As the onset of winter approached some Native American Indians approached their tribal chief and asked him to forecast whether the winter would by mild or cold. The chief had really no idea and so, to be on the safe side, he told them that they must stockpile plenty of firewood. In the meantime, the chief called the National Weather Centre for advice: “It is certain to be a cold winter,” they told him. The chief, fearing the worst, instructed his people to collect more wood. Two weeks later he phoned the weather centre again for an update, and again he was told, “It will most certainly be a cold winter.” By now the chief was getting really worried and so he instructed his people to collect even more firewood. Another two weeks passed and the chief again telephoned the weather centre for an update. “The weather is really mild,” said the chief. “What makes you so sure that we can expect a cold winter?” The weather expert replied, “Sir, we know because the locals are collecting firewood like crazy!”
Message: Fear (being False Expectations Appearing Real) is the biggest killer of potential known to man. It tries to negatively influence our behaviour, it eats away at our time and enthusiasm; it causes doubt and distractions which, both demoralise and debilitate us. Being aware of and reminding ourselves of this fact helps us to see through the mask, which FEAR often hides behind.
When she was a little girl, Corrie Ten Boom (a Dutch Christian who helped Jews escape from the Nazis during the Second World War) went to her father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough… for Jesus Christ.” “Tell me,” said her father, “when you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” “No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” “That’s right,” her father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in heaven knows when you will need the strength… He will supply all you need just in time.”
Source: Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha, (accessed 6/2/2015)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 NIV
The lives of great Christian leaders teach us that those who follow a God-sized calling need God-sized courage. Abraham left his home to journey to a place he wasn’t even sure existed. Moses overcame his speech impediment to lead the people of Israel to freedom. Joshua faced doubters who feared the Promised Land was too difficult to conquer. Gideon led an army of only three hundred to defeat an army of thousands. Daniel and Esther displayed tremendous courage in the face of death. Nehemiah overcame fierce opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days. Jesus faced the cross and triumphed over death. Paul penned parts of the New Testament while nurturing wounds in prison; and nearly every apostle preached the gospel until being martyred.
Brad Lomenick, The Catalyst Leader, day 3 of a 3-day devotional on YouVersion Bible app
Failure says, “Run, run, run away and live to confront your fears another day!”
Success says, “Stand, stand, stand this day, and overcome your fears straight away!”
“Fear kills more people than death.”
General George S. Patton (1885-1945), US military commander
I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13 NIV
“Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate.”
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
“Courage is just fear that has said its prayers.”
Karl Barth, Swiss theologian.
“Fear is the opposite of faith – it is faith in what you do not want to happen.”
“Touch a thistle timidly and it pricks you, but grasp it boldly and its spines crumble.”
William F. Halsey (1882-1959), U.S. 5Star Admiral
The word “FEAR” is also an acrostic for “False Evidence Appearing Real,” as the following tale demonstrates: Don’t give in to fears or they will overwhelm you. Take for example the small boy walking past a charming old churchyard on a very dark, but otherwise very pleasant, evening. When he walked along lackadaisically whistling a happy tune he was fine. But then he looked over into the churchyard and noticed the shadows and the grave stones, so he stopped whistling and quickened his pace. After a few strides his fear took hold of him and he suddenly got the urge to run, and as he ran his fear turned to terror – on what was, after all, just a dark, but otherwise very pleasant, evening! Let me say it again: If you give in to fear it will overwhelm you, if you give it an inch it will take a mile. Don’t do it. Don’t give it an inch. Instead, choose to control your fear and not let your fear control you.
excerpt adapted from Discover Your True Potential by R. Ian Seymour
In the early 1970s, the Iraqi government arrested a group of American students on trumped-up espionage charges. In order to elicit admissions of guilt, they tortured them. They were told that if they confessed they were spies, they would go free. In other words: ‘Compromise the truth – admit to a lie.’ One by one, as the pressures and the pain mounted, they all confessed to crimes they had not committed – except for one student. The torture intensified and the loneliness of isolation became unbearable, and he came close to breaking. But he didn’t. Finally they announced that they were finished with his case, and that he could simply confess or die. A confession lay before him as they raised a pistol to his head, cocked the hammer and started the countdown. He had heard executions from his cell and knew what his captors were capable of. ‘Sign your name,’ he was told, ‘and you will live,’ but he refused. He closed his eyes, grimaced and prepared to die. They pulled the trigger. When he heard the click, he thought he was dead. The gun, however, had not been loaded. The student was eventually released, but he discovered afterward that every other prisoner who had confessed was hanged in the public square. He was the only survivor. That day he learned a valuable lesson about facing tough times: compromise represents a far greater risk than courage.
Source: James Merritt, Still Standing: 8 Winning Strategies For Facing Tough Times, 2012, Eugene, OR: Harvest House, p.128-129 (in WFT 12/3/2020)
Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV1984)
The story is told of a Sunday school class who were memorising Psalm 23 and little Thomas couldn’t get beyond the first verse. On the big day he stepped up to the microphone, grinned at the audience and announced, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd… and that’s all I know!’ – Friends, that’s all we need to know sometimes!
“The enemy doesn’t fear your sin; he knows God can forgive. He doesn’t fear your depression; he knows God can drive it away. He doesn’t fear your poverty; he knows God can provide. He fears your discovery of God’s word, because your ignorance of it is the most effective weapon he can use against you when trouble comes.”
Do not be afraid: A pastor named Scott Dudley noted in a sermon how, over the last thirty years, we have created the most risk-averse society in history. We are the most seat-belted, bike-helmeted, air-bagged, kneepad-wearing, private-schooled, gluten-freed, hand-sanitized, peanut-avoiding, sunscreen-slathering, hyper-insured, massively- medicated, password-protected, valet-parked, security-systemed, inoculated generation in history—and all it has done is make everyone more afraid of everything.
“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British mathematician, philosopher, writer
Courage isn’t the absence of fear it’s the mastery of it.
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Go all in with God. Go all out for God.
Source: Mark Batterson, All In, 2013, Michigan USA, Zondervan, p.85-86
But now, this is what the LORD says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”
Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV1984)
“Do the thing you fear to do and the death of fear is certain.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American poet and essayist.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
Psalm 118:6-7 NIV
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear, your God will come… he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:3-4 (NIV1984)
Fear makes the monster seem bigger than it is.
When it comes to fear the best defensive is an offensive.
FEAR = False Expectations Appearing Real
Do The Thing You Fear To Do
Don’t let fear get a hold on you,
Instead, do the thing you fear to do.
If you’re lost and not sure which path to take,
Listen to your heart, the truth it won’t fake.
But you won’t find the courage by waiting around,
So get down off the fence and onto solid ground.
For in overcoming the fear you’ll look back and see,
That it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be.
So don’t let fear get a hold on you,
Just do the thing you fear to do,
And next time fear raises its ugly head,
Jump straight into action and kill the fear, dead!
R. Ian Seymour
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), German poet
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.
Isaiah 12:2 NIV
“I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you. 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.”
Isaiah 41:9-10 NIV
“The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one.”
Elbert Hubbard (writer)
“I believe that anyone can conquer fear by first doing three things: Do it once to prove to yourself that you can do it. Do it a second time to see whether or not you like it. And then do it again to see whether or not you want to keep on doing it. By the time you have accomplished the third step you will have at least conquered the fear.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
A Psalm of David (2nd King of Israel):
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me besides still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.