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Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
Facing fears
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Facing fears

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  • 1. Facing Fear and Finding Freedom by Joyce Meyer If you don't remember anything else from this article, remember that fear is not from God but from Satan. See Second Timothy 1:7. Every time you feel fear in your life, it's a manifestation of the kingdom of darkness. I often say in my teachings that fear is the "master spirit." It's the spirit Satan uses to try to rule God's people and keep them from coming under the leadership of the true Master, Jesus Christ. What Are You Afraid Of? Multitudes of people never fulfill the call of God on their lives simply because every time they try to go forward, the devil uses fear to stop them. Is he using fear to stop you? Satan uses fear to keep people from enjoying life. Fear brings torment, according to 1 John 4:18, and you surely can't enjoy life and be tormented at the same time. I want to encourage you to take an inventory in the fear department. What are you afraid of? Are there any areas in your life that are being stifled because of fear? Satan is always going to bring fear against us at various times. It's one of his major weapons—not a cap gun, but a cannon. Stepping Out in Spite of Fear All of us must learn how not to "fear the fear." The devil brings fear, but you can choose not to bow your knee to it. David said, "What time I am afraid, I will…trust…in You" (Psalm 56:3). I believe we can say that when God leads you to step out in an area to do something new, or leads you to make a bigger commitment, you may (or probably will) feel fear. However, if you're sure God told you to do it, put your trust in Him and go forward. I have to apply this same principle to my life all the time. Years ago, we realized that we really needed more office space. At the same time, we needed more employees, which would require more desks, computers, phones, etc. We had a choice. We had prayed for growth so we could help more people. And everything did increase—resource orders, speaking engagements, incoming phone calls, mail, etc. It was God's timing, and He was moving. We had to make a decision to either stand still in fear or move with God. If we had not been willing to rent more space and hire more people, we couldn't have kept up with the growth. I can tell you for sure that fear tried to stop me. I heard things like, "Joyce, you're getting in over your head." "That's too much money to spend." "What if the increase doesn't continue?" I'm sure you know the recording; you've probably heard it also. We certainly don't want to move in the flesh or out of God's timing, but when God is moving, you can't be afraid to move with Him. In my situation, I had a choice to be led by my head or follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. How Fear Works Some common fears are fear of lack, death, loneliness, people, authority, commitment, heights, germs, closed-in spaces, airplanes, dogs, cats, failure, rejection, being laughed at, and even fear of being attractive. We went to the library and got a typed list of known phobias—it was four pages long. It even included phobaphobia, which is the fear of being afraid. It seems that the list is endless. It convinced me even more of how extensive Satan's work is in this area.
  • 2. Face Fear and Move Forward Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear not, for I am with you. I believe God works gently with us to bring us out of bondage and into liberty. If you've been afraid of something and desire to be free, the time will eventually come when you'll have to face your fear and not run away from it. Just take Jesus' hand, acknowledge that He is with you, and do it. If you're afraid of people with authority, the time will come when you'll have to confront an authority figure and not cower in fear. God will have arranged the time. He'll be there, but you'll have to choose whether to go through or run away. If you're at one of these crossroads in your life, let me encourage you to go forward. Don't stand still in terror, but take His hand and go forward. Remember, fear torments and God wants to deliver you from all of your fears. Do It Afraid! by Joyce Meyer Fear! Has it ever been a problem for you, holding you back from moving into areas that could enrich your own life and the lives of others? There is a solution. One of the many benefits available to Christians is freedom from fear. When we avoid making changes or confronting issues in our lives because of fear or dread, we need to remember that God has promised to go before us and bring us through victoriously as we obey Him. How to Be Prepared When we’re facing a job interview, for example, instead of being afraid that we’ll make a bad impression and fail to get the position, we need to ask God to prepare the heart and mind of the interviewer and help us present ourselves in the very best light. When God "prepares the way," we can trust that whatever happens will turn out for our good according to His perfect plan for us. The Bible tells of a man named Abram who trusted God in spite of his own personal fear. Now...the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father's house, to the land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1). How to Be Unstoppable How would you feel if God told you to leave your home, your family and everything that is familiar and comfortable and head out to an unknown destination? Full of fear? That’s precisely the challenge Abram faced—and it frightened him. But God's words to him were, "Fear not." It’s the same message He gave to Joshua when He called him to lead the children of Israel to take the land He had promised to give them as their inheritance (see Joshua 1:6-9). And to all who set out to follow God's plan today, He says, "Fear not." Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband was killed along with four other missionaries in Ecuador, says that her life was completely controlled by fear. Every time she started to step out to minister, fear stopped her. Then a friend told her something that set her free. Her friend said, "Why don't you do it afraid?" Elisabeth listened and took that advice. Together with Rachel Saint, the sister of one of the murdered missionaries, they went on to evangelize the Indian tribes of Ecuador, including the very people who had killed their loved ones. Many times we think we should wait to do something until we are no longer afraid, but if we did that, we’d probably accomplish very little for God, for others, or even for ourselves. Both Abram and Joshua had to step out in faith and obedience to God and do what He had commanded them to
  • 3. do—even though they were afraid. Don't Run I believe the words fear not simply mean don't run. So the solution to fear is simple: Rather than bowing our knee and giving in to it, we must stand firm against it, knowing that God has gone before us and prepared the way. This is precisely what God wants us to do. Even if our mouth is dry and our knees are shaking, we need to keep asking God to strengthen us. We need to determine that our lives are not going to be ruled by fear but by the Word of God. As we saw before in Genesis, God gave Abram a tall order. He said, "Pack up and leave everyone you know and everything you’re comfortable with and go to a place I will show you." If Abram had bowed his knee to fear, he never would’ve fulfilled his destiny to become all God created him to be —the father of many nations. In the same way, if Joshua hadn’t overcome his fear and been obedient to God's command to lead His people into the Promised Land, they never would’ve enjoyed all that God had prepared for them. Giving in to fear alters God's best plan for your life. So use the power of God's Word to do what He wants you to do...even if you have to do it afraid! The rewards are great. Kiss Fear Goodbye and Enjoy Life's Journey by Joyce Meyer I define hope as "the happy anticipation of good things." Are you aggressively hoping for something good to happen to you? Do you wake up in the morning excited and expectant about life? You can do that by learning how to celebrate and enjoy this journey called life. Everything in life is a process in motion. Without movement, advancement and progression, there is no life. Once a thing has ceased to progress, it is dead. In other words, as long as we live, you and I are always going to be heading somewhere, and we should be enjoying ourselves on the way. God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, according to Proverbs 13:12, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. There's something about hope that makes people lighthearted and happy. You're not going to be happy if you don't have hope. The more hope you have in God, the happier you become. Biblical hope is a close relative to faith. I don't see how you can have faith without hope because hope is the foundation on which faith stands. Hope believes everything is going to turn out all right—hope is positive! To enjoy life you must maintain a good, positive attitude. God is positive, and He wants positive things to happen to each of us, but that isn't likely to happen if we're not filled with hope and faith. Some people are afraid to hope because they have experienced so much hurt and disappointment that they don't think they can face any more pain. They refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed. Disappointment is painful! Rather than being hurt again, they simply refuse to hope that anything good will ever happen to them. This type of behavior sets up a negative lifestyle. Everything becomes negative because their thoughts are negative. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he....
  • 4. Your Future Has No Room For Your Past! Many years ago I was extremely negative because of the devastating abuse that had taken place in my past. The result was that I expected people to hurt me, and they did. I expected people to be dishonest, and they were. I was afraid to believe that anything good might happen. I thought I was protecting myself from being hurt by not expecting anything good to happen. When I really began to study the Word and trust God to restore me, I began to realize that all of my negativism had to go. In Matthew 8:13, Jesus says that it will be done for us as we have believed. I believed everything was negative, so naturally many negative things happened to me. I needed to let go of the past and move into the future with hope, faith and trust in God. I had to get rid of the heaviness of despair, depression and discouragement. And I did, once I dug into the truth of God's Word! I found out that God is ...a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). I began to turn my negative thoughts and words into positive ones! Now, I am not saying that you and I can get whatever we want by just thinking about it. God has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can't control Him with our thoughts and words. But we can think and speak in agreement with His will and plan for us. We can practice being positive in every situation that arises. Even if what is taking place in your life at the moment seems negative, expect God to bring good out of it as He has promised in His Word. You must understand that before your life can change, your attitude must change. Hope is a powerful, spiritual force that is activated through our positive attitude. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28). What Satan means for harm, God intends for good. All things work together for good for those who love God. Satan wants to hurt you and have you spend your life distrusting everyone because somebody hurt you when you were a child, while you were in school, in your marriage, on your job, etc. The list of who, what, where and how you can be hurt is endless. You have to say, "No! That is subject to change! I am a child of the living God! Something good is going to happen to me!" [After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). What this means is that after all the painful things that have happened in your past have come and gone, God still wants you to enjoy every single day of your life. This won't happen, however, until you make up your mind to take hold of the abundant life that Jesus' death and resurrection purchased for you. Until then, the devil will always try to take it away. Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (John 10:10). You are a new creation. You don't have to allow the old things that happened to you continue to affect your new life in Christ. As a new creature in Christ Jesus, you can have your mind renewed according to the Word of God: And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24). Things will change for the better when you keep your thoughts filled with hope. Rejoice In Hope The Bible is full of hope-filled promises for you and me.Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God (Romans 5:2). Good things begin to happen to you when you rejoice in the hope of
  • 5. experiencing God's favor on a regular basis. Luke 2:52 tells us that ...Jesus increased in...favor with God and man. You and I are introduced to the favor of God by faith. All of God's promises are activated by faith. We shortchange ourselves when we believe in Jesus but don't believe in His blessings. Believe that you walk in holiness and righteousness (see Ephesians 4:24), believe that you are anointed (see 2 Corinthians 1:21), and believe that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing as promised in Ephesians 1:3. Believe Romans 8:37 when it says you are more than a conqueror! Everything that is promised in the Bible is for us to rejoice innow. Be glad! Raise your expectancy level. Rejoice in the hope of experiencing God's glory right now. My husband and I believe for many things, but beyond them all, we believe in Someone—Jesus. We don't always know what is going to happen. We just know that it will always work out for our good! The more positive and hopeful we are, the more we will be in the flow of God. In Ephesians 1:17-18, the apostle Paul prayed, [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones). This glorious inheritance is for you and me! Second Peter 1:3 says, For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). You Can Become Bold and Fearless by Joyce Meyer Bold: to be brave, daring, courageous, intrepid, valiant. God is calling us to be bold. If you have the tendency to not take chances in life because you're afraid of making mistakes, God wants you to know He's pleased with you when you try. It doesn't matter if you don't do everything exactly right. What matters is that you step out in faith, believing God will help you! Second Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power—and He wants us to use it! It doesn't take courage to do what we already know we can do. True courage is displayed when you're afraid to do something but you go ahead and do it anyway. The truth is, we don't ever have to fear because we can ask God for His help anytime we need it. Taking the Focus Off of Performance There are so many people who are so afraid of making a mistake that they don't do anything. Instead, they sit around saying, "What if I'm wrong?" Well, we're human. We're going to make mistakes and look silly from time to time. We can be so afraid of being judged or criticized or getting laughed at. But the only thing fear does in our lives is stop our progress. What matters to God is relationship…not performance. God knows we aren't perfect, and He's totally okay with it. The problem is, the devil knows it too, and he does his best to tell us every step of the way! We can be going along, serving God, doing good, stepping out in faith and then all of a sudden, without there being any justification for it, we'll have a day or week when we have an attack on our mind about fear. That's when we need to say what God's Word tells us:
  • 6. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV Honesty Outweighs Perfection We can care too much about what people think of us to the point where it totally immobilizes us and we are petrified about looking wrong. But do you know what? I think if we are more truthful, we will actually get more respect than we do by trying to hide everything, pretending we're perfect. I believe one of the main reasons people like to listen to me is that I tell all my junk. It helps them to relax, to relate to me, and offers them hope that if I can do some of the things I've done and make it, so can they. We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes—period. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He's calling us to be bold—fearless in approaching Him, in stepping out in faith, and in trusting Him to lead us. Kiss Fear Goodbye and Enjoy Life's Journey by Joyce Meyer I define hope as "the happy anticipation of good things." Are you aggressively hoping for something good to happen to you? Do you wake up in the morning excited and expectant about life? You can do that by learning how to celebrate and enjoy this journey called life. Everything in life is a process in motion. Without movement, advancement and progression, there is no life. Once a thing has ceased to progress, it is dead. In other words, as long as we live, you and I are always going to be heading somewhere, and we should be enjoying ourselves on the way. God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, according to Proverbs 13:12, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. There's something about hope that makes people lighthearted and happy. You're not going to be happy if you don't have hope. The more hope you have in God, the happier you become. Biblical hope is a close relative to faith. I don't see how you can have faith without hope because hope is the foundation on which faith stands. Hope believes everything is going to turn out all right—hope is positive! To enjoy life you must maintain a good, positive attitude. God is positive, and He wants positive things to happen to each of us, but that isn't likely to happen if we're not filled with hope and faith. Some people are afraid to hope because they have experienced so much hurt and disappointment that they don't think they can face any more pain. They refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed. Disappointment is painful! Rather than being hurt again, they simply refuse to hope that anything good will ever happen to them. This type of behavior sets up a negative lifestyle. Everything becomes negative because their thoughts are negative. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.... Your Future Has No Room For Your Past! Many years ago I was extremely negative because of the devastating abuse that had taken place in my past. The result was that I expected people to hurt me, and they did. I expected people to be dishonest, and they were. I was afraid to believe that anything good might happen. I thought I was
  • 7. protecting myself from being hurt by not expecting anything good to happen. When I really began to study the Word and trust God to restore me, I began to realize that all of my negativism had to go. In Matthew 8:13, Jesus says that it will be done for us as we have believed. I believed everything was negative, so naturally many negative things happened to me. I needed to let go of the past and move into the future with hope, faith and trust in God. I had to get rid of the heaviness of despair, depression and discouragement. And I did, once I dug into the truth of God's Word! I found out that God is ...a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). I began to turn my negative thoughts and words into positive ones! Now, I am not saying that you and I can get whatever we want by just thinking about it. God has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can't control Him with our thoughts and words. But we can think and speak in agreement with His will and plan for us. We can practice being positive in every situation that arises. Even if what is taking place in your life at the moment seems negative, expect God to bring good out of it as He has promised in His Word. You must understand that before your life can change, your attitude must change. Hope is a powerful, spiritual force that is activated through our positive attitude. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28). What Satan means for harm, God intends for good. All things work together for good for those who love God. Satan wants to hurt you and have you spend your life distrusting everyone because somebody hurt you when you were a child, while you were in school, in your marriage, on your job, etc. The list of who, what, where and how you can be hurt is endless. You have to say, "No! That is subject to change! I am a child of the living God! Something good is going to happen to me!" [After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). What this means is that after all the painful things that have happened in your past have come and gone, God still wants you to enjoy every single day of your life. This won't happen, however, until you make up your mind to take hold of the abundant life that Jesus' death and resurrection purchased for you. Until then, the devil will always try to take it away. Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (John 10:10). You are a new creation. You don't have to allow the old things that happened to you continue to affect your new life in Christ. As a new creature in Christ Jesus, you can have your mind renewed according to the Word of God: And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24). Things will change for the better when you keep your thoughts filled with hope. How to Find Freedom From Insecurity by Joyce Meyer We have an epidemic of insecure people in our society today. Many people have an identity crisis because they don’t really know who they are and they base their worth and value on all the wrong things – what they do, what they look like, who they know, what they know or what they own. What do you think of yourself? How do you feel about yourself? Do you ever compare yourself with other people and feel belittled if you can’t do what they can do or be like them? Have you ever said “I wish I looked like her” or “I wish I had what they have” or “I wish I could do what you do”?
  • 8. Everyone experiences insecurity at times. I know what’s it’s like to feel inferior to others and insecure about myself. I grew up in a very unstable, volatile home environment and never really felt safe and secure throughout my childhood. That’s why it’s very important to me to feel safe and secure in my life now. The good news is, we don’t have to live insecure lives because it’s God’s will for us to be very secure and not to live in fear. We were created to feel safe, secure, confident and bold; it’s part of our spiritual DNA as born-again believers in Christ. But the key to living a secure life in Christ is knowing who you are in Christ, really receiving God’s love for you, and basing your worth and value on who God says you are, not what you do. One thing that really helped me get a revelation about this is Isaiah 54:17: “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord….” This scripture clearly states that as servants and children of God, it’s part of our inherited, bloodbought right through our relationship with Jesus Christ to be secure. We are joint heirs with Jesus and whatever He has, we get. But we have to take it by faith, which means we believe it before we see it. And since we believe what we say about ourselves more than what others say, we each need to speak what the Bible says about us as children of God to overcome the negative, defeating opposition in the world that wants us to see ourselves compared to others, not who we are in Christ. Another thing I needed revelation about was the love of God for me. The first message I preached in my public ministry was about God’s love for us. I didn’t really want to do it because I felt like it wasn’t a powerful, new message and people already knew God loves them. But the Lord impressed on my heart that many people don’t understand His love for them, and if they did, they would act a whole lot different than they do. They wouldn’t get caught up in competition, compare themselves to others, be afraid of their mistakes or afraid of admitting weaknesses if they were secure in God’s love. First John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love…but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” This opened my eyes to the fact that I was one of those people. So for the next year, I focused my Bible study on the love of God, and during that time, I received my own personal revelation of God’s unconditional love for me and acceptance of me. Getting a revelation of God’s unconditional love helped me understand that my worth and value are based on the fact that I’m a child of God, not on what I do. This is so important because if we believe God loves us based on what we do or how well we perform, we will never be truly secure and stable in our relationship with Him. I’ve had to remind myself at times that I am not Joyce Meyer Ministries. I am more than this ministry. And if a time comes when God asks me not to do this ministry anymore, I will be just as important and valuable to Him then as I am right now. The same thing is true for you. No matter what you do for a living, whether you’re single or married, have children or not, you’re well educated, rich or poor, you are just as important to God as everyone else. We are all equally valuable to God. God is love. And He really loves you! I pray that you will experience God’s love for yourself every day of your life. Then you can have the life of peace, joy and true security that He’s planned for you.
  • 9. The Key to Overcoming Every Fear You Face by Joyce Meyer Everyone experiences fear in their life. There are big fears we are very aware of and little ones we may not even realize we have. I've learned that it's very important to understand what fear is and how it works against us because if we don't, it can keep us from becoming what God created us to be, which means we won't fulfill our purpose in life. Fear's Evil Scheme Fear is a tool the devil uses against us to make us miserable and destroy our lives. It begins as a thought and then creates emotions that can rule us. It often becomes a strong, intense feeling that tries to move us to make a foolish action or tries to prevent us from doing something that would be good for us. Because it's such a common way that Satan attacks people's lives, I think of it as the master spirit he uses to manipulate people and keep them out of God's will. Simply put, fear is the opposite of faith. God wants us to walk by faith, and Satan wants us to walk by fear. When we learn to live by faith and not let fear rule our life, we can live a fulfilling, satisfying, peaceful and joyful life in Christ. Like I said before, fear begins with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that "as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he" (NKJV). I like to say it like this: Where the mind goes, the man follows. Finding Freedom This is why the Bible talks about meditating on the Word of God and having our minds renewed (see Romans 12:2) so we can know what God's will is. Meditating means you roll the Scripture over and over in your mind until it becomes part of you. Meditation takes information and turns it into revelation. When you get revelation about something, then you know that you know that you know it, and the truth of it sets you free from the lie that was holding you back from something God had for you. Is Fear Holding You Back? I wonder how many people actually have gifts and talents from God but they aren't using them because they tried and failed? So many people are frustrated because they know they're not doing what they are meant to do and are letting fear rule them. I want you to get a revelation about this because you're not going to ever be really happy if you don't fulfill your potential and be who God created you to be. The key is to learn who you are in Christ and see yourself in Him. When we become born again through a relationship with Jesus Christ, we actually become "recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do good works which God predestined…for us…[living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]" (Ephesians 2:10 AMP). So whatever Jesus is, we are too. He is strong, and in Him, we are strong. He is courageous; in Him, we are courageous. He is a conqueror, so we can be too. He has peace and joy, so we have peace
  • 10. and joy. He's capable and bold. In Christ, we can do whatever we need to do with His boldness. As you read the Bible and meditate on what God says about you, you will be able to recognize the fears in your life that are holding you back and overcome them by seeing yourself in Christ. Then you will find you have whatever you need to do what you are created to do. The Cause and Cure for Worry by Joyce Meyer Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It's human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we're not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what's reasonable. Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere. So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do? Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we're doing the devil's job for him! Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to go it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions. At a young age, I discovered firsthand that people hurt people, so I didn't trust others. I tried to take care of myself, deciding not to depend on anyone who would hurt or disappoint me. Too often our experiences in the world teach us this, and even after we become Christians, it takes a long time to overcome it. It's difficult to learn how to trust God, but we eventually must learn that trying to take care of everything ourselves is too big a task. Cast Your Cares on the One Who Cares for You First Peter 5:6-7 says, Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Since Jesus invites us to cast all of our care and worry on Him, why do so many of us refuse to let go? Apparently, we're not yet fed up with being miserable. “ Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere.” The only way to have victory in our lives is to play by God's rules, and He says we must quit worrying if we want to have peace. So when things come our way that cause us to be concerned, we need God's help. How do we get it? First Peter 5:6-7 lists two important steps: 1) humble yourselves, and 2) cast your care on Him. That seems pretty clear and simple, yet some continue struggling because they're too bullheaded to ask for help. But the humble get the help. So if your way isn't working, why not try God's way? All of us would be better off if we'd learn to lean on God and ask for His help. But as long as we try to do everything ourselves, God will let us. He won't take care of our problems and worries—our cares —until we turn loose of them and give them to Him. Either we're going to do it or God's going to do it, but both of us aren't going to. Now, casting your care doesn't mean you can be irresponsible. God won't do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can't. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He's able to release His power in our situations. It's only then that we can really enjoy life. So the cure for worry is humbling ourselves before God, casting our cares on Him, and trusting
  • 11. Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. I know that when we are able to believe and say, "God, I trust You," it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, Trust…in the Lord and do good.... God didn't create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. He wants us to sow good seed by reaching out to help others. When we simply trust God and get busy doing the good things we know to do, then He'll bring a harvest of blessings into our lives and meet our needs. Develop an Attitude of Faith and Prayer I've learned that my attitude has a lot to do with living a worry-free life. There will always be situations that cause us concern, but with God's help, we can live above all of it and enjoy life. Cast your care on the Lord and say, "God, I trust You, and I'm going to enjoy the life You have given me." When you give your problems to God, you must also decide to be satisfied with His answers. Trusting God to do what's best for us involves dying to self. Paul said, ...it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). You can trust God to do what's best for you, so you don't have to worry about it. When you have a positive attitude and keep your faith in God, you can't be defeated. We must stop trying to make things happen the way we want and get to the place where we desire to please God more than ourselves. The Christ in us has to supercede what we want. Faith and the Word of God will help you overcome worry. Worrying involves negative thoughts, but speaking positive things out of your mouth will interrupt those negative thought patterns. When we are full of the Word of God, we can speak it out of our mouths in faith. Faith is stronger than doubt, negativism and unbelief. Faith has a positive attitude that can overcome our past and lead us into a great future. Faith is a powerful force that cannot be conquered. Another powerful force is prayer. When you're under pressure, it's always best to pray about it instead of talk about it. Prayer is the blueprint for a successful life. During His time on earth, Jesus prayed. He entrusted everything to God—even His reputation and life. We can do the same. We don't have to explain all the problems to Him; we can just give them to Him and ask Him to take care of everything. Don't complicate prayer. Just have confidence in simple, believing prayer. Look at Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If you're a Christian who goes around burdened or weighed down all the time, something is wrong. You may have had faith in Christ for salvation, but you haven't moved into walking in faith daily for the life that God has given you. The Bible tells us that God is faithful—that's one of His major characteristics. He can be counted on to come through for us, so we should trust Him totally and completely. When we do, we'll be ready for anything that may come our way. Allow God to Give You Peace and Rest In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Jesus wants to ease our burdens and give us rest. The Message Bible says it this way: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the
  • 12. unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30). That sounds good, doesn't it? I've had enough heavy stuff in my life, and I want to be free. It's nice to know that we don't have to figure everything out. We need to get comfortable with saying, "I don't have a clue, but I'm not going to worry about it because God's in control. I'm going to live free and light!" When we're overloaded with the cares of this life—struggling, laboring and worrying— we need some help. Our minds need to rest from worrying about how to take care of problems, our emotions need to rest from being upset all the time, and our wills need a rest from stubbornness and rebellion. So we need to be humble enough to call out to God and say, "I need help!" Your beginning doesn't have to dictate your ending. Get God involved in every area of your life and allow Him to lead you into rest. Worry or Worship? Worry and worship are exact opposites, and we'd all be much happier if we learned to become worshippers instead of worriers. Worry opens the door for the devil, but worship is reverence and adoration for God that leads us into His presence. God created us to worship Him, and I don't believe we can walk in victory if we don't become worshippers. Sometimes when we don't have what we need or want, the enemy tries to discourage us and keep us from worshipping God. But when we know that God has our best interests at heart, we can worship Him regardless of our circumstances. Remember, God is good even when our circumstances are not! God doesn't always give us our heart's desire right away. He wants us to develop a deep, personal relationship with Him and an outrageous love for Him so much so that we can't live without it. This kind of relationship and love brings the worshipful attitude that God wants us to have. To worship means "to reverence," or "to defer to." We are to have reverential fear and awe of God. We are to respect and honor Him, and defer to Him by submitting to and obeying Him, and adapt ourselves to His will. We must realize that Christ, living in us, has come to lead and guide us into a special lifestyle of worship and victorious living. When Satan throws worry on you, I challenge you to stop what you're doing, get down on your knees before God, and begin praising Him. Worship is a spiritual weapon, a warhead or bomb you can use against the enemy. Your prayers and worship will get you heavenly help, and you won't have to fight your own battles. God's grace and power can make things happen with ease that you can't bring about no matter how much you struggle. So stop worrying about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Grace isn't just divine favor— it's power! Don't waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don't try to take on God's responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can't. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you. This article is taken from Joyce's DVD teaching, Freedom from Worry and Anxiety. Finding a More Peaceful Way of Life by Joyce Meyer If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and believe the words He spoke to His disciples, then you can definitely find peace in your life. He’s helped me find a lot more peace than I used to have, and He can help you find peace too. What Jesus Said About Peace Peace is important because Jesus talked about it many times, especially in His final moments before
  • 13. He ascended to heaven. In John 14:27 (AMP) He tells His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” Jesus essentially said, “I’m leaving you My peace. Now you need to do all you can to hold on to your peace and stop letting yourself get upset.” Jesus also gives His peace in John 20:19, 21. Now, you might be thinking: “Okay, we can see that Jesus likes peace and wants us to have it. But how can I have it today? Here are seven practical ways you can immediately increase your peace. 1. See the value of peace. Maybe you need to take peace a little more seriously. If you don’t think it’s a big deal to lose your temper, worry all day or get stressed out, you may have underappreciated the gift of peace more than you realize. See 1 Peter 3:11. “ Jesus designed us to be fruitful, not busy.” 2. Take inventory of where you spend your time. Do you have an unsustainable life? Maybe you have way too much on your plate, but you keep saying yes to things and filling up your calendar. Remember that Jesus designed us to be fruitful, not busy. So cut away the branches that are not bearing fruit. 3. Trust God. Believers in Christ are supposed to believe, right? That means we trust what He says in His Word and completely give everything over to Him. When we do that, we enter His rest (peace). See Proverbs 3:5. 4. Decide not to be a people pleaser. It’s impossible to keep all the people in your life happy all the time. This doesn’t mean you should be rude to them. Just don’t try to please someone at the expense of displeasing or being disobedient to God. Live to please Him first. 5. Mind your own business. I’ve learned that usually, the less I know about other people, the better off I am. Being nosy and spending energy trying to learn what others are doing or saying produces anything but peace in life. See 1 Thessalonians 4:11. 6. Let peace be the umpire of your life. If you are thinking about doing something, but you don’t have peace about it, don’t do it—because if it’s not peaceful, it’s not God. 7. Do whatever you can to work toward simplicity. I’ve learned that the busier you are, the more important it is to have simplicity, which means sometimes it’s best to let things go instead of starting a war over something petty. Also, it might be simpler to not own so much stuff. Trying to take care of too much can just overwhelm and frustrate you. If you will put these suggestions into practice, a more peaceful life is possible for you. Remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He can provide the tranquility you long for…even in today’s busy world. Every one of us has problems, some worse than others. And we all struggle to get victory over some issues or circumstances in our lives. We need a miracle to get over them. So what do you do when you need a miracle? You wiggle.
  • 14. Remember the old donkey stuck in the pit. When his owner tried to bury him, he persevered in wiggling to shake off the dirt that was thrown on his back, stepped on it after each wiggle, and eventually walked right out of his pit. The same can happen for us. But we gotta wiggle! “Wiggling” simply means taking responsibility to obey God. The bottom line is that whatever your problem is, the way to fix it is to do whatever God tells you to do. The thing we have to get is that while God wants to help us, there’s a part only we can do to get our breakthrough. God will give us the ability to do our part, but we still have to make the decision to obey God. We have to “get up on the inside,” take responsibility for our choices, and have a good attitude while we’re doing what we are supposed to. It may not be easy – in fact, a lot of the time it’s just hard. But every time we do what’s right especially when its hard, we make progress in our relationship with God and get closer to our miracle. And we can do it. Remember that the promises of God are for “whosoever will.” That means you! What to Do If You're Tired of Toughing It Out by Joyce Meyer Have you ever noticed how so many different thoughts run through our minds every day? Some are good, some bad. Unfortunately, our natural temptation is to focus on the bad; so accepting them doesn't take any effort. The effort comes when we're determined to cast down the negative thoughts, and take a firm grasp of the positive ones. The Battle for Your Thoughts Positive minds full of faith and hope produce positive lives. The opposite is also true: negative minds full of fear and doubt produce negative lives, which can ultimately destroy your life. Some people have been hurt so many times that they don't think they can face the pain of another letdown. Therefore, they refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed. Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems. We must decide that we're not going to quit. When we're bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: "I'll never give up! God's on my side. He loves me, and He's helping me! I'm going to make it!" Don't Give Up! No matter how bad the battle rages in your mind, don't give up! Step out and regain the territory that's been stolen from you. Even if it's only an inch at a time, make sure you're leaning on God's grace and not on your own ability. In Galatians 6:9 the apostle Paul simply encourages us to keep on keeping on! Don't be a quitter! Don't have that old "give up" spirit. God's looking for people who will find the courage to rise above all the negative and pursue the positive. Whatever you may be facing or experiencing in your life right now, I want to encourage you to stay positive and refuse to give up! God is with you. He'll help you make spiritual progress—
  • 15. strengthening and encouraging you to keep on keeping on during rough times. It's easy to quit, but it takes faith to press on to victory. Reprogram Your Mind When the battle seems endless and you think you'll never make it, remember that you're reprogramming a "worldly" mind to think as God thinks. In the same way that computers are programmed, our minds are also programmed. From the time we're born, our minds are like computers that have had a lifetime of garbage programmed into them. But God—the best "computer programmer" around—is working on us every day to reprogram our minds as we cooperate with Him (see Romans 12:2). When Progress is Slow This process of reprogramming or renewing our minds will take place little by little, so don't be discouraged if progress seems slow. Don't get down when you have setbacks or bad days. Just get back up, dust yourself off and start again. When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he develops the ability to walk without falling; however, the baby is persistent. He may cry for a while after he falls down, but he always gets right back up and tries again. Learning to change our thinking works the same way. There will be days when we don't do everything right—days when our thinking is negative. But never stop trying. God is gradually bringing us around to His way of thinking. Just don't give up! This article is taken from Joyce's book, Never Give Up. You Can Become Bold and Fearless by Joyce Meyer Bold: to be brave, daring, courageous, intrepid, valiant. God is calling us to be bold. If you have the tendency to not take chances in life because you're afraid of making mistakes, God wants you to know He's pleased with you when you try. It doesn't matter if you don't do everything exactly right. What matters is that you step out in faith, believing God will help you! Second Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power—and He wants us to use it! It doesn't take courage to do what we already know we can do. True courage is displayed when you're afraid to do something but you go ahead and do it anyway. The truth is, we don't ever have to fear because we can ask God for His help anytime we need it. Taking the Focus Off of Performance There are so many people who are so afraid of making a mistake that they don't do anything. Instead, they sit around saying, "What if I'm wrong?" Well, we're human. We're going to make mistakes and look silly from time to time. We can be so afraid of being judged or criticized or getting laughed at. But the only thing fear does in our lives is stop our progress. What matters to God is relationship…not performance. God knows we aren't perfect, and He's totally okay with it. The problem is, the devil knows it too, and he does his best to tell us every step
  • 16. of the way! We can be going along, serving God, doing good, stepping out in faith and then all of a sudden, without there being any justification for it, we'll have a day or week when we have an attack on our mind about fear. That's when we need to say what God's Word tells us: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV Honesty Outweighs Perfection We can care too much about what people think of us to the point where it totally immobilizes us and we are petrified about looking wrong. But do you know what? I think if we are more truthful, we will actually get more respect than we do by trying to hide everything, pretending we're perfect. I believe one of the main reasons people like to listen to me is that I tell all my junk. It helps them to relax, to relate to me, and offers them hope that if I can do some of the things I've done and make it, so can they. We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes—period. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He's calling us to be bold—fearless in approaching Him, in stepping out in faith, and in trusting Him to lead us. You Can Win the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer Thoughts are powerful, and according to the writer of the book of Proverbs, they have creative ability. See Proverbs 23:7. In fact, you cannot have a positive, exciting life and a negative mind. See I spent a lot of years unhappy because the minute I woke up in the morning I started thinking negative, sad, depressing things. Now I can truly say I am fully satisfied since the Holy Spirit has helped me operate out of the mind of Christ (the mind of the Spirit) that is within me. Maybe you've spent years thinking wrong thoughts based on a warped, dysfunctional past, but that can change today. A Powerful Force If you struggle with negative thinking, it's important for you to come to grips with the fact that your life won't change until your thinking does. Renewed, God-like thinking is vital for change. The Bible says that God loves us, but have you ever struggled to believe this? I have learned that if we never meditate on God's Word, we will never experience the depth of His love for us. The love of God is meant to be a powerful force in our lives, one that will take us through even the most difficult trials into victory. Think About What You're Thinking About
  • 17. The Bible presents a lot of detailed instruction on what kinds of things we should think about. Philippians 4:8 alone tells us to think about things that build us up, not tear us down. If you're a believer, you probably think some Scripture-based thoughts throughout each day, but think about this. Are you mixing them with negative thoughts or just any random thoughts that come into your mind? For most of my life, I simply thought whatever fell into my head. Much of what was in my head was either lies Satan was telling me or just plain nonsense. The devil was controlling my life because he was controlling my thoughts. Read Mark 4:24. It tells us the more time we spend thinking about the Word, the more power and ability we will have to walk in it. It also says the more we read and listen to the Word, the more revelation we will receive to understand it. In the flesh we are lazy and want to receive from God without any effort on our own part, but that's not the way it works. You will only get out of the Word what you are willing to put into it. I encourage you to make a decision to meditate on God's Word every day because every moment you spend absorbing it, the more virtue and knowledge you will receive from God. How to Overcome Negative Thinking and Live with Hope by Joyce Meyer Do you have hope for your future? Or do you generally expect negative or disappointing things to happen? I was taught to be negative when I was growing up. I lived in an abusive atmosphere with negative people, alcoholism, fear, ranting and raving… As a result, I developed an attitude that it was better to expect nothing good than to expect it and be disappointed when it didn’t happen. I often wondered, What’s going to go wrong next? It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I was living with evil forebodings, which created a vague feeling around me all the time that something bad was going to happen. Then one day, God spoke to my heart about this. He showed me that I was dreading that something bad was going to happen, but He wanted me to expect good things to happen. Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP) tells us that God’s thoughts and plans for us are “for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” God wanted me to say, “Something good is going to happen!” The truth is, God doesn’t work in us through negative attitudes full of self-pity, laziness, passivity or an “everybody owes me” perspective. God works through faith! But before we can have faith, we have to have hope. I Became a Prisoner of Hope! Hope is favorable and confident expectation; it’s an expectant attitude that something good is going to happen and things will work out, no matter what situation we’re facing. Zechariah 9:12 (AMP) says, “Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.”
  • 18. I like the phrase “prisoners of hope.” Think about it… If you’re a prisoner, you have no choice about it – you can’t be negative. And when times are tough or you’re dealing with disappointment, hope will cause you to rise up in faith and say, “God, I praise You and I believe You’re working on this situation and working in me. My faith, trust and hope are in You!” Hope is determined and doesn’t give up. God wants us to be locked up in hope, trusting that He can change what needs to be changed, that we can do what He wants us to do, and that all things are possible with God. If we will be steadfast in our hope, we can’t lose – we have to be winners in life. When God called me to ministry, it didn’t happen overnight. There were many years of preparation and building up what is now a worldwide ministry. During those years, I wanted to quit many times. But my testimony is, I’m still here! And if you won’t give up, you’ll have victory too. Human nature is impatient, selfish and wants things quickly. Why is it that although it takes us years to get into our messes, we expect God to get us out of them in a few days? In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we are going to have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration in this world, but in spite of that, we can be of good cheer and take heart. Why? Because He has overcome the world. And when we live in Him, we become overcomers too! That’s why Jesus died for us. He came to save us from sin and death and to give us abundant life – now. And I’m determined to have everything Jesus died to give me. Make a decision to have everything Jesus died to give you. You have to do it on purpose. Be determined to do what God wants you to do and refuse to live with negative expectations. Ask God to help you live in hope and declare by faith, “Something good is going to happen to me!” Do It Afraid! by Joyce Meyer Fear! Has it ever been a problem for you, holding you back from moving into areas that could enrich your own life and the lives of others? There is a solution. One of the many benefits available to Christians is freedom from fear. When we avoid making changes or confronting issues in our lives because of fear or dread, we need to remember that God has promised to go before us and bring us through victoriously as we obey Him. How to Be Prepared When we’re facing a job interview, for example, instead of being afraid that we’ll make a bad impression and fail to get the position, we need to ask God to prepare the heart and mind of the interviewer and help us present ourselves in the very best light. When God "prepares the way," we can trust that whatever happens will turn out for our good according to His perfect plan for us. The Bible tells of a man named Abram who trusted God in spite of his own personal fear. Now...the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father's house, to the land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1). How to Be Unstoppable How would you feel if God told you to leave your home, your family and everything that is familiar and comfortable and head out to an unknown destination? Full of fear? That’s precisely the challenge Abram faced—and it frightened him. But God's words to him were, "Fear not." It’s the same message He gave to Joshua when He called him to lead the children of Israel to take the land
  • 19. He had promised to give them as their inheritance (see Joshua 1:6-9). And to all who set out to follow God's plan today, He says, "Fear not." Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband was killed along with four other missionaries in Ecuador, says that her life was completely controlled by fear. Every time she started to step out to minister, fear stopped her. Then a friend told her something that set her free. Her friend said, "Why don't you do it afraid?" Elisabeth listened and took that advice. Together with Rachel Saint, the sister of one of the murdered missionaries, they went on to evangelize the Indian tribes of Ecuador, including the very people who had killed their loved ones. Many times we think we should wait to do something until we are no longer afraid, but if we did that, we’d probably accomplish very little for God, for others, or even for ourselves. Both Abram and Joshua had to step out in faith and obedience to God and do what He had commanded them to do—even though they were afraid. Don't Run I believe the words fear not simply mean don't run. So the solution to fear is simple: Rather than bowing our knee and giving in to it, we must stand firm against it, knowing that God has gone before us and prepared the way. This is precisely what God wants us to do. Even if our mouth is dry and our knees are shaking, we need to keep asking God to strengthen us. We need to determine that our lives are not going to be ruled by fear but by the Word of God. As we saw before in Genesis, God gave Abram a tall order. He said, "Pack up and leave everyone you know and everything you’re comfortable with and go to a place I will show you." If Abram had bowed his knee to fear, he never would’ve fulfilled his destiny to become all God created him to be —the father of many nations. In the same way, if Joshua hadn’t overcome his fear and been obedient to God's command to lead His people into the Promised Land, they never would’ve enjoyed all that God had prepared for them. Giving in to fear alters God's best plan for your life. So use the power of God's Word to do what He wants you to do...even if you have to do it afraid! The rewards are great. God's Prescription for a Sound Mind by Joyce Meyer For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ) Prepare for Battle As you begin to reclaim your mind and thought life from the enemy, know that he won't easily give up the place that he's had. You will have to do battle against his lies and confusion. You must declare out loud that you will not allow any outside force to do your thinking—man or spirit. There are spiritual laws that demons must obey. They can't stay when you've commanded them to leave. Your power and authority come from the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, and the Word of God. Ask God to give you discernment about the lies of the devil. Think About What You're Thinking About
  • 20. As you recognize a thought that is a lie, always defend yourself out loud. This means speaking to Satan and the evil forces out loud, binding them in the name of Jesus, and forbidding them to lie to you and use your mind as their playground. As you continue to use this prescription regularly, you'll regain your peace, your memory, restful nights, and the ability to concentrate and comprehend. Stand Firm—You're Not Alone You are in a battle that all of God's children fight (see Ephesians 6:12). Make up your mind not to give up! According to Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above and keep it set! As you begin this battle, things may seem to get worse before they get better. This is because the demonic powers are fighting to keep their place. Call upon God's grace in the name of Jesus, and He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit to completely overcome every evil tendency. Don't Give Up! Remember, regaining your mind is a process. We all fail at one time or another. God knows our weaknesses; that's why He gave us 1 John 1:9. Just ask for forgiveness and envision the blood of Jesus washing away your sin. Continue claiming that your mind belongs to you, and with Jesus' help you will be victorious. When you hear a lie going through your mind, say out loud: "Satan, you are a liar. I will not receive (or believe) your lie in the name of Jesus" (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). "I remind you that it is written, …He who lives in [me] is greater (mightier)than he who is in the world. I command you to bow your knee to the name of Jesus and leave me." (see 1 John 4:4). You have now pulled the lie out—just as you pull a weed out of the ground. But an empty hole remains where the weed once was. You must fill that space with Scripture. Begin to meditate on God's Word or sing a praise song to God. Whatever it is you choose to do, make a conscious effort to fill your mind with good, pure, wholesome and lovely thoughts (see Philippians 4:8). The Cause and Cure for Worry by Joyce Meyer Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It's human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we're not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what's reasonable. Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere. So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do? Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we're doing the devil's job for him! Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to go it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions. At a young age, I discovered firsthand that people hurt people, so I didn't trust others. I tried to take care of myself, deciding not to depend on anyone who would hurt or disappoint me. Too often our experiences in the world teach us this, and even after we become Christians, it takes a long time to overcome it. It's difficult to learn how to trust God, but we eventually must learn that trying to take care of everything ourselves is too big a task.
  • 21. Cast Your Cares on the One Who Cares for You First Peter 5:6-7 says, Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Since Jesus invites us to cast all of our care and worry on Him, why do so many of us refuse to let go? Apparently, we're not yet fed up with being miserable. “ Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion but it never gets you anywhere.” The only way to have victory in our lives is to play by God's rules, and He says we must quit worrying if we want to have peace. So when things come our way that cause us to be concerned, we need God's help. How do we get it? First Peter 5:6-7 lists two important steps: 1) humble yourselves, and 2) cast your care on Him. That seems pretty clear and simple, yet some continue struggling because they're too bullheaded to ask for help. But the humble get the help. So if your way isn't working, why not try God's way? All of us would be better off if we'd learn to lean on God and ask for His help. But as long as we try to do everything ourselves, God will let us. He won't take care of our problems and worries—our cares —until we turn loose of them and give them to Him. Either we're going to do it or God's going to do it, but both of us aren't going to. Now, casting your care doesn't mean you can be irresponsible. God won't do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can't. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He's able to release His power in our situations. It's only then that we can really enjoy life. So the cure for worry is humbling ourselves before God, casting our cares on Him, and trusting Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. I know that when we are able to believe and say, "God, I trust You," it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, Trust…in the Lord and do good.... God didn't create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. He wants us to sow good seed by reaching out to help others. When we simply trust God and get busy doing the good things we know to do, then He'll bring a harvest of blessings into our lives and meet our needs. Develop an Attitude of Faith and Prayer I've learned that my attitude has a lot to do with living a worry-free life. There will always be situations that cause us concern, but with God's help, we can live above all of it and enjoy life. Cast your care on the Lord and say, "God, I trust You, and I'm going to enjoy the life You have given me." When you give your problems to God, you must also decide to be satisfied with His answers. Trusting God to do what's best for us involves dying to self. Paul said, ...it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). You can trust God to do what's best for you, so you don't have to worry about it. When you have a positive attitude and keep your faith in God, you can't be defeated. We must stop trying to make things happen the way we want and get to the place where we desire to please God more than ourselves. The Christ in us has to supercede what we want. Faith and the Word of God will help you overcome worry. Worrying involves negative thoughts, but speaking positive things out of your mouth will interrupt those negative thought patterns. When we are full of the Word of God, we can speak it out of our mouths in faith. Faith is stronger than doubt,
  • 22. negativism and unbelief. Faith has a positive attitude that can overcome our past and lead us into a great future. Faith is a powerful force that cannot be conquered. Another powerful force is prayer. When you're under pressure, it's always best to pray about it instead of talk about it. Prayer is the blueprint for a successful life. During His time on earth, Jesus prayed. He entrusted everything to God—even His reputation and life. We can do the same. We don't have to explain all the problems to Him; we can just give them to Him and ask Him to take care of everything. Don't complicate prayer. Just have confidence in simple, believing prayer. Look at Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If you're a Christian who goes around burdened or weighed down all the time, something is wrong. You may have had faith in Christ for salvation, but you haven't moved into walking in faith daily for the life that God has given you. The Bible tells us that God is faithful—that's one of His major characteristics. He can be counted on to come through for us, so we should trust Him totally and completely. When we do, we'll be ready for anything that may come our way. Allow God to Give You Peace and Rest In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Jesus wants to ease our burdens and give us rest. The Message Bible says it this way: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30). That sounds good, doesn't it? I've had enough heavy stuff in my life, and I want to be free. It's nice to know that we don't have to figure everything out. We need to get comfortable with saying, "I don't have a clue, but I'm not going to worry about it because God's in control. I'm going to live free and light!" When we're overloaded with the cares of this life—struggling, laboring and worrying— we need some help. Our minds need to rest from worrying about how to take care of problems, our emotions need to rest from being upset all the time, and our wills need a rest from stubbornness and rebellion. So we need to be humble enough to call out to God and say, "I need help!" Your beginning doesn't have to dictate your ending. Get God involved in every area of your life and allow Him to lead you into rest. Worry or Worship? Worry and worship are exact opposites, and we'd all be much happier if we learned to become worshippers instead of worriers. Worry opens the door for the devil, but worship is reverence and adoration for God that leads us into His presence. God created us to worship Him, and I don't believe we can walk in victory if we don't become worshippers. Sometimes when we don't have what we need or want, the enemy tries to discourage us and keep us from worshipping God. But when we know that God has our best interests at heart, we can worship Him regardless of our circumstances. Remember, God is good even when our circumstances are not! God doesn't always give us our heart's desire right away. He wants us to develop a deep, personal relationship with Him and an outrageous love for Him so much so that we can't live without it. This kind of relationship and love brings the worshipful attitude that God wants us to have.
  • 23. To worship means "to reverence," or "to defer to." We are to have reverential fear and awe of God. We are to respect and honor Him, and defer to Him by submitting to and obeying Him, and adapt ourselves to His will. We must realize that Christ, living in us, has come to lead and guide us into a special lifestyle of worship and victorious living. When Satan throws worry on you, I challenge you to stop what you're doing, get down on your knees before God, and begin praising Him. Worship is a spiritual weapon, a warhead or bomb you can use against the enemy. Your prayers and worship will get you heavenly help, and you won't have to fight your own battles. God's grace and power can make things happen with ease that you can't bring about no matter how much you struggle. So stop worrying about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Grace isn't just divine favor— it's power! Don't waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don't try to take on God's responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can't. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you. Facing Fear and Finding Freedom by Joyce Meyer If you don't remember anything else from this article, remember that fear is not from God but from Satan. See Second Timothy 1:7. Every time you feel fear in your life, it's a manifestation of the kingdom of darkness. I often say in my teachings that fear is the "master spirit." It's the spirit Satan uses to try to rule God's people and keep them from coming under the leadership of the true Master, Jesus Christ. What Are You Afraid Of? Multitudes of people never fulfill the call of God on their lives simply because every time they try to go forward, the devil uses fear to stop them. Is he using fear to stop you? Satan uses fear to keep people from enjoying life. Fear brings torment, according to 1 John 4:18, and you surely can't enjoy life and be tormented at the same time. I want to encourage you to take an inventory in the fear department. What are you afraid of? Are there any areas in your life that are being stifled because of fear? Satan is always going to bring fear against us at various times. It's one of his major weapons—not a cap gun, but a cannon. Stepping Out in Spite of Fear All of us must learn how not to "fear the fear." The devil brings fear, but you can choose not to bow your knee to it. David said, "What time I am afraid, I will…trust…in You" (Psalm 56:3). I believe we can say that when God leads you to step out in an area to do something new, or leads you to make a bigger commitment, you may (or probably will) feel fear. However, if you're sure God told you to do it, put your trust in Him and go forward. I have to apply this same principle to my life all the time. Years ago, we realized that we really needed more office space. At the same time, we needed more employees, which would require more desks, computers, phones, etc. We had a choice. We had prayed for growth so we could help more people. And everything did increase—resource orders, speaking engagements, incoming phone calls, mail, etc. It was God's timing, and He was moving. We had to make a decision to either stand still in fear or move with God. If we had not been willing to rent more space and hire more people, we couldn't have kept up with the growth. I can tell you for sure that fear tried to stop me. I heard things like, "Joyce, you're getting in over your head." "That's too much money to spend." "What if the increase doesn't continue?" I'm sure you know the
  • 24. recording; you've probably heard it also. We certainly don't want to move in the flesh or out of God's timing, but when God is moving, you can't be afraid to move with Him. In my situation, I had a choice to be led by my head or follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. How Fear Works Some common fears are fear of lack, death, loneliness, people, authority, commitment, heights, germs, closed-in spaces, airplanes, dogs, cats, failure, rejection, being laughed at, and even fear of being attractive. We went to the library and got a typed list of known phobias—it was four pages long. It even included phobaphobia, which is the fear of being afraid. It seems that the list is endless. It convinced me even more of how extensive Satan's work is in this area. Face Fear and Move Forward Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear not, for I am with you. I believe God works gently with us to bring us out of bondage and into liberty. If you've been afraid of something and desire to be free, the time will eventually come when you'll have to face your fear and not run away from it. Just take Jesus' hand, acknowledge that He is with you, and do it. If you're afraid of people with authority, the time will come when you'll have to confront an authority figure and not cower in fear. God will have arranged the time. He'll be there, but you'll have to choose whether to go through or run away. If you're at one of these crossroads in your life, let me encourage you to go forward. Don't stand still in terror, but take His hand and go forward. Remember, fear torments and God wants to deliver you from all of your fears. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear by Joyce Meyer Do you suffer from fear or insecurity? What about the fear of lack? Are you worried that God won't come through for you? I have been there too. I have been literally worried sick about so many things, including my past, my future, my finances, what people thought about me. And because I couldn't get my mind off of my problems, I found myself in a place of utter torment. But we do not have to fear that God doesn't love us or that He won't come through for us in our time of need. We need to learn to accept the reality of His love for us, so that our fears do not control us. First John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. If you're afraid of facing a person or a situation in your life, God's love can help you put your fears to rest. The Cure for Insecurity Because I had been abused in my childhood and was fearful of being hurt or taken advantage of, I became very insecure. And I spent many years trying to control everything and everyone in my life. Instead of trying to control and manipulate people, I needed to learn to trust God, pray, and believe that He would do what was best for me at the right time. Most of all, I needed to abide in His love.
  • 25. First John 4:16 points out that we should be conscious of God's love. It needs to be more than just a biblical fact for us…we need to experience it daily. Several years ago I was so desperate for a revelation of God's love that I began to keep a journal of the things He did in my life that I believed displayed His love. No matter how small they were, I recorded them. When people gave me things, I recorded it. When I was shown favor in situations, I recorded it. When God answered prayers and did things for me that I had requested, I recorded it… This process helped me become conscious of His love, and I began to heal. I found out that the love of God is the cure for the insecure. Overcoming the Fear of Lack Another major fear people face is the fear of lack. The fear that your needs won't be met—that God won't come through for you in time. You may be in a situation that you've never been in before, facing all kinds of new responsibilities. You may have needs that are beyond your resources and the spirit of fear is attacking you, telling you that you aren't going to make it. You may feel like nobody else cares. But God cares. In fact, Hebrews 13:5-6 says you can trust God to come to your rescue. Even when it seems that absolutely nothing is happening in your life, He is working. Beloved, God has a good plan for you, and He'll manifest it right on time. If you need financial support, He'll provide. If it's physical support you need, He'll sustain you. If you need emotional support, He'll comfort you. He'll nourish you and bring you back to a place of strength. God is for you. He is not against you. Satan is against you, but the greater One lives in you! Let Nothing Separate You from God's Love During hard times and moments of insecurity, Satan works overtime trying to convince us that God doesn't love us—that if He did, either we wouldn't be in this situation, or He would've delivered us by now. I confess with my own mouth the truth that God does love me during these attacks of fear. And I encourage you to say several times a day with confidence, "God loves me!" Don't allow the devil to steal this truth from you. Romans 8:38-39, which I pray will comfort you right now, says: For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As long as you refuse to let anything separate you from God's love, you will have the victory. Kiss Fear Goodbye and Enjoy Life's Journey by Joyce Meyer I define hope as "the happy anticipation of good things." Are you aggressively hoping for
  • 26. something good to happen to you? Do you wake up in the morning excited and expectant about life? You can do that by learning how to celebrate and enjoy this journey called life. Everything in life is a process in motion. Without movement, advancement and progression, there is no life. Once a thing has ceased to progress, it is dead. In other words, as long as we live, you and I are always going to be heading somewhere, and we should be enjoying ourselves on the way. God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, according to Proverbs 13:12, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. There's something about hope that makes people lighthearted and happy. You're not going to be happy if you don't have hope. The more hope you have in God, the happier you become. Biblical hope is a close relative to faith. I don't see how you can have faith without hope because hope is the foundation on which faith stands. Hope believes everything is going to turn out all right—hope is positive! To enjoy life you must maintain a good, positive attitude. God is positive, and He wants positive things to happen to each of us, but that isn't likely to happen if we're not filled with hope and faith. Some people are afraid to hope because they have experienced so much hurt and disappointment that they don't think they can face any more pain. They refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed. Disappointment is painful! Rather than being hurt again, they simply refuse to hope that anything good will ever happen to them. This type of behavior sets up a negative lifestyle. Everything becomes negative because their thoughts are negative. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.... Your Future Has No Room For Your Past! Many years ago I was extremely negative because of the devastating abuse that had taken place in my past. The result was that I expected people to hurt me, and they did. I expected people to be dishonest, and they were. I was afraid to believe that anything good might happen. I thought I was protecting myself from being hurt by not expecting anything good to happen. When I really began to study the Word and trust God to restore me, I began to realize that all of my negativism had to go. In Matthew 8:13, Jesus says that it will be done for us as we have believed. I believed everything was negative, so naturally many negative things happened to me. I needed to let go of the past and move into the future with hope, faith and trust in God. I had to get rid of the heaviness of despair, depression and discouragement. And I did, once I dug into the truth of God's Word! I found out that God is ...a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). I began to turn my negative thoughts and words into positive ones! Now, I am not saying that you and I can get whatever we want by just thinking about it. God has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can't control Him with our thoughts and words. But we can think and speak in agreement with His will and plan for us. We can practice being positive in every situation that arises. Even if what is taking place in your life at the moment seems negative, expect God to bring good out of it as He has promised in His Word. You must understand that before your life can change, your attitude must change. Hope is a powerful, spiritual force that is activated through our positive attitude. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28). What Satan means for harm, God intends for good. All things work together for good for those who love God. Satan wants to hurt you and have you spend your life distrusting everyone because somebody hurt you when you were a child, while you were in school, in your marriage, on your job, etc. The list of who, what, where and how you can be hurt is endless. You have to say, "No! That is subject to change! I am a child of the living God! Something good is
  • 27. going to happen to me!" [After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). What this means is that after all the painful things that have happened in your past have come and gone, God still wants you to enjoy every single day of your life. This won't happen, however, until you make up your mind to take hold of the abundant life that Jesus' death and resurrection purchased for you. Until then, the devil will always try to take it away. Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (John 10:10). You are a new creation. You don't have to allow the old things that happened to you continue to affect your new life in Christ. As a new creature in Christ Jesus, you can have your mind renewed according to the Word of God: And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24). Things will change for the better when you keep your thoughts filled with hope. Rejoice In Hope The Bible is full of hope-filled promises for you and me.Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God (Romans 5:2). Good things begin to happen to you when you rejoice in the hope of experiencing God's favor on a regular basis. Luke 2:52 tells us that ...Jesus increased in...favor with God and man. You and I are introduced to the favor of God by faith. All of God's promises are activated by faith. We shortchange ourselves when we believe in Jesus but don't believe in His blessings. Believe that you walk in holiness and righteousness (see Ephesians 4:24), believe that you are anointed (see 2 Corinthians 1:21), and believe that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing as promised in Ephesians 1:3. Believe Romans 8:37 when it says you are more than a conqueror! Everything that is promised in the Bible is for us to rejoice innow. Be glad! Raise your expectancy level. Rejoice in the hope of experiencing God's glory right now. My husband and I believe for many things, but beyond them all, we believe in Someone—Jesus. We don't always know what is going to happen. We just know that it will always work out for our good! The more positive and hopeful we are, the more we will be in the flow of God. In Ephesians 1:17-18, the apostle Paul prayed, [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones). This glorious inheritance is for you and me! Second Peter 1:3 says, For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). The Hope Of Seeing Change If there is anything in this world that you can be sure of, it is change. Something is always changing. Why is it, then, that we find ourselves thinking, "Nothing will ever change... I'm always going to be like this... My situation will never change... He'll never change... She'll never change... I'm never going to be as good as so-and-so"? The only thing that will never change is God. For I
  • 28. am the Lord, I do not change... (Malachi 3:6). Everything else can change. If you have no hope of seeing change in your situation, change probably isn't going to come. We endure so many things emotionally that we really wouldn't have to suffer if we put our hope in God and stopped looking at all of the circumstances we can't control. We will never enjoy life unless we decide to! In order to live as God intends for us to live, we must truly believe that it is God's will for us to experience continual joy. Then we must decide to enter into that joy, which is essential to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Hope makes joy available, just as a lack of hope produces misery. We can choose to enjoy righteousness and peace or stay in the midst of condemnation and turmoil. There are blessings or curses available, and that is why Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us to choose life and blessings. What do you do while you wait for change? You pray, believe and expect to receive. Maintain a positive attitude, knowing that God is working on bringing your change and that you will see it. Throughout your waiting time, the devil will scream, "It's not going to change; it's going to get worse!" Don't listen to this and become discouraged. Instead, wake up in the morning and say out loud, "This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad! Something good is going to happen to me today! Everything in my life that is not right is subject to change! The One who never changes is changing my situation. And while He's doing it, I'm going to enjoy my life!" Put your confidence in God and stop wearing yourself out trying to make things happen. The decision to have a good attitude while your change is coming can change you! Now is the time to decide to enter into the full and abundant life that God wants you to have. God Is Working Right Now! Most of us have a hard time believing that God is working on our behalf until we see something happening with our natural eyes. This usually isn't the way God works. He works behind the scenes much of the time. Right now He is changing hearts and drawing sinners unto Him. Right now He is working in our government. Right now God has a plan for your promotion. He may be speaking to your boss about giving you a raise. God is busy working in your life as long as you believe. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Proverbs 17:22 says, A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, This scripture begins with the word now. Although the Greek word from which it is translated actually means "but, and, etc.," rather than "at this point in time," I still believe the term can be used to describe faith and hope. Faith and hope operate right now! Without them, life isn't enjoyable. Every time I lay aside faith and hope, I stop believing and I lose my peace. And as soon as I lose my peace, my joy goes with it. Make a decision to be a now person. God has a good plan for your liferight now. Trust Him today. Believing God brings you into His rest and puts an end to the torment caused by impatience and anxiety while you're waiting. No matter how hopeless your situation seems to be or how long it has been that way, I know you can change because I did. It took time and heaping helpings of the Holy Spirit, but it was worth it. It will be worth it for you, too. Whatever happens, trust in the Lord and trust in the power of hope! My hope is in God who never changes. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is a big God, and I'm believing Him for big things. How about you? Don't Hide From Confrontation by Joyce Meyer Most people don’t like confrontation. If you do, you are in the minority. Many are petrified of it and tell themselves that it’s just too hard. So, when faced with a difficult situation or person, they avoid
  • 29. it and instead run away…for as long as possible. People run from all kinds of things—like something new, or change in general. They run from their past. And many people in our society run away from responsibility. But the problem with running away from something is that you stay stuck. You don’t make any progress. Now personally, I never had too many problems confronting people. In fact, I used to be overly confrontational, so the issue was more about how I handled confrontation. I had to learn how to confront people and situations the way Jesus did. I also had to learn how to confront the devil. And still, every once in awhile God, will give me a little refresher course on confronting the devil so he can’t walk all over me and I won’t listen to his lies. It’s Time to Stop Running “[God] wants us to be bold, courageous, and to know we can handle anything that comes our way!” We need to be people who will no longer run away from difficult situations because God doesn’t want us to be afraid. He wants us to be bold, courageous, and to know we can handle anything that comes our way! Look at 1 John 4:4 (AMP). It says, “Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.” The next time you feel fearful about a situation or person that you know you need to confront, just quote this scripture and remind the devil of his place. And tell him, “No! I’m not putting up with fear any longer.” Find Your Source of Strength Maybe you just need to live with a little more oomph! I’m talking about Holy Spirit oomph that says, “I am God’s child, and I’m not going to be stepped on my whole life. I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. I will not live in fear. I will not run away from things. Because I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ who strengthens me.” You can confront your problem. Or you can choose to run away from it. But if you run, the Bible is pretty clear as to what happens to people who run away from what God has called them to do... They end up in the wilderness. Wilderness Residents in the Bible I want to talk about two people in the Bible who ran away when they were afraid and how God helped them confront their fear. Moses – God had a destiny for Moses. But at forty years old, Moses did something wrong and instead of facing Pharaoh, he fled and “dwelt in the land of Midian” (Exodus 2:15 NKJV), which was a desert wilderness area outside of Egypt. He spent the next forty years in a holding pattern. God had to work some things out of Moses before he was ready, at age eighty, to go back and lead the Israelites. Hagar – In Genesis we read how this servant girl got caught up in a really bad situation with Abraham and his wife, Sarah. When Hagar became pregnant by Abraham, which was Sarah’s idea, this created a big fight between her and Sarah. So Hagar ended up running away. The Bible says she ended up in the wilderness by a spring.
  • 30. Then an angel of God told her, “Go back to your mistress and [humbly] submit to her control” (Genesis 16:9 AMP). Ouch! Although it was definitely unpleasant and, I’m sure, extremely hard to do, Hagar faced her difficult situation because she knew God wanted her to do it. What about you? Are you in a wilderness today because you are fearfully avoiding confrontation? You don’t have to stay there all your life and keep running away from things. You can get out of that wilderness and live in the promised land God has for you—if you will start confronting issues. Toxic Emotions: How to Get Rid of Them by Joyce Meyer We all have emotions, and they’re here to stay. I believe one of the main goals of every believer should be emotional stability. We should seek God to learn how to manage our emotions and not allow them to manage us. An excerpt from the definition I found in the dictionary states that emotions are "to excite and to move out." Think about this: You're out shopping for a specific item you're in need of. You've made a commitment to the Lord to get out of debt. You've promised Him to tithe and give offerings as He directs. You've agreed to really watch your spending and not purchase things you don't need. But while shopping, you discover that the stores are having a big sale of 50 percent off the already marked down merchandise. What do you do? You get excited. The more you look around, the more excited you get. Emotions are rising higher and higher. They begin to move out, and part of the devil's plan is for you to follow your emotions. God wants you to use wisdom. Wisdom says wait a little while until the emotions settle down, then check to see if you really believe it's the right thing to do. The Bible says in Colossians 3:15 to be led by peace in making decisions. Don't let your emotions make your decisions. A good statement to remember is this: "Wisdom says wait; emotions say hurry." An emotional person is defined as: "One easily affected with or stirred by emotion; one who displays emotion; one with a tendency to rely on or place too much value on emotion; one whose conduct is ruled by emotion rather than reason." Be honest with yourself in this area. If you believe that you’re not managing your emotions, begin to pray and seek God for emotional maturity. In the past I experienced a lot of ups and downs, or what we call mood swings. This kind of behavior was hard on me, as well as everyone around me. I felt bad about myself. People who are out of control always feel unhappy with themselves. God created us to operate with a free will. We choose what we will do and what we won't do. There is a God-given desire inside the believer to do the right thing. When we allow our flesh to rule, we know we’re out of control; however, we’re created to operate with the fruit of self-control. Self-control is a freedom, not a bondage. You’re free to use wisdom, free to obey God, and free to follow the leading of the Spirit. You’re free not to be pushed around by your feelings. You don't have to do what you feel like doing. You’re free to do what you know is wise. Self-control will help you feel better about yourself. When I was experiencing so many ups and downs, it also made me physically tired. It takes a lot of energy to go through all kinds of emotional changes. I noticed that as God helped me learn to manage my emotions, I also had more energy. Maybe you should stop and ask the Lord if that's why you've been so tired lately. Do you let your emotions manage you? My moods were hard on my family too. After I was well on my way to emotional stability, my husband, Dave, revealed a secret. He told me that during the years I was emotionally unstable, while he would be driving down the highway after work at night, he would ponder the thought, I wonder what she will be like tonight? It’s really very sad to imagine a person in that kind of situation. My husband has always been very stable, and it’s very comforting to live with someone
  • 31. you can depend on to be steady and in control all the time. He was very happy for me, and himself also, when I began getting victory in this area. Children also need a stable atmosphere to grow up in. Stability is really an important issue for all of us. Jesus is referred to as "The Rock." You can depend on Him to be stable—the same Jesus all the time, always faithful, loyal, true to His Word and mature. He’s not one way one time and another way the next time. Jeremiah 17:8 and Psalm 1:3 both instruct us to be like trees firmly planted. First Peter 5:8-9 teaches us to be well-balanced and temperate (self-controlled) to keep Satan from devouring us. To withstand him, it says to be rooted, established, strong, immovable and determined. Philippians 1:28 tells us to be constantly fearless when Satan comes against us. Psalm 94:13 says God wants to give us power to stay calm in adversity. All of these scriptures are referring to being stable. I'm going to close with these statements for your consideration: 1. He who lives by emotions lives without principle. 2. We cannot be spiritual (walk in the spirit) and be led by emotions. 3. Emotions won't go away, but you can learn to manage them. 4. You can have emotions, but you can't always rely on them. Make emotional maturity a primary goal in your life! Change Your Life with Your Thoughts by Joyce Meyer The longer I live the more I realize how strong a connection exists between our thoughts and our words. I honestly believe that this connection is one of the most important things we can learn in our lives. So many people's problems are rooted in their way of thinking, which can actually produce a lot of the problems they experience. How does that happen? Well, a negative mind produces negative words and, consequently, a negative life. Our words can actually become traps that cause us to continue our cycle of negative thoughts and actions. Yes, we're all tempted to speak negatively, but we don't have to give in to that temptation. To turn our words around, we need to start thinking about what we're thinking about, and then make some real changes. Let me show you how. The Trap of Negative Thinking Because I allowed many years of negative thinking and speaking in my life, I became an extremely negative, sour person. My philosophy became "if you don't expect anything good to happen, then you won't be disappointed when it doesn't." Have you ever felt that way?
  • 32. Because I had encountered so many disappointments, I was afraid to believe that anything good could happen to me. I had developed a terribly negative outlook on everything. If I had continued to believe those lies about never getting over my past, I never would've gotten over my past. New Thoughts, New Possibilities With God's help I am continually reminded that my past doesn't have to control my future. I don't need God's help in my life to give up; I need His help to keep going! I now know how important it is for me to understand the fact that my life would not have gotten straightened out until my mouth did… And since the two are linked, my mouth wasn't going to get straightened out until my mind did. Changing your words and thoughts is definitely not an easy thing to do, but with God's help all things are possible. Be Patient with Yourself We have to choose to think and speak positively. It doesn't come naturally—and it doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lot of practice. There will be days when you have setbacks, but just get back up, dust yourself off, and start again. When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he gains the confidence to walk. Failing from time to time—which you will do—doesn't mean you're a failure. It simply means that you don't do everything right all the time. Well, neither does anyone else. If you've been consumed with negative thinking and speaking, the pathway to your freedom begins when you face the problem without making excuses for it. Be patient with yourself. As you change your thinking, your words will change and so will your life! What Are You Thinking? by Joyce Meyer Did you know you can be free from negative thinking? The first step to your freedom is facing the truth and saying, "I'm a negative person and I want to change." If you really want to, you can overcome it because according to the Bible, you're a new person in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Your next step is to find out what may be blocking any positive progress. Identify Your Obstacles Have you ever thought that nothing good is going to happen to you? Maybe you've even said something like "If I don't expect anything good to happen, I won't be disappointed if it doesn't."These thoughts are obstacles in your mind, and simply recognizing them will pave the way to your freedom. As Christians, we need to learn to fight for our thoughts, because our minds don't automatically come into agreement with God's plans.
  • 33. I can look back at it and remember thinking, I'm probably never going to be in worldwide ministry —I probably just made that up because I wanted it to happen. It probably wasn't God's will at all. This was my obstacle, and it was a lie all the time. I had encountered so many disappointments in my life that I was afraid to believe anything good might happen. And when I really began to study the Word and to trust God to restore me, I realized my negativism had to go. Practice the Positive Once you've identified any obstacles, the next step is to start practicing being positive in all kinds of situations. If you're going through a difficult time in life, start believing that God will work things out for your good. Even positive thinkers deal with disappointing situations. The difference is that they have learned to let things roll off their back and enjoy life no matter what happens. Say What God's Word Says Nearly everything God has brought me through has happened by believing and confessing His Word. I recommend that you not only purposely think right thoughts, but that you go the extra mile and speak them out loud as personal confessions of faith (see Mark 4:24). Basically, God's telling us that the more time we spend meditating on His Word, the more we will see the benefits in our everyday lives and even have a closer relationship with Him. He even promises we'll be prosperous and successful! (See Joshua 1:8.) I encourage you to spend time examining His Word and comparing it to your thought life. Give God time to help you put your thoughts in line with His. Make up your mind to work toward changing your way of thinking. I've found the best way to become a positive thinker is to ask God for a lot of help—and to ask for it often. Want to know more? Take a deeper look at how to align your thoughts with God's Word and overcome negative thinking with Joyce's book Power Thoughts. The Hope Of Seeing Change If there is anything in this world that you can be sure of, it is change. Something is always changing. Why is it, then, that we find ourselves thinking, "Nothing will ever change... I'm always going to be like this... My situation will never change... He'll never change... She'll never change... I'm never going to be as good as so-and-so"? The only thing that will never change is God. For I am the Lord, I do not change... (Malachi 3:6). Everything else can change. If you have no hope of seeing change in your situation, change probably isn't going to come. We endure so many things emotionally that we really wouldn't have to suffer if we put our hope in God and stopped looking at all of the circumstances we can't control. We will never enjoy life unless we decide to! In order to live as God intends for us to live, we must truly believe that it is God's will for us to experience continual joy. Then we must decide to enter into that joy, which is essential to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Proverbs 17:22 says, A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Hope makes joy available, just as a lack of hope produces misery. We can choose to enjoy righteousness and peace or stay in the midst of condemnation and turmoil. There are blessings or curses available, and that is why Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us to choose life and blessings. What do you do while you wait for change? You pray, believe and expect to receive. Maintain a positive attitude, knowing that God is working on bringing your change and that you
  • 34. will see it. Throughout your waiting time, the devil will scream, "It's not going to change; it's going to get worse!" Don't listen to this and become discouraged. Instead, wake up in the morning and say out loud, "This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad! Something good is going to happen to me today! Everything in my life that is not right is subject to change! The One who never changes is changing my situation. And while He's doing it, I'm going to enjoy my life!" Put your confidence in God and stop wearing yourself out trying to make things happen. The decision to have a good attitude while your change is coming can change you! Now is the time to decide to enter into the full and abundant life that God wants you to have. God Is Working Right Now! Most of us have a hard time believing that God is working on our behalf until we see something happening with our natural eyes. This usually isn't the way God works. He works behind the scenes much of the time. Right now He is changing hearts and drawing sinners unto Him. Right now He is working in our government. Right now God has a plan for your promotion. He may be speaking to your boss about giving you a raise. God is busy working in your life as long as you believe. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. This scripture begins with the word now. Although the Greek word from which it is translated actually means "but, and, etc.," rather than "at this point in time," I still believe the term can be used to describe faith and hope. Faith and hope operate right now! Without them, life isn't enjoyable. Every time I lay aside faith and hope, I stop believing and I lose my peace. And as soon as I lose my peace, my joy goes with it. Make a decision to be a now person. God has a good plan for your liferight now. Trust Him today. Believing God brings you into His rest and puts an end to the torment caused by impatience and anxiety while you're waiting. No matter how hopeless your situation seems to be or how long it has been that way, I know you can change because I did. It took time and heaping helpings of the Holy Spirit, but it was worth it. It will be worth it for you, too. Whatever happens, trust in the Lord and trust in the power of hope! My hope is in God who never changes. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is a big God, and I'm believing Him for big things. How about you? What to Do If You're Tired of Toughing It Out by Joyce Meyer Have you ever noticed how so many different thoughts run through our minds every day? Some are good, some bad. Unfortunately, our natural temptation is to focus on the bad; so accepting them doesn't take any effort. The effort comes when we're determined to cast down the negative thoughts, and take a firm grasp of the positive ones. The Battle for Your Thoughts Positive minds full of faith and hope produce positive lives. The opposite is also true: negative minds full of fear and doubt produce negative lives, which can ultimately destroy your life. Some people have been hurt so many times that they don't think they can face the pain of another letdown. Therefore, they refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems. We must decide that we're not going to quit.
  • 35. When we're bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: "I'll never give up! God's on my side. He loves me, and He's helping me! I'm going to make it!" Don't Give Up! No matter how bad the battle rages in your mind, don't give up! Step out and regain the territory that's been stolen from you. Even if it's only an inch at a time, make sure you're leaning on God's grace and not on your own ability. In Galatians 6:9 the apostle Paul simply encourages us to keep on keeping on! Don't be a quitter! Don't have that old "give up" spirit. God's looking for people who will find the courage to rise above all the negative and pursue the positive. Whatever you may be facing or experiencing in your life right now, I want to encourage you to stay positive and refuse to give up! God is with you. He'll help you make spiritual progress— strengthening and encouraging you to keep on keeping on during rough times. It's easy to quit, but it takes faith to press on to victory. Reprogram Your Mind When the battle seems endless and you think you'll never make it, remember that you're reprogramming a "worldly" mind to think as God thinks. In the same way that computers are programmed, our minds are also programmed. From the time we're born, our minds are like computers that have had a lifetime of garbage programmed into them. But God—the best "computer programmer" around—is working on us every day to reprogram our minds as we cooperate with Him (see Romans 12:2). When Progress is Slow This process of reprogramming or renewing our minds will take place little by little, so don't be discouraged if progress seems slow. Don't get down when you have setbacks or bad days. Just get back up, dust yourself off and start again. When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before he develops the ability to walk without falling; however, the baby is persistent. He may cry for a while after he falls down, but he always gets right back up and tries again. Learning to change our thinking works the same way. There will be days when we don't do everything right—days when our thinking is negative. But never stop trying. God is gradually bringing us around to His way of thinking. Just don't give up! God's Word vs. Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer Every day, we are faced with a decision: Will we respond to life's circumstances according to God's Word or will we react emotionally? The initial temptation is to react emotionally, but in every circumstance, it's truly your decision. Let's examine three circumstances you're going to have to face at some point in your life. I've also included some questions to ask yourself, which I encourage you to answer honestly. They will give you a good idea of how big a part your feelings play in these circumstances. Circumstance #1: Change
  • 36. Everything changes except God, and letting all the changes in our lives upset us won't keep them from occurring. People change, circumstances change, our bodies change, our desires and passions change. Most changes take place without our permission. But we can choose to adapt. Adapting doesn't change the circumstances, but it does keep you living in peace and joy as you go through change. First Things First Our thoughts are the first thing we need to deal with during change because thoughts directly affect emotions. When circumstances change, make the transition mentally, and your emotions will be a lot easier to manage. If something changes that you are not ready for and did not choose, you will more than likely have a variety of emotions about it. The Power of God's Word “Emotions rise up and then move out, wanting us to follow them. When I feel that, I know I need to take action.” By acting on God's Word and not merely reacting to the situation, you'll be able to manage your emotions instead of allowing them to manage you. I strongly recommend confessing the Word of God out loud. Even though what you confess may be the opposite of how you feel, keep doing it. God's Word has inherent power to change our feelings, bring comfort to us, and quiet our distraught emotions. Ask Yourself How do I respond to change? Do I act on God's Word or merely react to the situation? After the initial shock, am I willing to make a transition mentally and emotionally? Circumstance #2: Waiting If you have not developed patience, then having to wait may bring out the worst in you. At least that was the case with me until I finally realized my emotional reactions were not making things go any faster. We would all like to be patient, but we don't want to develop patience because that means behaving well while we are not getting what we want. And that's hard! The Road to Peacefulness The more we want something, the more our emotions will act up if we do not get it. Common sense tells us it is rather foolish to get into a rage over a parking space or other simple things people tend to get upset about. As you develop patience, don't merely think about how hard and frustrating it is, think about how peaceful you will be when waiting never bothers you (see James 1:4). Ask Yourself How do I behave when I have to wait? What situations are difficult for me? How do I act when I'm working with someone who is really slow?
  • 37. How do I act if someone takes the parking space I've been waiting for? On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do I handle myself when things don't go my way? Circumstance #3: Difficult People No one likes being around difficult people. I think there are a lot of people in the world like that today, largely because of the stressful lives most of them have. People are trying to do too much in too little time and have more responsibility than they can realistically handle. When someone is rude to me, I can feel my emotions rise up and then move out, wanting me to follow them. That's when I know I need to take action. I have to remember that the person being rude probably has a lot of problems. She may not even realize how she sounds. Working with the Holy Spirit I certainly remember lots of times in my life when people asked me why I was being so harsh. I didn't realize that I was. I just had a lot going on and felt pressured, so the pressure came through in harsh voice tones. That didn't excuse my bad behavior, but it was the root of the problem. I am very thankful I know the Word of God and have Him in my life to help and comfort me. But a lot of difficult people don't have that. I have had to work very hard with the Holy Spirit for the ability to act on God's Word when people are rude…instead of merely reacting with a behavior that matches or tops theirs. Jesus teaches us how to respond to those who treat us well and those who do not (see Luke 6:32– 35). If you are in a situation that requires you to be with one of these hard-to-get-along-with people every day, I urge you to pray for them instead of reacting emotionally to them. Our prayers open a door for God to work through. Ask Yourself How do I react to people who are rude? Do I respond in love as the Word says we should, or do I join them in their ungodly behavior? Will I act on the Word of God and love them for His sake? Or will I react emotionally, perhaps acting worse than they act? Have I ever let a rude person ruin my day? Live Beyond Your Feelings Feelings will come and go. We can't escape them, but we can choose to live by God's Word and not our feelings. Even when it doesn't feel right, we can live with an incredible peace and joy. I encourage you to go through the questions again and search God's Word in every circumstance you face. He will help you live beyond your feelings! How to Defeat Your Doubts and Feed Your Faith by Joyce Meyer I have developed a “life attitude” that makes me more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus: “I’m going to finish my course, enjoy the journey, fulfill my destiny and have everything Jesus died for me to
  • 38. have!” Before I learned to live with this attitude, I struggled with two things the devil often threw at me: doubt and unbelief. Doubt and unbelief are big problems for Christians. They are negative and discouraging. They cause us to make poor choices, which make life difficult. They cause us to say things like, “I wish I could lose weight,” or “I wish my kids would behave,” or “I wish I could keep my house clean,” or “I wish I had better relationships.” We need to stop wishing for things and make up our minds that God will help us have wisdom, make good choices, and overcome our trials and tribulations if we will put our faith in Him. And doubt and unbelief interrupt faith. Fight Back Another way we struggle with doubt and unbelief is by thinking God won’t help us because we haven’t done everything right. Or believing that God is willing to help other people but not me. But God doesn’t expect perfection from us. God works in our lives through faith. He wants us to trust Him, believe in Him, have faith in Him, and have a hopeful, positive attitude. He wants us to expect Him to do good things in our lives. Every day you need to say, “Something good is going to happen to me today. I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do in my life today!” And you especially need to speak this when the devil is trying to flood your mind with doubts. The way you fight the devil is by opening your mouth and saying what God says. Don’t just let the devil use your mind as a garbage dump. Doubt Your Doubts You may be thinking, I just can’t help it…I wish I could believe and not doubt. But the truth is, you can! God wouldn’t tell us to believe in Him if it wasn’t possible for us to do it. We can defeat doubt and unbelief if we know how to do it. So how do we do it? How do we believe God and live by faith? Romans 10:17 (NKJV) tells us how: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The key here is the Word of God. We need to love the Word of God and go after it like we go after food when we’re really hungry. When we’re hungry, we’ll usually do what we need to do to get food. God’s Word is medicine for our soul and the food we need to keep our spirit strong. It has inherent power to change our lives when it is mixed with faith. As you study and speak the Word, be sure to also talk about the good things God has done and not the problems. Decide to doubt your doubts! In Luke 4, when Jesus was in the wilderness, the devil came to tempt Him. When the devil spoke to Him, Jesus responded, “It is written…” and quoted the Word of God. He used the Word as a weapon to overcome the lies of the enemy. Feed Your Faith “ We can feed our faith with the Word, rather than feeding doubt with the devil's lies.”
  • 39. We can do the same thing. We can respond to the thoughts the devil brings to our mind with the truth of God’s Word. We can feed our faith with the Word, rather than feeding doubt with the devil’s lies. And when you spend time with people who feed your faith, it will encourage your faith in God. Refuse to be a lazy Christian and resist a passive, apathetic attitude. Be determined to do your part to build your faith. Never give up. And you will defeat doubt and unbelief! Scriptures for a Sound Mind by Joyce Meyer As you begin to claim your mind back from the enemy, he will not want to give up the place that he has had. You will have to do battle with his lies and confusion. Your first step is to declare out loud that you will not allow any outside force to do your thinking– no man and no spirit. There are spiritual laws that demons must obey. They cannot stay where a man wills them not to stay. Your power is in the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, and the Word of God. Ask God to give you discernment of the lies of the devil. Think about what you are thinking about. As you recognize a lie to your mind, always defend yourself out loud. That means speaking to Satan and the evil forces out loud, binding them in the Name of Jesus, and forbidding them to lie to you and to use your mind. When you catch a lie to your mind, use this prescription regularly–and you will regain peace, your memory, restful nights, and the ability to concentrate and comprehend. You are in a battle–you are not alone–for all of God’s people fight this same fight (Ephesians 6:12). Make up your mind not to give up! According to Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above and keep it set! As you begin this battle, it will seem worse than ever. The reason is that the demonic powers are fighting to keep their place in your mind (and in your thinking). Call upon God’s grace in the Name of Jesus, and He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome every evil tendency fully. Remember, regaining your mind is a process. We all fail at one time or another. God knows our weakness; that is why He gave us 1 John 1:9. Just ask for forgiveness and see the Blood of Jesus washing away your sin. Don’t give up! Continue claiming what belongs to you (your mind and your thinking belong to you), and Jesus will help you overcome. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!” Additional Scriptures for a Sound Mind When you hear a lie going through your mind, say out loud: 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Satan, you are a liar. I will not receive (or believe) your lie in the Name of Jesus.” 1 John 4:4 “I remind you that it is written, ‘He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world.’ I command you to bow your knee to the Name of Jesus and leave me.” (Now you have pulled the lie out–just as you pull a weed out of the ground. An empty hole remains where the weed was, and you will need to fill the space you cast the lie out of with Scripture.) Philippians 4:8 Begin to think on the Word or begin to sing a praise song to God. Make a
  • 40. conscious effort to fill your mind with good, pure, wholesome, and lovely thoughts. Three Steps to Emotional Healing That Lasts by Joyce Meyer Today, people everywhere are struggling through life with damaged emotions. They've endured a lot of negative things, causing untold damage that needs to be dealt with. But all too often, these hurts are simply swept under the rug in an attempt to make them go away. Through my own life experiences and from many years of helping others through this process, I've discovered that although God wants to help those who really want emotional healing, there are some very important steps these individuals must take for themselves. If you want to receive emotional healing, one of the first steps you must take is to face the truth. You can't be set free while living in denial. You can't pretend that certain negative things didn't happen to you. I've come to realize that we're experts at building walls and stuffing things into dark corners, pretending they never happened. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in an abusive environment, but as soon as I got away from that situation, I acted as though nothing was wrong. I never told anyone what had gone on in my private life. Why don't we want to bring things like that into the open? We're afraid of what people will think. We're afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, or unloved by those we care about or that they might have a different opinion of us if they really knew all about us. The next step toward emotional healing is confessing your faults. I think there's a place for eventually sharing with someone else the things that have occurred in our lives. There's something about verbalizing it to another person that does wonders for us—but use wisdom. Choose someone you know you can trust. Be sure that by sharing your story with someone else, you don't simply put your burden on that individual's shoulders. Also, don't go on a digging expedition, trying to dig up old hurts and offenses that have been buried and forgotten. When I finally worked up the courage to share with someone what had happened early in my life, I actually began shaking violently in fear. It was an emotional reaction to the things I'd kept buried within me for so long. Now when I talk about my past, it's as though I'm talking about somebody else's problems. Because I've been healed and restored, my past doesn't bother me anymore. Finally, you must assume some personal responsibility. Some people are trapped in denial, afraid of what might happen if others find out the truth. But as long as they deny the past, they're never going to be free from it. Nobody can be set free from a problem until they're willing to admit they have one. An alcoholic, drug addict or anyone who's lost control of their life is doomed to suffer until they're able to say, "I've got a problem, and I need help with it." Even though our problems may have been brought upon us because of something done against our will, we have no excuse for allowing the problem to persist, grow and even take control over our entire life. Our past experiences may have made us the way we are, but we don't have to stay that way. We can take the initiative by taking positive steps to change things—and we can ask for God's help. Whatever your problem may be, face it, consider confessing it to a trusted friend, and then admit it to yourself. Face the truth—it can be the beginning of a happier life!
  • 41. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing, which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. Ambrose Redmoon The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends. Shirley MacLaine People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily. Zig Ziglar We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes. John F. Kennedy Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. Peter T. McIntyre Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby. Ruth E. Renkel Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Marie Curie Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they(creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. Frank Goble The components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist Independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do. Dr Wayne Dyer You either move toward something you love or away from something you fear. The first expands. The second constricts. Tom Crum It often takes more courage to change one's opinion than to stick to it. George Christoph Lichtenberg Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller You can't discover new oceans unless you have the courage to leave the shore. Anonymous You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you. Mary Tyler Moore The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt Be brave enough to live creatively…. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you will discover will be wonderful. What you will discover will be yourself. Alan Alda Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. Michael Pritchard To him who is in fear, everything rustles. Sophocles Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.
  • 42. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. Bertrand Russell Try a thing you haven't done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. Virgil Thomson Feel the fear and do it anyway. Susan Jeffers Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!” ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES FOR A SOUND MIND When You Hear A Lie Going Through Your Mind, Say Out Loud: 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Satan, you are a liar. I will not receive (or believe) your lie in the Name of Jesus.” 1 John 4:4 “I remind you that it is written, ‘He that is within me is greater than he that is in the world.’ I command you to bow your knee to the Name of Jesus and leave me.” (Now you have pulled the lie out–just as you pull a weed out of the ground. An empty hole remains where the weed was, and you will need to fill the space you cast the lie out of with Scripture.) Philippians 4:8 Begin to think on the Word or begin to sing a praise song to God. Make a conscious effort to fill your mind with good, pure, wholesome, and lovely thoughts Confidence Restored I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. JOHN 16:33 MSG Are you a confident, faithful believer, or do you live under a cloud of uncertainty and doubt? As a Christian, you have many reasons to be confident. After all, God is in His heaven; Christ has risen; and you are the recipient of God’s grace. Despite these blessings, you may, from time to time, find yourself being tormented by stressful, destructive emotions—and you are certainly not alone. During turbulent times like these, even the most faithful Christians are overcome by occasional bouts of fear and doubt. And you are no different. But even when you feel very distant from God, remember that God is never distant from you. When you sincerely seek His presence, He will touch your heart, calm your fears, and restore your confidence. Bible hope is confidence in the future. ~Warren Wiersbe Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts you habitually occupy. Think defeat, and you are bound to be defeated. ~Norman Vincent Peale Jesus gives us the ultimate rest, the confidence we need, to escape the frustration and chaos of the world around us. ~Billy Graham Believe and do what God says. The life-changing consequences will be limitless, and the results will be confidence and peace of mind. ~Franklin Graham TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, You are my Savior and my Sustainer. I will be safe with You in heaven, and I am safe with
  • 43. You here on earth. Today, I will trust in Your promises, and I will be a confident, obedient, purposeful servant to Your Son. Amen Powerlessness And How It Can Help You Most of us hate feeling powerless and indeed, it is not very good for us especially for extended periods of time. It can lead to depression, anxiety, outbursts of anger, alienation from others, physical symptoms and, in it’s trauma form, it can lead to the symptoms of Post traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD (e.g. nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and loss of concentration or memory to name a few) Sometimes powerlessness comes from circumstances we have little or no control over. Other times it comes from the consequences of our actions. The latter can be even more frustrating because we may say, “I could have done something different”. We ruminate and replay the situation over and over. This can be helpful if we can process it into lessons learned, insight, awareness about others, or ourselves and character growth. It is interesting to note that sometimes powerlessness can be very powerful. When Jesus surrenders to the cross, His powerlessness redeems the whole world. This is illustrated, again, in the fictional Star Wars movie were Obe Wan allows himself to be slain by Darth Vader only to come back as a ghost to aid Luke in fighting the Empire. The Apostle Paul talks about his powerlessness with an affliction he has and how it helps him grow and be empowered. Joseph’s powerlessness in the Old Testament is the seed for his rise to power in the house of Pharaoh. Despite his brother’s plot against him, he is faithful and God sends him before his family to redeem them in their day of need. After they realize that the brother they sold into slavery is now in power over them, the brothers hear him say “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good” Dealing with powerlessness is a tricky matter sometimes. First we must realize that powerlessness in not necessarily, hopelessness. Powerlessness may just mean you are not in control right now. Second, it is important to admit our powerlessness to God and others. This gets us out of the way sometimes and allows God to work in areas where we do not have the ability or opportunity to change things. Telling others about our powerlessness can be a request to help with need and, as a part of that, a place to get emotional support through listening, different perspective, advice, shared troubles/grief and accountability to change course as well as giving us structure. Third, deal with powerlessness by processing it. Write down what you are feeling and thinking, what you believe about yourself, the situation, what you may have done that contributed to the situation, what others may have contributed to the situation and what is purely circumstantial. Try to avoid “All or Nothing” thinking. The “All Is Lost” mentality is not very helpful. Slowing things down and evaluating the situation is usually better in the short and long run. Nehemiah puts this into action when he feels powerless at first to deal with greedy nobles who are loan sharking their fellow Hebrews right back into slavery. He slows down his anger and brings the nobles to task. Fourth, after the initial shock wears off, try seeing where the processing leads you. What does it tell you about the situation, yourself, others involved, your motives, your priorities, lessons learned, and how you can grow from it. Over all powerlessness is not something to be desired but it is, essentially, unavoidable in life. How we deal with it and use it to grow and move closer to God and others is the key.
  • 44. Fear Happens! Fear is a basic human emotion. According to Wikipedia, fear is an emotional response to threats and danger. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of pain. In general fear falls into two categories: the threat of pain or death, and the threat of social rejection or isolation. Psychologists have suggested that fear is one of the basic or innate emotions, along with joy, sadness, and anger. Distrust can be explained as a feeling of mild fear or caution and may occur as a feeling of warning towards someone or something that is questionable or unknown. Terror is an acute and pronounced form of fear. It is an overwhelming sense of immediate personal danger. It can be caused by perceiving the object of a phobia or trauma, which is common in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Terror may overwhelm a person to the point of making irrational choices and displaying atypical behavior. Paranoia is a term used to describe a fear that is irrational. It is experienced as longstanding feelings and perceptions of being persecuted. Paranoia is an extreme emotional state combined with thoughts, or possibly delusions that one is in danger. As a result people might change from normal behavior to extreme or maladaptive ways. In a 2005 Gallup poll a national sample of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 were asked what they feared the most. The question was open ended and participants were able to say whatever they wanted. The most frequently cited fear was terrorism. The top ten fears were, in order: terrorist attacks spiders death being a failure war heights criminal or gang violence being alone the future nuclear war. That was before the economic stress we have experienced in the past few years, so I imagine that would be one of the answers if the poll were taken today. Fear is different than the related emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any perceived external threat. When we are afraid we often want to escape and avoid, whereas when we are anxious we tend to
  • 45. perceive the threats as uncontrollable or unavoidable. Some of us are more aware of our fears than others, for various reasons. Many of us have been taught to ignore our feelings all in the name of being good managers of our emotions! We are admired when we can pretend we aren’t afraid! When we try to ignore or repress fear our bodies and our emotions still keep score! We develop many physical as well as psychological symptoms and diseases because we ignore or mismanage our fears and anxieties. Fear can be described by different terms varying from mild caution to extreme phobia and paranoia. Fear is related to a number of additional cognitive and emotional states including worry, terror, horror, panic, and dread. As an individual emotional state, fear can also affect the unconscious mind, where it can become manifested in the form of nightmares or night terrors. Fear may also be experienced within a larger group or social network. In this way, personal fears that are compounded by social influence may become mass hysteria. In faith communities we are often admonished that we are experiencing fear because we do not have enough faith. In faith communities we are often admonished that we are experiencing fear because we do not have enough faith. I suggest that it is much more compassionate to respond to someone who is struggling with fear by first listening to what they are saying for quite awhile, tenderly helping them explore the details of the fear so we will have a better understanding of the situation. God’s ultimate plan is for each of us to recognize our need for Him and we also need a supportive network of other people that will help carry us through difficult times. A scriptural model for this is the man who was lowered through the roof to where Jesus was teaching so that he could be healed. (Luke 5:17-20) His dedicated friends tirelessly supported him physically (and I’m sure emotionally) in order to get him help. 1 John 4:18 tells us that …”perfect love drives out fear….” We might be more in line with God’s plan by becoming a ‘perfect lover’ to someone: simply hearing them share their fears without trying to fix them or giving them scriptures or lists of things to do to cover or smother their fears. When we as caregivers jump too soon to a solution we are not communicating love! So 1 Corinthians 13:1 might classify us as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. We would do well to follow the formula in James 1:19 and “…speak little and listen much…..” If you are affected by fears or anxiety negatively impacting your life or your relationships, we will listen. We have many caring therapists who can assist you in finding the best treatment for your situation. Rely Upon Him Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 PETER 5:6-7 NASB Do the stresses of these turbulent times threaten to overwhelm you? If so, you must rely not only upon your own resources but also upon the promises of your Father in heaven. God is a never-ending source of support and courage for those of us who call upon Him. When we
  • 46. are weary, He gives us strength. When we see no hope, God reminds us of His promises. When we grieve, God wipes away our tears. God will hold your hand and walk with you every day of your life if you let Him. So even if your circumstances are difficult, trust the Father. His love is eternal and His goodness endures forever. Faith is not merely you holding on to God—it is God holding on to you. ~E. Stanley Jones God can do all that we need. ~Juliana of Norwich God calls each of us in secret to make certain sacrifices which always involve a risk, even though it may differ from person to person. He does not promise us success, or even final victory in this life. God does not promise that He will protect us from trials, from material cares, from sickness, from physical or moral suffering. He promises only that He will be with us in all these trials, and that He will sustain us if they remain faithful to Him. ~Paul Tournier I was learning something important: we are most vulnerable to the piercing winds of doubt when we distance ourselves from the mission and fellowship to which Christ has called us. Our night of discouragement will seem endless and our task impossible, unless we recognize that He stands in our midst. ~Joni Eareckson Tada TODAY’S PRAYER Dear Lord, whatever “it” is, You can handle it! Let me turn to You when I am fearful or worried. You are my loving Father, and I will always trust You. Amen Anxious? Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. PHILIPPIANS 4:6 NKJV We live in a fast-paced, stress-inducing, anxiety-filled world that oftentimes seems to shift beneath our feet. Sometimes, trusting God is difficult, especially when we become caught up in the incessant demands of an anxious world. When you feel stressed to the breaking point—and you will—return your thoughts to God’s love and God’s promises. And as you confront the challenges of everyday living, turn all of your concerns over to your Heavenly Father. The same God who created the universe will comfort and guide you if you ask Him . . . so ask Him. Then watch in amazement as your anxieties melt into the warmth of His loving hands. Worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. ~E. Stanley Jones We must lay our questions, frustrations, anxieties, and impotence at the feet of God and wait for His answer. And then receiving it, we must live by faith. ~Kay Arthur So often we pray and then fret anxiously, waiting for God to hurry up and do something. All the while God is waiting for us to calm down, so He can do something through us. ~Corrie Ten Boom The fierce grip of panic need not immobilize you. God knows no limitation when it comes to deliverance. Admit your fear. Commit it to Him. Dump the pressure on Him. He can handle it. ~Charles Swindoll TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, sometimes this world is a difficult place, and, as a frail human being, I am fearful. When I am
  • 47. worried, restore my faith. When I am anxious, turn my thoughts to You. When I grieve, touch my heart with Your enduring love. And, keep me mindful, Lord, that nothing, absolutely nothing, will happen this day that You and I cannot handle together. Amen Facing Fears Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. ISAIAH 41:10 NLT We live in a world that is, at times, a frightening place. We live in a world that is, at times, a discouraging place. We live in a world where life-changing losses can be so painful and so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover. During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 NIV). Then, with God’s comfort and His love in our hearts, we can offer encouragement to others. And by helping them face their fears, we can, in turn, tackle our own problems with courage, determination, and faith. God knows that the strength that comes from wrestling with our fear will give us wings to fly. ~Paula Rinehart His hand on me is a father’s hand, gently guiding and encouraging. His hand lets me know He is with me, so I am not afraid. ~Mary Morrison Suggs Adversity is always unexpected and unwelcomed. It is an intruder and a thief, and yet in the hands of God, adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated. Charles Stanley Facing our deepest fears means making peace with our seen self and with our unseen self. ~Sheila Walsh TODAY’S PRAYER Father, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me. Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect love, a love that casts out fear and gives me strength and courage to meet the challenges of this world. Amen Facing Fears Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. ISAIAH 41:10 NLT We live in a world that is, at times, a frightening place. We live in a world that is, at times, a discouraging place. We live in a world where life-changing losses can be so painful and so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover. During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 NIV). Then, with God’s comfort and His love in our hearts, we can offer encouragement to others. And by helping them face their fears, we can, in turn, tackle our own problems with courage, determination, and faith. God knows that the strength that comes from wrestling with our fear will give us wings to fly.
  • 48. ~Paula Rinehart His hand on me is a father’s hand, gently guiding and encouraging. His hand lets me know He is with me, so I am not afraid. ~Mary Morrison Suggs Adversity is always unexpected and unwelcomed. It is an intruder and a thief, and yet in the hands of God, adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated. Charles Stanley Facing our deepest fears means making peace with our seen self and with our unseen self. ~Sheila Walsh TODAY’S PRAYER Father, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me. Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect love, a love that casts out fear and gives me strength and courage to meet the challenges of this world. Amen Finding Peace These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. JOHN 16:33 NKJV Oftentimes, our outer struggles are simply manifestations of the inner conflict that we feel when we stray from God’s path. Jesus offers us peace, not as the world gives, but as He alone gives. Our challenge is to accept Christ’s peace into our hearts and then, as best we can, to share His peace with our neighbors. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are transformed by His grace. We are then free to accept the spiritual abundance and peace that can be ours through the power of the risen Christ. Have you found the genuine peace that can be yours through Jesus Christ? Or are you still rushing after the illusion of “peace and happiness” that the world promises but cannot deliver? Today, as a gift to yourself, to your family, and to your friends, claim the inner peace that is your spiritual birthright: the peace of Jesus Christ. It is offered freely; it has been paid for in full; it is yours for the asking. So ask. And then share. Prayer guards hearts and minds and causes God to bring peace out of chaos. ~Beth Moore Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts. ~Warren Wiersbe When we do what is right, we have contentment, peace, and happiness. ~Beverly Lahaye Peace with God is where all peace begins. ~Jim Gallery To know God as He really is—in His essential nature and character—is to arrive at a citadel of peace that circumstances may storm, but can never capture. ~Catherine Marshall TODAY’S PRAYER Dear Lord, let me accept the peace and abundance that You offer through Your Son Jesus. You are the Giver of all things good, Father, and You give me peace when I draw close to You. Help me to trust Your will, to follow Your commands, and to accept Your peace, today and forever. Amen Worried? Give your worries to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
  • 49. He will never let good people down. PSALM 55:22 NCV Because life is sometimes difficult, and because we have understandable fears about the uncertainty of the future, we worry. At times, we may find ourselves fretting over the countless details of everyday life. We may worry about our relationships, our finances, our health, or any number of potential problems, some large and some small. If you’re a “worrier” by nature, it’s probably time to rethink the way that you think! Perhaps you’ve formed the unfortunate habit of focusing too intently on negative aspects of life while spending too little time counting your blessings. If so, take your worries to God . . . and leave them there. When you do, you’ll learn to worry a little less and to trust God a little more—and that’s as it should be because God is trustworthy, you are protected, and your future can be intensely bright. Worry is the senseless process of cluttering up tomorrow’s opportunities with leftover problems from today. ~Barbara Johnson This life of faith, then, consists in just this—being a child in the Father’s house. Let the ways of childish confidence and freedom from care, which so please you and win your heart when you observe your own little ones, teach you what you should be in your attitude toward God. ~Hannah Whitall Smith Things can be very difficult for us, but nothing is too hard for Him. ~Charles Stanley Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now. ~Elisabeth Elliott TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, You sent Your Son to live as a man on this earth, and You know what it means to be completely human. You understand my worries and my fears, Lord, and You forgive me when I am weak. When my faith begins to wane, help me, Lord, to trust You more. Then, with Your Holy Word on my lips and with the love of Your Son in my heart, let me live courageously, faithfully, prayerfully, and thankfully today and every day. Amen Worried? Give your worries to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will never let good people down. PSALM 55:22 NCV Because life is sometimes difficult, and because we have understandable fears about the uncertainty of the future, we worry. At times, we may find ourselves fretting over the countless details of everyday life. We may worry about our relationships, our finances, our health, or any number of potential problems, some large and some small. If you’re a “worrier” by nature, it’s probably time to rethink the way that you think! Perhaps you’ve formed the unfortunate habit of focusing too intently on negative aspects of life while spending too little time counting your blessings. If so, take your worries to God . . . and leave them there. When you do, you’ll learn to worry a little less and to trust God a little more—and that’s as it should be because God is trustworthy, you are protected, and your future can be intensely bright. Worry is the senseless process of cluttering up tomorrow’s opportunities with leftover problems from today. ~Barbara Johnson This life of faith, then, consists in just this—being a child in the Father’s house. Let the ways of childish confidence and freedom from care, which so please you and win your heart when you
  • 50. observe your own little ones, teach you what you should be in your attitude toward God. ~Hannah Whitall Smith Things can be very difficult for us, but nothing is too hard for Him. ~Charles Stanley Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now. ~Elisabeth Elliott TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, You sent Your Son to live as a man on this earth, and You know what it means to be completely human. You understand my worries and my fears, Lord, and You forgive me when I am weak. When my faith begins to wane, help me, Lord, to trust You more. Then, with Your Holy Word on my lips and with the love of Your Son in my heart, let me live courageously, faithfully, prayerfully, and thankfully today and every day. Amen Beating Stress One Day at a Time This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. PSALM 118:24 NKJV Face facts: just getting by in these turbulent times can be stressful . . . very stressful. You live in a world that is brimming with demands, distractions, and deadlines (not to mention temptations, timetables, requirements, and responsibilities). Whew! No wonder you may be stressed. What can you do in response to the stressors of everyday life? A wonderful place to start is by turning things over to God. Psalm 118:24 reminds us that this day, like every other, is a glorious gift from the Father. How will you use that gift? Will you celebrate it and use it for His purposes? If so, you’ll discover that when you turn things over to Him—when you allow God to rule over every corner of your life—He will calm your fears and guide your steps. So today, make sure that you focus on God and upon His will for your life. Then, ask for His help. And remember: No challenge is too great for Him. Not even yours. Life is strenuous. See that your clock does not run down. ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman There are very few certainties that touch us all in this mortal experience, but one of the absolutes is that we will experience hardship and stress at some point. ~James Dobson If you’re willing to repair your life, God is willing to help. If you’re not willing to repair your life, God is willing to wait. ~Marie T. Freeman Prescription for a happier and healthier life: resolve to slow down your pace; learn to say no gracefully; resist the temptation to chase after more pleasure, more hobbies, and more social entanglements. ~James Dobson TODAY’S PRAYER Heavenly Father, You never leave or forsake me. Even when I am troubled by the demands of the day, You are always with me, protecting me and encouraging me. Whatever today may bring, I thank You for Your love and Your strength. Let me lean upon You, Father, this day and forever. Amen God's Protection Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
  • 51. MICAH 7:8 HCSB Have you ever faced challenges that seemed too big to handle? Have you ever faced big problems that, despite your best efforts, simply could not be solved? If so, you know how uncomfortable it is to feel helpless in the face of difficult circumstances. Thankfully, even when there’s nowhere else to turn, you can turn your thoughts and prayers to God, and He will respond. God’s hand uplifts those who turn their hearts and prayers to Him. Count yourself among that number. When you do, you can live courageously and joyfully, knowing that “this too will pass”— but that God’s love for you will not. And you can draw strength from the knowledge that you are a marvelous creation, loved, protected, and uplifted by the ever-present hand of God. Whatever hallway you’re in—no matter how long, how dark, or how scary—God is right there with you. ~Bill Hybels God helps those who help themselves, but there are times when we are quite incapable of helping ourselves. That’s when God stoops down and gathers us in His arms like a mother lifts a sick child, and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. ~Ruth Bell Graham Life is literally filled with God-appointed storms. These squalls surge across everyone’s horizon. We all need them. ~Charles Swindoll God will not permit any troubles to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty. ~Peter Marshall TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, sometimes life is difficult. Sometimes, I am worried, weary, or heartbroken. And sometimes, I encounter powerful temptations to disobey Your commandments. But, when I lift my eyes to You, Father, You strengthen me. When I am weak, You lift me up. Today, I will turn to You for strength, for hope, for direction, and for deliverance. Amen Live Courageously He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord. His heart is assured; he will not fear. PSALM 112:7-8 HCSB Every person’s life is a tapestry of events: some wonderful, some not-so-wonderful, and some downright disastrous. When we visit the mountaintops of life, praising God isn’t hard—in fact, it’s easy. In our moments of triumph, we can bow our heads and thank God for our victories. But when we fail to reach the mountaintops, when we endure the inevitable losses that are a part of every person’s life, we find it much tougher to give God the praise He deserves. Yet wherever we find ourselves, whether on the mountaintops of life or in life’s darkest valleys, we must still offer thanks to God, giving thanks in all circumstances. The next time you find yourself worried about the challenges of today or the uncertainties of tomorrow, ask yourself this question: are you really ready to place your concerns and your life in God’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving hands? If the answer to that question is yes—as it should be—then you can draw courage today from the source of strength that never fails: your Father in heaven. God is with you always, listening to your thoughts and prayers, watching over your every move. If the demands of everyday life weigh down upon you, you may be tempted to ignore God’s presence or—worse yet—to lose faith in His promises. But, when you quiet yourself and acknowledge His presence, God will touch your heart and restore your courage.
  • 52. At this very moment—as you’re fulfilling your obligations and overcoming tough times—God is seeking to work in you and through you. He’s asking you to live abundantly and courageously . . . and He’s ready to help. So why not let Him do it . . . starting now? Faith not only can help you through a crisis, it can help you to approach life after the hard times with a whole new perspective. It can help you adopt an outlook of hope and courage through faith to face reality. ~John Maxwell TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, sometimes I face challenges that leave me breathless. When I am fearful, let me lean upon You. Keep me ever mindful, Lord, that You are my God, my strength, and my shield. With You by my side, I have nothing to fear. And, with Your Son Jesus as my Savior, I have received the priceless gift of eternal life. Help me to be a grateful and courageous servant this day and every day. Amen Make Peace With the Past Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. JOHN 14:27 KJV Some of life’s greatest roadblocks are not the ones we see through the windshield; they are, instead, the roadblocks that seem to fill the rearview mirror. Because we are imperfect human beings who lack perfect control over our thoughts, we may allow ourselves to become “stuck” in the past—even though we know better. Instead of focusing our thoughts and energies on the opportunities of today, we may allow painful memories to fill our minds and sap our strength. We simply can’t seem to let go of our pain, so we relive it again and again . . . with predictably unfortunate consequences. Thankfully, God has other plans. Philippians 3:13-14 instructs us to focus on the future, not the past: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). Yet for many of us, focusing on the future is difficult indeed. Why? Part of the problem has to do with forgiveness. When we find ourselves focusing too intently on the past, it’s a sure sign that we need to focus, instead, on a more urgent need: the need to forgive. No amount of anger or bitterness can change what happened yesterday. Tears can’t change the past; regrets can’t change it. Our worries won’t change the past, and neither will our complaints. Simply put, the past is, and always will be, the past. Forever. Can you summon both the courage and the wisdom to accept your past and move on with your life? Can you accept the reality that yesterday—and all the yesterdays before it—are gone? And, can you entrust all those yesterdays to God? By God’s grace, you can. So if you’ve endured a difficult past, learn from it, but don’t live in it. Instead, build your future on a firm foundation of trust and forgiveness: trust in your Heavenly Father, and forgiveness for all His children, including yourself. If you are God’s child, you are no longer bound to your past or to what you were. You are a brand new creature in Christ Jesus. ~Kay Arthur TODAY’S PRAYER Heavenly Father, free me from anger, resentment, and envy. When I am bitter, I cannot feel the peace that You intend for my life. Keep me mindful that forgiveness is Your commandment, and help me accept the past, treasure the present, and trust the future . . . to You. Amen
  • 53. Faith Moves Mountains For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 JOHN 5:4 NKJV Because we live in a demanding world, all of us have mountains to climb and mountains to move. Moving those mountains requires faith. And the experience of trying, with God’s help, to move mountains builds character. Faith, like a tender seedling, can be nurtured or neglected. When we nurture our faith through prayer, meditation, and worship, God blesses our lives and lifts our spirits. But when we neglect to commune with the Father, we do ourselves and our loved ones a profound disservice. Are you a mountain-moving person whose faith is evident for all to see? Or, are you a spiritual underachiever? As you think about the answer to that question, consider this: God needs more people who are willing to move mountains for His glory and for His kingdom. Every life—including yours—is a series of wins and losses. Every step of the way, through every triumph and tragedy, God walks with you, ready and willing to strengthen you. So the next time you find your character being tested, remember to take your fears to God. If you call upon Him, you will be comforted. Whatever your challenge, whatever your trouble, God can handle it. When you place your faith, your trust, indeed your life in the hands of your Heavenly Father, you’ll receive a lesson in character-building from the ultimate Teacher. So strengthen your faith through praise, through worship, through Bible study, and through prayer. And trust God’s plans. With Him, all things are possible, and He stands ready to open a world of possibilities to you . . . if you have faith. Trials are not enemies of faith but opportunities to reveal God’s faithfulness. ~Barbara Johnson It may be the most difficult time of your life. You may be enduring your own whirlwind. But the whirlwind is a temporary experience. Your faithful, caring Lord will see you through. ~Charles Swindoll TODAY’S PRAYER Lord, sometimes this world is a terrifying place. When I am filled with uncertainty and doubt, give me faith. In life’s dark moments, help me remember that You are always near and that You can overcome any challenge. Today, Lord, and forever, I will place my trust in You. Amen What Are You Afraid Of? Things that go bump in the night, an overbearing boss, or anxiety filled days–all of these and more affect the way we think and act. Sometimes we are frozen in our fears and don’t realize it. Fear is something we live with unknowingly, yet it can be a motivator in our relationships, work, and our life with Christ. ‘Behind the emotional pressure, fear, worry, catastrophizing, wandering thoughts and physical discomfort of stress and anxiety that millions of people experience is a powerful and intricately designed system created by God and centered in the mind, nervous system and the brain. While this natural defense mechanism is designed to alert us to danger, keep us growing, vigilant and productive, it can also be pushed too far and become toxic. When the immediate threat or call for action is long gone, the nervous system can sometimes continue to stay activated, intensifying symptoms resulting in stress or anxiety disorders, depression and many other health problems. Quite simply, our bodies and being aren’t physiologically capable of dealing with the prolonged
  • 54. pressures of modern day living that so many are experiencing.’ (Caring for People God’s Way, Chapter 8 ) Fear and anxiety can lock us into beliefs that support our fears and anxiety. Codependent relationships, dead end jobs, and destructive habits all participate in the cycle of fear and anxiety. Are you recognizing fear and anxiety that is present in your life? What can you do? Here are 7 ways to begin addressing the fear and anxiety in your life: 1. Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. Eliminate harmful substances. 2. Learn mind body techniques to help relax and reduce stress response. 3. Get enough sleep, rest, and relaxation. 4. Develop a relationship with God. Practice prayer and Christian meditation. 5. Exercise regularly. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise a day. 6. Counteract negative self talk and mistaken beliefs with positive reality and God’s Word. 7. Connect with other people in meaningful relationships, sharing life, love, laughter and serving one another. Begin addressing your fear today by asking God to help you! Surrender your fear and anxiety to him, begin one of the steps above, and do not let fear or anxiety take one more day of your life! Overcoming Fear and Anxiety Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad,’ Proverbs12:25. Being anxious or fearful are common emotions that all of us face and deal with, especially when we go into recovery from addictions. Perhaps you have been medicating the anxiety experienced in relationships for many years and now you are for the first time beginning to deal with it in a healthy way. The scripture affirms that anxiety can really weigh a man’s heart down. It can be such a burden that we will do anything to find relief. In this article I will focus on some strategies to help you overcome the struggles with anxiety and fear. I think that one central fear we face is the unknown. Not knowing what will happen can really drive a person to control their environment and everyone in it. As a result, we try to control so much that is out of our control. We anxiously try to control outcomes, as well as the circumstances. We try to control bad things from happening and people from getting upset with us. I believe that is why we falsely think that our addictions can make life work. We find relief from the anxiety with something that we can control. Take away that and the anxiety comes back. Then we get desperate for something else to take away the anxiety that we can control. Perhaps you struggle with cross addictions, where you take away one addiction (sex) and increase another (smoking). Learning to deal with anxiety in a healthy way is an essential component to your recovery. The bible teaches that we must renew our mind with the truth, for the truth sets us free. One strategy is to learn how to recognize anxious thoughts. Beware of: all or nothing thinking; over-generalization, dwelling on the negative, magnification and minimization, and ‘should’ statements. Learn to speak the truth to yourself and to calm yourself down by utilizing positive and truthful self talk. In Philippians 4, Paul wrote: ‘(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
  • 55. requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (9) The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ‘ I want to highlight the importance of dwelling on the things of verse 8. Verse nine says we need to practice them. You can train yourself to respond (think) in a new way. I also recognize that much anxiety comes as you project yourself in the future. Some people use the acronym FEAR as Future Events Appear Real. I cannot control the future, or how someone may respond or react, but I can control me and what I think in the here and now. So stay in the present. Also remember, take one step at a time. Essential here is learning to give up control over what I can’t control anyway, like what people think of me or how they may react. If your anxiety is overwhelming, seek the help of a professional Christian counselor. Sometimes medication may be necessary to help you manage while you change the way you think. A counselor can help you process your fear and anxiety and help you develop new ways of handling life. He or she can help you learn to take risks and grow, and depend on God in new way. Peter (1 Peter 5:7) said we are to ‘cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.’ So in summary, learn to accept anxiety, understand it in context, and learn to identify the anxiety producing thoughts and replace them with the truth. I like the serenity prayer that Reinhold Niebuhr wrote because it reminds me that I need to ‘accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and to have the wisdom to know the difference.’ God's Emergency Phone Numbers When in sorrow – Call John 14 When people let you down – Call Psalm 27 If you want to be effective – Call John 15 When you have sinned – Call Psalm 51 When you worry – Call Matthew 6:19-34 When you are in danger – Call Psalm 91 When God seems far away – Call Psalm 139 When your faith needs strength – Call Hebrews 11 When you are lonely – Call Psalm 23 When you grow bitter and critical – Call 1 Corinthians 13 The secret to happiness – Call Colossians 3:12-17 When you want peace and rest – Call Matthew 11:25-30 When you travel – Call Psalm 121 When your faith needs help – Call Psalm 66 When you want courage – Call Joshua 1
  • 56. For harmony at church – Call Romans 12 If you are depressed – Call Psalm 27 If you are out of money – Call Psalm 37 If you feel angry – Call 1 Corinthians 13 If you need encouragement to read Scripture – Call Psalm 19 For dealing with fear – Call Psalm 34 For security – Call Psalm 121 For motivation – Call Mark 8:35 For wisdom – Call James 1:5 Five Fear Factors to Set You Free Excerpted from the book Fear Less for Life by Steve Arterburn, Dr. Paul Meier & Dr. Robert Wise Knowing the symptoms and some of the body’s reactions will help you become more realistic about your fears. In addition, you may need to take some important specific steps to subdue any fears of being out of control. When you recognize the icy fingers of fear digging into your shoulder, here are five practical strategies you can consider. 1. Face Your Fear You need to open your locked closet and let the sunlight in. You can’t get well unless you confront the facts. The fear of your fear can sometimes be the biggest problem you face. Taking a peek into your dark attic can be one of your most important steps toward sound mental health. 2. Set Boundaries Learn to say no! Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud wrote a book, Boundaries, that revolutionized practical Christianity. Their Boundaries series (Boundaries with Kids, Boundaries in Marriage) has helped millions of people both directly and indirectly. In the books the doctors make the point that everyone needs to set parameters. Creating limits keeps us out of the places where destructiveness happens. Learning to say no is one of the most important boundaries that will keep us out of harms way. Many people find this change to be a particularly difficult step because they have become conditioned to saying yes to every request. Refusing feels inconsiderate or impertinent. Consequently these victims go from problem to problem without realizing that they keep opening the door to their own difficulties. And the fear of disappointing someone controls them. 3. Consider Counseling We must learn to face and resolve old losses and stresses. Often we need help in working through these unresolved issues. Don’t feel weak for needing help. Feel strong for asking for it. Scripture reminds us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Prov. 15:22 niv). Professional help can make all the difference in getting to the bottom of our fears. 4. Consider Medication In the right combinations, medications work nearly 100 percent of the time. While most of the people who seek professional help are able to overcome their fears through counseling alone, many times panic-stricken patients need a physiological, chemical change that will enable them to resolve their fear-related issues. You must, however,see a good Christian counselor and not just expect a
  • 57. quick fix from taking a pill. People give many reasons for not considering medication. One of the central objections is that “I should be able to handle and resolve problems on my own.” Many fearstruck strugglers have gone to an early grave with that naive belief when in reality, God had a gift available for them. They only needed to humble themselves enough to take it. 5. Connect We need to be connected to God and His people. Spending time with loving, grace-filled servants of God can soothe anyone’s fear. Unconditional love is healing and will help us maintain perspective. New hope and direction can come from establishing positive relationships with people to whom we can confess our fears. Sometimes we have missed the reasons why we feel so disconnected and alienated. Exploring the strained relationships of the past can cut these unhealthy ties. You may need to spend time looking at what destroyed your past relationships. Most important of all is to come into a new, intimate relationship with our heavenly Father. He’s the one who has the capacity and potential to restore our lives and is waiting to do so. A revived relationship with Jesus Christ can add the power and opportunity needed to reconnect with people and God – and to face fear. Remember that God’s gifts are power, love, and self-control. But you won’t experience them unless you work through all the reasons you have become disconnected from the Father. He is the ultimate, healing connection. Recovering From a Hurricane In central Florida we have just survived a hurricane. The losses range from entire homes, and their contents, to broken trees in the yards. Others have lost pets or loved ones. The statistics say that, in terms of financial loss, this is the second worst hurricane in Florida’s history. There is much help available for the restoration effort from FEMA, Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations. The mental health community has many initiatives to help those with stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Many have had chaos “stirred up inside” more than the hurricane damage on the outside. It is helpful to recognize that this is a normal response to disaster. It is a grief response to the losses of the past and of the present, both tangible and intangible. The biggest and most devastating loss is the sense of safety and stability. Most people function best with order and structure in their daily routine. The experience of the hurricane and the recovery process destroys all of that. Actually, anything that impedes or takes away our routine, structure, safety, stability, predictability, or sense of control creates a hurricane “inside.” One common response is to indulge in our addictions: alcohol, food, anger. We are trying to soothe and comfort ourselves. All too often the ways we soothe and comfort ourselves are not helpful for the long term. These behaviors alienate us from the true source of comfort: connection with God and healthy nurturing people. God makes alternatives available, but we must choose to pursue those alternatives. Choice! Ugh! That makes us responsible for our behavior, not someone or something else outside of ourselves. Yes, as difficult as this is to take, we must make healthy choices in order to reap the benefits and blessings that God has in store for us. Sometimes it is just too hard to make those choices on our own. We often know that what we are doing is not the best for us but feel powerless to make the right choice. That is when we need to reach out for help. We should connect with safe people who will support, nurture and encourage us to get back on track. What people in central Florida are learning about themselves is a valuable lesson for others. It isn’t only the external hurricanes of life that drive us to unhealthy behaviors and choices, but the chaos
  • 58. inside that sometimes goes unnoticed. Changing What You Think About Anxiety As we know anxiety can make us want to overeat. When we’re feeling worried and stressed many of us reach forfood to help soothe and calm us. In this first article on dealing with anxiety, I will be sharing a tool called a Thought Record that has proven to lessen anxiety. Basically, a Thought Record can help you identify ‘automatic or negative thoughts” and check to see if your automatic thinking falls into one of the many thought distortions that increase anxiety such as ‘catastrophizing or fortune-telling.’ The Thought Record then asks you to write down an alternative ‘balanced thought.’ I like to think of the new thought as one more closely resembling the truth. For example, I may find myself thinking that if I try to connect to others it will be a disaster. This would be an example of ‘fortune-telling and over-generalization.’ It would be ‘fortune-telling’ because I’m determining ahead of time how something will turn out. It would be ‘overgeneralization’ because I’m focusing on the times that I attempted to connect and it went poorly, and I’m forgetting the times I’ve tried to connect with others and it went well. A balanced thought would be: ‘When I’ve tried to connect with others sometimes it hasn’t gone so well and sometimes it has gone well. I’m going to try to connect with others and see how it goes.’ The value in making sure our thinking is balanced is immeasurable because our thinking patterns strongly affect our feelings and actions. You can find official Thought Records in David Burns’ paperback, The Feel Good Handbook, in Christine Padesky’s workbook Mind over Mood or in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edward Bourne. You can also construct your own Thought Record by: 1. making a column for automatic thoughts, 2. a column for evidence that supports that thought, 3. a column for evidence that does not support the automatic thought and 4. a column for coming up with a balanced thought. The balanced thought should take into account all the evidence. The goal is to learn to automatically adjust our thinking into a closer alignment with the truth. As it says in John 8:32, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’ Writing out and examining our anxious thoughts can be very helpful even if we’re just listing them. Often, when I have anxious thoughts just whirling around in my head it helps tremendously just to get them down on paper. Here’s to controlling our thoughts instead of letting our thoughts control us. May God richly bless your efforts toward ‘taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ‘, (II Corinthians 10:5) The Meaning of Stress and How to Live with Less of It Life is stressful.’It seems that this is a common statement nowadays. We go about our daily activities accepting traffic, late appointments, long lines and noise as a part of life. Unfortunately, heart attacks, migraines, depression and addictions are also a part of life, and many research studies have concluded a link between stress and these physical ailments.
  • 59. God’s purpose for stress: Stress was designed to keep us motivated. Before grocery stores, motels, and clothing outlets, stress from nature and physical needs kept us working fields and animals in the summer so that we would be clothed, fed and sheltered in the winter. Man’s abuse of stress: Most of us do not have to worry about our next meal or clothes on our back, yet we are more stressed than ever. Modern society applies a lot of pressure to look, feel, think and behave certain ways. We strive to live longer, maintain beautiful bodies, drive faster cars, raise perfect children and manage successful careers; and we stress ourselves out in the process. The cost: There is nothing wrong with wanting a comfortable life; but at what cost? Every choice we make has an emotional, physical, spiritual price tag. We work long hours, take care of others, focus on what we don’t have; and the cost is neglect of God, family and our health. Reclaiming serenity: God doesn’t want us to live all stressed out! We can’t do his work when we are tired, sick, or depressed. So how can we reclaim God’s gift of peace and serenity? Here are some tips that may help. If you find yourself unable to de-stress on your own, if you can’t pull out of ‘the blues’ or if you worry constantly, you may need to find a pastor or therapist to help you. Exercise: Stress puts the body on ‘red alert,’ ready for action. Without exercise, a revved up adrenaline system taxes the immune system causing sickness and disease. Find an activity you enjoy and get to it! Nature: With modern technology, most of us are far removed from growing and living things. Gardening, bird watching, grooming a horse, and playing with the dogs are all ways to re-connect with nature. Water: Not only drink a lot of it, but lay in it! Studies show that soaking in a hot bath can relieve stress up to 60 percent. Music: Learn to play a musical instrument. Even at the beginner level, playing the piano or guitar or whatever will calm you down (at least it may make you and others around you laugh!). No: Learn to say this valuable word. Now: Most people are living in the past (sadness, guilt, depression) or living in the future (stress, anxiety, worry). What about right now right here? ‘Carpe diem, seize the day,’ is as sound a philosophy today as it was 1,000 years ago. We must learn from the past and prepare for the future, but living is right now, right here. Connection: Having good relationships ensures you will have social support, which is critical in reducing stress. Listen to people, be more empathetic, more tolerant. Involve yourself in family, church, activity groups. Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; the courage to change the things I
  • 60. can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen, Breaking the Link Between Fear and Food As fear drives people from guilt to shame, it affects the way they see themselves. We’ve been observing this as we have shared the story of Marybelle Carlson in my last few articles. After Marybelle’s discussion with me, a counselor helped her face the addictive cycle, and she recognized the truth about the patterns controlling her life. By discovering how each part of the addictive cycle worked, she slowly dismantled her tendencies and got off the Ferris wheel of fear and food. After several sessions she understood how guilt had turned into shame, causing her to camouflage herself behind layers of fat. Finally, one afternoon Marybelle faced the most important truth of all: ‘My fear of facing the pain and suffering caused by the losses in my life was at the bottom of my addiction to food,’ she said. ‘The divorce was horrible, but when my mother died, I knew I was truly alone in this world. The worst fear of all was the sheer emptiness.’ With those words, Marybelle destroyed the addictive cycle in her life. She made a commitment to become part of a support group and also to reconnect with good friends. ********* God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ********* Facing and accepting our worst fears and then moving into the future is one of the ways our heavenly Father set us free from the past. When Marybelle was able to talk about fearing emptiness and did something about it, she was on her way to becoming a whole person. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous use the Serenity Prayer that Reinhold Neibuhr wrote. ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Possibly these words will be helpful as you explore the hidden side of your inner world. Praying the Serenity Prayer can help break the destructive link between fear and food and put that destructive Ferris wheel to rest. Anxiety and Coping with our Fears Anxiety is nervousness, being worried or stressed. Men may disguise their anxiety and channel it through workaholism, anger, and frustration. Women are more out ‘there’ with their fear and anxiety. Women are worrisome, and express anxiety through fretting, or in feeling shaky. They are more apt to have anxiety that holds them back or holds them up from doing things they need to do. When the anxiety becomes more of a panic, we tend to develop a phobic reaction to things that make us anxious, and our world becomes smaller. If you’re anxious in a certain setting–for example, if you’re anxious talking in certain groups of people–you’ll begin to eliminate those settings from your life. But the anxiety is not going to go away ‘ so you’re probably going to find yourself eliminating more and more because you haven’t really gotten to the root of the anxiety.
  • 61. You’ve just tried to eliminate where the symptoms manifest. Common Roots of Anxiety. For many the issue of control is at the root of anxiety. Their known fears are often expressed in areas they can control. What can I control? How can I keep the thing from happening that I’m afraid will happen? Interestingly enough, what’s underneath it all usually is a fear of something they cannot control; that they’re more deeply afraid of; that they’re not conscious of or they haven’t made the connection. They may be afraid that their child is going to die, or that they will be humiliated or shamed in some way and all of that gets translated into these symptoms. Oftentimes anxiety that comes as a result of unresolved issues in our childhood will emerge later on in our adult years when we can no longer keep a lid on things. I think for a long time we can operate. We’re running fast. We’re growing up. We’re in school. We develop a false persona where we can hide things from ourselves and then’ later on, it begins to crack and crumble. Some of the things we kept under wraps and in control, we can control no longer and that’s where anxiety starts to emerge for a lot of people. In addition to that, a lot of people have a predisposition towards being anxious ‘ they’re a little more high strung and they cope by being very performance oriented. They stay busy, but when their lives begin to shift and they don’t have the same structure, the anxiety emerges. How Do We Cope or Mask Anxiety? 1. Eat ‘ I’m so stressed, I could eat this whole cake! Food is our medication. Food is accessible, easily available and instantly gratifying. 2. Being busy. We’re always on the go. We may subconsciously be thinking that if we’re busy, then we don’t have to feel the feelings we don’t want to feel. STEPS to Deal with Anxiety The funny thing about fear is that the more you fear FEAR, the more powerful it becomes. And so, our instinct is to want to stop feeling afraid. After awhile, we become afraid of feeling afraid, and so we try to conduct our lives in such a way that we don’t have experiences that make us feel the anxiety. But that’s when we get into trouble. 1. The first step is to know that fear in small doses and in normal doses is something that is survivable. 2. We don’t need help getting rid of the scared feelings, we need help in being able to cope with our fears and feelings. 3. We need to begin to face our limits and our losses. Face our powerlessness. Integrating all of that into who we are as a person helps us combat our fears and anxieties. 4. Turn over to God what we cannot control and let Him be God in those areas. To deal effectively with our fears and anxiety, we need to face the truth about ourselves and grow into a place where we can accept who we are. A lot of people dealing with anxiety have this ideal image that they are supposed to be more than they are. They think that if only they could get certain things under control, then they would be this great person. What’s important to realize is that we don’t need a ton of GREAT people running
  • 62. around in the world, we need people who are TRUTHFUL about themselves, more accepting. Then we are more able to entrust ourselves and our limitations to God and receive the promise of His being a refuge and safety in the midst of our fears and anxieties. With David, the Psalmist, we can say, ‘This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting Him.’ (Psalms 91:2)

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