Do Not

Fear gets in the way of so many things. 

Fear keeps us from taking positive action. 

Fear keeps us weighed down, causing us to achieve less than what God wants for us. 

Fear is best friends with doubt and discouragement. 

God is truly with us, knowing everything. 

We can trust Him when fear wells up within us. 

When it does, meet fear with prayer….

The LORD Himself  goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

A Rope or a Bucket

In the book of John, we find an account of Jesus speaking with a woman.

Jesus had left Judea and was on a return trip to Galilee.

He went through Samaria as He traveled and He came to a village near land that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph—-

Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”  He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

(John 4:6-12)

There are so many aspects of this passage to consider.

The generosity of a father in giving his son a well.

One people group not wanting to associate with another.

God’s gift of living water.

Jesus’ willingness to speak to a Samaritan woman.

What I am pondering now is the woman’s question to Jesus when He says He would give her living water:

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

She didn’t know yet that Jesus was the Messiah.

She didn’t know yet that He could do anything.

She didn’t know that He was speaking of something other than water that she could touch and see.

Not knowing that, she points out that He does not have a rope or bucket.

She wants to know where He is going to get this water that He speaks of.

She questions how He could be offering something better than what has already been made available.

I do know who Jesus is.

I know that He is the Messiah.

I know that He is God’s Son.

I know that He is the Savior of the world.

Yet, if Jesus tells me that He will provide for me throughout my life, do I question just how He will do it?

Do I have doubt in my mind, not believing that He can do anything?

Do I think somewhere down in my heart that He doesn’t have a “rope or a bucket” to meet the needs I have at the moment?

I would like to think that I would not feel this way, but sometimes, doubts and fears creep in.

When this happens, I need to remember to pray.

As I do, He will assure me of His love and His ability to do more than I could ever imagine.

Jesus will calm my fears, each and every time, giving me faith to trust Him.

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The Angel Said

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

—Luke 2:8-12

He Will Not Leave You

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

 

There’s a hurricane coming to my area.

It is forecast to be here in a matter of hours.

God had a plan for Joshua to lead His people after Moses.

Moses encouraged Joshua with these words:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

God will not leave His children.

Not in a hurricane.

Or an earthquake.

Not in a tornado.

Or a tsunami.

Not in a time of drought.

Or in a flood.

God will not leave His children or forsake them.

 

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Whom Shall I Fear?

Recently, I knew I was going to be facing a challenge.

I anticipated fear as an unwelcome component of the challenge.

My prayer request to many of my friends was the same—pray that I would not be afraid.

God answered my prayer and theirs.

In meeting the challenge, I found that God carried me through the entire thing.

Fear was not gripping me in its hold.

I felt at peace.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

 –Psalm 27:1

 

 

whom shall

 

He Heard Me

Walking with my friends in the garden, I came upon a beautiful camellia flower blooming.

Still cradling water droplets from the recent rain, its delicate, pink petals were layered in elegant, star-like formation.

There’s something curative and calming about strolling through a garden, pausing to appreciate the artistry that God has created in every design.

Fears and anxieties begin to ebb as we view each new expanse of beauty.

Psalm 34:4 reads,

“I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

What better place to pray than in the quiet solitude of a garden of flowers?

 

 

sought

Afraid

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What was the bird in my yard really thinking?

Was he afraid?

Was he curious?

Was he hungry?

I can look at the photograph I took of him and imagine any one of these feelings as I look at his face.

At some point in our lives, we are all afraid.

When that happens, God is there.

He is there to comfort and to calm us.

We must trust in Him in those moments.

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When I am afraid,

I put my trust

in

You.

–Psalm 56:3

 

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My Peace I Give to You

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While visiting a nearby city to make a hospital visit, my husband and I decided to go to a park we had never been to.

Having searched online for parks in the area, we found one that looked interesting.

Finding a place to leave our car, we walked along the water’s edge.

Many people were enjoying the surroundings, as well, and we were blessed to see families out with baby strollers and toddlers and couples sitting together in the late afternoon sun.

The air was cool and the atmosphere was calm.

Unhurried.

At one point, we noticed a grandfather as he held a very small child up to the rod iron fence and let the boy experience the wonderment of throwing a stick down into the water.

A woman on a bench was accompanied by a white curly-haired dog.

A group of ducks swam together on the gently rippled water.

It was peaceful.

Jesus gave us words about peace:

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

—-John 14:27

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Peace I leave

Your Worries

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Walking along the dock tonight, it was peaceful and calm.

My heart was fairly peaceful and calm, as well.

The sun had long been gone, but a hint of orange still remained in the gray sky of dusk above me.

It was raining and the lights reflected in the soaking wood beneath my feet.

In the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve had many issues to bring before the Lord in prayer.

Already, there have been answers to some.

If I just stop to consider, I have so many blessings to be thankful for.

Despite the issues that seem difficult and overwhelming, there are so many things that are right and good.

Things that are just as they should be, or actually, even better.

1 Peter 5:7 reads,

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

God loves us.

He doesn’t want us to be sick with worry and concern over things that are in His control.

He wants us to come to Him with our concerns.

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Through the Valley

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When I drive, I sing.

A lot.

At different times, the lyrics that I am singing resonate in my heart in a significant way.

Today, I experienced just that.

One of my favorite songs is based on the twenty-third Psalm in the Old Testament.

As I was singing along with the music in my car, these words came alive in my heart:

IF I LET MY HEART BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, I CAN SEE BEYOND THE VALLEY TO THE MOUNTAIN OF MY DREAMS.*

Of course, I have known the words from the psalm that say, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….”

Strangely, I have never considered what it might be like to look beyond the valley I’m in toward the mountain.

That higher place in my journey with God.

The truth is, there have been, and will be, many valleys to go through.

There will also be many mountains.

Mountains of my dreams.

Mountains where the desires of my heart meet the will of God in a perfect union.

If I let my heart believe that God can do anything—-

even when things don’t look very promising,

then I can let my heart believe that He can bring me through any valley I might be traveling in.

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

—Psalm 23:4

*Manwell Reyes

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When I Am Afraid

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I’ve been afraid before.

Afraid as a child.

Afraid as a teenager.

Afraid as an adult.

Fear causes an inner turmoil that grips us, whether we are in a dentist’s chair or waking from a troubling dream.

Whatever the situation may be that causes the response of fear, we are never alone in it.

God does not abandon us when circumstances in life become frightening.

When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

We never, ever walk alone….

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

—Psalm 56:3

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afraid

Fear, But Of Power

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Walking through the park with a friend, we came upon a squirrel.

When I see these creatures in my own yard, they are quite shy and usually run away if I come close.

This was not the case with our little park friend.

Instead, he was very comfortable approaching us, hoping to be fed, no doubt.

He had come to trust other visitors and he felt safe with us.

Fear is a very strong emotion.

As Christians, we are not to live fearful lives.

2 Timothy 1:7 reads,

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

We are to experience life with power.

Life with love.

Life with a sound mind.

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fear

Wisdom

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Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom.

Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

—Proverbs 9:10

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Some people don’t fear God.

They may not even believe in Him.

At the end of their lives, no matter what they were known for, will they be considered wise?

And what of those that do have fear and reverence for God, believing in His Son?

They will find at the end of their lives that doing so was the wisest decision they ever made.

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My Light and My Salvation

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This precious verse was brought to my attention today.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

of whom shall I be afraid?

—Psalm 27:1

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My Peace

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Peace.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines peace in one form as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

Jesus said, 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

Jesus can certainly give us freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

Simply put, we can have freedom from worry, anxiety and fear.

It’s more than that, however.

Jesus’ peace is His peace.

A divine peace that cannot be fully described.

What is worrying you today?

What is causing anxiety to well up inside you?

What is inviting fear into your heart?

Ask Jesus to give you His peace.

Talk to Him about the things that are troubling you.

Jesus is with right there.

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For Everything

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I know people who are terribly frightened by frogs.

Not necessarily the poison ones, just regular frogs that hop around harmlessly and make croaking sounds at night.

Also, I have personally witnessed people becoming really upset when they see a roach.

There are others who are afraid of mice, spiders or snakes.

So, what about me?

Bees and wasps……

I am only afraid of them if they start coming around me in an aggressive sort of way.

I am fine with them sitting on a flower or buzzing by a bush.

Even though I am afraid of them, I realize their beauty.

Dragonflies don’t bother me at all.

That’s a good thing, because there are a great many populating the skies where I live.

I think they are beautiful, as well.

In the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 4, we find this statement:

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

This statement, in context, is about certain foods that were available and the abstaining of them by some people.

When I think about the first part of the scripture, though, I feel it applies to all God’s creation—everything God created is good.

When all things are restored and sin is no more, there will be not be fear of anything God has made.

Not frogs.

Not roaches.

Not mice.

Not spiders.

Not snakes.

Not even bees, wasps or dragonflies.

We will marvel and wonder at the beauty of everything that God has created, knowing that they are good.

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The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

—1 Timothy 4:1-6

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Lord! Help!

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Have you ever heard of a lament?

In the Bible, a lament is a prayer for help from God, brought on by pain.

When we are in physical pain or emotional pain, we can cry out to God for help.

When the pain of fear has a tight grip on us, we can cry to our heavenly Father and He hears us.

At times, we hurt because of our concern for someone else.

That pain can be very real.

The pain can be for a loved one who is making harmful choices.

It can be over the ungodly actions of those around us–a neighborhood, a city, a country–even the world.

Can you hear the pain in this prayer from the Old Testament?

Lord! Help! Godly men are fast disappearing.

Where in all the world can dependable men be found?

 Everyone deceives and flatters and lies.

There is no sincerity left.

–Psalm 12:1-2

Have you ever felt that way?

Wondering if there were really any people left who seek to live godly lives?

Wondering if any dependable people existed anymore?

Realizing that so many people are insincere in their words and actions?

Finding deceitfulness at every turn?

This verse is an pertinent today as it was two thousand years ago.

People everywhere are still making mistakes, still not following God and still being deceitful.

And because of that, we still hurt for others, hurt for ourselves and cry out to God in the midst of that hurt.

Whatever the problem may be, God is there.

Besides hurting because of the sinful actions of the world, people everywhere are suffering from illnesses beyond their control.

If we or someone we know is sick, God hears our prayers for help and healing.

He understands our lament, whatever it is about.

We need only cry out, “Lord! Help!”

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help

You Are Worth More

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It had started raining about a half hour before I was to leave work.

When I had finally gathered all my things—-including a briefcase, purse, and a bottle of water—I headed out to the parking lot.

On the way, I scurried under a covered walkway as far as I could.

Not only was there rain, there was lightning.

Feeling uneasy about walking right out into the rain and flashes of light, I began to pray as I did so.

My prayer was probably something like this:

“Lord, please protect me.”

As I walked on the pavement, I suddenly heard a bird.

I looked up to see a bird singing, very high in a palm tree.

Singing in the midst of the storm.

Singing in the top of a tree.

Some lyrics came to my mind.

“For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

(by Civilla D. Martin)

As I got into my car, the storm continued.

I lowered a window in the car and got out my camera.

With a good zoom shot, I photographed the little bird.

Jesus said, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

—Matthew 10:29-31

God was comforting me with a singing bird, reminding me that His eye was on me as I walked across the parking lot in the rain and lightning.

His eye is on you, too.

Even when you walk through a storm…..

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Opinion Disables

 

 

 

I have been signed up for a class.

There is no record of it on paper or electronically.

No funds were transferred to pay for the instruction.

I do not know the course title.

I do not know exactly when the class times will be or in what room.

How is this possible?

Only through God.

You see, I feel that it is God who has “signed me up” for instruction.

Lately, I have been studying a lot about relationships with people, managing time the way God would want and being a good steward of the gifts He has given.

Today, I sat down at my computer and read something that had been posted on a social network.

It had appeared on my page.

“If you live for people’s acceptance you will emotionally die from their rejection.” 1

Moments later, I logged onto a Bible site that features a “verse of the day.”

Here is today’s verse:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. –Proverbs 29:25

Looking this verse up in The Message, I found this:

The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.

 

I mean it when I say that I have been studying a lot lately.

Reading, listening, watching videos.

For about a week, maybe, my concentration has been focused on deep matters, as I felt God had brought some topics to my attention.

On one side of the page, we have all that God has given us to use in this life.

On the other side of the page, we may have a good deal of things that tempt us away from the course that God has created for us to travel.

Instead of using our strength and vitality in the ways that God intended, we may spend ourselves on useless endeavors or needless worry about what others will think.

This will ultimately leave us depleated and empty handed.

I have come to understand this fact in my class.

The lesson today was delivered on my computer screen.

I wonder when the next session will be……

 

(1 quote by Rick Warren)