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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 04/10/19

Father to the Rescue

Love kicks fear to the curb

STORY: Goodbye Fear

I heard 5-month-old Hettie (the fearless/fearful Boston Terrier) barking into the air. I decided to investigate. What caused this barking streak? Another dog? A squirrel? A meter reader? None of the above. It was either the wind, or the sound of big machinery a block away. Her barks sounded tough, but they were actually based in fear. As soon as she saw me, she climbed up my legs, begging me to hold her. Once in my arms, the barks quieted down, the quivering stopped, and she was at rest. Mommy to the rescue!

Love kicks fear to the curb.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (1 John 4:18 NLT)

STUDY: God Eradicates Fears

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4 NLT)

  • What happens when we pray to the Lord?
  • How is fear the opposite of freedom?

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

  • What is it like to walk through a dark valley?
  • How does God’s presence help alleviate fear?
  • What does a shepherd’s rod and staff do to protect and comfort the sheep?

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? (Psalm 118:6 NLT)

  • How does it alleviate fear, to know the Lord is for you?
  • When the Lord is in your corner, how does your perspective change regarding fearing how others will harm you?

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. (Psalm 112:7-8 NLT)

  • Have you ever feared bad news? What does that kind of worry do to you?
  • How is it possible to trust the Lord to take care of you when you are going through terrible times?
  • When your confidence in the Lord wavers because of your circumstances, how can you get it back?
  • Do you have an enemy? How will you face them without fear, and triumph?

The Lord is my light and my salvation — so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. (Psalm 27:1-3 NLT)

  • How does the fact that the Lord is your light help alleviate your fear?
  • When you have been saved by God, how does that lighten your fears?
  • What does a fortress do to protect a citizen from danger?
  • David had a physical army surrounding him, yet he didn’t fear. When he was attacked, it didn’t undermine his confidence in the Lord. How does that help you deal with your own enemies?

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4 NLT)

  • What is your go-to when you are afraid? Is it instinctive to first trust God or to do something else?
  • Have you tried praising God for his blessings when you are afraid? How does that help?
  • How does it help to look up rather than look around at others when you feel threatened?

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” (Isaiah 12:2 NLT)

  • When you think of God as your rescuer, is it easier to trust in him and not be afraid? What disturbs that trust? What causes fear to re-enter your mind and heart?
  • When you are trusting God, how does that help you make him Lord of your “right now”?
  • How do you find your strength in God for whatever today holds? Does this help you want to sing?
  • Notice the word “victory” comes after all these other details in Isaiah 12:2. Even though this was spoken by Isaiah for his situation, if I adopted his mindset, it would look like this: “I’m so glad God is my rescuer. Because of all he’s done already in my life, I can trust in him for today. As I lean into him, I realize I’m no longer afraid. I’m trusting him to take care of me, rather than trusting my own strength — this is what it means to make him Lord. I can sing — he has given me the victory!”

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NLT)

  • Read aloud the above passage with confidence. If you notice you can’t say it with confidence, what is holding you back?
  • According to this verse, what are two reasons we can be fearless?

STEPS: Replace Fear with Spirit Gifts

Today’s steps are based on 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV)

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

  1. Stir up the embers of your gift and keep it ablaze.
  2. Recognize that fear is not God-given.
  3. Replace feeling powerless for being powerful.
  4. Replace feeling unloved for feeling loved.
  5. Replace feeling overwhelmed with having a sound mind.

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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