Charles Stanley – Conquering Your Fears

Charles Stanley

Would you consider yourself a free person? More than likely, you would. But perhaps somewhere in the back of your mind, you wonder, Am I truly free?

We live in a country that has a rich heritage—one that is steeped in freedom and liberty. But many people are not living free lives. They are bound by invisible chains that prevent them from reaching their full potential. These shackles are made up of links that have been cast and shaped in the emotional fires of fear.

Once this deadly emotion captures a person’s heart, breaking its bond is difficult—but it can be done. Though fear’s grasp is strong, it is not greater than the power of Jesus Christ. The Savior told His disciples, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

How do we break free from the bondage of fear? There is only one way, and that is through faith in Christ. But before we can do this, we must come to a point where we admit that we are battling a deadly foe and need God’s help.

I’m not fearful!

The young boy leveled his eyes at his mother’s gaze and said, “I’m not afraid. I want to camp outside with my friends!” His mother softened as she thought through the situation. He would be in the fenced-in backyard, within range of her hearing his every move, and more than
likely, she would be awake—watching to make sure he and his friends were safe. And if they needed anything, they could easily come inside the house.

This is exactly what happened. Somewhere around 2 am, she heard the backdoor open and close. She got up, grabbed her robe, and hurried downstairs to check on her son. As she flipped the lights on in the kitchen, she was greeted by the sight of her boy and two of his best friends—sleeping bags in hand along with a crumbled bag of chocolate chip cookies. Sensing their embarrassment, she asked, “Son, what happened?”

“There’s something out there,” her son replied. “I don’t know what it is, but it snarled at us. We could hear it in the yard. Maybe it was a big dog, a wild fox, or even a large bear!” Trying not to smile at the thought of their imagined foes, she said, “Why don’t you just sleep in the den and go back out to the tent in the morning? I’ll make pancakes for you when you wake up.” The mood of the group immediately brightened. She didn’t bother to mention the fact that the chances of meeting up with a fox or a bear were extremely low, especially since they lived in a densely populated city.

Fear attacks without warning. It tempts us to believe things that will not or cannot happen, and often leaves us feeling helpless and without hope. Each day, we are bombarded with words and messages that have the ability to stir thoughts of fear within us. Turn on the news, and more than likely you will hear a dismal rundown on the economy and many other items that strike notes of panic in your heart.

News organizations often broadcast with the goal of creating an emotional reaction from those who watch, listen, and visit their Web sites. To increase their audience, they target people with the messages that produce the greatest response. Therefore, if the fire of fear works, the flame is turned up.

From a worldly perspective, the future may look pretty bleak, especially if you decide to calculate your situation apart from faith in Jesus Christ. The fact is, if you do this, fear will reach out and grab your heart, telling you that the worst will happen and it will be beyond anything you can imagine. Don’t buy into the Enemy’s lies. The nightly news cannot give you a complete picture of reality—certainly not from a heavenly standpoint. And remember, nothing the Devil whispers to you is based on the truth of God’s Word (John 8:44). While we are facing very serious times in our nation’s history, we are not alone. God is with us, and He is never out of control.

The apostle Paul discovered this in a fresh way during a very difficult time in his ministry. Somewhere near the end of his second missionary journey, he was staying in the city of Corinth. He had left Athens to go to Macedonia, but something happened that almost caused him to stumble in his faith. The Jews resisted his teaching to a point where they “blasphemed.” Paul was fed up with their stiff-necked ways. He declared that he would no longer go to the Jews first, but instead would preach God’s message to the Gentiles (Acts 18:5-6).

At every turn, Paul faced opposition from the Jewish leaders. On several occasions, his very life had been threatened. He was tired and likely felt alone and worn thin emotionally—vulnerable to the destruction of fear. One night as he drifted off to sleep, God’s Spirit spoke to him, saying, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).

There we have it: one of the greatest apostles who ever lived, battling fear. But the verses that follow do not mention this again. Why? Paul changed his focus. He came face-to-face with the reality of his fear and chose to abandon it. Was this something he could do on his own? Absolutely not. There was no way he could move past the anxiety he felt without the assurance found in Jesus Christ. Once God’s Spirit spoke to his heart, the issue was settled, and Paul knew there was only one thing for him to do: complete the work God had given him.

The Enemy uses many things in an effort to distract us and prevent us from reaching our full potential—and fear is one of his choice weapons. He usually follows it with words of discouragement and accusation: “You can’t do that”; “You haven’t been trained”; “What would people think if you fail?” And that was his strategy in Corinth: Satan knew he would face ultimate defeat if Paul succeeded, so he tried to keep the apostle fearful. The Lord’s faithful promise, delivered at just the right moment, was all the encouragement Paul needed to continue preaching the truth of the gospel.

The right steps to overcoming fear

If you are going to overcome fear, the first step is to acknowledge and admit your anxiety. Confess, “Lord, I feel fearful, and I don’t know what to do. Please show me how to go forward from this point.” Next, ask God to enable you to conquer your fear. The more you understand your relationship with God, the more intimately you will relate to Him. Your level of trust will increase, and you will begin to notice the many ways He is at work in your life and circumstances.

Shortly before his death, Paul wrote an interesting word of instruction to Timothy. He reminded his young protégé, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). Fear doesn’t fit who we are as believers. It usually surfaces when we have the wrong response to disappointment and trial. God wants you to be victorious, not harassed or tormented by anxiety.

Let God remove fear from your life. He may choose to do this by placing you in a frightening situation where you feel out of control. But you do not have to worry, because the One who has promised never to let you go is holding your life in His omnipotent hand.

After you have given your worries to the Lord, meditate on His Word. David understood the power that was available to him through God’s personal promises. He wrote, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? . . . My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear” (Ps. 27:1-3).

If you want to keep your confidence strong, study the Bible, apply God’s principles to your life, and walk with Him each day by faith. When you hide His Word in your heart, you will have the light of His truth to guide you—not only for your present circumstances, but also for eternity.

 

Resources About Confidence

Related Video

Confidence That Conquers

There are many people with impressive talents and skills who fail to fulfill God’s will for their lives. Why? They lack confidence. Dr. Stanley teaches us that a person’s confidence level is one of the most reliable predictors of whether or not they will succeed in life. (Watch Confidence That Conquers.)

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — The Discipline Of Waiting

Our Daily Bread

 

READ: Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. —Psalm 40:1

Waiting is hard. We wait in grocery lines, in traffic, in the doctor’s office. We twiddle our thumbs, stifle our yawns, and fret inwardly in frustration. On another level, we wait for a letter that doesn’t come, for a prodigal child to return, or for a spouse to change. We wait for a child we can hold in our arms. We wait for our heart’s desire.

In Psalm 40, David says, “I waited patiently for the Lord.” The original language here suggests that David “waited and waited and waited” for God to answer his prayer. Yet as he looks back at this time of delay, he praises God. As a result, David says, God “put a new song . . . a hymn of praise” in his heart (40:3 niv).

“What a chapter can be written of God’s delays!” said F. B. Meyer. “It is the mystery of educating human spirits to the finest temper of which they are capable.” Through the discipline of waiting, we can develop the quieter virtues—submission, humility, patience, joyful endurance, persistence in well-doing—virtues that take the longest to learn.

What do we do when God seems to withhold our heart’s desire? He is able to help us to love and trust Him enough to accept the delay with joy and to see it as an opportunity to develop these virtues—and to praise Him. —David Roper

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay;
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still. —Pollard

Waiting for God is never a waste of time.

Bible in a year: Exodus 14-15; Matthew 17

 

 

 

Alistair Begg – The Great Marvels of Our God

Alistair Begg

 

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

Luke 2:18

We must not cease to wonder at the great marvels of our God. It would be very difficult to draw a line between holy wonder and real worship; for when the soul is overwhelmed with the majesty of God’s glory, though it may not express itself in song or even utter its voice with bowed head in humble prayer, yet it silently adores.

Our incarnate God is to be worshiped as “the Wonderful.” That God should consider His fallen creature, man, and instead of sweeping him away with the broom of destruction should Himself undertake to be man’s Redeemer and to pay his ransom price is indeed marvelous!

But to each believer redemption is most marvelous as he views it in relation to himself. It is a miracle of grace indeed that Jesus should forsake the thrones and royalties above to suffer ignominiously below for you. Let your soul lose itself in wonder, for wonder is in this way a very practical emotion. Holy wonder will lead you to grateful worship and heartfelt thanksgiving.

It will cause within you godly watchfulness; you will be afraid to sin against such a love as this. Feeling the presence of the mighty God in the gift of His dear Son, you will put your shoes from off your feet, because the place whereon you stand is holy ground. You will be moved at the same time to glorious hope.

If Jesus has done such marvelous things on your behalf, you will feel that heaven itself is not too great for your expectation. Who can be astonished at anything when he has once been astonished at the manger and the cross? What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Savior? Dear reader, it may be that from the quietness and solitariness of your life you are scarcely able to imitate the shepherds of Bethlehem, who told what they had seen and heard, but you can at least fill up the circle of the worshipers before the throne by wondering at what God has done.

Charles Spurgeon – Marvellous increase of the church

CharlesSpurgeon

“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” Isaiah 60:8

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 10:5-16

They were not doves by nature; they were ravens; but they are doves now. They are changed from ravens into doves, from lions into lambs. Beloved, it is very easy for you to pretend to be the children of God; but it is not easy for you to be so. The old fable of the jackdaw dressed up in peacock’s feathers often takes place now. Many a time have we seen coming to our church, a fine strutting fellow, with long feathers of prayer behind him. He could pray gloriously; and he has come strutting in, with all his majesty and pride, and said, “Surely I must come; I have everything about me; am I not rich and polite: have I not learning and talent?” In a very little while we have found him to be nothing but an old prattling jackdaw, having none of the true feathers belonging to him; by some accident one of his borrowed feathers has dropped out, and we have found him to be a hypocrite. I beseech you, do not be hypocrites. The glory of the gospel is not that it paints ravens white, and whitewashes blackbirds, but that it turns them into doves. It is the glory of our religion not that it makes a man seem what he is not, but that it makes him something else. It takes the raven and turns him into a dove; his ravenish heart becomes a dove’s heart. It is not the feathers that are changed, but the man himself. Glorious gospel, which takes a lion, and does not cut the lion’s mane off, and then cover him with a sheep’s skin, but makes him into a lamb! O church of God! these that have come like doves to their windows are trophies of regenerating grace, which has transformed them, and made them as new creatures in Christ Jesus.

For meditation: We should expect to be among wolves in the world, but beware of them when they are in the church, undetected and unconverted (Matthew 7:15).

Sermon no. 63
26 January (Preached 27 January 1856)

 

 

John MacArthur – Maintaining a Clear Perspective

John MacArthur 

“I pray that . . . you may know . . . what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).

Throughout Ephesians 1 Paul is clearly struck with the magnificence of our inheritance in Christ. Here he prays that we will know the riches of its glory.

Some commentators see “His inheritance” as a reference to believers, who are God’s inheritance or special possession (v. 14). That view stresses the value God places on us as believers, as demonstrated in Christ’s death, the forgiveness of our sins, and the abundant grace that He lavishes on us (vv. 7-8).

Others see it as referring to the believer’s inheritance, which Paul calls “His inheritance” because God is its source. Just as “His calling” (v. 18) issued from Him and was received by believers, so His inheritance issues from Him.

Both views are theologically sound but the second seems more consistent with Paul’s emphasis in verses 11 and 14. In either case Paul’s point is clear: redemption and its accompanying blessings are so profound that we must have supernatural help to understand them. That’s why he prayed for our enlightenment (v. 18).

Such enlightenment is crucial because how you perceive your spiritual resources dictates how you live. If, for example, you realize you have every resource for godly living (Eph. 1:3), you are less likely to succumb to temptation. Knowing God has given you His very best in Christ (Rom. 8:31) assures you that He won’t withhold lesser things, so you’ll not tend to worry about earthly needs. Understanding that you have already received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16), abundant life (John 10:10), and “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3) gives you confidence that God’s future grace and resources will be more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

Let that motivate you to praise your rich and glorious God for His rich and glorious inheritance!

Suggestions for Prayer:

  • § Thank God for the privilege of being His child.
  • § Memorize Ephesians 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:3 and recite them often as anthems of praise for the Lord’s abundant grace.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Corinthians 11-12

  • § What kinds of trials did Paul face?
  • § How did God respond to Paul’s prayer to remove his “thorn in the flesh”?
  • § How might Paul’s response influence you when you face difficulties?

Joyce Meyer – God Forgets

Joyce meyer 

I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance [remind Me of your merits]; let us plead and argue together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified (proved right).
—Isaiah 43:25–26

God holds nothing against you if you are sincerely sorry for what you have done in the past and are trusting in the blood of Jesus to cleanse you from your former wickedness. The minute you repent, God forgives and forgets, so why not follow His example and receive His forgiveness and forget it yourself?

A confident woman does not live in the past; she lets go of it and looks to the future. It may be that you have a decision to make right now. Maybe you failed someone, or had an abortion, or committed adultery, stole something, lied, or did any number of terrible things. But God’s question to you is, what are you going to do today? Will you live the rest of your life serving God and following His plan for you? If you are ready to make that commitment, there is nothing in your past that has enough power to hold you back.

Lord, help me to forget what You have forgotten regarding my past. I thank You that by Your grace I can let the past go and concentrate on the future. Show me Your plans for the days ahead. Amen.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Sound Mind Principle

dr_bright

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).

Some years ago, a young college graduate came to me for counsel concerning God’s will for his life. “How can I know what God wants me to do?” he asked.

Briefly, I explained a helpful approach to knowing the will of God: following what I call the “sound mind principle” of Scripture.

In less than an hour, by following the suggestions contained in this principle, this young man discovered what he had been seeking for years. He discovered not only the work which God wanted him to do but also the organization and manner in which he was to serve our Lord. Today he is serving Christ as a missionary in Africa, where he and his wife are touching the lives of thousands throughout the entire continent.

What is this “sound mind principle”? This verse refers to a well-balanced mind – a mind that is under the control of the Holy Spirit. It involves the practice of determining God’s wisdom and direction through use of your mind saturated with God’s Word, instead of relying only on emotional impressions. Though God often leads us through impressions, He generally expects us to use our “sound minds.”

For example, when you have an important decision to make, take a sheet of paper, list all the positive and negative factors. Then consider what God’s Word has to say about the matter – directly or indirectly. Be sure you are controlled by the Holy Spirit, then make your decision on the basis of what seems obvious, unless God specifically leads you to the contrary.

“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2, KJV).


Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8-12


TODAY’S ACTION POINT: In every major decision I face today, I will apply the sound mind principle to determine God’s will in the matter, unless God specifically and supernaturally leads me to do something else which is also consistent with Scripture.

TODAY’S ACTION LINK: Dr. Bright has developed a helpful 5-step study on discovering God’s will through the sound mind principle. Click to learn more about 5 Steps to Knowing God’s Will.

 

Presidential Prayer Team Way Follower

ppt_seal01

A large billboard advertisement in Texas says, “Don’t believe everything you think!” And if you want further confirmation of that wisdom, take a moment and reflect back on a big mistake you’ve made. Did it really seem like such a wrong turn at first? Of course not, or you wouldn’t have gone that way!

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.

I Timothy 4:16

In the Bible, the author of Psalms repeatedly asks God, “Teach me your ways.” The underlying principle is that God’s ways are different from your ways. Everything He does is perfect, loving, and merciful…yet at times even believers get confused by what is seen in the nation today. Anyone can be tempted to misunderstand. Many erroneously interpret God’s actions as disinterested or even harsh and unloving.

Do you want to understand God’s ways today? Begin by studying His Word, reading the Bible and praying regularly. Don’t blindly follow the interpretations of others; even good people can be wrong. Get to know Him for yourself. Ask Him to translate the words in His Book into thoughtful truths living in your heart and mind. Then pray for the Lord to show His ways to America’s leaders, and for as many as possible to follow Him.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 86:8-13  

G.C. – Your Prayer Team writing staff