Don’t Be Afraid

  
One message that God repeats over and over in the Bible is, “Fear not. Don’t be afraid.” Fear shows a lack of faith in God as your protector, your provider, and your deliverer. Each of us deal with fear in our lives because none of us know the future. It’s easy to be afraid of the unknown, but God rarely calls us to do something easy.

The Bible doesn’t give a formula for overcoming fear. As you’ll see in the scriptures below, it is usually an imperative statement to stop being afraid. For me, trusting God is how I let go of fear. Trust doesn’t change my situation, it just changes my perspective on how it will turn out. When we feel like things are left in our hands, fear creeps in because we are incapable. When we trust God to handle it, we don’t have to worry about how it will turn out because God will have His way.

I hope these verses encourage you to let go of fear and embrace your trust in God.

1. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 NLT

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

Proverbs 29:25 MSG

3. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Isaiah 41:13 ESV

4. Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.

Isaiah 41:10 GNT

5. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”

Isaiah 35:4 NLT

6. You will not be afraid when you go to bed, and you will sleep soundly through the night. You will not have to worry about sudden disasters, such as come on the wicked like a storm. The Lord will keep you safe. He will not let you fall into a trap.

Proverbs 3:24-26 GNT

7. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:8 ESV

8. Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.

Deuteronomy 3:22 NIV

9. See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.

Isaiah 12:2 NLT

10. Israel, the Lord who created you says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 GNT

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Be Thankful

  
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). It’s one of those verses we can quickly read over. Paul was wrapping up his letter and was writing several commands for these new believers. He was wanting them to take these instructions and I brain them in their new lives early on so that they would become a habit long term. Each of the things he said were important, but this one always jumps out at me.

He said, “Be thankful in ALL circumstances.” He didn’t say we had to thank God for our circumstances, but that we need to find something to give thanks for. In my most difficult time. I was living minute to minute. I would watch the clock and tell myself, “If I can survive this minute, I can get through this problem.” When the minute would pass, I would thank God for helping me to survive that minute, then the process would start over. I didn’t thank God for the mess I was in. I thanked Him for keeping me alive in it.

Paul, the writer of Thessalonians, had gone through some pretty dark days himself. He learned that if you focus on your problem, despair sets in. If you focus on finding something to be thankful for, praise fills your heart. That’s how he and Silas could praise in prison. I’m sure it started out as a conversation on things to be thankful for that turned into singing praises to God. It was in those praises that God moved the earth and set them free from their chains.

Don’t miss that powerful truth. When you praise, God frees you from your chains. Praise comes from a heart that is thankful. A thankful heart comes from a person who looks for the good in every situation. If you’re breathing, you’ve got something to be thankful for. If you have a bed to sleep in, you’ve got something to be thankful for. Your world may be falling apart, but God has not abandoned you. Give thanks for that. When you learn to give thanks in all circumstances, you’ll learn to praise in all circumstances. 

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Confining God

  
My son is getting to the point where he says he’s scared. I remind him of Joshua 1:9, “Do not be afraid. God is with you.” He then asks, “Where is a God?” I tell him, “Right there with you.” He retorts, “But I can’t see Him.” I say, “You can’t see whatever it is that you’re afraid of either.” That’s the way most of us are. We are most afraid of things we can’t see, including God. He frightens us because we can’t see Him, and we can’t control, what we don’t see.

In Exodus 32, the Israelites were camped at the base of Mount Sinai. Moses had been up on the mountain for over a month. The cloud that represented God’s presence still covered it, but the people were afraid Moses wouldn’t come back. They decided they needed a God they could see, so they took their gold earrings off, melted them, and made a calf. Verse 5 says, “Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD” (NLT).

They thought they could make God into something they could create and still worship Him by worshiping the idol. God is not pleased when we try to confine Him into an image, a symbol, or something we can create. You cannot take an unlimited God and put limited confines on Him. You cannot take an omnipresent God and confine Him to one place. We would like to do that because there are places we go that we don’t want God to know about. There are areas of our lives that we don’t want to give Him power over. Confining Him helps us to justify our actions.

Having an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God is scary to many of us. It means we can’t go anywhere or do anything without Him knowing. We can’t have secret lives or secret parts of our life without Him seeing it. We can’t hide our sins from Him. We can’t hide who we really are from Him. That’s a scary thought for some people. The good news is that He sees those parts of our lives, and He loves us still. He knows about our secret sins, and offers forgiveness for them too.

When we no longer try to confine God, we unleash Him into our lives. We give Him the authority to come into every area, even the hidden ones, and clean house. In Psalm 139:7, David asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (NKJV) He recognized God’s omniscience and His omnipresence. He then concluded in verses 23 and 24 by unleashing God in his life. He prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Don’t be afraid to trust what you can’t see. God will forgive you and lead you into everlasting life.

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Changing God’s Mind

  
When I was a pre-teen, I was pretty sure I had God figured out. I could tell you all the books of the Bible, quote entire chapters of it, and beat adults in Bible trivia. I was shocked when I went to a vacation Bible school at a friend’s church and the pastor stumped me. I’ll never forget that moment. He asked, “Can God change His mind?” I thought long and hard. I decided that since God is always right, He would have no need to change His mind. So I answered, “No!”

He directed me to Exodus 32:14. It says, “So the Lord changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” (GNT). I couldn’t argue. There it was in Scripture. My idea of God began to unravel and my face must have shown it. He butted into my thoughts, “Why do you think it’s important that God is able to change His mind?” I was lost. My mind was still reeling from defeat. He tossed me a life preserver and said, “If God can’t change His mind, why bother praying for God’s help?”

Suddenly, prayer took on a whole new meaning for me. I realized in that moment that the things I most fervently pray for are things I’m asking God to change His mind on. If Moses was able to pray to God and have Him change His mind, then my prayers could have the same effect. That new knowledge gave my faith a boost, changed how I saw God, and shaped my future prayers.

James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man available much” (NKJV). Part of that “availing much” is changing the mind of God. Our prayers have a more powerful effect than we can ever imagine. Never underestimate what your faith can accomplish. Jesus said, “All things are possible to Him that believes” (Mark 9:23). Whatever you’re praying for today, don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep praying effectively and fervently. 

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Hidden Paths

  
Whenever I think about the plans God has for me and where I am, I don’t see how I can get there from here. I can see how the things I’m doing now are preparing me for that calling, but o can’t find the way to get there. I’m constantly looking for the path that takes me from this road to that one. I know I’m not alone in this. I talk to many people who tell me the plans that God has shown them scares them. Those plans are too big for them or me to accomplish on our own. So how do we get there from here?

As I was reading in Psalms recently, I came across a verse that helped me. David was faced with a similar situation and he couldn’t find the way out. He remembered how the Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea and had no way to get to where God was calling them to. They had Pharaoh bearing down on them, they were at a dead end, and had no where else to go. In that moment, God parted the sea and showed them the path.

Psalm 77:19 says, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!” (NLT) The path God has for you to get to your calling maybe hidden in a sea. You may not know where it is, but God does. You can rest assured that when the time comes, God will part the waters and show you the path. Until that time, stay faithful where He has you. What you’re doing now is preparation for what’s to come. 

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Just Stay Calm

  
Exodus 14 gives the account of the Israelites leaving Egypt and getting to the Red Sea. In verse 8, it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he chased after “the people of Israel, who left with fists raised in defiance” (NLT). As they walked out of town, they had their fists up in celebration and in victory. For 430 years they had been there. God had finally heard their cries and came to their rescue.

That victory stance suddenly changed when they saw Pharaoh and his army bearing down on them. They went from a victory mindset to a victim mindset in an instant. They quit celebrating and started bellyaching. They complained to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?” They are like so many of us who forget what God has already done for us. We lose sight of the past in light of the present. We are all guilty of doing this at times.

Moses spoke to them words that we need to hear when our faith turns into fear. Verses 13 and 14 say, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Great words spoken by God to us in whatever we are facing. Don’t be afraid. Watch the Lord rescue you. The Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm. I believe God is trying to tell us the same thing.

I don’t know what you’re up against today, but it’s no match for what God can do. I don’t know how trapped you feel, or how much your back is up against a wall, but if God can part the Red Sea, He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Your situation only seems big because it’s out of perspective. Yes, it’s huge compared to you, but next to God, it’s pretty small and not that complex. Don’t be afraid. Just stay calm. God is already working on your behalf. Trust Him to do what only He can do. 

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The Sides Of God

  
One of the most fascinating things about God is that once you think you have Him figured out, you find out you don’t. There are so many sides to God that we will never be able to know them all. I find it interesting that He chooses to reveal Himself in different ways to us. In the Bible, He did the same thing. That’s why there are so many names in there to try to describe Him. To Hagar, He was the God who sees me. To Abraham, He was the God who provides. Throughout the Bible, and today, He continues to reveal Himself to us.

In Exodus 6:3 God told Moses, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by My name the Lord [Yahweh–the redemptive name of God] I did not make Myself known to them [in acts and great miracles]” (AMP). God was telling Moses, “There’s more to me than you will ever know. I’m not only powerful, but I redeem my people as well. Now you’re going to see me reveal myself through signs and wonders.”

The plagues that were brought on Egypt weren’t done for Egypt’s sake. They were done to show Israel how powerful their God really was and that Moses was the man He had chosen. Before the plagues, they wouldn’t listen to Him. Even after the first several plagues, he didn’t get much respect because the Egyptian magicians could copy what God was doing through Moses. Then God started showing off. The plagues began to only affect Egyptians and not the children of Israel. God does the same thing for us today. He tries to reveal Himself to us in our situations.

God continues to try to get our attention. He is trying to make Himself known to us so we will trust Him in our lives. He is Jehovah Nissi, God who gives us victory. He is Jehovah Shammah, God who is there for you. He is Jehovah Rapha, God who heals you. He is Jehovah Shalom, God who gives you peace. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (NLT). He is a God who is ready to help you in whatever you’re facing. Look for Him today to be who you need Him to be in your situation. 

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