Fear Not!

Fear. A knot forms in my stomach, I clench my jaw, and I feel the world closing in around me. I want to run and hide, but where? Then, I remember the safest place to be, so I go there and find peace and comfort. Where is that, you might ask? It is the presence of God through prayer, Bible study, and worship.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

The enemy’s two biggest weapons are fear and anger. When we listen to the world, all we hear is a good dose of both of these. When we are under spiritual attack and sometimes verbal assault, we have a defense: the sword of the spirit, the Word of God. It is a source of comfort and the only effective means of routing the enemy. We need to remember that is not people we fight against but a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, so use the Word of God as a source of comfort and a means of taking down our spiritual enemy, Satan, and sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

My readings for #MyHopeNotebook this week emphasized that we don’t have to fear because we have hope in God:

Day 9: The Lord is everywhere.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9

Day 10: I will not be afraid because God can defend no matter how great the size of the enemy.

Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

Psalms 3:2-6

Day 11: When we desire the things of God, we will be full of life and firmly planted like a tree.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

Day 12: With God all things are possible if we believe.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Mark 9:23

Day 13: We don’t have to fear because we have hope in his mercy.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Psalms 33:18-22

Day 14: We don’t have to fear because no matter what happens God will take us through.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:1-2

Trials will come. That is a given; however, we don’t have to fear because God is with us. When you feel the fear or anger creeping up on you, turn off the news and social media and open the Word of God. It is a refuge of comfort, peace, and power over the enemy. While you are at it, don’t forget to grab the shield of faith because the Sword will do you no good if you are wounded by the enemy’s darts. Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6), and let perfect love cast out fear. Then let the peace of God fill you so that it overflows into an angry world.

Fear not!

Our Only Hope

Near the beginning of the original Star Wars movie, Luke Skywalker finds a message from Princess Leia in which she states their dire situation and begs for Obi Wan Kenobi’s help. She ends it by saying, “You’re our only hope.” Ironically, it is actually Luke Skywalker who becomes the hero along with a motley crew and not Ben who saves the day. Today we face our own situations and are looking for a hero to save us. Unfortunately, we too are looking to the wrong hero.

I started a project I call 40 Days of Hope (#MyHopeNotebook) in which I searched out 40 scriptures on Hope. Each day I draw one, hand write the scriptures, journal and post a picture. I think what the world needs right now is hope; however, they keep looking for it in all the wrong places. The following are the scriptures I drew for the first 8 days:

Day 1

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Colossians 1:27

Day 2

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:10-11

Day 3

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

Day 4

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Psalms 16:9

Day 5

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:18

Day 6

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

Day 7

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Hebrews 10:23

Day 8

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

Psalms 130:5-8

If you notice, not one time did God say trust in political leaders, political parties, or vaccines although He may use them at times. He says trust in Him, hope in Him, have faith in Him. He has a plan for you that no one can change. We just have to wait for Him to work. It is often easier to say than to do, so maybe you should take a moment and write some of these verses out yourself and post them around the house or make your own notebook. Each time you feel stressed or hopeless take it out and meditate on the verses. When we shift our focus in the right direction, everything else will fall into place in His time.

In the meantime, just remember: Our hope does not come from masks or vaccines; it does not come from political leaders or political parties. Our hope comes from God and God alone.

Don’t Give Up!

Christmas Eve I was driving home from a family get together when I saw a sign in a yard. It jumped out at me in that weird way that sometimes happens, like God highlighted it for me. There were just three words: Don’t Give Up. It felt like God was speaking to me, but then I shrugged it off and continued on. Since then, that phrase has jumped out at me from a variety of sources including a random movie line, a random song lyric on the radio, and a book I was reading. I decided that God was trying to tell me something, so my word for 2021 is Hope because hope is the reason we don’t give up.

I wanted to start the New Year out with a special 40-day study/project of some kind, and after throwing ideas around, it occurred to me that I could combine a couple of my goals for the coming year into one project: Hope Notes. Every day for 40 days I will draw from a list of scriptures on hope, write out the scripture, meditate on it, journal it, and then post a picture from the notebook on Instagram. This will cover my goals for Bible study, practicing journaling, writing more, stretching artistically, trying something new, and working on growing my Instagram account. Besides, I just think after 2020 we could all use a little hope. So, let’s focus on the good things and start the New Year off right.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   

Colossians 1:27

My first scripture was Colossians 1:27 which couldn’t be more perfect because hope originates in Christ. The reason we have hope is because Christ lives in our heart. Our relationship with Him results in a right relationship with God, so we have hope not only for a future in Heaven but also in our everyday lives.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

One of the movie lines that related to the topic said perfect love casts out fear because it brings hope. Perfect love only comes from God because He is the only one who is perfect, so when we are in His presence, there is no fear. The trick is to remember that we are always in His Presence if Christ lives in our hearts.

So, we can have hope everyday and not just because it’s a New Year. In order to reinforce this idea, I am posting from my notebook to Instagram for the next 40 days with the #HopeNotes. I want to cast out the fear that has been hanging over our heads and replace it with the hope we have in Christ. The only way to do that is to focus on God and not what is going on in the news or on social media. If we want the world to change, we have to start with ourselves. Be a force for change and a beacon of hope in a dark world which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”