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God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

Posted on February 22, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

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

Often I go through a period of Bible study in which a theme takes on special meaning in my life. It is like God has held up a giant banner with words that have powerful relevance for the time and place in which I live. Sometimes these themes have lasted a year or more. In recent weeks the theme has been… “God loves me.”

It’s not that I didn’t already know that God loves me, but lately God has emphasized the precious power and magnitude of His love.

God wants us to do more than just know about His love. He wants us to be so immersed in His love that we rely upon it. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16) The light of His love is always burning and shining brightly upon us.

“God is love” (v16b) and His love is completely reliable. Think of those that you truly love…the ones you love from the depths of your heart. You would climb mountains for them…sacrifice for them…even die for them. They know you love them and that they can rely on you whenever they need help.

My sons know that they will always have their back. To the best of our ability we will always be there for them and help in any way we can. Of course, our help is limited to our available resources, yet nothing is impossible with God. God’s love opens the door to unlimited resources, wisdom, and knowledge for every need. You are His child and He loves you as no one else.

“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (v16c) To truly know God’s love is to live in God’s love. When we give our lives to Christ we enter into a continuing and unending cycle of love. God loves us, we love others, and we love Him.

As our part in the love cycle grows in love for others and our Lord so does our confidence in our standing with God. “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him.” (v17) Loving others and loving God locks in the blessed assurance that on the day of judgment things will be right between you and God. The result is something more than just head knowledge but also heart knowledge.

When we grow in love we take on an important quality of the character of God. “In this world we are like him.” (v17) Genuine love for others is god-like behavior.

Here is where this theme, God Loves Me, has really spoken to me: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (v18) Life is filled with frightening events and circumstances. The older I get the more aware I become of the fragility and vulnerability of life on this earth. But I don’t need to be afraid because God loves me. I know His love. I know He loves me and I know I can rely on Him. No matter what happens and no matter how difficult the challenges I may face, my God loves me and cares for me.

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. In fact, one test showed that, as my doctor put it, “you have cancer that is off the charts.” In those four months of testing I was never frightened or anxious. I just had confidence that my God who loves me had everything under control. Finally, my doctor looked at me and said, “I’ve seen many people with cancer and I know what it does to people. You don’t have cancer.”

“There is no fear in love.” (18a) When you come to that place in your life when you grasp the magnitude and magnificence of God’s love for you then you will discover this amazing truth: “Perfect love drives out fear.” (v18b)

Try this exercise. It has worked for me. When you hit a frightening situation, quickly turn your thoughts to God. Offer that circumstance to God in prayer. Turn it over to Him and then just think on His love for you. As you meditate on His love a most amazing thing happens. Your fear will disappear. Through the day whenever fear again rears its ugly head, repeat the process. I have never seen it fail. God’s “perfect love drives out fear.”

For more on this topic, check out this article: What It Means to Hope in the Lord

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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God’s Simple Strategy for Managing Fear

Posted on October 17, 2017 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3

What frightens you? Besides zombies, werewolves, and vampires, what keeps you awake at night?

I read an article recently that indicates the anxiety level is way up in our country due to worries over politics, terror threats, and the rise of foreign enemies with nukes.

To be sure, those things are frightening. I suspect 24 hour hyped and sensationalized news has a lot to do with that angst.

Here’s a side note based on a recent observation. Consider how many news reports include words and phrases like: if, may possibly, according to high level anonymous sources, etc. In other words, they’re only guessing or attempting to build a false narrative. Salacious news and headlines sell! For example: “According to high level anonymous sources Richard Weirich may have awakened in the middle of the night and eaten a half gallon of Bluebell Rocky Road ice cream.”

The point here, stick to real threats based on real facts. Makes for a lot less worry.

A burglar breaks into your house and steals your valuables. Your house catches on fire. An eighteen wheeler runs you off the road. Someone follows you home late at night. A masked man jumps out of the bushes and attacks you on a dimly lit street. Now, those things are legitimately frightening.

But there are more enduring fears than those things that go bump in the night. That agonizing pain in your abdomen that won’t subside. You naturally fear the worst. Your doctor runs a battery of tests and your suspicions are proven right. Then comes the treatments phase, many of which are nearly as frightening as the disease. Through it all, you are frightened by an uncertain outcome.

Of course, health fears aren’t limited to self. It can be equally troubling when a loved one’s health is in jeopardy.

I said all this to get you thinking about things that cause fear because help is available in such times. Our focus text is brief, but it powerfully addresses our most prudent response to fear.

The psalmist gives us both a strategy and a vow. He begins with the word “When…” When such-and-such happens this is what I will do.

Special Forces troops train for every eventuality. They learn strategies for facing frightening situations. Instead of focusing on the cause of fear, they focus on their training.

Long ago, when my life was considerably more chaotic than it is now, I learned to develop and internalize strategies for handling problems and difficult people. I made a short list of personal affirmations and godly responses to unfortunate circumstances.

That’s what the psalm writer was doing here. “When I am afraid…” At that moment, when I feel that sense of dread come over me from some problem, threat, or bad news — this is what I will do. “I put my trust in you.”

God gave us fear as a healthy response to danger. He also gave us a strategy for dealing with the emotion. Trust Him.

Ten years ago, I was hit with a painful gall bladder attack that required surgery. Soon after, I received a letter from the hospital informing me that my x-rays revealed a suspicious lump that needed to be checked out. Upon further testing, I was told it wasn’t cancerous, but I should get a second opinion. That’s when I visited one of Birmingham’s top cancer specialists. His tests resulted in a different report and a frightening diagnosis.

In my heart of hearts, I knew God had everything under control. I could trust Him completely. Instead of focusing on the cause of my anxiety, I kept my eyes on the author and finisher of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

Make this promise to yourself, and then to God. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Put another way, choose faith over fear.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Walking the High Wire of Faith

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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