Take Courage. Be Brave. Overcome Your Fear.

By: Gail Armatys

Take courage.  Be brave. You can overcome your fear.

Each day you and I are faced with obstacles to knowing and living out our God-designed purpose. Many of these road blocks seem bigger than life and cause us to stop growing, learning, and living.  They cause us to fear.

Although fear is not seen as something good, when we participate in it God uses it for our benefit.  It is a warning sign to alert us to a need for change. Where there is fear ~ there is always opportunity to take courage and move forward. On the other hand, Satan uses fear to keep us stuck and stop us from enjoying a full, free life in Christ.

There Is No Fear In Love

It is a part of life on earth to feel fear. In fact, you and I live in a world where it seems there is plenty of which to be afraid. But, living in fear is not God’s plan for us. It can’t be. Because God is love, and fear is the absence of love.

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.

1 John 4:18

God’s perfect plan is that we walk in love ~ not fear ~ each day. Although we cannot attain perfection, nor avoid instances when we are frightened, we can set our sites on obedience to his call to take courage and overcome our fears.

Take Courage

How? Scripture relates more than one story that calls us to respond in courage rather than fear. In fact, God calls us to be pro-active about overcoming fearful circumstances ~ real or imagined. He calls us to assert ourselves. To do fear’s opposite…to take courage.

3 Steps to Help You Take Courage Each Day

1. Listen for God’s loving direction. In Deuteronomy 31:7 God directs Joshua through Moses to, “Be strong and take courage, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them…” Joshua listens and receives what is promised.

Is God calling you forward in your faith? Is there a different, more loving way to respond, think or behave? Do your thoughts and actions line up with God’s?  Look and listen for God’s loving direction.

2. Be self-disciplined.  In order to obey God’s commands you must be self-discipliined…forget yourself and your fears and focus on the Lord and his better way.  If Joshua would not have felt fear, I doubt God would have told him to take courage. Yet, Joshua set himself aside, refocused, stepped into God’s will and out of his own.

It’s easy to try to smother our fear in our own comfort and routine.  But fear never leaves us until we take action, take courage, and step away from it. Are you self-disciplined or self-focused? Is it time to step out of your comfort zone and walk in God’s ways?

3. Remember God goes before you and is with you.
Take courage.  This command requires intentional action ~ finding and getting courage from someone or somewhere else. From whom or where would Joshua and you find and take it?

The answer is in Deuteronomy 31:8. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Courage is found and received from the Lord God himself; from the knowledge, belief that he is with you.

In New Testament terms, as a believer, you are filled with the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Take courage from his indwelling power. What additional strength could you possibly need?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

Purpose Prayer

Father, thank you that you are always with me.  I pray to be proactive and take courage knowing your Spirit guides and protects me. Praise you Lord, for you make me brave. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Purpose Steps

  1. What am I afraid of today?
  2. What is the worst thing that will happen if I forge ahead?
  3. Are you willing to be self-disciplined and obey God’s call to take courage?
  4. Name your first steps toward acts of courage.

Listen to Your HeartSong
You Make Me Brave/Amanda Cook, Bethel

Do you live a carefree life in Christ?

By: Vivian Wilson

Carefree Life

You know what I miss?  I miss the care-free feeling that I felt as a kid when summer ushered in three months of fun and a much more relaxed time schedule.  Oh, I still had responsibilities, I called them chores, but they were accomplished fairly quickly, which left me free to play all day until it was time to go back inside for dinner.  The beginning of summer meant the end of another school year.

For me, school was about learning.  I never had a study hall or easy class in my schedule.  The easiest class I had was P.E.  So for nine months I studied, did homework (at home), and tried to learn all I was expected to.  Summer was a welcome break from serious study.

Back then, time passed at a comfortable pace, not too fast and not too slow.  How different it is today.  This summer has flown by.  Unlike the summers of my youth, there is not a “break” from lessons.  Of course there were always “life lessons”, but somehow they were intermingled with and obscured by the care-free activities of the day.

Does life as a “seasoned” adult have to be so serious?  Or more to the point, does the life of a disciple of Christ have to be so serious or solemn all the time?  A disciple is a learner.  I am learning to live a holy life, a life that reflects the truth of God’s Word, His principles, His promises, His character, and His commandments. Life as a follower of God can be hard.  In fact it will be difficult and painful at times.  But I’m pretty sure I am offered the experience of “summer bliss” in my walk as a disciple of Christ.

This care-free joy comes only when I stop trying so hard to be perfect and stop over-thinking everything.  There is a fine line between taking responsibility for my words and actions, and taking control of the cause and effect of God’s plan for me.  The former requires trust and surrender to the One Who is all-knowing, all- powerful, good and loving.  The latter is driven by fear, pride, and a lack of trust.  I make life seem like too much work when I try to take control of it.

It has been too long since I have ceased striving and the result has been failure to enjoy life to the fullest.  It’s time to live care-free.  I don’t mean irresponsibly but  dependently.  All I have to do is surrender everything to Jesus and trust Him Who is good and loving toward is children.  My soul can then enjoy the freedom that is already mine in Christ.

The “summer bliss” isn’t reserved for the young only.  On the contrary, it is for the young at heart, those of us who are learning to trust and depend with a child-like faith.  It is not only enjoyed for a few weeks in the summer, but available every day of my life.  Striving is not the answer.  Trusting and abiding in Him, praising Him with a grateful heart, and delighting myself in Him are all I need to do.

Soooo, if you see me walking around with a goofy grin on my face, or even laughing out loud, don’t worry, it’s just a sign that I am living a care-free day.

Psalm 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 8:36  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

A work in progress,

Vivian