Tag Archives: fear

30 Days of Thankful: Day 6

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6).

A friend confided to me the other day that she’s had to go into counseling because she’s worried about the threat of ISIS.  The same thing happened again.  Another woman admitted to me that she is suffering panic attacks because she’s fearful of  threats in the Middle East.  These are affluent, suburban women, far from the conflict. But anxiety over the world situation has crippled their hearts. That’s the goal of terror.

It’s Day 6 of 30 Days of Thankful.  And you’re probably wondering what in the world anxiety has to do with our discussion of thankfulness.   I’d like to suggest that giving thanks may be one of our best secret weapons against worry.

I decided to talk with a friend who serves on the front lines of war, giving relief to refugees. I asked him if he was afraid of ISIS. He answered matter of factly, “We’ve learned to trust God for our protection.”  He said these words as calmly as I would have said, “I’ve learned to buckle my seat belt when driving to the grocery store.”

But it was his next words that really got me thinking.  “I am overjoyed at the work God is doing among these refugees,” he said.  “Many are accepting Jesus. I praise God and give thanks as I  see the children reciting Bible verses and taking a bold stand for the Gospel.” There wasn’t a trace of worry in his voice—only gratitude.  And joy.

Most of us live far from the front lines and don’t face daily threats from war. But fear and worry can still attack us right where we live.  Let’s take a lesson from my friend and simply trust God for His protection.

And let’s follow his example in our own neighborhoods and step out boldly to share God’s love with the broken around us.  As we watch God at work, let’s remember to pray and give thanks–and watch fear and worry flee.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Day One: God’s Fingerprints

So glad you’ve joined us for Day One of the 21 Day Watch. “Watching for what?” you may ask. Watching for signs of God at work all around us.  Looking for insights from His Word.  Watching closely for His “fingerprints.”  I’m asking God specifically to Open My Eyes so I may see Him more clearly.  God’s Presence holds the answer to all life’s problems. So why do we race around looking everywhere else for solutions?

The idea to do a  21 Day Watch was inspired by several recent conversations with friends.  Each confided they were overwhelmed by the same problem.  Anxiety.  They were consumed with worry about frightening events in the news.  Admittedly, the world can be a scary place right now. Terror attacks have been fierce. Persecution of Christians is at an all time high. Some say it’s the most dangerous time in history to believe in Jesus.

Frankly, it’s always been dangerous to follow God.  The Bible is full of examples of believers facing persecution.  John the Baptist met a gruesome death at the hands of the evil ruler Herod.  John had confronted Herod on his adulterous relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife.  Herod wanted to kill John, but was afraid of the wrath of his followers.  The Message Bible tells us what happened next:

But at Herod’s birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias’s daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. Already coached by her mother, she was ready: “Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer.” That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it—ordered John’s head cut off and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother (Matthew 14:6-12 MSG).

Sounds remarkably like ISIS staged event.  But notice the reaction of Jesus to the death of His dearly loved cousin.  He doesn’t panic or lose heart. The Bible simply tells us He went away by Himself to be alone with God.  To be in God’s presence.  You can read the entire text by clicking here.

The biblical account tells us nothing about the grief He surely suffered.  But Jesus was fully human, so we must assume He needed time to process the tragedy, to pour out His heart, to be healed and strengthened by His heavenly Father.   Along the way, He is intercepted by a crowd of needy and hurting people.  Moved with compassion for their suffering, He heals their sick and even performs a miracle of feeding the 5000 plus.  God showed up big time.  I’m sure Jesus was exhilarated by this mighty moment.  But notice: He still needed time alone with God.

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.  (Matthew 14:22, 23 MSG).

Jesus needed time in God’s presence.  Time to pray, to heal, to grieve, to seek strength, to refuel.  Friends, if Jesus needed time alone with God, how much more do we?

My husband is fond of saying that kids spell love T-I-M-E.  I think it’s the same with God.  Time alone with God sets the stage to experience Him throughout the rest of our day. If you’re serious about this 21 Day Watch, I encourage you to carve out a daily T-I-M-E with God as your starting point.

Lord, renew my zeal to spend time in Your Presence.  Ignite my passion for Your Word and for prayer.  Fine tune my hearing to Your voice.  Make my eyes sensitive to Your slightest movement.  May I see Your fingerprints today.  -Amen.






21 Day Watch

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with fear.  Seems like everywhere we turn, there’s another shocking news story.   Many around the world watched in horror as 21 Coptic Christians were recently beheaded for their faith.  In the aftermath of such terrifying events, a couple of young moms confided to me they’ve had to get counseling because of extreme anxiety.  Another woman struggling with fear commented on my age and stage and remarked that I was “lucky” I didn’t have to wait so long to go to heaven.

Dear friends, is that the best we can hope for? Biding our time until we get to heaven?  How can we calm our anxious hearts and experience the peace God promises in His Word?   It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us about trying times.  “In this world, you will have trouble,” He told His followers.  “But take heart,” He assured them.  “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  Surely there’s a way to reflect the presence of Christ to a world so desperate for peace. But we can’t we can’t give away what we don’t have.

That’s why I’ve decided to do a 21 Day Watch, starting tomorrow, March 16.th  I hope you’ll join me!  I’m asking God specifically to Open My Eyes to the promises in His Word and to signs of His work all around me.  I’ll post daily encouragement from the Bible, along with testimonies of answered  prayer.

Instead of simply asking God to take away our anxieties, let’s pray for Him to help us become more aware of His power.  I’ve learned that enlarging my view of God is the best way to calm a fearful heart.  I believe your faith will be strengthened as we keep watch together.  And let’s remember, faith is the best antidote to fear.

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes to Your powerful Word and Your mighty works. Let us see the world from Your perspective.  Calm our fears as we gaze upon your Majesty!





40-Day Challenge

Week One:  Be ALERT

The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray (1 Peter 4:7)

Everywhere you look today there’s trouble. Trouble in our schools.  Trouble in our families. Trouble in Syria.  Some even think we’re in the end times.  A “doomsday preppers” website  instructs you how to get a free app to design a multi-level dream bunker, complete with all you need for a post apocalyptic  bliss.  Seriously?

But according to Scripture, no one knows the “day or the hour.”  And instead of warning us to run for safety, build a bunker, or stockpile our goods, the Bible reminds us that when things look darkest, we are to “be self controlled and alert so we can pray.”  We are also encouraged to love each other, show hospitality and serve others (vv. 8-10).   In other words, we’re to live each and every day in obedience to God’s word, alert to His voice, whether Jesus returns tomorrow or in a hundred  years.  Continue reading

one minute meditations

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Meditation. The word conjures up images of a dazed mystic chanting gibberish. But the biblical version of meditation is far different.  Meditation is an age-old  but powerful method of planting God’s truth deep within your mind.  If you want to see God’s Word come alive, meditation is a silent but powerful weapon to add to your arsenal of spiritual disciplines.

Meditation is mentioned frequently in the Psalms.  The Hebrew word for meditate, siyah,  means “to consider or to go over a matter in one’s mind.”  Meditation can be understood as the “fixing of one’s mind intently upon something.”  In short, to meditate is to “think about.”  Continue reading