3 in 10 said Newsom’s pandemic control measures are too strict, countering a key argument in the recall drive against him. A broad 70% supported the state’s student mask mandate and 63% sided with the governor in seeing vaccination as …

Don’t Fear COVID!

This almost sounds blasphemous but there is truth here. When I had COVID and those nasty pneumonias on top of it, fear tried to enter my heart and my thoughts. I had to battle to take every thought captive for Christ and not let fear and its buddy, gloom, complicate my recovery. Even after as I enter into my fifth month of long haul covid, there are times in which fear, and its new friend, hopelessness, try to overwhelm me. I don’t let it because fear and gloom and hopelessness complicate our view of a situation and make it very difficult to remain positive. Being positive during illness, injury or dire straits is crucial to a faster and more complete recovery. I meet a lot of people affected by COVID. Some who are right now in the throes of it. And yes, I follow all the protocols so when someone is contagious I chat with them from a distance. While there are common physical effects of the disease, there is another common element. Fear. The …

From fear to anger

The upheaval on our planet right now has created rifts in relationships online, off-line, in our churches and communities. I cringe when I see unkind comments and anger directed at opposing opinions amongst friends. We find ourselves in a crisis as the pressure builds and creates cracks of division and deep crevices of fear and hopelessness in our lives.  A crisis tends to bring out what is really inside us, and we shouldn’t be surprised by the ranting and pushing all around us. In these moments, love bows to fear as it takes control of our lives and vitriolic words pour off our keyboards onto the screen.   Death or life lies in our hands, and in every crisis there is the opportunity to make things better. Proverbs tells us that life and death is in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21). When we speak we can bring encouragement and life to people, or we can speak with condemnation, anger and bitterness, bringing death. This applies to the things we say and the things we write as we comment …

No Time for Passivity

By Dr. Michael L. Brown It is 11:45 PM Tuesday night as I sit here in front of my computer, having just responded to some emails and after finishing some editorial work on an academic project. But I’m a late night person, and there’s still plenty of time to work. So, as I often do, I take a moment to pray, asking the Lord, “Is there anything You want me to write?” Immediately I hear the words (in my thoughts, not audibly), “No time for passivity.” Now, to be perfectly clear, I am not claiming special inspiration for this article. I’m simply saying that, as often happens when I pray about what to write, a thought comes strongly to mind. If you find the theme of this article relevant or helpful, great. The simple truth is that we are in a war. An ideological war. A spiritual war. A moral and cultural war. A war that, in many ways, is even more real than a physical war. The soul of our nation is at stake. …

Dealing with our shame and fear

2020 will go down as the year that everyone wants to forget, but will probably be the one we are most likely to remember. A recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research asked Americans what is the one feeling they most want to avoid this year. Not surprising, the big winner was fear, with 41% stating that this was the number one emotion they most wanted to get rid of. It suggests that for many Americans, fear is lurking in the background as people go about their everyday lives. But it’s not surprising that fear topped the list. Americans have faced a two pronged attack in 2020, with governments, the mainstream media and health officials driving a fear pandemic about COVID, and this combined with social unrest as protests and riots spread, have made an emotional impact. The second emotion that people wanted to get rid of was ‘shame,’ which at 24% came in a far second, followed by guilt at 22%. It was a complete turn around from 2016, when a similar survey by Lifeway …

No Time for Cowardice

By Dr. Michael L. Brown According to the book of Revelation, “the cowardly,” along with a host of other sinners, like murderers and the sexually immoral, will one day be cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation 21:8). But what is so bad about being cowardly? Why is it such a serious sin? The Greek word used for “cowardly” also means “fearful,” and it is found two other times in the New Testament.  As explained by the Greek scholar Celsas Spicq, “Jesus reproaches the apostles for this psychological fear when they are terrified by the storm (Matt 8:26; Mark 4:40), because it involves a moral deficiency: they no longer have faith, or they have but little faith in the presence of the Savior, who has to reassure them.” In contrast, “when one relies on God, there is nothing to fear.” (From his Theological Lexicon of the New Testament.) So, there is something morally deficient in being fearful when Jesus Himself is with you. And in the situation described in the Gospels, when the disciples …

Is there a demonic side to COVID?

Bob Burckle serves as the president of the Eastern European Mission, whose primary goal is to print and distribute Bibles throughout Eastern Europe. Burckle has served as the organization’s president for 20 years. In an op-ed for the Western Journal, Burckle shared his miraculous recovery from COVID. The first hint that he was sick started with a complete loss in energy. He found it difficult to even stand up. After he went to the hospital, the nurse was shocked that he walked in, because the oxygen level in his blood was only 73%. His COVID test came back positive and along with that, doctors also diagnosed him with bacterial and viral pneumonia. He was immediately admitted to hospital and put on oxygen, a step below intubation. He was extremely sick, and Burckle felt that death was a very real possibility. But he sensed something else, Burckle also believed he was under spiritual attack from satanic sources and immediately put out a call to supporters for prayer as he lay in his hospital bed. So, can …

Fear Factor

Fear has long been an enemy of faith. The two are about as opposite as you can get. Yet they have two things in common. They both divide and unite. The world wants us all to be united. We’re not united unless we have a common goal or a common enemy. COVID became that enemy in the past few years. But that wasn’t enough. So, the purveyors of fear decided that any voice that didn’t line up with the ever-changing World Health Organization were enemy voices and therefore needed to be silenced. Thus, scientists and doctors who saw things differently were mocked, ridiculed and ousted by the scientific and medical community. There was no dialogue or discussion about the reasons why they had a different view. All that mattered was that they were different. Free thinking and certainly freedom of speech were seen as threats to the established narrative of we say so and friends.   It wasn’t even the idea of who was right, it was a matter of a more powerful voice silencing …

Five signs of a ‘spirit of fear’

Several polls over the past few months reveal how the pandemic is being driven by fear, not the science. People’s perception of how serious COVID is goes far beyond actual reality. This past February, Frontiers in Psychology conducted two surveys of people in France to compare their perception of how bad COVID was with actual reality. According to their polling, the French believe that one in six people who catch COVID will die from the virus. If this is what you believe, a person would be living in absolute terror of catching the disease. But the reality is much different. In fact, only one in 400 died in France after catching the virus, with the vast majority over the age of 70. It is the elderly and those with underlying health conditions (often the same people) who are most vulnerable to the virus and need protection. Nevertheless, based on their flawed perception, the French believe over one million have died of COVID in their country instead of the actual death total of 107,000, in a …

Exaggerated fear of COVID: Post pandemic, panic attacks?

Anesthesiologist Pooya Kazemi is part of a growing group of doctors critical of the lockdowns. In an interview with the National Post, he states with the rollout of the vaccines, the pandemic is in its final stages, but warns that countries will now dealing with the aftermath of fear left behind as the mainstream media, health officials and politicians grossly exaggerated the impact of the virus.

Horror Don’t Scare Me!

Did you ever hear strange noises in the night? Perhaps you saw something just out of the corner of your eye or felt like you were being watched even though you were alone. A long time ago, I lived in a house in which we could hear the sounds of heavy footsteps coming from the upstairs bedrooms. Yet, there was nothing there. In another house, we heard the sounds of a squeaky tricycle rolling across the kitchen floor. When I was a teenager, there was a dark mass that hovered just above my bedroom door that terrified me. Many of us have had such experiences. Some have been so frightening that the people experiencing them felt threatened. Hollywood makes the most of such experiences and often adds demonic activity to heighten the fear factor. The basic formula involves people being terrorized by some entity or super human evil possessed person. The only way to fight this evil is by using human wisdom and the strength of the human spirit. Some of the scariest movies are …

So, what are the biggest phobias of 2020?

The security firm, ADT, recently studied web searches to determine what American’s biggest fears are for 2020. Now based on what has happened this year, you would expect it to be Covid. However, an analysis revealed a slight twist. Overall, people’s biggest fear is not COVID, but rather their biggest phobia is “fear of people.” And the searches for this fear was five time higher than last year. Since we are social animals, this fear of people can have negative consequences mentally and physically. RELATED: CDC Confirms: ‘Adverse’ Mental Health Problems ‘Increased Considerably’ During Lockdowns But in three states, the biggest fear overall was the “fear of being alone,” with the number of overall searches for this type of fear tripling last year’s numbers. But here is what is particularly odd, these two phobias are the polar opposite of each other, as one focussed on contact with people and the second feared no contact with people. Fox News provides more details: The most-Googled phobia of the year is fear of other people, according to researchers, who …

What, Me Fear?

What we think, we tend to believe. For example, most of the media outlets focus on Covid19. No wonder people are scared. The Bible says that we are who we hang out with. Proverbs 13:20 says “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Walk with the scared, and you will get scared. Scared people hide. They are fearful. Scared and fearful people have anxiety and stress to the point in which they do not live their lives. Normal and healthy things like family gatherings, visiting children and friends, shopping and attending church are seen as dangerous and self-centered. What was seen as good is seen as bad. The heroes in a fear-based culture are the ones who showcase fear. The people who hide are the good ones. The people who listen to the government and media are the good ones. They are compliant and helping stop the spread of Covid. Except this plan of division and isolation is not helping. Not according to the very people who told …

Dealing with the fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown can overwhelm us and impact our body, mind and spirit in unhealthy ways as we start obsessively worrying about the future, which some refer to it as “future tripping.” The actual purpose of fear is to signal our brain that there is potential for danger or death telling us to ‘fight, flee or freeze.’ Though there is benefit to it, that changes to negative when we are consumed by prolonged bouts of fear. Psychotherapist Terri Cole, who has worked with women for 20 years, states that we must be aware of the psychological, emotional and physical cost to walking around in a constant, heightened state of fear. She says being on constant alert is not good for you and can even compromise your immune system. Exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, brain fog and depression are all symptoms that your nervous system is being overloaded by fear. And if this describes you, it may also suggest this pandemic is exposing deeper emotional issues and trauma in your life, that you have been carrying around …

Courage?

According to Oxford, courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. Oxford also says it is strength in the face of pain or grief. Of course, the polar opposites here are encourage and discourage. One is giving courage and the other is taking away courage. When we thing of courage we often think of kings, warriors and those facing life threatening circumstances. I personally think of Joshua who led the Israelites into the promised land. Great battles need great courage to be sure. In our modern context we think of police, fire, and defense as areas needing courage. But courage today is not limited to our warriors and first responders. Christianity requires courage. It takes courage to maintain a different worldview than the one around us. It takes courage to speak out against sin when it is so pervasive that it is a human right. Christians live for the kingdom of heaven and our worldview is one of the Bible. The reality is Christ is the solution to sin. Unfortunately, many in this …

Are fear and worry weighing you down?

I was at a seminar several years back, and they wanted to show us how much negative thinking affects us. Each of us were told to hold our arms out from our side and then have someone try to push our arm down while we resisted. Most of us put up a good fight, but then we were told to have that person push down our arms while were thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. It could be anything from rehearsing past failures to thinking about how stupid we were. We all immediately noticed how much physically weaker we were when we thought negatively about ourselves. And, although our thoughts don’t hold an actual physical weight, scientists say that negative thoughts ‘weigh’ on your brain in the same way that repeated movements tire your muscles. Negativity and worry have ‘energy costs’ that can tire out our neurons, that are the physical carriers of our thoughts. As a result, we feel a ‘heaviness’ because of the emotional drain on our brain and its neurons. Negative thinking and …

Who Are You?

One of my favorite crime shows, CSI, has a theme song that goes: “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” Oddly enough it a song by a band called The Who. So who are you? Are you the same in public as in private? Are you really what you do? Basically we hide our true self while presenting what we think is a more acceptable self to others. This protects us from getting hurt and hurting others. At least that is the rationale. But doesn’t this just exaggerate fear? I mean the longer I hide myself the more I fear someone will see the real me and never ever stop slapping me. I even want to slap myself sometimes. Fear prevents us from being who we really are, so we often hide behind performance, jobs, looks, and other things the world tells us equals success. Don’t believe me? Remember how anxious you were the last time you had a bad hair day? This is all about your identity. Who you are is a fundamental question …

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 …

Credit: Chuan Chew/Flickr/Creative Commons

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 …