How To Handle Fear-Pt 3



Note - More resources at bottom of page

The Bible has a lot to say about why we should not fear. Let God Himself encourage you to trust His Word and fear not. Beloved, let me encourage you not to just read God's Word on fear, but memorize some of your favorite passages and spend some time meditating on them. Note who says these words most of the time, who is being addressed, what the situation is that is conducive to production of fear, what the effect of the command to "fear not" had on the recipients (encouraging, discouraging?), etc. You will find that as you take time to commune with God in His Word on fear, His Spirit will begin to renew your mind (Eph 4:23+, cf 2 Cor 3:18+) and set you free from the shackles of fear. Beloved, the worst that can happen to a believer in Christ is the best! Death is but a door into the eternal presence of our Lord Jesus Christ where perfect peace persists perennially (so to speak)! Finally, remember that God's commands cannot be obeyed in our natural strength but only as we rely on the strength He supplies by His Spirit.  See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands (or "How to Keep All 1642 Commandments in the New Testament!")

Study the 74 "fear not" passages in the KJV -

Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Gen. 35:17; Gen. 43:23; Gen. 46:3; Gen. 50:19; Exod. 20:20; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 20:3; Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:8; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 10:25; Jdg. 4:18; Jdg. 6:10; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 4:20; 1 Sam. 12:20; 1 Sam. 22:23; 1 Sam. 23:17; 2 Sam. 9:7; 2 Sam. 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 2 Ki. 17:34; 2 Ki. 25:24; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:17; Ps. 55:19; Ps. 64:4; Isa. 7:4; Isa. 35:4; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 54:4; Jer. 40:9; Jer. 46:27; Lam. 3:57; Dan. 10:12; Dan. 10:19; Joel 2:21; Zech. 8:13; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 1:20; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 28:5; Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 18:4; Jn. 12:15; Acts 27:24; 1 Pet. 2:18; Rev. 1:17

Or Study the 57 passages with fear not in NASB -

Gen. 15:1; 21:17; 26:24; 35:17; Exod. 14:13; Num. 14:9; 21:34; Deut. 1:21; 3:2, 22; 31:8; Jos. 8:1; 10:8, 25; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 12:20; 2 Sam. 9:7; 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 17:34; 1 Chr. 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:15, 17; 32:7; Ps. 55:19; 64:4; Isa. 10:24; 40:9; 41:10, 13f; 43:1, 5; 44:2; 51:7; 57:11; Jer. 10:5; 46:27f; Lam. 3:57; Joel 2:21f; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 8:13, 15; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 10:26, 28, 31; Lk. 5:10; 12:7; 18:4; 1 Pet. 3:14; Rev. 2:10

Or the 33 passages in the ESV - 

Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Exod. 14:13; 1 Chr. 22:13; Isa. 35:4; Isa. 40:9; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 44:8; Isa. 51:7; Isa. 54:4; Jer. 30:10; Jer. 46:27; Jer. 46:28; Dan. 10:12; Dan. 10:19; Joel 2:21; Joel 2:22; Zeph. 3:16; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 8:13; Zech. 8:15; Matt. 10:31; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Jn. 12:15; Rev. 1:17

Remember that "everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Ro 15:4-note)

Ray Stedman (in exposition of Ephesians 6:10-11) adds that "Worry comes from fear, and the only thing that will dissolve fear is facts. Therefore, to put on the armor of God is to face the facts just as they are. Therefore, to put on the armor of God is to face the facts just as they are -- not as they appear to be in the illusive picture that the world gives us, but squarely as they are. Therefore you are to worry about nothing. (See sermon Advice when Attacked) (Related resource - notes on Ephesians 6:10; 6:11)

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) wrote that "the remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.

Peaceless In Pittsburgh

READ: Matthew 6:25-34

Do not worry about tomorrow. --Matthew 6:34

A follower of Christ can find a lot to worry about these days—the moral degeneration of society, the stock market, anti-Christian sentiment, Middle East turmoil, anthrax scares, and on and on. Often we are troubled about what could happen in the future, or we spend way too much time dwelling on the past. Our minds whirl and emotions rise because of some sin we committed or a sad event that occurred years ago.

Because we can neither change the past nor manipulate the future, we are peaceless in Pittsburgh, fretful in Fresno, or worried in Washington. How fruitless! How wasteful!

Author Jean-Pierre de Caussade said that every day we can experience the peace of God when we stop stewing about what might be or what might have been and focus on what is. He wrote, "It is necessary to be disengaged from all we feel and do, in order to walk with God in the duty of the present moment. . . . Each moment imposes a virtuous obligation on us which committed souls faithfully obey."

But how can we walk with the Lord and experience His peace when we're paralyzed with worry about the past or the future? We can't! No wonder Jesus told us, "Do not worry" (Matthew 6:34). —David C. Egner

The past with its sin is forgiven,
The future's secure in God's hands;
To fret about either is pointless
And keeps us from His clear commands.

Worry is like a rocking chair—
it will give you something to do,
but it won't get you anywhere.

Fear always has a definite object. Every fear object is something we perceive as both present and powerful, something over which we have no control. This is where fear differs from worry. People worry about something uncertain or unknown. Worry will often give way to fear.

C H Spurgeon has the following illustrations on fear…Fear about your future.

When a great vessel is crossing the sea, and another comes within sight, they propose the question, "Where are you bound?" If the other vessel took no notice, gave no answer whatever, it would look suspicious. A craft that will not say where it is going, we don't like the look of. If one of Her Majesty's vessels were about, and it challenged a sail, and received no reply to the question, "Where are you bound for?" I think they would fire a shot across her bows and make her heave to till she did answer. Might not the silent craft prove to be a pirate? When a man confesses he does not know where he is going, or what his business may be, the policeman concludes he is probably going where he ought not to go, and has business on hand which is not as it should be. If you are afraid to consider your future, your fear is a bad omen. The tradesman who is afraid to look into his accounts will, before long, have them looked into for him by an officer from the Bankruptcy Court. He who dares not see his own face in the glass, must be an ugly fellow; and you who dare not behold your characters, have bad characters. — Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon

Fear of man.

Think of a king saying, "I am afraid," but that is what the French king said to Bernard Palissy, the potter. As nearly as I can remember the story, the monarch said, "Palissy, you must go to mass." "That I never will," he answered. "Then I am afraid I shall have to give you up to be burnt." "There," said Palissy, "your Majesty could never make me say such a word as that, with all your power. I am no king, only a poor potter, but nobody made me say, 'I am afraid.' "Oh that fear of men, that dread of ridicule, that wishing to avoid sarcasm! How it has made a man come down from the dignity of his office, from the honor of the position which God has conferred upon him, and has made him baser than the menials around him.— Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon

Fear of Sin

The old naturalist, Ulysses Androvaldus, tells us that a dove is so afraid of a hawk, that she will be frightened at the sight of one of its feathers. Whether it be so or not, I cannot tell; but this I know, that when a man has had a thorough shaking over the jaws of hell, he will be so afraid of sin, that even one of its feathers—any one sin—will alarm and send a thrill of fear through his soul. This is a part of the way by which— Feathers for Arrows

Isaiah 41:14 Fear Not
C H Spurgeon

(Excerpt) I SHALL SPEAK this morning to those that are discouraged, depressed in spirit, and sore troubled in the Christian life. There are certain nights of exceeding great darkness, through which the spirit has to grope in much pain and misery, and during which much of the comfort of the Word is particularly needed. Those seasons occur in this manner. Frequently they occur at the outset of a religious life. A young man, deeply impressed under the ministry, has been led to feel the weight of sin; he trusts also he has been led to look for salvation to the Christ who is preached in the gospel. In the young ardor of his spirit he devotes himself wholly to Christ; with the most solemn vows he dedicates body, soul, time, talents, all that he has, to the great work of serving God; he thinks it easy to fulfill his vow; he doth not count the cost; he reckons it will be easy to forsake gay companions, to renounce old established habits, and to become a Christian. Alas! before many days he finds out his mistake, if he did not reckon without his host he certainly reckoned without his heart, for his evil heart of unbelief had deceived him, he knew not how hard would be the struggle, and how desperate the wrestling between his old evil nature and the new-born principle of grace within him. He finds it to be like the rending off of right arms to give up old and cherished habits; he discovers it to be painful to renounce his former pursuits, as painful as it would be to pluck out his right eye. He sits down then, and he says, "If this be the trouble at the outset what may I expect as I proceed. O my soul, thou wast too fast in dedicating thyself to God; thou hast undertaken a warfare which thy prowess can never accomplish; thou hast started on a journey for which thy strength is not adequate; let me again return unto the world;" and if the Spirit saith, "Nay, thou canst not," then the poor soul sits itself down in deep misery, and cries, "I can not go back and I can not go forward; what must I do? I am exceedingly discouraged because of the way."

The same feeling often overcomes the most valiant Christian veteran. He who has been long experienced in the things of the divine life will sometimes be over taken with a dark night and a stormy tempest; so dark will be the night, that he will not know his right hand from his left, and so horrible the tempest, that he can not hear the sweet words of his Master, saying, "Fear not, I am with thee." Periodical tornadoes and hurricanes will sweep o'er the Christian; he will be subjected to as many trials in his spirit as trials in his flesh. This much I know, if it be not so with all of you it is so with me. I have to speak to-day to myself; and whilst I shall be endeavoring to encourage those who are distressed and down-hearted, I shall be preaching, I trust to myself, for I need something which shall cheer my heart—Why I can not tell, wherefore I do not know, but I have a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me; my soul is cast down within me, I feel as if I had rather die than live; all that God hath done by me seems to be forgotten, and my spirit flags and my courage breaks down with the thought of that which is to come. I need your prayers; I need God's Holy Spirit; and I felt that I could not preach to-day, unless I should preach in such a way as to encourage you and to encourage myself in the good work and labor of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What a precious promise to the young Christian, or to the old Christian attacked by lowness of spirits and distress of mind! "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer the Holy One of Israel. Christian brethren, there are some in this congregation, I hope many, who have solemnly devoted themselves to the cause and service of the Lord Jesus Christ: let them hear, then, the preparation which is necessary for this service set forth in the word of our text. First, before we can do any great things for Christ there must be a sense of weakness: "Worm Jacob." Secondly, there must be trust in promised strength; and thirdly, there must be fear removed by that promise: "Fear not, for I will help thee." (Read the full message)

Isaiah 41:10 Away With Fear
C H Spurgeon

(Excerpt) … First, then, we are reminded Of A Very Common Disease Of Good Men-Fear And Dismay.

This disease of fear came into man’s heart with sin. Adam never was afraid of his God till he had broken his commands. When the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of day, and Adam heard the Almighty’s foot-fall, he hastened to commune with God as a dear child talks with a loving father. But the moment he had touched the fruit that was forbidden, he ran away and hid himself, and when God said, “Where art thou, Adam?” Adam came cringing and trembling, for he was afraid of God. It is sin, consciousness of sin, that “makes cowards of us all.” Though he who made us is a consuming fire, and we should always have a holy awe of him, yet the fear that gendereth bondage would never have come into our spirit if we had not first of all transgressed his law. Sin is the mother of the fear which hath torment.

And, brethren, fear continues in good men because sin continues in them. If they had attained to perfect love it would cast out fear, for fear hath torment; but, since the flesh is still in them and the lusts thereof still strive for the mastery, even the holiest of God’s people are sometimes afflicted with the mockings of the child of the bondwoman. O that he were cast out, for he can never be heir with the free-born nature! As grace grows and increases in power, fear declines; and, when sin is cut up root and branch, then no doubt or fear will ever vex us again. Once strip us of these houses of clay, once deliver us from all indwelling sin, and our spirits shall seek God as the sparks seek the sun; but until then, since by reason of weakness sin sometimes prevaileth, fear also prevaileth, and we are sadly cast down.

Fear, coming in by sin and being sustained by sin, readily finds food upon which it may live. Let the believer look within, and, my brethren, he has only to do that but for a moment to see abundant reasons for fear. “Ah!” saith fear as it looks within, at the heart still prone to wander, I shall never hold on my way.” “Ah!” saith fear as it looks at the besetting sin, “I shall be tripped up yet; I shall never persevere to the end.” Grace is there, it is true, but fear is blind to the better nature, and fixes his glance only on the body of this death. Looking within upon the old nature is seldom a very pleasant operation, especially if we forget that it is crucified with Christ. I suppose if any man among us could see his own heart as it really is, he would be driven mad. The poet was right when he said —

“Heaven’s Sovereign saves all beings but himself,
That hideous sight, a naked human heart.”

Faith looks at all the ruins of the fall, and she believes that the blood of Christ will get the victory, and she sings her poem of triumph even while the fight is raging, rejoicing with the apostle, that “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” But fear saith, “I shall one day fall by the hand of the enemy; such a poor frail bark as mine will never stem the flood and weather the tempest, but I shall make shipwreck after all.” And then, my brethren, if fear finds food within, it also very readily finds food without. Sometimes it is poverty, sometimes sickness, sometimes the recollection of the past, and quite as often dread of the future. Even those who have faith in God may occasionally be weak enough to fear and be dismayed about common circumstances to which they ought to be indifferent, or over which they ought by faith to exult. Desponding people can find reason for fear where no fear is. A certain class of persons are greatly gifted with the mournful faculty of inventing troubles. If the Lord has not sent them any trial, they make one for themselves. They have a little trouble-factory in their houses, and they sit down and use their imaginations to meditate terror. They weave sackcloth and scrape up ashes. They know that they shall be bankrupt; there was a little falling off in their trade last week. They believe that they shall soon be too old for labor; it is true they are older than they were a month ago. They feel sure that they shall die in the workhouse; it is clear they will die somewhere. They feel certain about this dreadful thing and that, and fret accordingly. None of these things have happened to them yet, and in the judgment of others they are less likely to happen now than ever they were, but yet they convert their suspicions into realities, and torture themselves with them though they be but fancies. Oh! it is sad that we should degrade ourselves to this. (Click for full message)

Revelation 1:17 Fear Not
C H Spurgeon

“FEAR not” is a plant which grows very plentifully in God’s garden. If you look through the lily beds of Scripture you will continually find by the side of other flowers the sweet “Fear nots” peering out from doctrines and precepts, even as violets look up from their hiding among places of green leaves. “Fear nots” bloomed in the old time, at the feet of Abraham, when he returned from fighting with the kings. Melchisedec blessed him, and the Lord comforted him. The patriarch might have been half afraid that he would always lead a troubled life, now that he had once drawn the sword; but the Lord came to him in vision, and said, “Fear not, Abram. I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” If he had to undergo a soldier’s toils, he should have a soldier’s shield and a soldier’s pay, and both should be exceeding great, for he should find them both in God. After you have been fighting battles for Christ you may feel weary and worried, and then your great Melchisedec will refresh you with bread and wine, and whisper in your ear “Fear not.”

A “Fear not” was spoken to Isaac when he had dug wells, and the Philistines strove for them, and he, like the meek soul that he was, gave them up one by one to avoid a conflict. At last he settled down at Beersheba, and there the Lord appeared unto him, and said, “Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee.” He was a feeble man, and therefore the Lord dealt tenderly with him. If any of you are meek and quiet spirits, and rather apt to tremble exceedingly, may the Lord often give you a blessed “Fear not” to wear in your bosoms, that its fragrance may comfort your hearts. Then there was Jacob. You know how troubled his life was, but when he heard that his beloved son whom he thought was dead was alive in Egypt, and was clothed with glory, and that he had sent for him to go down to see him, he was afraid to go till the Lord said to him, “Fear not to go down into Egypt,” and gave him this encouraging promise, “I will go down with thee into Egypt.” If any of you are making a great change in life and moving, perhaps, to the very ends of the earth, “fear not to go down into Egypt.” Should God command you to go to the utmost verge of the green earth, to rivers unknown to Bong, yet if he bids you go, fear not to go down into Egypt, for certainly he will be with you.

The Israelites at the Red Sea were afraid of Pharaoh, and then the Lord said to them, “Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of God.” If you are brought to a pass to-night, and know not what to do, take the advice, of Holy Scripture, and “Fear not”; but “stand still and see the salvation of God.” As we observe the Scriptures we perceive that “Fear nots” are scattered throughout the Bible as the stars are sprinkled over the whole of the sky, but when we come to Isaiah we find constellations of them. When I was a boy I learnt Dr. Watts’s catechism, and I am glad I did. One of its questions runs thus, “Who was Isaiah?” And the answer is, “He was that prophet who spake more of Jesus Christ than all the rest.” Very well, and for that very reason-that he spoke more of Jesus Christ than all the rest-he is richest in comfort to the people of God, and continually he is saying, “Fear not.” Here are a few of his antidotes for the fever of fear: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” “Fear not, I will help thee.” “Fear not, thou worm Jacob.” “Fear not, I have redeemed thee.” “Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame”; and so on, I was going to say, “world without end.” So abundant are these “Fear nots” that they grow like the king-cups and the daisies, and other sweet flowers of the meadows, among which the little children in the spring-time delight themselves. As to gathering them all, no one would attempt the task. The bank that is fullest of these beautiful flowers is that which Isaiah has cast up; go there and pluck them for yourselves.

Now I gather from the plentifulness of “Fear nots,” even in the Old Testament, that the Lord does not wish his people to be afraid, that he is glad to see his people full of courage, and especially that he does not love them to be afraid of him. He would have his children treat him with confidence. Slavish fear may be thought to be congenial to the Old Testament, and yet it is not so, for there the Lord cries to his chosen, “Fear not.”

When we come into the New Testament, there we see God coming more familiarly to men than ever before; not descending upon Paran with ten thousand flaming chariots, setting the mountain on a blaze, but coming down to Bethlehem in an infant’s form, with angels chanting the joyful lay, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” The genius of the New Testament is drawing near to God: ceasing to tremble and beginning to trust, ceasing to be the slave and learning to be the child. Though in the precise form of it the words of my text were not very often spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, yet his whole life was one long proclamation of “Fear not.” I think I shall give you to-night most of the instances in which our Lord himself expressly said “Fear not,” and as each one I shall give you will either come from the lip of Christ, or else from Christ’s own angel, sent to comfort one of his servants, I pray that it may come fresh from God to every tried and troubled believer, and that all of us together may receive for our different fears this one same solace from the mouth of the Eternal, “Thus saith the Lord unto thee, fear not.” (Click for full sermon)

Related Sermons by C H Spurgeon on Fear

Eugene Asa Carr (1830-1910) once wrote that "The only sure way to take fear out of living is to keep a respectful fear of God in our lives, which means to maintain a reverent attitude toward His place and influence. This brand of fear is a healthy ingredient, a deterrent to want, a spur to courage and confidence, an insurance against loss, and source of comfort and understanding.

Whenever John Wesley felt afraid he would just pause to pray and praise God for the fact that He was still on the throne of heaven ruling all things well. Wesley wrote "I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. Whenever, I feel fearful emotions overtaking me I just close my eyes and thank God that he is still on the throne reigning over everything and I take comfort in His control over all the affairs of my life.

Ray Stedman reminds us that

The devil always makes his appeal in this realm to our fears, while God makes his appeal to faith. From faith comes hope and love, but the devil pushes to the opposite. He wants us to give way to our fears.

The one thing Jesus said over and over again to his disciples was, "Fear not. Be not fearful, be not anxious, be not troubled." Why? Because, "I am with you," he said. From fear comes despair, the opposite of hope, and hate, the opposite of love. That is what the devil is after. If you give way to fear, you will soon be discouraged and defeated. If you give way to defeat you will begin to hate, and then the devil will have accomplished his purpose. He has destroyed, he had ruined, he has laid waste that which God loves and desires to bless. (See full sermon The Tactics of Terror)

Fear Not, I Am with You, I Am Your God
Isaiah 41:1-13
John Piper

There are two commands in the verse (Isaiah 41:1-13) not to fear and five pillars of fearlessness. "Fear not" is the first command at the beginning of the verse. And then the second is "do not anxiously look about you" (RSV: "do not be dismayed"). As always in the Bible, there are reasons for the commands. Commands don't hang in the air with no basis in reality. If God commands us to do something there are good reasons to do it. And power comes from understanding and believing those reasons.

Here there are the five reasons--call them

The Five Pillars of Fearlessness.

"For I am with you"--

"Do not fear, for I am with you."

"I am your God"--

"Do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God."

"I will strengthen you."

"surely I will help you."

"Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Restated, the Five pillars of fearlessness are:

God is with me;

God is my God;

God will strengthen me;

God will help me;

God will uphold me.

When God calls you to be free from fear as you do evangelism, as you take a test, as you face an interview, as you take a stand against an unjust business practice, as you confront someone with sin in their life, when you leave a secure position and take a risk in a new venture, when you face an operation or a treatment, when you lose a spouse or a friend--when God calls you to be free from fear (to overcome this natural emotion and have peace, he does not leave the command hanging in the air. He puts pillars under it. Five of them. That's the nature of all Biblical commands. They come with divine support.

Fear not … God is with you;

Fear not … God is your God;

Fear not … God will strengthen you;

Fear not … God will help you;

Fear not … God will uphold you

The key to overcoming fear is resting on the pillars of the promises of God… If the key to fearlessness is believing that God is your God and is with you and will strengthen you and help you and uphold you, then knowing the greatness of this God will intensify your faith and your fearlessness…

Or change the image for a moment. Not five pillars. But God in five relations to you expressed in five different prepositions.

I am your God--over you.

I am with you--by your side.

I will strengthen you--from inside of you.

I will help you--all around you from wherever the enemy comes

I will uphold you--from underneath you.

Over you, by you, inside you, around you, underneath you.

Therefore do not fear.

We come to the end of this series with one great ground for fearlessness--GOD!

I - am your God.

I - am with you.

I - will strengthen you.

I - will help you.

I - will uphold you.

I call you this morning to stop defining and limiting your future in terms of your past and start defining it in terms of your God. I call you to recognize that God is greater than your personality. God is greater than your past experiences of timidity. God is greater than your "family of origin". And God calls you to joyful fearlessness. The crucial factor in your fearless living is not your family but your God.

"Let not your hearts be troubled, BELIEVE IN GOD."
Believe in God! Trust God! Let God be your God!
Your help. Your strength.
He will uphold you with His righteous right hand.

(Click for message - Fear Not, I Am with You, I Am Your God)

"Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel."
--Isaiah 41:14

The main point of this text is that the people of God should not be a fearful people. We should not be a people who are anxious or troubled or worried or fretful about things that threaten our life and happiness: economic adversity, hostile people, satanic opposition, guilt-laden consciences, deteriorating health, and death. The mark of God's people is not incapacitating fear, but rather contrite courageous confidence in God. That's the main point of Isaiah 41:14.

Then there are two subordinate points which clarify for us this experience of fearlessness. First, God's people are in the condition of a worm: "Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel." Second, the source of our fearlessness is the promise that God will help us: "Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel." In other words, freedom from fretting comes not because we are not in the condition of a worm but because God engages all his forces on behalf of worms who take refuge in him. (See entire message - Fear Not, You Worm Jacob (Isaiah 41:14)!)

Reason Believers in Christ Need Not to be Afraid 
by John Piper

We will not die apart from God's gracious decree for His children.

James 4:14, 15, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Mt 10:29, 30, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Dt 32:39, "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand." (See Job 1:21;1Sa 2:6; 2 Ki 5:7)

Curses and divination do not hold sway against God's people.

Nu 23:23, "There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel."

The plans of terrorists and hostile nations do not succeed apart from our gracious God.

Psalm 33:10, "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples." (Spurgeon's Note)

Isa 8:9, 10, "Take counsel together [you peoples], but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us." (See 2 Samuel 7:14; Nehemiah 4:15)

Man cannot harm us beyond God's gracious will for us.

Psalm 118:6, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Spurgeon's Note)

Psalm 56:11, "In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Spurgeon's Note)

God promises to protect His own from all that is not finally good for them.

Psalm 91:14, "Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name." (Spurgeon's Note)

God promises to give us all we need to obey, enjoy, and honor Him forever.

Mt 6:31-note "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Php 4:19 (note) "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

God is never taken off guard.

Psalm 121:4 (note), "Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." (Spurgeon's Note)

God will be with us, help us, and uphold us in trouble.

Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:13, "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.'"

Terrors will come, some of us will die, but not a hair of our heads will perish.

Lk 21:10, 11, 18, "Then [Jesus] said to them, '… there will be terrors (!) and great signs from heaven… and some of you they will put to death… But not a hair of your head will perish.'"

Nothing befalls God's own but in its appointed hour.

Jn 7:30, "So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come." (See John 8:20; 10:18)

When God Almighty is your helper, none can harm you beyond what He decrees.

Hebrews 13:6 (note), "So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'"

Romans 8:31 (note) "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

God's faithfulness is based on the firm value of His name, not the fickle measure of our obedience.

1 Sa 12:20, 21, 22, "And Samuel said to the people, 'Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil… For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake.'"

The Lord, our protector, is great and awesome

Nehemiah 4:14, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome."

Trusting firm promises with you in fragile times, Pastor John (Piper).  (Reason Believers in Christ Need Not to be Afraid)

Related Resources from John Piper

Sammy Tippitt

Fear has also paralyzed the Body of Christ. One fear that knows no boundaries, has no time limitations, is found in Eastern and Western Europe as well as in the United States. It cripples the church and robs men of the blessing of the Lord.

It's the fear of rejection. All people have a deep fear of being rejected by their friends and family members. In the East, that fear runs even deeper. Christians may be rejected for sharing the gospel, and then, they lose educational and economic opportunities.

The need for acceptance stems back to the beginning of human history. When Adam was in the garden with Eve, his every need was met. There was no fear. God walked and fellowshipped with Adam. There was perfect harmony. However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, fear filled their hearts. When God visited them, they hid. God is holy, and they had become unholy. Since that day, there has been a deep sense of rejection in the heart of sinful man.

Every person desperately wants acceptance. We try to gain acceptance in three ways. One way is legitimate; the other two are not. People try to find acceptance through other people. A teen might try drinking or drugs. He thinks that will get his friends to accept him. After he has compromised, the sinking feeling of rejection remains. A girl might compromise her moral principles to gain acceptance. But after her sexual encounters, she is still haunted by rejection.

I've met husband and wives who loved each other when they married, yet several years later, they almost hate each other. How can this be? The moment one feels rejected by the other, there's a feeling of betrayal. They though they had conquered rejection through the relationship, but rejection follows them through their lives. Young people feel rejected by heir parents, yet some of their parents are the most loving, kind and gracious people anyone would want to meet. Even wonderful parents can't overcome that deep fear of rejection. No individual or group can give us enough acceptance to conquer it.

Fear of rejection is there because of a broken relationship with a holy God. Many attempt to please God and thus receive His acceptance. Many become more religious. But in the shadow of their religion stands a tall, ugly figure called "Rejection." Many churches are filled with people working hard to escape this figure, but the fear of rejection can never be escaped by religion.

Revival always awakens man to the true basis of acceptance. Acceptance can be found only through faith. Martin Luther understood that "the just shall live by faith," and he shook the world for God's glory. He didn't experience some new faith. He came to know and experience the faith of the spiritual giants of centuries past. His faith was the same as Abraham's, Isaac's and Jacob's. It was the faith of Paul, Peter and John. True faith is simply our acceptance of His acceptance of us based on what Jesus did on the cross.

Old Testament believers found acceptance by looking forward to the Messiah. We find our acceptance by looking back to the cross. One word gushes forth from the cross: grace. Rejection has to flee when that word is spoken. Hallelujah! I have been accepted! By grace I have been accepted! Sin separated man from God. But God entered human history uniquely through Jesus. He was unique. He was so much God that it was as though He wasn't man. And yet, He was so much man that it was as though He wasn't God. He was Son of God and Son of Man. He was the God-man. He crashes through the wall of sin that separates man from God. He has become the door through that wall. He forever stands as the doorway to God's acceptance. And when we have been accepted by the Father, we have really been accepted! That causes us to bow before the Father to love and worship Him in simplicity and devotion. He has met the deepest need of our lives through His Son, Jesus.  from Overcoming Fear-pt1

The following question was posed to the noted expositor John MacArthur

"What are practical ways of dealing with Satan in terms of fear, especially at night?"

Dr MacArthur's answer

I don’t know if you’ve ever had that problem. I went through a little phase in my life where night was a fearful thing for me—and it was wasn’t when I was 6, it was when I was an adult. I don’t know what I was afraid of, but I had a little time of about a couple of months there where I was sort of, you know, in bed like this, just, you know, checking everything out. There are people who have this problem. It may depend upon their background and what they were saved out of… But, how do you deal practically with fear? Well, I would suggest this method—and I’m not going to take the time to explain all of it… Sit down with your concordance and find every use of the word “fear” in the Bible and just trace it through and see if you can’t build a little theology against fear.

I think the greatest thing to give you security is to know how the Bible teaches fear and how it deals with it.

But, let me just add this: there are two causes of fear, basically. One is a guilty conscience. The other is a lack of trust. Two things cause fear: sin in your life that you haven’t dealt with (then you feel you have a right to being punished and so you’re afraid it’s going to come) (Ed Note: click for OT illustration or here) or, secondly, you’re afraid because you don’t think God can handle your situation. You’re afraid you’re going to die, you’re afraid you’re going to get sick, you’re afraid your kids are going to get hurt, you’re afraid the roof’s going to fall in, you’re afraid the demons are going to get you… Whatever it is, it comes from two things. Number one, you have a guilty conscience. Number two, a lack of faith. Now, you can deal with both of those. A guilty conscience: confess your sin and get it all cleaned out. A lack of faith: get your Bible open and read what God says about himself and learn to trust him. Okay? And pray. (Source)

"How is it that you have no faith?" -- Mark 4:40

Ray Stedman commenting on this section writes that

"This is why people become afraid -- because they lose faith. Faith is the answer to fear. This is the first lesson which comes to us out of this incident (read Mark 4:35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41). Faith is always the answer to our fears, regardless of what they are. Jesus put his finger right on it: "Have you no faith?

Well, evidently they did not. They had forgotten all the things he said to them in the Sermon on the Mount about the extent of God's care for them: "You are much more valuable than flowers and birds. God cares for them; will he not much more care for you, O ye of little faith?" {cf, Matt 6:30}. Here he was in the boat with them; their fate would be his fate; and yet they had forgotten this…

The significance of this event to us is that faith is the answer to fear -- faith in the goodness and care of God in our lives, faith that he loves us and he is able to work in our midst." (Read the full sermon Why are you Afraid?)

Commenting on John 14 Ray Stedman writes that

The remedy for heart trouble is contained in the two phrases which follow: "believe in God, believe also in me." "Let not your hearts be troubled." How? Why, "Believe in God" -- God who is still in control, who knows what he is doing, who is capable of exercising infinite wisdom, infinite power, and infinite love -- and, "believe also in me," Jesus said, who is the means by which all that wisdom and resource and power of God is made available to you. That is the secret… the answer to fear is faith. The next time you are afraid, reach out for a promise of God, and lay hold of it by the power of Jesus, and your fear will vanish. There is no other answer to fear but that. Anything else will permit the fear to come back again and again. But the promise of God remains steady and sure, and the availability of the resources of Jesus to lay hold of it is the way of deliverance. (Read full sermon The Cure for Troubled Hearts)

There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear involves punishment,
and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
-- 1John 4:18

Ray Stedman comments

Love accomplishes something, not only for the future, but now. It casts out fear now. It gives us complete freedom from fear. Before we look further at this there is a translation we need to correct. In the RSV it says that "fear has to do with punishment," but that is not exactly right. What it really says is, "fear has punishment," not "has to do with punishment," as though it always produces it. Even more literally, perhaps, since this word for punishment comes from a root word which means to limit or to restrain, what John is saying here is that fear has limitation, fear imprisons us. Now is that not true? Fear imprisons us. Anxieties, tensions, worries, apathy -- all these things are forms of fear, and they literally imprison us, they limit us. I have known people who were unable to go outside the door of their house because of fear. I have seen Christian people who were unable to drive their cars because they were ridden with anxiety, or who were afraid to meet people, afraid to be in various circumstances. It is because fear has limitation. Fear imprisons us, narrows us in, binds us up, limits our life, pushes us into corners and keeps us there, and we cannot live as God intended us to live.

This is a common experience of life, is it not? What is wrong? Well, John puts his finger right on it. He who fears is not perfected in love. That is the trouble, that is the analysis. Love may be in him, if the life of God is there, but it is not perfected, it is not coming out, it is not expressing itself, it is not manifest, it is not taking the form of deeds and words, it is all inside. That is the trouble. Love, perfected, casts out fear. Now do you dare try that? What a dramatic solution to the problems of fear and anxiety, and yet, how wonderfully true it is. I have often seen it happen. There are those who have the life of God and yet never let it out; their pride and self-pity bind them up and they do not want to show love, they are afraid to. They are afraid it will open them up to be hurt, or that it will give someone an advantage over them, and so they bottle it up, keep it in, and then they wonder why they are oppressed by anxieties, tensions, and problems of nervousness. They are limited, unable to move and do as they ought to. But love, perfected, casts out fear. John is not talking about a perfect kind of love; it is love that is made perfect, love that is perfected, love that comes to its end and accomplishes its purpose. I have often seen people who begin to show love to somebody else, feebly at first, tentatively, perhaps saying but a kind word, but beginning to minister to another's need. As they did, they found their own heart flooded with release and deliverance. Gradually they were set free and able to be what they were intended to be. (Read full sermon - Love's Accomplishments)

Elisabeth Elliot writes that

The world is shaking with fear. "What will become of us? Where will it all end? What if Russia… ? What if cancer… ? What if expression… ?" The love of God has wrapped us round from before the foundations of the world. If we fear Him--that is, if we are brought to our knees before Him, reverence and worship Him in absolute assurance of his sovereignty, we cannot possibly be afraid of anything else. To love God is to destroy all other fear. To love the world is to be afraid of everything--what it may think of me, what it may do to me, what may happen today or tomorrow for which I am not prepared.

In his sermon Freedom From Fear Steve Zeisler discusses Jacob's recurring irrational fear explaining that

Most of us suffer from irrational fear of one kind or another, and no matter how much others reassure us to not be fearful their words don't seem to help much. What they are saying is true, and they mean what they say, but we don't find their reassurance helpful. The reason we are not helped by their words, of course, is that we are ultimately unwilling to trust God… Fear is a spiritual problem. Left to ourselves, we will never learn how to deal with it. All we will succeed in doing is masking and hiding what we fear. The only way to finally overcome our fears is to allow God to separate us from what we feel is our strength, and to fear Him instead. Then we will never again have to fear anything.

If you suffer from the "Jacob Syndrome" (and we all do to one degree or another) read the entire chapter of Genesis 32 and then read Zeisler's sermon for some very insightful comments on how God Himself "cured" Jacob of his irrational fears, even to the point of giving him a new name "Israel". 

Proverbs 29:25 You're Afraid Of Whom?

Mrs. Ima Terror chased her husband through the  crowds at the zoo, waving her umbrella and unleashing insults like invisible missiles. Her perspiring and winded husband, seeing that the lock on the lion's cage had not quite closed, yanked it open, jumped into the cage, slammed the door, pushed the astonished lion hard against the bars, and peered over its shoulder. His frustrated wife shook her umbrella, stuttered in anger, and finally managed to explode, "Ralph, come out of there, you coward!"

Ralph, in this fictitious story, is like the people of Israel that we read about in the book of Numbers. They were confused about whom they should really fear. They saw themselves as grasshoppers when compared to the giants in the land where God wanted them to go (Nu 13:32, 33).

If we are so afraid of people that we stop following the Lord, we're not trusting Him. It shows that we have doubted His plan, His power, and His promises. We have failed to recognize that He, above all others, is the One to be feared—which means that He is to be reverenced, trusted, loved, and obeyed.

Father, forgive us for fearing what we should not be afraid of, and for not fearing and trusting You. —Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our love for God should always move
Our hearts to do what's good and right;
Love also fears His judgments true
And stands in awe of His great might. —D. De Haan

Fear God, and you'll have nothing else to fear.

Woodrow Kroll's devotional
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

--Isaiah 41:10

As an old farmer sat on his front porch, a stranger came along and asked, "How's your cotton coming?" "Ain't got none," he replied. "Didn't plant none. 'Fraid of the boll weevil." "Well, how's your corn?" "Didn't plant none of that either. 'Fraid o' drought." "How about your potatoes?" "Ain't got none. Scairt o' tater bugs." The stranger finally asked, "Well, what did you plant?" "Nothin," answered the farmer. "I just played it safe."

Isaiah was not called to "play it safe." Instead, God called him to confront kings (7:3) and denounce mighty nations (Is 34:1, 2). All around him vast armies were on the move, and political scheming was rampant. Yet in the midst of all these intimidating situations, God said, "Don't be afraid. I am with you."

There are many things that cause fear; in fact, someone has estimated that the average person has at least 200 fears. Yet the answer to all of them is the same—God.

As the hymn writer so aptly put it,

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee & cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
Play How Firm a Foundation

If God has called you to something, don't be afraid. If He has called you to be single, don't be afraid. He will stand in the gap. If He has called you to live alone, don't be afraid. His company will comfort you. If He has called you to serve Him far from family and friends, don't be afraid. He will be there for you. God has not called us to play it safe; He has called us to trust Him. Where God has called us, He will keep us.

Free From Fear
Psalm 64:1-10

Most of us live relatively safe and secure lives, but David was in exile. He was being hounded by King Saul, who wanted to kill him. Here David prays for protection, and he closes the psalm by saying, "The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory" (Ps 64:10). We find three key concepts in this verse that encourage us: joy, faith and glory.

Are you glad in the Lord today? So many times we are not glad because of circumstances. David prayed, "Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; preserve my life from fear of the enemy" (Ps 64:1). I would have said, "Preserve my life from the enemy." But David said, "Preserve me from fear of the enemy." In other words,

instead of fear he had faith.
Instead of fear he had joy.
Instead of fear he wanted to bring glory to God.

Most of our problems are not on the outside but on the inside. When the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee on a stormy night, Jesus came to them and rebuked them for their unbelief. Their problem wasn't the storm on the outside--it was the storm on the inside. Likewise, your problem today may not be the circumstances around you or the people against you. It may be the fear that's inside you.

"All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God" (Ps 64:9). David sang praises to the Lord. He was glad in the Lord. He trusted in and gave glory to Him. "All the upright in heart shall glory" (Ps 64:10).

It's easy to read this verse but much more difficult to practice it. Take your eyes off the circumstances and put them on the Lord. Trust in His promises, not your own power. And most of all, seek to bring Him all the glory.

Fear can rob you of your joy and trust in God.
Don't allow fear or circumstances to take your eyes off the Lord.
Let the truth of the Word of God control your mind and heart.

Spurgeon --"Do not fear."

“What? Not even a little?”
“No, do not fear.”
“Surely I may show some measure of fear?”
“No, do not fear.”

Tie this knot tight around the throat of unbelief: “Do not fear.” “Do not fear” today. “Do not fear” tomorrow. “Do not fear” any day of your life. When fear comes, drive it away and give it no space. When the weather is rough, passengers on a ship can be comforted by the captain’s calm behavior. One simple-minded soul said, “I am sure there is no cause to fear, for I heard the captain whistling.” Surely if the captain is at ease, the passengers can be at peace. If the Lord Jesus is at the helm singing, do not fear. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you” (Isa 35:4).

Spurgeon -- Are you afraid? Your fear will be removed when you find that He who sent the trouble teaches you through the trouble. In our schools, much is learned from the chalkboard. In Christ’s school, much is learned from affliction.

Spurgeon -- You need never fear suffering if you remember it will richly bless your soul. The nightingale only sings at night, and there are promises that only sing when we are in trouble. It is in the cellar of affliction that the fine wine of the kingdom is stored. You will never see Christ’s face so clearly as when all others turn their back on you. Oh the visits of love that Christ pays to His people when they are in the prison of their trouble!

Spurgeon -- Suppose an accident should take our lives? I smile as I think that the worst thing that could happen would be the best thing that could happen. If we should die, we shall be with the Lord (1Th 4:17-note). So, if the worst that can befall is the best that can come, why should we fear? This is good reasoning. If you are a believer, and if God is your refuge, there is no logical reason to fear.

Spurgeon -- Do not fear! Has not God helped you in every plight already? When we cast our cares on the Lord, to do as He wills, at no time will He be unkind. He will never put us in the furnace unless He intends to purge our dross, and the furnace will not be one degree warmer than is absolutely necessary. Mercy will always balance misery; strength will always support burden. The Lord is our friend; He will never be our foe.

Spurgeon -- “Fear not” is the Lord’s command and His divine encouragement to those who at His bidding are launching upon new seas; the divine presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear. Without our God, we should fear to move, but when He bids us go, it would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not.

Spurgeon -- This is the antidote of fear: God appoints everything in the future, so rejoice that everything is in the hand of the great King.

Spurgeon wrote "May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below and assist us to mount."

Spurgeon -- "Seeing that we have such a God to trust, let us rest upon Him with all our weight. Let us resolutely drive out all unbelief and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears which so much mar our comfort since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him, and how ungenerous, how unkind, is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father who has never failed us and who never will! We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed."

Spurgeon -- "If you are in personal danger, or in the midst of a storm, or facing illness, and if you hear a voice saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place,” you will be perfectly at rest. The anxious air grows pure if He is there. Lightning cannot strike you, or if it does it will be joy. The storm cannot devour you, nor can the hungry ocean engulf you, or if one does it is happiness if God is there. There is no need to fear."

Spurgeon -- "Do not let fear trouble your spirit, because death is vanquished. We have no reason to fear. Courage, Christian soldiers, for you are encountering a vanquished enemy. Are you afraid to die? Does the grave alarm you? Do not fear, for you cannot die. “Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. … For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1Co 15:20, 22). Oh, the comfort of the gospel. Allow me to say this: If your trust is in Jesus, there is nothing in the Bible to make you afraid. Nothing in the Bible, did I say? There is nothing in heaven, nothing on earth, and nothing in hell to make you fear, if your trust is in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:19, 20).

Spurgeon -- "I am not a fatalist, but I strictly hold to the doctrine that God has decreed all things that come to pass and that He rules over all things for His glory and good. What have we to fear? The unbeliever looks at the lightning and is apprehensive, but the Christian believes that it follows a predestined path, and he contemplates it with confidence. At sea, when the waves dash against a ship and toss it to and fro, some panic because they think that this is all chance. But believers see order in the waves. They hear music in the wind and are at peace because the tempest is in God’s hand. Why then should we fear? In all this world’s convulsions, in all temporary distress and danger, we can remain calm, collected, and boldly say with confidence, “I know God is here and all this is working for my good.” “Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Ps 46:2). Think on these things."

Spurgeon -- "God says to you, “Fear not… I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Ge 15:1). Believer, grasp the divine word with a personal, appropriating faith. Think that you hear Jesus say, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Lk 22:32).

No Fear
C. H. Spurgeon
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night."
--Psalm 91:5

What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of he broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we? God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; He is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without His direction, for even hell itself is under His control. Darkness is not dark to Him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around His people--and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy.

If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up His tender mercies, it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.

"Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from Thee;
Thou art He, who, never weary,
Watchest where Thy people be."

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
commenting on

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”
—Ps 112:7

"Suspense is dreadful. When we have no news from home we are apt to grow anxious, and we cannot be persuaded that “no news is good news.” Faith is the cure for this condition of sadness: the Lord by His Spirit settles the mind in holy serenity, and all fear is gone as to the future as well as the present. The fixedness of heart spoken of by the Psalmist is to be diligently sought after. It is not believing this or that promise of the Lord, but the general condition of unstaggering trustfulness in our God, the confidence which we have in Him that He will neither do us ill Himself, nor suffer anyone else to harm us. This constant confidence meets the unknown as well as the known of life. Let the morrow be what it may, our God is the God of tomorrow. Whatever events may have happened, which to us are unknown, our Jehovah is God of the unknown as well as of the known. We are determined to trust the Lord, come what may. If the very worst should happen, our God is still the greatest and best. Therefore will we not fear though the postman’s knock should startle us or a telegram wake us at midnight. The Lord liveth, and what can His children fear?"

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“Surely there is no enchantment (sorcery, magic curse) against Jacob,
neither is there any divination against Israel.”
—Numbers 23:23

"HOW this should cut up root and branch all silly, superstitious fears! Even if there were any truth in witchcraft and omens, they could not affect the people of the Lord. Those whom God blesses, devils cannot curse."

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
—He 13:6 (note)

"BECAUSE God will never leave nor forsake us, we may well be content with such things as we have. Since the Lord is ours, we cannot be left without a friend, a treasure, and a dwelling place. This assurance may make us feel quite independent of men. Under such high patronage, we do not feel tempted to cringe before our fellow men and ask of them permission to call our lives our own; but what we say, we boldly say and defy contradiction. He who fears God has nothing else to fear. We should stand in such awe (Ed note: an emotion variously combining dread, veneration and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime) of the living Lord that all the threats that can be used by the proudest persecutor should have no more effect upon us than the whistling of the wind. Man in these days cannot do so much against us as he could when the apostle wrote the verse at the head of this page. Racks and stakes are out of fashion. Giant Pope cannot burn the pilgrims now. If the followers of false teachers try cruel mockery and scorn, we do not wonder at it, for the men of this world cannot love the heavenly seed. What then? We must bear the world’s scorn. It breaks no bones. God helping us, let us be bold; and when the world rages let it rage, but let us not fear it."

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,
he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
—Rev 2:11 (note)

THE first death we must endure, unless the Lord should suddenly come to His temple. For this, let us abide in readiness, awaiting it without fear, since Jesus has transformed death from a dreary cavern into a passage leading to glory. The thing to be feared is not the first, but the second death; not the parting of the soul from the body, but the final separation of the entire man from God. This is death indeed. This death kills all peace, joy, happiness, hope. When God is gone all is gone. Such a death is far worse than ceasing to be: it is existence without the life which makes existence worth the having. Now, if by God’s grace we fight on to the end and conquer in the glorious war, no second death can lay its chill finger upon us. We shall have no fear of death and hell, for we shall receive a crown of life which fadeth not away. How this nerves us for the fight! Eternal life is worth a life’s battle. To escape the hurt of the second death is a thing worth struggling for throughout a lifetime. Lord, give us faith, so that we may overcome, and then grant us grace to remain unharmed, though sin and Satan dog our heels!

“And all people of the earth shall see
that thou art called by the name of the Lord;
and they shall be afraid of thee.”
—Deuteronomy 28:10

THEN we can have no reason to be afraid of them. This would show a mean spirit and be a token of unbelief rather than of faith. God can make us so like Himself that men shall be forced to see that we rightly bear His name and truly belong to the Holy Jehovah. Oh, that we may obtain this grace which the Lord waits to bestow! Be assured that ungodly men have a fear of true saints. They hate them, but they also fear them. Haman trembled because of Mordecai, even when he sought the good man’s destruction. In fact, their hate often arises out of a dread which they are too proud to confess. Let us pursue the path of truth and uprightness without the slightest tremor.

Fear is not for us, but for those who do ill and fight against the Lord of hosts. If indeed the name of the Eternal God is named upon us, we are secure; for, as of old, a Roman had but to say “Romanus sum,” I am a Roman, and he could claim the protection of all the legions of the vast empire; so everyone who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defense. Be braver than lions for the right, for God is with you.

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
commenting on
“Be not afraid of their faces:
for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.”
— Jeremiah 1:8

"Whenever fear comes in and makes us falter, we are in danger of falling into sin. Conceit is to be dreaded, but so is cowardice. “Dare to be a Daniel.” Our great Captain should be served by brave soldiers. What a reason for bravery is here! God is with those who are with Him. God will never be away when the hour of struggle comes. Do they threaten you? Who are you that you should be afraid of a man that shall die? Will you lose your situation? Your God whom you serve will find bread and water for His servants. Can you not trust Him? Do they pour ridicule upon you? Will this break your bones or your heart? Bear it for Christ’s sake and even rejoice because of it. God is with the true, the just, the holy to deliver them, and He will deliver you. Remember how Daniel came out of the lions’ den and the three holy children out of the furnace. Yours is not so desperate a case as theirs; but if it were, the Lord would bear you through, and make you more than a conqueror. Fear to fear. Be afraid to be afraid. Your worst enemy is within your own bosom. Get to your knees and cry for help; and then rise up, saying, “I will trust, and not be afraid.”

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him:
heal so will hear their cry, and will save them.”
—Psalm 145:19

HIS own Spirit has wrought this desire in us, and therefore He will answer it. It is His own life within which prompts the cry, and therefore He will hear it. Those who fear Him are men under the holiest influence, and, therefore, their desire is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. Like Daniel, they are men of desires, and the Lord will cause them to realize their aspirations. Holy desires are grace in the blade, and the heavenly Husbandman will cultivate them till they come to the full corn in the ear. God-fearing men desire to be holy, to be useful, to be a blessing to others, and so to honor their Lord. They desire supplies for their need, help under burdens, guidance in perplexity, deliverance in distress; and sometimes this desire is so strong, and their case so pressing, that they cry out in agony, like little children in pain, and then the Lord works most comprehensively, and does all that is needful, according to this Word—“and will save them.”

Yes, if we fear God, we have nothing else to fear;
if we cry to the Lord, our salvation is certain.

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“I have set the Lord always before me:
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
—Psalm 16:8

THIS is the way to live. With God always before us, we shall have the noblest companionship, the holiest example, the sweetest consolation, and the mightiest influence. This must be a resolute act of the mind. “I have set,” and it must be maintained as a set and settled thing. Always to have an eye to the Lord’s eye, and an ear for the Lord’s voice—this is the right state for the godly man. His God is near him, filling the horizon of his vision, leading the way of his life, and furnishing the theme of his meditation. What vanities we should avoid, what sins we should overcome, what virtues we should exhibit, what joys we should experience if we did indeed set the Lord always before us! Why not? This is the way to be safe. The Lord being ever in our minds, we come to feel safety and certainty because of His being so near. He is at our right hand to guide and aid us, and hence we are not moved by fear, nor force, nor fraud, nor fickleness. When God stands at a man’s right hand, that man is himself sure to stand. Come on, then ye foes of the truth! Rush against me like a furious tempest, if ye will. God upholds me. God abides with me. Whom shall I fear?

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee;
he will be with thee, he will not fail thee,
neither forsake thee:
fear not neither be dismayed.”
—Deuteronomy 31:8

IN the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory? Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us! Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.

Let us not fear nor be dismayed;
for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us,
will bear the brunt of the fight,
and give us the victory.

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“Happy is the man that feareth always.”
—Proverbs 28:14

THE fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God, there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness. He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy. This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed. Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, “No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon.” Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world. In both senses he that “feareth always” is made happy. Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial, but abide by his verdict.

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“And he answered, Fear not:
for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
—2Kings 6:16

"Horses and chariots and a great host, shut up the prophet in Dothan. His young servant was alarmed. How could they escape from such a body of armed men? But the prophet had eyes which his servant had not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm. Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron. Even so is it at this hour. The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth fares ill at their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for trepidation. Agencies, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind are on the side of righteousness. God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need. The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil. Therefore, let us keep our spirits up and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering secret which has lifted them above all fear. We are on the winning side. The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end. Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee.”
—Acts 18:10

"SO long as the Lord had work for Paul to do in Corinth, the fury of the mob was restrained. The Jews opposed themselves and blasphemed; but they could neither stop the preaching of the gospel, nor the conversion of the hearers. God has power over the most violent minds. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him when it breaks forth, but He still more displays His goodness when He restrains it; and He can restrain it. “By the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone, till thy people pass over, O Lord.” Do not, therefore, feel any fear of man when you know that you are doing your duty. Go straight on, as Jesus would have done, and those who oppose shall be as a bruised reed and as smoking flax. Many a time men have had cause to fear because they were themselves afraid; but a dauntless faith in God brushes fear aside like the cobwebs in a giant’s path. No man can harm us unless the Lord permits. He who makes the devil himself to flee at a word, can certainly control the devil’s agents. Maybe they are already more afraid of you than you are of them. Therefore, go forward, and where you looked to meet with foes you will find friends."

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
“And it shall come to pass,
when I bring a cloud over the earth,
that the bow shall be seen in the cloud.”
—Genesis 9:14

"JUST now clouds are plentiful enough, but we are not afraid that the world will be destroyed by a deluge. We see the rainbow often enough to prevent our having any such fears. The covenant which the Lord made with Noah stands fast, and we have no doubts about it. Why, then, should we think that the clouds of trouble, which now darken our sky, will end in our destruction? Let us dismiss such groundless and dishonoring fears. Faith always sees the bow of covenant promise whenever sense sees the cloud of affliction. God has a bow with which He might shoot out His arrows of destruction. But see! it is turned upward. It is a bow without an arrow or a string; it is a bow hung out for show, no longer used for war. It is a bow of many colors, expressing joy and delight, and not a bow blood-red with slaughter, or black with anger. Let us be of good courage. Never does God so darken our sky as to leave His covenant without a witness; and even if He did, we would trust Him, since He cannot change, or lie, or in any other way fail to keep His covenant of peace. Until the waters go over the earth again, we shall have no reason for doubting our God."

Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook
commenting on good, godly fear
“Happy is the man that feareth always.”
—Proverbs 28:14

"THE fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God, there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness. He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy. This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed. Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, “No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon.” Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world. In both senses he that “feareth always” is made happy. Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial, but abide by his verdict."

Warren Wiersbe notes that "The admonition “fear not” is often repeated in Isaiah, backed up by various reasons why God’s people need not be afraid.

  • God is with us no matter what the circumstances, and He strengthens us and helps us no matter what the task (Isaiah 41:10).
  • He holds us as He helps us (Isaiah 41:13,14).
  • He will not forsake us because He made us and redeemed us, and we belong to Him (Isaiah 43:1 Isaiah 43:5)
  • He was with us before we were born, and He has a purpose for us to fulfill in this world today (Isaiah 44:2).
  • How can we be afraid when God’s words are sure and He is the Rock of our salvation (Isaiah 44:8)?

Warren Wiersbe: "When you fear people, you start to hide things, and this leads to hypocrisy. You fail to confess Christ openly and depend on the Holy Spirit and this silences your witness. When you fear God alone, you need fear no one else; and you can boldly witness for Christ. You are important to God and precious in His sight, so never fear what people can say or do."

Valley of the Shadow - Ps 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me."

Darkness upon darkness. Sorrow upon sorrow. Pain upon pain. Anguish upon anguish. That's death.

Death is a fearful visitor, snatching away people who are precious to us and leaving us behind to mourn, grieve, and wonder. It blocks the light that before had shined so freely and easily on our lives.

Whether we're facing the prospect of dying, or dealing with the death of a loved one, death can be devastating. It can sap our energy, change our plans, overwhelm our soul, alter our outlook, test our faith, steal our joy, and challenge our assumptions about life's purposes.

When we walk through the deep valley, we feel swallowed up by the shadow and come face-to-face with fear. The frantic emptiness of our loss threatens the comfort that previously originated from our trust in God, and so we grow afraid. Afraid of our future. Afraid to enjoy life again.

Yet in that valley, under that shadow, we can say to the Lord, "I will fear no evil; for You are with me" (Psalm 23:4). His loving arms never let us go. He is always with us.

Slowly at first, but most assuredly, He provides comfort and release from the darkness. He gives light. He leads us out. Eventually, we escape the valley of the shadow. —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We need not ponder death with fear,
Though what's ahead we cannot see;
For we who put our faith in Christ
Look forward to eternity. —Sper

Death separates us for a time; Christ will reunite us forever.

Fear Not
Warren Wiersbe
'Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Isa 41:10

In his "First Inaugural Address, on March 4, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said to a nation in the grip of an economic depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Why? Because fear paralyzes you, and fear is contagious and paralyzes others. Fear and faith cannot live together in the same heart. “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Mt 8:26) Frightened people discourage others and help bring defeat (Dt 20:8).

Nehemiah’s first step (Neh 4:9) was to post guards at the most conspicuous and vulnerable places on the wall. The enemy could then see that the Jews were prepared to fight. He armed entire families, knowing that they would stand together and encourage one another.

After looking the situation over, Nehemiah encouraged the people not to be afraid but to look to the Lord for help. If we fear the Lord, we need not fear the enemy. Nehemiah’s heart was captivated by the “great and terrible” God of Israel (Neh 4:14; see Neh 1:5), and he knew that God was strong enough to meet the challenge. He also reminded the people that they were fighting for their nation, their city, and their families. When the enemy learned that Jerusalem was armed and ready, they backed off (Neh 4:15). God had frustrated their plot. “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Ps 33:10, 11). It is good to remind ourselves that the will of God comes from the heart of God and that we need not be afraid.

A promise: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isa 41:10NIV).

Memorize Isaiah 41:10. Believe what it says and remind yourself throughout the day that God indeed is with you. To help you remember, write out the verse and read it several times today (See also Warren Wiersbe's comments on Walking in Fear of the Lord)

Fear Not
by Woodrow Kroll
"After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.
-- Genesis 15:1

Fear is everywhere. Even people who appear brave, if they’re honest, will admit to moments of immense fear.

During World War II, a military governor met with Gen. George Patton in Sicily. When he highly praised Patton for his courage and bravery, the general replied, "Sir, I am not a brave man—the truth is, I am a craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands." Patton’s honesty is refreshing, but God offers the best solution for our fears.

Abraham was just as human as you and I. Even though he had 318 trained soldiers in his personal army and had just won a major victory over four mighty kings (Ge 14:13, 14, 15, 16, 17), he still experienced times of apprehension and dread. That’s why God said, "Do not be afraid." God then told Abraham why he need not be afraid: "I am your shield [to protect you from evil], your exceedingly great reward [to meet all your needs]."

Our fears fall into two broad categories: We fear that something will harm us or that we will suffer need in some way. God promises that He is sufficient for both of these concerns. The psalmist speaks of God’s protection from evil when he says, "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you" (Ps 91:7). And in another psalm we are assured of God’s provision: "The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing" (Ps 34:10).

What troubles you today? Put aside your fears and trust God. The God of Abraham is sufficient both to protect you and to provide for all your needs.

Where God stands, fear falls

How to Overcome Fear

Ray Pritchard

Genesis 15 has rightly been called one of the most important chapters in all the Bible. In it we discover the details of the Abrahamic covenant, which is the most important covenant in all the Bible. Hundreds of years later the New Testament writers (especially Paul in Galatians 3 but also Peter in Acts 3) will look back on this covenant as the foundation for the Christian gospel.

Since the word Genesis means “beginnings” we shouldn’t be surprised to discover several important “firsts” in this chapter:

1. The first use of the phrase “the word of the Lord came” (Ge 15:1). This phrase is used over 100 times in the Old Testament.

2. The first time God said “fear not” to anyone (Ge 15:1). A phrase used over 300 times in the Bible.

3. The first time God is called a “shield” (Ge 15:1). Frequently used in the Psalms to describe God’s protection for his people (see Ps 3:3, 5:12, 28:7).

4. The first time anyone is said to have “believed” in the Lord (Ge 15:6). The New Testament uses the word “believer” as a synonym for “Christian” (see 1Ti 4:12).

At this point God’s fundamental word to Abraham is “fear not.” But what did Abraham have to fear? First, he certainly could fear retaliation after his shocking defeat of the four kings from Mesopotamia. Doubtless smarting after Abraham chased them north of Damascus, they might well be expected to mount a counterattack.

Waiting For a Baby

But his greater fear no doubt related to God’s promise to give him a son. Many years earlier the Lord has said he would give Abraham descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth. Even then Abraham was over 75 years ago. Now he is at least 85 and not getting any younger. His wife Sarah is far past childbearing age. Even though he has just won a great victory, nothing can satisfy his deep desire for a son.

Only those who have gone through this experience can fully empathize with Abraham and Sarah. There is no sadness like the sadness of wanting children of your own but being unable to have them. Even in this day of modern medicine and advanced technology, many couples wait for years and some couples wait forever.

Has God Forgotten His Promise?

I think Abraham’s greatest fear stemmed from the fact that God did not seem in a hurry to give them a child. How much longer would he wait? Why had he delayed? Had God changed his mind and not told Abraham? Was there some problem he didn’t know about? Had they sinned? Was there something Abraham and Sarah doing that was displeasing to God? Why was Sarah’s womb still closed? If God had promised, why was it taking so long to be fulfilled? Should they go to Plan B?

All these questions were running through Abraham’s mind. God knew exactly what his servant was thinking. He saw the doubt. He understood the fear. Now he moves to reassure Abraham that all will be well. The time has not yet come for the child to be born, but it wasn’t far off either.

Genesis 15 contains two promises God gave to Abraham. The first concerns the promise of a son and the second relates to God’s promise to give him the land of Canaan. From these two promises we may learn great truths about God’s answer to our deepest fears.

I. Promise # 1: “A Son from your own body” 1-6

There are four reasons why Abraham could have doubted God’s promise of a son:

1. He was too old.

2. Too many years had passed since the promise had been given.

3. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

4. Sarah also doubted God’s promise.

When you think about it, there was no reason to believe—no reason except that God had promised to do it. The question now is simple: Will God’s promise be enough for Abraham?

In answer to that question, God declares, “I am your shield.” We should not think of a small shield that covers only the chest area, but rather of a shield that stretches from head to toe and completely protects every part of the soldier’s body. Such a shield offers complete protection from every attack of the enemy.

To call God our shield means two specific things:

1. He protects us in times of doubt.

2. He rescues us in times of danger.

A Shield After Midnight

Yesterday I took a walk late in the afternoon. For some reason I altered my normal route and headed east on Randolph, then north to the Dominick’s store, walking along the alley, then back to South Street, crossing East Boulevard, until I came to Wesley Avenue. I turned left and began walking the two blocks back to my house at the corner of Wesley and Randolph. As I got within a half-block of my home I looked to my right and saw a tree with a large section of bark torn off near the bottom of the trunk. Someone had painted over the gash with a black substance. Then to my left I saw a green chain link fence slightly bent out of position. In a flash it all came to back to me.

Last one night last summer my son and his friends had been driving our van when it jumped the curb, nearly hit a house, sideswiped the fence, jumped another curb and hit the tree going 55 miles per hour. The van was totaled, all four people wound up in the hospital, and I was told later that it was a miracle that anyone walked away from the accident. The man at the body shop showed us how the van hit the tree squarely in the middle of the front bumper. If it had moved six inches to the left or right, we would have been going to funeral home instead of to the hospital.

I cannot fully explain what happened that night or why son and his friends were spared from sudden death. But I accept the words of my friend Howard Harvey who said, “Ray, an angel took the hit.”

Yesterday as I walked past the spot for the first time since the accident, I felt like erecting a sign, “The Lord God is a shield around his people. He protects even in the darkness.”

A Christian is Immortal

This week I ran across the following quote: “A Christian is immortal till his work on earth is done.” That statement means that nothing can harm without God’s permission. Not cancer, not AIDS, not bankruptcy, not theft, not the loss of your job, not a terrible accident, not the death of a child, not any of a thousand other sorrows that afflict the children of God. Folks, we aren’t immune to sadness. What happens to others also happens to us. The difference is this: We know that God protects us from harm so that nothing can touch us that doesn’t first pass through his hands of love.

That knowledge doesn’t meant that we don’t weep or we don’t suffer. Far from it. But it is the basis for the statement that “we sorrow but not as those who have no hope.” Our sorrow is different precisely because we hope in God.

“Nothing Except That Which My God Permits”

During my recent trip to India Dr. Aletta Bell asked if I knew she had nearly been put in jail. It turns out that about ten years ago a local lawyer began harassing her and the work of the Duncan Hospital. Because he is not a Christian, he objected to the fact that the hospital openly does evangelism along with its compassionate medical care. Thousands of Hindus and not a few Muslims have come to Christ over the past sixty years.

Seeking a pretext for legal action, the lawyer accused the hospital of illegally selling intravenous fluid to the patients. It wasn't true, of course, but that didn’t matter. For several years the case bumped up and down the Indian court system, eventually reaching the Supreme Court. At one point several years ago it appeared likely that Dr. Bell might either be thrown in jail or forced to leave the country. “I’m going to shut down this hospital,” the lawyer chortled, “And you’re going to jail or I’ll have you deported.”

To which Dr. Bell replied, “You can do nothing to me except what my God permits you to do.”

That’s a perfectly biblical answer. Our God is a shield around his people. Nothing can touch us except that which God permits.

Look at the Stars

Not only to did remind Abraham of his faithfulness, he also once again promised descendants without number. This time he told Abraham to look at the stars (v. 5). “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” They say you can see 8,000 stars on a clear night in the Middle East. Astronomers tell us they have catalogued over 30,000 stars. But they estimate the total number may be over 100 billion. No one knows how many stars there are. That’s precisely God’s point. Abraham will have so many descendants that he will ever be able to count them all.

That’s quite a promise to make to a old man with an old wife who has no children and no prospects.

John 3:16 of the Old Testament

Verse 6 has been rightly called the John 3:16 of the Old Testament. It contains the first clear message of the way of salvation in the Bible. “Abram believed in the Lord and it was credited to him for righteousness.” Three crucial words unlock the meaning of this verse:

A. Believe – In the Hebrew, this word is related to the word “amen.” To believe God is to say “Amen” to his promises. It means to rest the entire your entire weight on the truth of what someone has said or done. Believing God means relying upon his Word to the point that if his Word isn’t true, you aren’t going to heaven.

B. Credited—It’s a term from the banking world that means to “credit to one’s account.” Just as a teller will accept a deposit and then credit your account with an amount of money, God credited Abraham’s “account” with righteousness because of his faith.

C. Righteousness—The word stands for the moral perfection God demands of all people. “The righteousness of God is that righteousness which his righteousness requires him to require.” God demands perfection and only perfect people will get into heaven. He does not grade on a curve. You either score 100 or you don’t go through the door.

Here is the gospel plain and simple. Abraham believed all that God had said and in response God credited his account with perfect righteousness. That was 4000 years ago, but the same principle works today. All you have to do to be saved is believe what God has said about his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ:

That he is the Son of God

That he died on the cross for you

That he rose from the dead on the third day

That he paid the price for all your sins

That he is both Savior, Lord and God

That he will save you if you will come to him

How’s Your “Account” With God?

How do you stand with God right now? What kind of “account” do you have with him? Are you certain you will go to heaven when you die? No one who reads the words needs to go to hell. If you go, it will be in spite of all that God has done for you.

If you aren’t sure of how your “account” stands with the Lord, I urge you to do what Abraham did—believe with all your heart everything that God has said. Embrace the Lord Jesus as your only hope of salvation. When you do, God will credit your account with righteousness—the righteousness of Jesus Christ. All his perfection will be entered under your name in the great ledger books of heaven. All that you lack will be given to you. You will then be sure that you will go to heaven when you die.

II. Promise # 2: “I will give you this land” 7-21

With that we now pass to the second great promise God made to Abraham. The first concerned the birth of a son, the second the promise of inheriting all the land. Let me summarize the material in this paragraph:

1. There is a reminder of past guidance from God (Ge 15:7)

2. God then tells Abraham to gather animals for a sacrifice (Ge 15:8, 9, 10, 11)

3. God spells out the details of the covenant he is about to make with Abraham (Ge 15:12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

4. God “cuts a covenant” with Abraham (Ge 15:17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

Several details of this passage may seem obscure because they rest on ancient practices that are quite foreign to our experience. Basically, God is making a formal agreement called a covenant with Abraham. Covenants were the most common means of making a legal agreement in the ancient world. Since written agreement were not common, most agreements were formalized through a ceremony known as “cutting the covenant.” After agreeing to the details, the two people involved would bring animals for sacrifice. After reading the agreement aloud, the animals were sacrificed and laid in two parallel rows. Then the two people would join hands and walk side-by-side between the rows of dead animals. This signified two things: A) Join agreement to the terms of the contract and B) a vow that if the terms were violated by either party, the violator would be put to death (i.e. suffer the same fate as the animals).

“This One Is On Me”

The most important point in this passage is the fact that God (symbolized by the smoking oven and the flaming torch) passes between the dead animals while Abraham sleeps. That fact is most significant because it means that God is taking upon himself the full responsibility for keeping the covenant. It’s as if God is saying, “Go ahead and take a nap, Abraham. This one is on me.”

Theologians call this the Abrahamic covenant. It is the most important covenant in all the Bible because it contains (by implication) God’s plan to send his Son to the earth. When Paul discusses the “seed” of Abraham in Galatians 3, this covenant is on his mind.

Here are four words that describe this covenant: It is …

1. Personal.

2. Literal

3. Unconditional

4. Eternal

Therefore, we may say with confidence that this covenant is still in force today.

The Indestructible Jew

At the end of the chapter God makes several specific promises to Abraham:

1. I will give this land to your descendants (Ge 15:18)

2. The land will stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates (Ge 15:18)

3. The tribes living in the land will be dispossessed. (Ge 15:19, 20, 21)

You may wonder about the ten tribes mentioned in the last three verses—the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and so on. If you are interested, you can find information regarding them in any good Bible dictionary. However, the most important point to know is that none of them exist any more. They have all passed into the dusty pages of history books. You can search the earth from Bangladesh to Berwyn and you won’t find any Kadmonites, Kenizzites or Jebusites. They vanished from the face of the earth thousands of years ago.

But the descendants of Abraham remain. They are the Jews, the literal, physical recipients of the promise made 4000 years ago. Someone has written a tract called “The Indestructible Jew.” That’s a wonderful title because it is true! Despite the passage of forty centuries—through wars and pogroms, across millennia of cultural change, despite some very determined efforts to wipe them out—the Jews remain. Not even Hitler in all his vile dreams could kill them all.

When God Makes a Promise

When God makes a promise he keeps it. I would venture to say that the continued existence of the Jewish race after four thousand years is one of the strongest proofs of the truth of the Bible. The Jews are here because God promised Abraham that he would make of him a great nation. Abraham never lived to see the fulfillment of that promise. Indeed, in this very passage God declared that he would live to a ripe old age and then his descendants would spend 400 years in Egypt. Only then would they return and possess the land.

History is truly His Story. And the Jews are truly God’s Chosen People. Nothing else can explain their miraculous survival across the centuries.

Why God Delays His Answers

It all started with God’s promise to give Abraham a son four thousand years ago. That brings us back to the central issue of the chapter. Why did God wait so long to give Abraham a son? After all these years God still isn’t ready to answer his prayers? Abraham is old but he will be older yet before Isaac is finally born.

Of all the questions that plague the people of God none is so vexing as the question of unanswered prayer. We know God loves and has a good plan for our lives. Why then does God take so long to answer our deepest, most heart-felt prayers? From this story we may suggest five answers:

1. God delays his answers in order to develop our faith.

2. He also wants to develop the quality of perseverance

3. Long delays mean than when the answer comes no one but God can get the glory.

4. Long delays also mean that no one can doubt that God has worked a miracle in answer to our prayers.

5. Stories such as Abraham’s are meant to give hope to everyone who has prayed and prayed for years without receiving an answer.

The Answer is a Person

God’s answer to fear is not an argument or a formula. It’s a Person. That’s why he said to Abraham, “Fear not. I am your shield.” God himself is the final answer to every fear of the human heart.

Have you ever wondered by God called himself by the name “I AM” in the Old Testament? Certainly it has to do with his eternal existence, but there is also a word of personal encouragement in that name.

Think of it this way. Who is God to you? According to his name, he is the essence of whatever you need at the moment.

“I am your strength.”
“I am your courage.”
“I am your health.”
“I am your hope.”
“I am your supply.”
“I am your defender.”
“I am your deliverer.”
“I am your forgiveness.”
“I am your joy.”
“I am your future.”

In short, God is saying to you and me, “I am whatever you need whenever you need it.” He is the all-sufficient God for every crisis.

III. Moving From Fear to Faith

Let’s wrap up this message by looking at four principles that will move us from fear to faith.

1. Fear focuses on the past, faith focuses on the present.

A few days ago I met with a woman who is struggling with personal issues of fear and doubt. In some ways you might say she is even gripped with fear as she thinks about certain people and how things might work out in her life. As we talked together, I finally looked her in the eye and said, “It’s time to move from fear to faith. Are you ready to move with me?” She smiled hesitantly and then said yes. We prayed, claiming God’s promises of protection. When I saw her the next day she said that she had slept much better that night because she wasn’t focusing on her fears.

Think of Abraham. The past argued against ever having a child. So did the present. His only hope lay in the promises of God for the future. As long as he looked back, he would never have faith to believe God. His only hope was to step out into the future, trusting that somehow, some way God would keep his promises.

2. Faith means trusting in God’s timing--not your own.

So many of our struggles with fear start right here. Deep down, we fear that God has somehow made a mistake in his dealings with us. Like Abraham, we have waited and waited—sometimes for years on end. Even though we may have seen many remarkable answers to prayer, the one thing that means the most to us has not been granted.

I’m thinking right now of certain people in our congregation who pray faithfully week after week for their loved ones to be saved. Some of them write notes each week asking prayer for an unsaved husband or wife. Week in and week out the requests come in and the staff prays for them faithfully.

Where is God? Why doesn’t he answer the fervent, heart-felt prayers of his people?

Of the many answers that might be given to that question, one answer must be that God’s timing and ours are often quite different. Sometimes we are living in Eastern Daylight Time and God seems to be working in Pacific Daylight Time.

Edward Dobson offers a helpful word at this point:

The issue is this: Is God in control, or is he not in control? If God is in control, he is never early; he is never late. He is always right on time… God always operates on schedule. He on-time arrival schedule is perfect. Never early. Never late. He never forgets and is always on time.

3. Faith grows by believing God in spite of your circumstances.

Sometimes our circumstances make it easy to believe in God; other times we have to struggle. I was deeply moved by the words of thanks from Stan and Marge Utigard in last Sunday’s Calvary Family News. Many of you know that Stan has been diagnosed with cancer and the outlook is not good. In the note he and Marge thanked everyone for their prayers. Then they added this sentence: “No matter what happens we are trusting in the Lord.” That’s biblical faith rising above its circumstances to lay hold of the eternal promises of God.

4. Faith is obeying God, one step at a time.

This principle is often overlooked by those seeking to do God’s will. God promised a child and Abraham desperately wanted to see the fulfillment of that promise. So what does God tell him to do? Round up the animals for a sacrifice. How do you get from there to the nursery? Abraham doesn’t have a clue and God doesn’t tell him a thing. But Abraham now has a choice. He can choose to obey God, round up the animals, and get ready for a sacrifice, even though it doesn’t seem to connect with the son of his dreams. Or he can argue with God or decide to take matters in his own hands.

How often we stumble over this. We slight the near in favor of the far, shirking the duties of day because we are dreaming about some distant tomorrow. But until we have done what God has called us to do today we will never be prepared for what he wants us to do tomorrow.

In the end 99% of life turns out to be humdrum, ordinary routine. It’s the same old thing day after day. Yet out of the humdrum God is weaving an unseen pattern that will lead us one day lead us in a new direction. Faith means taking the next step—whatever it is—and walking with God wherever he leads us. Sometimes it will make sense, other times it won’t. But we still have take that step if we are going to do God’s will.

Can You Trust God?

Everything I’ve been trying to say in this message comes down to one simple question: Can you trust God? Or better, Can God be trusted? More and more I am convinced that this is the fundamental question of life: “Is God good and can he be trusted to do what is right?” If the answer is yes, then we can face the worst that life has to offer. If the answer is no, then we’re no better off than the people who have no faith at all. In fact, if the answer is no or if we’re not sure, then we really don’t have any faith anyway.

Not long ago while doing a radio interview for a station in Yakima, Washington I was asked how I could be so positive and confident when I spoke about God’s will. The man asking the question seemed burdened with many cares and difficulties. My answer went this way: “Twenty-two years ago when my father died, I came face to face with the ultimate unanswerable question of life. I didn’t know then why such a good man would have to die at the young age of 56 or why he would leave my mother and her four sons without a husband and a father. I had no clue about what God was doing. In the years since then I have learned many things about life, but I confess that I still don’t understand why my father died. It doesn’t make any more sense to me now than it did then. I am older and wiser but in the one question that really matters I have no answers. But I have learned since then that faith is a choice you make. Sometimes you choose to believe because of what you see, often you believe in spite of what you can see. As I look to the world around me, many things remain mysterious and unanswerable. But if there is no God, and if he is not good, then nothing at all makes sense. I have chosen to believe because I must believe. I truly have no other choice. If I sound confident, it is only because I have learned through my tears that my only confidence is in God and God alone.”

My older brother Andy is a urologist who recently lost a 20-year-old patient to a rare form of kidney cancer. When he asked me in all seriousness, “Why did he die?” I had no answer. But I felt no shame in saying that. I have decided to believe that God is good and can be trusted no matter what happens. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have the strength to get out of bed every day.

“But I Can Trust”

Many of you recognize the name of J. Hudson Taylor, who founded the China Inland Mission one hundred years ago. During the terrible days of the Boxer Rebellion, when missionaries were being killed and captured, he went through such an agony of soul that he could not pray. Writing in his journal, he summarized his spiritual condition this way: “I can’t read. I can’t think. I can’t pray. But I can trust.”

There will be times when we can’t read the Bible. Sometimes we won’t be able to focus our thoughts on God at all. Often we will not even be able to pray. But in those moments when we can’t do anything else, we can still trust in the loving purposes of our heavenly Father.

Fear not, child of God. No one knows that a day may bring. Who knows if we will all make it through this week? But our God is faithful to keep every one of his promises. Nothing can happen to us except it first pass through the hands of God. If your way is dark, keep on believing. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he cares for you. (Click to read full sermon How to Overcome FearClick for more sermons by Ray Pritchard related to the Topic of Fear

Guilt Produces Fear by Theodore Epp
Genesis 43:1-18

Jacob reluctantly let his sons take Benjamin to Egypt, and he gave them instructions as to what they should take along so they might be well received.

The sons did as Jacob instructed. They "took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph" (Gen. 43:15).

When Joseph saw his brothers--and Benjamin with them--he commanded the ruler of his house, "Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon" (v. 16).

Then conscience did its work again. The brothers had such guilt concerning Joseph that anything caused them to greatly fear--especially in the strange land of Egypt.

The ruler of Joseph's house "did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses" (vv. 17,18).

The brothers had been so brave before when they sold Joseph into slavery, but now even hospitality brought fear to them. When a person is guilty of sin, almost everything brings fear to him.

"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men"

Fearing God by Theodore Epp

Psalm 34:9-22

The secret of Joseph's life was summed up in his own words when his brothers first came to Egypt. He told them, "This do, and live; for I fear God" (Gen. 42:18). The last three words of this statement were the key to his life--"I fear God."

There were four things that were particularly significant about Joseph's secret--"I fear God."

First, he learned this secret early in his life while he was still at home. This shows us the importance of giving our children the spiritual training they need while they are yet young.

Second, the secret of Joseph's life was developed by his loyalty and obedience in the routine of daily duty. It did not matter whether things were small or large--he was faithful.

Third, the secret of Joseph's life was proved by the results. God honored His servant for his simple trust and confidence and justified his actions in his home life, slavery, prison and in Pharaoh's court.

Fourth, the secret of Joseph's life was made effectual in daily living by faith. Faith in God was evidenced throughout all his life, even when he faced death.

The divine commentary is that "by faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones" (Heb. 11:22). Faith is powerful and always brings results.

"O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" (Deut. 5:29).

Fear Follows Great Experience by Theodore Epp
Genesis 33:1-11

Jacob had just experienced a wonderful night with God that resulted in his becoming the new man, Israel. But when he saw the danger--Esau and his 400 men--fear gripped his heart.

Great experiences do not guarantee constant faithfulness. Jacob's experience at Peniel was a stepping-stone to greater living, but it did not guarantee faithfulness on his part.

He had made significant progress during his 20 years with Laban, but he was not yet all that God intended him to be.

Even Paul wrote: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13,14).

Experiences that result from crises are like open doors that make it possible for us to enter a new aspect of our Christian walk. Thus, Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

We are to daily take our position in Christ and follow Him. Galatians 5:16 assures us that when we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

When we commit ourselves to following Him, the Holy Spirit controls our lives, and God lives His life through us.

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

Freedom from Fear By Elisabeth Elliot
Taken From: A Lamp For My Feet

There is a sense in which every form of fear is essentially the fear of death. Jesus came to deliver us from that in all its forms. "He became a human being so that by going through death as a man he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death" (Heb 2:14,15 JBP).

I know people whose lives are totally controlled by fear. There is no bondage more powerful and crippling. Fear takes over the mind, coercing and circumscribing all its activity. We know where that spirit of fear originates, and we know the name of the enemy who would hold us enslaved. In the name of our God we must tread down our enemies, including all the nagging "what ifs" of our lives. To those frightening possibilities Christ answers, "I will never leave you or forsake you." Let the very worst thing come to pass--even there, especially there, his hand will hold us. If we go into darkness, He is there, has been there before us, has conquered all its powers. That's why He became a man. That's why He died. That's why He rose again.

My Lord and my God--forgive my fears. Deliver me from bondage by the power of your resurrection.

Fear God and Fear Nothing Else By Elisabeth Elliot

The world is shaking with fear. “What will become of us? Where will it all end? What if Russia…? What if cancer…? What if expression…?” The love of God has wrapped us round from before the foundations of the world. If we fear Him–that is, if we are brought to our knees before Him, reverence and worship Him in absolute assurance of his sovereignty, we cannot possibly be afraid of anything else. To love God is to destroy all other fear. To love the world is to be afraid of everything–what it may think of me, what it may do to me, what may happen today or tomorrow for which I am not prepared.

“The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1 RSV).

And yet, Lord, the truth is that I am often afraid. I confess it. All the weight of your promises seems sometimes to be only a feather, and the weight of my fears is lead. Reverse that, Lord, I pray. Give me the healthy fear that will make light of all the others–“The fear of the Lord is life; he who is full of it will rest untouched by evil” (Prv 19:23 NEB).

An Encircled Shield By Elisabeth Elliot
Taken From: A Lamp For My Feet

Different phases of life have different sets of fears. A newborn baby demonstrates fear of falling and of loud noises. Swaddling clothes, used for thousands of years, are still wound tightly around the babies of the Quichua Indian tribe of Ecuador. As soon as a child is born his arms are bound to his sides, his legs straightened in a neat firm package. When this is removed the baby feels insecure and cries.

Adolescent fears about popularity, pimples, and peer pressure give way to adult anxieties about responsibility and life's major decisions.

As we grow old we are beset by the fear of aging, which may bring us weakness, pain, dependence on others, loneliness. We wake in the early dark and find ourselves the targets of many fiery darts of fear. We may think we are on guard, and suddenly a dart comes at us from an unexpected angle. We can't cover all the possibilities. We dodge and duck, but some of the fears get to us--unless we take refuge in the Lord. The psalmist calls Him "my encircling shield, my glory." No need to stare into the darkness, allowing our imaginations to torment us with the "what ifs"--"Now I can lie down and go to sleep and then awake, for the Lord has hold of me" (Ps 3:3,5 JB).

The Fear of Loss By Elisabeth Elliot
Taken From: A Lamp For My Feet

In C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters we see with startling clarity the cleverness of the enemy in deceiving human beings.

Selfishness has a thousand forms, most of which we are slow to recognize for what they are. I was thinking about the fear of loss and what a stranglehold it can have on me. As I listed some of the things I dreaded to lose, it occurred to me that this fear is a deadly form of selfishness. Selfishness does terrible things to us, but it does not stop there. It does terrible things to others. "Saving our own skin" usually results in skinning somebody else. Think, for example, of the fear of losing: reputation, opportunity for advancement, credit, recognition, position, beauty, youth, health, money, the love of friends or children, compliments, popularity, security, privacy, rights, people you love, job, home, dreams, power.

As I considered each of these separately, I began to think what sort of sin each kind of loss tempts me to commit. Then I thought about what kind of faith is required to enable me to commit those fears to God. Has He, in fact, made provision for these things? The list is not a list of sins--make no mistake about that. It is a list of blessings, of gifts from God. But to grasp them selfishly and greedily, to hang onto them fiercely and allow myself to be enslaved by the fear of losing them, is to deny Christ. Do not fear, He says to us. I am with you.

I Will Not Be Afraid By Elisabeth Elliot
Taken From: A Lamp For My Feet

News reports come every day concerning economic and political calamities about to befall us all, not to mention famines, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes, things which may at any moment strike us or people we love. There are always plenty of good reasons to be afraid--unless you know that things are under control. A Christian has this "inside information." Things are, in fact, under control. God is our Refuge, our Strength, our Mighty Fortress. Nothing will get by the moat of his protection without his permission. To be afraid of what happens today or what may happen tomorrow is not only an awful waste of energy, it is not only useless, it is disobedient. We are forbidden to fear anything but the Lord Himself.

When Christians in China were being hounded to death in the 1930s, one of them (I am told) wrote this simple song, which has helped me in countless times of fear ever since I learned it as a high school girl:

I will not be afraid.
I will not be afraid.
I will look upward, and travel onward,
And not be afraid.

Will power, of course, will not always overcome human emotions. But willed obedience to the One who is in charge, coupled with prayer for his help in vanquishing our natural fears, is something else.

The Fear of Man or Woman By Elisabeth Elliot
Taken From: Keep A Quiet Heart

"The majority of men have thought of women as sublime separately but horrible as a herd," noted the wise G.K. Chesterton. Alas. Are we so formidable? Robert Bly, in his best-selling IRON JOHN, declares that men are petrified of female anger. Then there's a TIME correspondent named Sam Allis who says "Women are often daunting obstacles to male peace of mind, and for all their brave talk, men remain utterly flummoxed by the situation."

"The fear of man bringeth a snare," according to God's Word. Meseemeth the fear of woman bringeth a worse one. These comments have set me thinking (again) about fear in general. If men and women were surer of their God there would be more genuine manliness, womanliness, and godliness in the world, and a whole lot less fear of each other.

Jesus told us not to fear those who can kill only the body, but rather to fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell--in other words, fear God and fear nothing else. Moses, by faith, "left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27NIV). When Daniel learned of King Darius's decree forbidding prayer to any god or man except the king himself, he proceeded with his regular manner of worship, on his knees, windows open, "just as he had done before," and was caught in the act (Daniel 6:1-28). He feared God; therefore, he feared neither the king nor the lions. His three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, faced with the choice between two evils, worshipping a golden image or burning to a crisp in a furnace, made an instant decision (Daniel 3:1-30). Fear of God made worship of an idol unthinkable. Fear of the fire was, by comparison, thinkable. That's manliness.

Uzziah, who became king of Judah when he was sixteen, was taught by Zechariah to fear God. A child who is not taught to fear wrongdoing when he is small will have great difficulty learning to fear God when he is a man. "Freedom from fear" is what Russell Kirk calls "a silly piece of demagogic sophistry," for we all have "a natural yearning for the challenge of the dreadful."

One of the nicest things any of the listeners to my broadcast, has written to me came from a little girl: "You make me brave." Sometimes I wonder what has happened to words like courage and endurance. What reason is there in our feel-comfortable society ever to be brave? Very little, and, when you think about it, we miss it, don't we? To be really brave is to lay oneself open to charges of hypocrisy, of being "in denial," or out of touch with one's feelings. Moses charged Joshua to be strong and very courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to do the thing we fear. Go straight into the furnace or the lion's den. Were those men out of touch with their feelings or with reality? No. Nor was the psalmist who said, "When I am afraid, I will trust" (Psalm 56:3, NIV). There's a big difference between feeling and willing.

In George MacDonald's SIR GIBBIE the boy (Gibbie) is up in the mountains in a storm. He hears the sound of the river in flood and realizes it is headed straight for the cottage. He shoots after it. "He is not terrified. One believing like him in the perfect Love and perfect Will of a Father of men, as the fact of facts, fears nothing. Fear is faithlessness.... A perfect faith would lift us absolutely above fear. It is in the cracks, crannies, and gulfy faults of our belief, the gaps that are not faith, that the snow of apprehension settles and the ice of unkindness forms."

Do you feel, in spite of all the promises of God, as helpless as a worm today? There's a special word for you too: "Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you" (Isaiah 41:14, NIV).

Joshua - Facing Fear by Sammy Tippitt

Several years ago, during the dark days of communism, a dear Romanian brother was traveling with me across his country. It was very dangerous for him because he was interpreting for me. Following the evangelistic meetings one night, he was walking to the apartment where he was staying. He knew someone was following him. His heart began to race. Fear gripped him. Then with one simple decision, he shattered the fears of his heart.

He kept walking faster and faster in an attempt to get away from the person following him. Finally, he stopped and looked straight into the eyes of the person following him. The man in shock, turned and began walking away. My friend began following the man. The man fled, and my friend's fear fled. Thus, my friend learned a great lesson. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them.

There's one thing that I really appreciate about the Bible. It is SO honest about its heroes. One of the great men of the Bible was Joshua. Yet, we find that he had to deal with fear. In the beginning of the account of Joshua's leadership among the children of Israel (Joshua chapter 1), God has to tell Joshua four times (vs. 6, 7, 9, 18) "be strong and of good courage."

Joshua had much to fear. First, he had to deal with the fear of failure. Anyone who steps into a position of leadership understands how powerful and paralyzing this fear can be. Joshua followed one of the greatest leaders of all times. Moses saw the Red Sea parted; the people fed "manna" daily; and many great signs and wonders among the people of God during Moses forty years of leadership. Could Joshua step up to the plate and take the reigns of leadership from such a great man of God. Certainly, he had to deal with the fear of failure.

But a second fear must have been the fear of family and friends. He knew how fickle the children of Israel were. He had seen them love and revere Moses when everything was going well. But he had also seen them become rebellious when things weren't going so well. Joshua must have had to deal with the fear of rejection from those he loved so much.

I'm also sure that Joshua had to deal with the fear of the future. There's a certain sense of security in being under someone's leadership. The buck stops with him. When we're second in command, we leave all the worries up to the top brass. However, when we are placed in the top position of leadership, all of a sudden, we begin to realize that the future of those whom we are leading rests in our hands. That is enough to cause anyone to tremble in fear.

A final fear that Joshua must have faced was the fear of the foe. He had been into the promised land as a spy. He and Caleb had come back and told Moses, "No problem. Sure, there are giants in the land, but they are no match for our God." That was easier to say when Moses was leading. But now Joshua was the bottom line leader, he had to put up or shut up.

So, how did Joshua face his fears? There's one remarkable provision for facing our fears that stands out in the first chapter of Joshua - the word of God. First, Joshua had the promise of God. The Lord said to Joshua after Moses died, "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Josh. 1:5 NIV). I have discovered that there's nothing like the promises of God to enable us to face our fears. Too many Christians have sat for too long in the church premises and have stood too little on God's promises.

But Joshua also had the commands of God. The word of God came to Joshua saying, "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go (Josh. 1:7 NIV). Obedience to God's word drives away fear. It gives a sense of victory and it secures God's provision.

God is looking for men and women who are courageous. I've been in some of the most difficult areas of the world. But I've never met a courageous Christian who wasn't standing on the promises and walking according to the commands of God. Trust and obey - there's no other way.

Overcoming Fear - Part I by Sammy Tippitt

Johann Oncken's success was such that soon the civil authorities attempted to stop him, but he always seemed to find a way around their restriction … The police chief told Oncken, "As long as I can lift this little finger, you'll feel the force of it." To which Oncken is reported to have replied with characteristic courage, "I believe you don't see what I see. You see only your own arm, but I'm not looking at that. I see a greater arm, and that is the arm of God. So long as that arm moves, you will never silence me." Eventually the police chief ceased his opposition.      William L. Wagne
After the Communist Youth World Festival, I became close friends with many of the young people who made commitments to Jesus Christ. Several months after the Fest, I visited a group of these who were mountain climbers from East Germany. They took Fred and Nancy Starkweather and me to an area of East Germany known as "Little Switzerland," one of the most beautiful areas of that country.

The young people said that a person could look from the top of one mountain and see all the way to Czechoslovakia one way and all the way to West Germany the other.

There was only one problem. I have always had a fear of heights. They assured me there was a trail that wouldn't be dangerous. I decided to attempt it.

The trail was nice, and the view was tremendous. About two-thirds of the way up, however, the trail ended. Then we began to really climb. We had to pull ourselves over rocks and make our own paths. I did fine until about 50 feet from the top. I could see for miles. It was fantastic!

But something snapped within me. I grabbed a rock and held on as a child would cling to its father in terror. I was frozen. I couldn't move. I was at the rear of the group, and no one noticed me. When they arrived at the top, they realized I wasn't with them. They looked down and saw what must have been hilarious; a fully mature American preacher clinging to a rock like a baby.

Fred Starkweather came back down to me. "Sam, what in the world are you doing?"

"I c-ca-can't move, Fred!"

"Sam, come on up. The view is tremendous. And besides, the East Germans will think Americans are cowards."

My body was immobilized. "I can't move, Fred."

By this time, the others came down to find out what was happening. They assured me that the remainder of the climb wasn't dangerous and I had nothing to be worried about. All I could say was, "I can't move!"

They decided that if I couldn't go up, we would all have to go down the mountain. But they didn't understand. "I can't move!"

Fred couldn't believe it. "What do you mean, Sam? If we don't go up, we have to go down."

True to form, I responded, "I can't move."

It began to rain. "Sam, if you don't go down the mountain right now, you'll slide the whole way."

It didn't matter. "I can't move!"

Finally, Fred and one of the East Germans pried my fingers from the rock, put their shoulders under my arms, and carried me down like an injured soldier. At the bottom, we laughed and laughed.

Every time I think about that, it brings tears of laughter to my eyes. But I also learned a valuable lesson. I came to understand the tremendous power of fear. Fear had paralyzed me.

Fear has also paralyzed the Body of Christ. One fear that knows no boundaries, has no time limitations, is found in Eastern and Western Europe as well as in the United States. It cripples the church and robs men of the blessing of the Lord.

It's the fear of rejection. All people have a deep fear of being rejected by their friends and family members. In the East, that fear runs even deeper. Christians may be rejected for sharing the gospel, and then, they lose educational and economic opportunities.

The need for acceptance stems back to the beginning of human history. When Adam was in the garden with Eve, his every need was met. There was no fear. God walked and fellowshipped with Adam. There was perfect harmony.

However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, fear filled their hearts. When God visited them, they hid. God is holy, and they had become unholy. Since that day, there has been a deep sense of rejection in the heart of sinful man.

Every person desperately wants acceptance. We try to gain acceptance in three ways. One way is legitimate; the other two are not.

People try to find acceptance through other people. A teen might try drinking or drugs. He thinks that will get his friends to accept him. After he has compromised, the sinking feeling of rejection remains. A girl might compromise her moral principles to gain acceptance. But after her sexual encounters, she is still haunted by rejection.

I've mete husband and wives who loved each other when they married, yet several years later, they almost hate each other. How can this be? The moment one feels rejected by the other, there's a feeling of betrayal. They though they had conquered rejection through the relationship, but rejection follows them through their lives.

Young people feel rejected by heir parents, yet some of their parents are the most loving, kind and gracious people anyone would want to meet. Even wonderful parents can't overcome that deep fear of rejection. No individual or group can give us enough acceptance to conquer it.

Fear of rejection is there because of a broken relationship with a holy God. Many attempt to please God and thus receive His acceptance. Many become more religious. But in the shadow of their religion stands a tall, ugly figure called "Rejection." Many churches are filled with people working hard to escape this figure, but the fear of rejection can never be escaped by religion.

Revival always awakens man to the true basis of acceptance. Acceptance can be found only through faith. Martin Luther understood that "the just shall live by faith," and he shook the world for God's glory. He didn't experience some new faith. He came to know and experience the faith of the spiritual giants of centuries past. His faith was the same as Abraham's, Isaac's and Jacob's. It was the faith of Paul, Peter and John. True faith is simply our acceptance of His acceptance of us based on what Jesus did on the cross.

Old Testament believers found acceptance by looking forward to the Messiah. We find our acceptance by looking back to the cross. One word gushes forth from the cross: grace. Rejection has to flee when that word is spoken. Hallelujah! I have been accepted! By grace I have been accepted! Sin separated man from God. But God entered human history uniquely through Jesus. He was unique. He was so much God that it was as though He wasn't man. And yet, He was so much man that it was as though He wasn't God. He was Son of God and Son of Man. He was the God-man. He crashes through the wall of sin that separates man from God. He has become the door through that wall. He forever stands as the doorway to God's acceptance. And when we have been accepted by the Father, we have really been accepted! That causes us to bow before the Father to love and worship Him in simplicity and devotion. He has met the deepest need of our lives through His Son, Jesus.

Overcoming Fear - Part II by Sammy Tippitt

Revival always gives us a fresh glimpse of Jesus. Therefore, revival will always produce a deep sense of security within God's people. Three principles operate within the church based on our awareness of Christ's acceptance of us:

We have a new power to accept ourselves as we are. That enables us to accept others in a revolutionary way.

We can witness for Christ powerfully and boldly without fear of rejection.

But most importantly, we have peace and contentment. That security gives us the ability to stand alone. If the whole world rejects us, we can stand alone for God. We have been accepted by Him, and that is all that matters.

One of the senseless games the church plays is the pursuit of being what we're not. When God awakens His church, we become transparent. We have an ability to accept ourselves because He accepts is.

When I became a Christian, a tremendous personality change took place. Prior to my conversion, I was Mr. Popularity. I always tried to impress people. I could never relax and be myself. When Christ came into my life, I quit playing the game. I could be myself in Christ. I accepted myself. I relaxed.

After several years in the ministry, I found myself playing the game again. I wanted to impress others with my abilities. One day my soul was awakened to the sufficiency of what Jesus did on the cross. I knew I no longer needed to impress anyone. I could just be who God made me to be. That released tremendous spiritual power. The power of my ministry is in the sufficiency of Jesus.

It doesn't matter whether we change a diaper in the nursery or preach a great evangelistic campaign. The only matter of importance is that we've submitted to God's will.

G. Campbell Morgan is known as one of the great Bible preachers and teachers of the past 100 years. On May 2, 1898, Morgan preached a trial sermon in consideration for the Methodist ministry. He was accustomed to speaking to thousands, but on that Sunday, he preached to only 75 people. They rejected him. Morgan wired his father, "Rejected!" His father wired back, "Rejected on earth - accepted in heaven!" Morgan later became a prince among preachers. He could be so only because he knew the source of his acceptance.

The last night of the Communist Youth World Fest was truly a revolutionary night in my life. Fred Bishop, Fred Starkweather and I had been ministering in the midst of 100,000 hardcore revolutionaries. Theirs wasn't a revolution of grace but of violence and hate. During that week, we saw 200 young people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

I met with a number of these young people privately for discipleship training. An elderly lady sat and listened the entire time. When the meeting was over, she gave me a plaque that read, "Wir sind doch Bruder (We are truly borthers)." She also gave me a small note pad in which she'd written Matthew 5:10-12:

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I didn't fully comprehend those verses. But I would come to understand them in an entirely new way that last night of the fest. A thousand young people boxed in all the Christians. They yelled and screamed at us. I stood and lifted my arms and called for quiet. As soon as the throng quieted, I began giving my testimony of what Jesus had done in my life. The crowd immediately became angry and pressed in on us. They hit and beat us. I yelled to all of the Christians to form a human train. I knew we had to get out of there before someone was hurt.

We pushed through the crowd holding onto one another. When I got through the crowd, I looked back to see how the others were doing. Fred Bishop and Fred Starkweather were at the end of our human train. Someone was hitting them, but Fred and Fred were laughing. It was amazing! There was no spirit of anger among the new believers. To the contrary, the joy and glory of the Lord was among them. I then understood those verses from Matthew. When men persecute you, insult you, hit you and try to destroy you, then you are totally rejected by man. There's only one place to find rest. Our total acceptance is in the cross! Glory to God! The supernatural joy of the Lord becomes our strength. We're able to love those who have hated us.

Not only are we able to love others with a revolutionary love, but we also have the ability to stand alone for God. Early in the Christian lives of many of the believers in Eastern Europe, they had to stand alone with God. The most awesome factor of the cross is the loneliness of Christ. He cried, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). The Father turned His back on the Son. His disciples forsook Him. And He who knew no sin became sin for us, in order that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus stood alone. He could do that because He knew the Father had promised to raise Him from the dead.

In the cross, we have the power to be mighty in spirit. Through the centuries, men and women have died for their faith. Persecution has never destroyed the church. It has only caused the church to glory in the cross. It has caused the church to become mighty, and flames of revival have been lit.

The history of the church is filled with those who have died for their faith, yet there are more martyrs in this century than in any other. Many are martyrs of Eastern Europe. They have a message for us. The power of the cross is sufficient to enable us to stand alone.

A young lady, Vibia Perpetua, gave her life for Jesus in the amphitheater of Carthage, North Africa, March 7, A.D. 203. When Perpetua was condemned to death for her faith, she reported, "In hilarity, we went back down to the dungeon." Later, she was stripped, forced to put on a net and sent to a maddened cow in the theater. The cow attacked and gored her. Then she was taken to a young, inexperienced gladiator who finished the job and killed her. Before being brought to the gladiator, she told her brother, "Give out the word to the brothers and sisters: stand fast in the faith, love one another, and don't let our suffering become a stumbling block to you."

The faith of Perpetua and those like her shook the Roman Empire. Where are the young men and women of this generation who will stand mightily for God's glory? The need of the hour is a fresh glimpse of the cross. We need men and women who understand the words of G. Campbell Morgan's father: "Rejected on earth - accepted in heaven."

Victory Over the Fear of Rejection by Sammy Tippitt

A number of years ago, I was visiting a family of mountain climbers in what was then East Germany. They wanted me to see a very beautiful part of their country. The only problem was that we had to climb a very high mountain, and I had a fear of heights. However, they assured me that it was very safe and that we could climb the mountain on a secure trail. Therefore, two American friends and I agreed to go with them.

Everything was just as they had told me, until we got about 50 meters from the top of the mountain. We, then, had to start pulling ourselves over rocks and begin genuine mountain climbing. Something snapped inside of me. All of a sudden, I grabbed a rock and held on for my life. No one saw me because I was the last one. When everyone reached the top, I could hear everyone saying, "Oh, look how beautiful!" Then I heard someone say, "Where's Sammy?"

They looked down and saw me frantically holding on to the rock. I couldn't move. I was paralyzed. They said, "Come on up, Sammy. It's fantastic up here." All I could say was, "I can't move!" After much debate, my friends had to finally pull my fingers off the rock and carry me down the mountain. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

But I learned a great lesson that day. I learned the power of the human emotion of fear. Fear had literally crippled me. Since that day, I've watch fear paralyze many people. I've seen people rendered immobile because of the fear of failure, the fear of the future, and the fear of death. Perhaps the greatest and most common crippling fear that I've seen is that of the fear of rejection. I've seen people do harm to their own bodies because of this fear. I've watched people compromise their morals, trample their beliefs, and become spiritually defeated because of this fear.

There's one great solution to fear - love (perfect love). The Bible says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (I Jn 4:18 NIV). There is only one place in all of human history where "perfect love" can be found - the cross. Outside Jerusalem, on a hill, between two thieves, suspended between heaven and earth hung the perfect Son of God. He cried out those words that would ring throughout history as the perfect love of God, "Father, forgive them...." (Luke 23:24).

Only Jesus had the ability to forgive those who hated him, those who were the very enemies of God. He loved all of mankind with the perfect love of God. He loved you and me with perfect love. It's that love that casts out the fear of rejection. It's that love that allows us to know, feel, and experience God's acceptance. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out (John 6:37 NAS). When we come to Jesus, we encounter the perfect love of God and fear has to flee.

If you find yourself a captive to the fear of rejection, then come to the cross. You'll find there the perfect love of God that will release you to be all that God intended you to be. Courage flows from the cross. The cross permeates the innermost parts of your life and enables you to see God in His infinite love. Look to the cross! Live near the cross! Take up your cross! Follow Jesus!

Biblical resources
How To Handle Fear

  1. How To Handle Fear Part 1
  2. How To Handle Fear Part 2
  3. How To Handle Fear Part 3
  4. How To Handle Fear Part 4
  5. The Fear of the Lord 

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