Category Archives: Anchored in Jesus Christ

Fear The Solution

“Get up!” said Gideon. “The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”

 

There is something that has changed. The change is found in Gideon. His words were divinely inspired. The stronghold in his heart had been destroyed! Gideon divides his men into three companies. Each man is given a trumpet and a jar with only a torch inside for the other. The army of God goes to war without weapons. They will fight an army of 135,00! They will stand in the strength of God alone.

 

Gideon tells his men to watch him, and follow his lead. It should be noted that these are not the words nor actions of Gideon when he was faced in the winepress. Gideon has become a courageous man. He is operating the strength and power of Almighty God Himself.

 

The men surround the Midian camp in the dark of night. They do as Gideon tells them.

 

When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.” Judges 7:18.

 

The blast of the trumpets startle the enemy, and the smash of jars expose blazing torches that encircle the Midianites in a ring of fire. Absolute chaos breaks out in the camp. God the Father is the mastermind behind this attack. The battle is the Lord’s, and the victory is seen.

 

Whenever you find yourself in a fearful situation, remember Gideon. You are not alone. Rely upon the Lord’s presence in your life. Focus on His strength in your life. Claim and memorize the promise in Isaiah 41:10. Make this part of your life.

 

There is a key passage that you should read and reread. In the blackness of the night, the Midianites attack each other. Note Judges 7:22. Brother against brother, and friend against friend. What would you do if you were terrorized? What would you do if there were no “Gideon” around? He relied upon the Lord totally. The Lord was Gideon’s shepherd. Gideon was told from the beginning that the Lord was with him. When you are stricken with fear, read Psalm 23. Follow the steps presented with each verse. This Psalm is full of truths we need to focus on in order to have the victory.

 

Certain situations make it possible for you to only read the beginning verses of Psalm 23. Other situations call for us to read the entire psalm. Become familiar with this psalm, and listen to the voice of God when you refer to it.

Move to an undistracted place. When fear begins to fester in your heart and mind, exchange panic for peace by focusing on this psalm.

Find out if this imagined fear or real fear. Pray for God’s guidance in this area. He will speak to you, and tell you what to do.

 

Finally, trust God to give you the victory. Ask God to reveal the source of your fear. Allow Him to help you deal with the matter. When God reveals this to you, pray Psalm 23.

 

You must remember that you have the victory through the Father. He will never leave you alone. He will guide you through the tough times.

 

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Common Causes of Fear Part Two

Your Security Feels Threatened

 

-Financial security: “If I don’t do well on this presentation, I might lose my job. Then I won’t be able to support myself or my family.

 

-Physical safety: “If I drive too far from home, I might have an accident and even possibly be killed.”

 

-Physical health: “If I am not really careful about what I eat–or even touch–I may get sick…I could literally die!”

 

Your Solution

 

Learn that your security is in your personal relationship with the Lord.

 

“In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Psalm 56:11

 

Common Causes of Fear

God gives Gideon his first directive. Those who are fearful can return home. Talking about separating the brave from the fearful! Gideon lost 22,000 men because of this directive. Although they had enough faith to fight–they could not fight fearlessly. This was a requirement from God. Fear contaminates faith. http://ref.ly/Dt20.1-4. See also verse 8 of this chapter.

 

10,000 remained in Gideon’s army, and that was still too many. http://ref.ly/Jg7.4

 

What makes the difference between situations that evoke no fear, and those situations that evoke great fear? The perception is the answer to this question. Gideon is not one of the fearful men who return home. An individual’s perception of a situation affects both the degree of the person’s fear (how much fear will the person feel) and the way they respond to that fear. This involves what the individual will do because of the fear.

 

Fear is a natural human reaction to feeling threatened. This manifests itself either physically or emotionally. It is manifested in three areas:

 

-love

-significance

-security

 

Your Love from Others Feels Threatened

 

-Primary relationship: “If I lose my marriage partner, I don’t know what I will do or how I can go on living.”

 

-Talents and abilities: “If I don’t do well enough, I’ll lose my friends. Then I’ll be all alone.”

 

There is no manifestation of faith and dependence upon the Lord in these statements. The cares of this world weigh the individual down.

 

-Physical attractiveness: “If I start looking older and put on weight, I will lose the affection I need so badly.”

 

-Position in a relationship: “If you spend time with other people, then you do not really love me.”

 

The Solution

 

The individual must learn that they are loved by the Lord beyond measure.

 

“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” Psalm 103:11

 

Your Significance Feels Threatened

 

-Identity: “If I lose my position at work, I will lose all that I have worked to achieve. Then what reason will I have to live?”

 

-Self-esteem: “If I embarrass myself in front of people, I will never be able to go back there–I’ll be too ashamed.”

 

-Reputation: “If anyone finds out about my compulsive habit, I’ll lose face with everyone.”

 

Self-fulfillment: “If I don’t complete my goals, my life will be a failure.”

 

Your Solution

 

Learn that you are so significant that the Lord chose to save you and has planned the future for you.

 

“God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

 

Two Kinds of Anxiety

Gideon gradually came to realize that God’s call to a person is never dependent on that person’s strength or ability.

 

God’s call is determined by His own plan and power. We are asked to respond with faith in His strength. It should be noted that the more Gideon comes to believe God’s plan by faith, the more he is able to go forth in complete faith. He is able to follow God’s plan for the future. Though he is initially afraid, he moves forward in faith! This is how we should walk when God’s plan is revealed to us about our lives. Though we realize that we cannot do it alone, our faith will grow in God. We will be able to face anything that the devil may throw in our way.

 

Fear can do one of two things: paralyze or mobilize. Paralyzing brings doubt of God wants to do through us. We may fear that the problems will never change. Negative doubt-filled messages could have played over and over in his mind. It would have been like a broken record, but Gideon did not let it happen. If this would have been the case, his response might have been would have been “mighty warrior?–not a chance!”

 

Just like Gideon experienced a time of anxiety, we are subject to these times as well. Anxiety is not to be feared. It must be understood and be used as a prompt to trust in the Lord all the more. The Bible advises the following:

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God; trust also in me.”

John 14:1

 

Moderate Anxiety

 

Normal, fearful concern–can be healthy and helpful.

-It motivates us and leads to increased efficiency.

-It forces us out of our “comfort zone.”

-It can cause us to live dependently on the Lord.

 

Notice what the psalmist says:

 

“When anxiety was great within me,

your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

Psalm 94:19

 

Intense Anxiety

 

Abnormal fearful obsession–is more profound and problematic.

-It makes our concentration difficult.

-It causes us to be forgetful.

-It hinders our performance.

-It blocks our communication with others.

 

Notice Solomon who is known as the wisest man on earth said:

 

“Banish anxiety from your heart.”

Ecclesiastes 11:10

 

Question:

I have had a number of panic attacks and thought I was going to die. How can I overcome my irrational fear of death?

 

Answer:

You can experience peace–a lasting peace–when you realize that you have absolutely no control over the moment of your death. Based on the Bible, God has already determined the exact number of your days on earth. Therefore, face the fact of your death head-on. You must say the following to the Lord:

 

-“I choose to trust You with Your perfect plan for my life…and my death.”

-“I yield my will to your will.”

-“Thank you for giving me Your perfect peace.”

 

“All the days ordained for me were

written in your book before one of them

came to be.”

Psalm 139:16

 

“Man’s days are determined; you have

decreed the number of his months

and have set limits he cannot exceed.”

Job 14:5

 

 

Fear and Anxiety

This devotional will discuss anxiety, which is a part of fear. Here is the definition according to Webster’s New World Dictionary:

 

Anxiety–Worry or uneasiness about what may happen.

 

After the heavenly messenger delivers his first instructions, Gideon responds with questions. He says, “If the Lord is really with us, why has all this evil happened?” He goes on to make a point concerning himself. If God wants a deliverer, he is not the one for this job. He considers himself least of all his tribe. He belongs to the weakest of his clan, and he is in the smallest tribe of Manasseh. He wants to know how can he “save Israel”.

 

The reason behind this reaction can be found in the facts concerning the Midianites–Israel’s enemy. Gideon knows they have a new weapon, which enables them to make “swift, long-range” attacks. Their attacks would cause the Israelites to be virtually powerless. What is the weapon–the camel!

 

Without food or water and with heavy loads, camels could cover 300 miles in 3 or 4 days. When harvest time came, the Midianites could quickly cover the land “like swarms of locusts.” The Midianite troops and camels were innumerable. These swarms of people strip the land of the Israelites. They leave the land bare, and return when there is a new harvest.

 

In order to deal with this, Israel has men threshing meager amounts of grain in a winepress. They were hiding food, and they lived in caves and dens. This makes Gideon fearfully anxious. He is completely persuaded that

 

“The Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian” Judges 6:13. Gideon constant fear has anxiety as a close relative.

 

  • Anxiety in the psychological/psychiatric world is the “umbrella” word, which covers varying degrees of worry and fear. It ranges from mild to extreme.
  • Anxiety is an uneasiness or distress over a threat or something unknown and is characterized by extreme worry or brooding fear.
  • Anxiety stems from uncertainty–hoping something will happen, but having no guarantee that it will…or fearing something will happen, but having no control over whether it will or not.
  • Anxiety can lead to “catastrophic thinking” overestimating the likelihood of danger or a negative outcome.
  • Anxiety becomes a “disorder” when it becomes so intense that it dominates a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. This prevents a person from living a normal life.

Anxiety presents itself in the following disorders:

 

-Phobias

-Panic disorders

-Obsessive-compulsive disorders

-Anxiety due to a medical condition

-Post-traumatic stress disorder

-Acute stress disorder

-Generalized anxiety disorder

-Substance-induced anxiety

 

Fear: Normal vs. Abnormal

Gideon’s fear is understandable. His enemy is real. His life is in real danger. He has “normal” fear. God has proven Himself to be powerful and trustworthy. God does not deny Gideon’s fear and the dilemma he faces. To God this is not a problem. Fear and abnormal fear is not beyond God’s ability to resolve.

 

Normal Fear

 

The usual question concerning fear and believers is: Why would God give us the emotion of fear if it could be detrimental to us? The answer can be found in another question: “If at this moment you were surprised by an assailant with a knife in his hand, would you want the benefits of fear? The benefits are listed below:

 

Apprehension

To proceed with caution

Breathing increased

To deliver more oxygen to the body

Energy

To provide the fuel to take immediate action

Heart rate increased

To fuel your muscles with blood

Hyperalterness

To increase awareness of danger

Mind racing

To provide options to consider

Muscles contracting

To prepare for the “fight or flight” reaction

Perspiration increased

To cool the body down and prevent overheating

Pupils dilated

To increase vision, especially at night.

Senses heightened

For the purpose of dealing with the feared object.

Sleep lessened

To provide more “awake” time.

Talking increased

To aid in communication about the problem.

 

Abnormal Fear

 

The level of fear is way out of proportion to the actual situation. In fact, the fear may be totally unrelated to the situation. This kind of fear can result in a panic attack. The person with this kind of fear can identify with this anguished cry…

 

Psalm 55:4-7 (KJV)
(4) My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. (5) Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. (6) And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (7) Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.”

People with abnormal fear are not as afraid of the object of their fear as they are of the symptoms of their fear. [Phobia Center of the Southwest, “Agoraphobia,” 1990, n.d.] This is great fear. An individual experiences a panic attack when 4 or more of the following symptoms occur and reach a pick within 10 minutes or less. The body cannot sustain the “fight or flight” for longer than that time.

 

Please Note: This is an abbreviated list of symptoms.

 

Chest pain or discomfort.

Feeling like you are having a heart attack.

Chills or hot flashes.

Feeling like you must get to the hospital.

Choking sensation, difficulty swallowing (feeling like your throat is closing in on you.

Cold hands, tingling sensation.

Feeling like you are going numb.

Detached sensation.

Feeling like you are losing touch with reality or yourself

Dizziness, lightheaded.

Feeling like you are going to faint.

Fear of losing control

Feeling like you are going crazy.

Hyperventilating, shortness of breath.

Feeling like you are smothering.

Trembling or shaking.

Feeling like you are doomed.

 

Introduction and Definition

Imagine being terrorized. Your life in constant danger, and you do not know how to deal with it. Are there days when you think it is the last day on earth for you? Are you living in constant fear of what may happen today?

 

Somebody comes along and tells you to take action, and do not be afraid. Such an idea seems to be impossible for you to do.

 

Definition

Imagine trying to thresh wheat in a winepress…of all places! To thresh means to separate the chaff from the wheat–a gentle breeze in the outdoor air is needed to winnow the chaff. As all is thrown up into the air, both chaff and wheat, the wind blows away the lightweight chaff, and the heavier wheat falls to the ground. However,…in a winepress, the surrounding walls prevent the wind from blowing in the center and threshing is not likely to be effective.

 

You are hiding…fearing for your life…fighting an uphill battle…for a few grains of wheat. At this point, the angel of the Lord appears, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” He addresses you as…what? What is this…mighty warrior? Who…you?

 

What is Fear?

 

Imagine being asked to do something you know you cannot do. This is what Gideon faced. Imagine how he felt. Instead of meeting the challenge, Gideon says he is not the one for the job. The angel responds by telling Gideon that he is to lead the battle against the enemy. The enemy outnumbers Israel. This enemy is greatly feared by Israel–for good reason! The Midianites have been ravaging and ransacking your people at will, leaving behind death and destruction in their wake.

 

Note the following verses:

Judges 6:3-4 (KJV)
(3) “And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; (4) And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.”

Because of this attack, Gideon’s heart is terrorized with fear.

 

  • Fear is a strong emotional reaction to a perceived imminent danger characterized by a fight, flight or freeze response.
  • Fear can be real or imagined, rational or irrational, normal or abnormal.
  • Fear acts as a protective reaction, placed in us by our Creator to activate all of our physical defense systems when we face real danger. Fear triggers the release of adrenaline in the body that both prepares and propels us to action often called “fight or flight.”
  • Fear is a natural emotion designed by God. However, fearfulness is not designed by God, for fearfulness suggests living in a state of fear.
  • Fear is a translation of the Hebrew word yare, which means “to be afraid, stand in awe or fear.” [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1985), s.v. “Fear.”] When Gideon was attempting to thresh wheat in the winepress and the angel of the Lord appeared to him, “He was afraid.” Judges 6:27

 

 

The God of Hope will Meet Your Needs Part Three

#4 The Claw Anchor

-Originally designed for offshore gas and oil rigs

-Most effective on rocky, gravel, and coral bottoms

Jesus is our anchor. Jesus stabilizes us when we are victimized. This covers verbal abuse, violence, or sexual abuse, which claws the heart and body. It leaves us emotionally and spiritually scarred. For the times when we feel powerless, Jesus is our powerful anchor–holding us strong and secure.

Biblical example: While inside a boat, Jesus tells His disciples that they will all go across to the other side of the lake. Once on the water, Jesus falls into a deep sleep and is not awakened by a storm that swamps the boat. The experienced crew believers they are sure to drown! In desperation, they cry out to Jesus. With only a few words, Jesus calms the storm…then questions their faith. After all, hadn’t He said they were going across to the other side? Didn’t He imply that they would indeed make it to the other side?

Jesus proves Himself our personal anchor when the storms of life are so perilous that the thought of death seems imminent and the memory of His promises seems to fade.

Luke 8:22-25 (NASB)
(22) Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. (23) But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. (24) They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. (25) And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

#5 The Sea Anchor

-Made of sturdy cloth like either a giant sail or a parachute

-Lowered into the water to create a drag and slow the vessel down, especially when the water depth is too great for other anchors to grip hold of the bottom.

Jesus is our anchor. Like the sea anchor, Jesus stabilizes us when we feel like a ship flailing in the water…tossed from side to side because of a compulsive addiction or besetting sin. In the depth of our souls, He slows us down, helping us to see how our continual wrong choices will wreck our relationships and shatter our dreams. Jesus anchors us when the powerful waves of personal disappointment leave us in despair–a hopeless state in which the only recourse seems to be death…anything to end the pain. Even in most turbulent times, Jesus is there–He is our Anchor…in the deep.

Biblical example: Facing possible death, the prisoner Paul is being transported by ship to Rome to stand trial. In the midst of this trip, they face hurricane strength winds. The crew loses control of the ship, and the ship heads for the shore. They attempt to diminish the speed and save the ship. They let down the sea anchor. This is their only hope when it came to saving the ship. Crashing into sandbars would bring certain death.

Jesus proves Himself our personal anchor. When life is uncertain and all hope seems lost, Jesus is there every time.

“A wind of hurricane force, called the ‘northeaster,” swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along…When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along… When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 27:14-15, 17, 20.

When Jesus is your anchor, He can hold you secure in any storm because He has power

 

The God of Hope Meets Your Need Part Two

#3 The Plow Anchor

-Usually massive and heavy, often able to swivel

-effective in rock, kelp, grass, weeds, sand, and mud (not heavy grass)

 

Jesus is our anchor.

Like the plow anchor, Jesus stabilizes us when all we can see all around us are problems. With its swivel capabilities, comes an agility and adeptness to anchor us through a variety of situations–poor choices…money problems…prodigal loved ones…painful losses. When our problems are perplexing…and what we see does not make sense, Jesus never fails to be our anchor.

 

Scriptural example:

 

Jesus had just fed the 5,000 (plus women and children). He leaves to go and pray alone. He sends His disciples by boat to Bethsaida. Jesus knows they do not understand the meaning of this miracle. They struggle against the winds, and Jesus comes walking out on the lake. They thought they saw a ghost. It was Jesus coming, and they were afraid. Jesus reassures them climbing into the boat. The winds cease.

Jesus proves Himself our personal anchor when we do not know how to think or what to do.