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Do not be afraid.

Shackled up by chains of fear and seeds of discouragement a cloud of darkness swirled around my heart the past few weeks.

Paralyzed by fear I have been unable to move
Paralyzed to even make decisions
Paralyzed to even sit down and write because the demons of fear held my heart.

Fear of the unknown
Fear of letting go of my expectations
Fear of disappointment
Fear of feeling like I have given up on God to heal
Fear of defeat

Fear is the enemy of faith. I know this in my head, yet I still battle it daily in my heart.

Fear is what stops us from walking in faith to what God has called us to.
The more I study scripture I see God saying over and over,

Do not fear.

Do not be afraid.

Take heart.

Be courageous.

I laugh because sometimes God repeats himself as to make a clear point. Reading in Joshua, after Moses died, the Lord comes to Joshua to tell him he is going to take his people across the Jordan River. In three straight verses the Lord tells Joshua do not be afraid. God didn’t just make his point once, but rather over and over he speaks to Joshua to be strong and courageous. I love how in the second verse God adds not just courageous, but VERY courageous.

Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:7 Be strong and VERY courageous

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

And I think with us, in each of our own lives we feel like Joshua. We can’t just hear be strong and courageous once, because fear has such a grip on our lives. We have to hear it over and over again. Even though I laugh at this sequence and find such humor in God’s repetitive words, I know there is such truth in these words. I need to not just hear the truth of God’s words in my head, but have it sink down into my heart.

The Lord is calling us to live this one life he gave us in faith, to follow him at all costs, even if that scare us, fear shouldn’t stop us.

He is asking us to be courageous in a world that is cowardly.
He is asking us to do things that scare us because why else would he tell his people in the Bible over and over again in their journey, do not be afraid, but trust him in whatever he calls us to. Sometimes these things he is calling us to do are even rather simple, they aren’t even big life changing decisions.

Our sinful nature, our natural inclination is to fall into the trap of fear and discouragement. As soon as God speaks and asks us to follow him on his journey our hearts jump into the land of fear that ultimately paralyzes us.

Fear is the enemy of God.
Fear is the enemy to living a life of faith.

Therefore God reiterated through the Bible, do NOT fear.

Because fear is what hold us back,
holds us back from hearing him, following him, knowing him more and experiencing him in this life.
God is calling us to walk in courage. In boldness. In trust.
God wants courageous people of faith who trust in Him, not in ourselves.

Following Jesus is about faith.
Following Jesus is living a life that sometimes makes no sense to us or the outside world.
He leads us into places that strip us of our self-sufficiency

and sometimes those places in our journey are met with hardships, pain, tears and struggle.

But in those harder moments, he reminds us, we are not alone.
We have the power of Spirit that enables us to live with power and courage.

For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

When fear and discouragement knocks at my door, and lately it is all the time, I have to speak words of power over the fear. I have to get in the Word of God and speak out loud the promises of God.  

There is power in his name, Jesus.
There is power in his holy word.
There is the gift of his Spirit, to help us moment by moment.

In the scriptures is where I am reminded, God is asking me to give up my life I hold with closed fists and follow him. To trust him with every part of my life, even when it makes no sense.  I have to keep holding onto hope, knowing he is good God that will redeem all things.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (IS.  43:1)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! (Romans 8:15-17)

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Below is a list I put together of some of the places I found in scripture in my studying  where God is saying, Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, be strong and courageous.

Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield,

Genesis 26:24 . Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

Genesis 46:3 “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.

Exodus 14:13 Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.

Deuteronomy 1:21 Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 1:29 “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.

Deuteronomy 3:22 Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.”

Deuteronomy 20:3 Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:7 Be strong and courageous

Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:23 “Be strong and courageous,

Joshua 1:5 I will never leave you nor forsake you

Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:7 Be strong and VERY courageous

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:18 Only be strong and courageous

Joshua 8:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Joshua 10:25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.

2 Samuel 2:7 Now then, be strong and brave,

1 Chronicles 17:13 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

1 Chronicles 22:13  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

1 Chronicles 28:20 Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

2 Chronicles 15:7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 20:17 Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ ”

2 Chronicles 32:7 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged

Psalms 27:14 be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalms 31:24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Psalms 118:6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Isaiah 43:5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

Isaiah 44:8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Jeremiah 1:8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,”

Jeremiah 30:10 “ ‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,’ declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 42:11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands.

Jeremiah 46:27 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel.

Jeremiah 46:28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you

Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.

Daniel 10:19 Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

Joel 2:21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things!

Zechariah 8:13 Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Acts 18:9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.

Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

 

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