September 13, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Factors of Fear
Susanne Scheppmann, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27 NIV)
Have you ever eaten an African Cave Dwelling Spider? Probably not. Neither have I. Nor do I have any plans to devour a spider of any type. Recently, on a reality TV show a darling blonde young woman munched away on these African spiders in an attempt to win a car. She trembled. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She forcefully swallowed four of the strange morsels. One nasty little critter even nipped her lip with its tweezers like claw. I watched in fascinated horror.
Fear can captivate our lives. Sometimes it is silly fear, like shuddering as we watch someone else do something we could never do. We actually use this fear as a source of entertainment.
But what about the fear that creeps into our lives in the wee hours of the night? The kind of terror that engulfs us in anxiety. Maybe we wait anxiously for the doctor's report on our health. Or after we lose a job, we worry about making the next month's bills. These types of concerns certainly may cause apprehension in our lives.
However, many times when the waves of fear wash over us, we cannot even define what we fear. We lie awake with anxiety rolling in our stomachs over unnamed or unreasonable fears. We cannot quiet our churning minds.
God never intended for his children to be fearful. At least sixteen times in the New Testament the phrase "do not be afraid" encourages us to trust Jesus. Do you remember the incident in Mark 4, when Jesus speaks to the raging storm, "Be still?" Suddenly, tranquil weather permeated the atmosphere. Jesus turned to his disciples and asked, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
Many times, Jesus asks me those very questions. Usually, I have no concrete answer. I know he is faithful to me. Not once in my history with Christ has he ever allowed me to be swept away and destroyed by life's circumstances. He always comes to offer and provide the "peace that passes understanding." However, it is up to me to accept his offer of peace and let go of my fear.
Are you fearful today? Can you hear Him whispering to your heart? "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Christ longs for us to hand-over our factors of fear, so he may calm our aching anxiety with "Peace! Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
Will you turn over your fears to him, so he can replace them with his peace?
My prayer for today:
Lord Jesus, I surrender my fears and anxiety to you. Although, I may have to do this time and time again, I ask you to replace my fears with your peace. Lord speak to my heart, "Peace, be still." I thank you that you are my Prince of Peace.
List on a card the factors of fear that trouble your heart today. After listing the fears, take a red pencil and cross them out. Now write on top of each fear the promise of God, "PEACE."
What do I fear most in life?
Are my fears realistic or just an over anxious mind at work?
Do I believe God is sovereign in my life?
If I believe he is sovereign, will I trust his hand in my life?
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4:40, (NIV)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7, (NIV)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7, (NIV)
Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa Terkeurst
Originally published Monday, 13 September 2004.