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Courage in Devilish Ant Bites
"Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22 NASB
Traffic delays, misplaced items, command of the remote control ... are only a few of my everyday devil's ant bites.
These minor irritations, piled upon one another, produce mountains of frustration. My husband's rare victory for the remote control provides a great analogy: football.
In American football, the object of the game is to move the ball downfield to the goalpost. Your offensive line gains eight yards. Their defensive line pushes you back ten. You throw the ball to a teammate. They intercept it and advance toward their goalpost.
Such is our daily scrimmage with the devil's ant bites. Each incident of advance and retreat can leave us exasperated, unless we give it to the Lord. When we realize He is willing to fight for us before we engage in the skirmish, the enemy is defeated.
Dear Lord, You have provided broadcasts of biblical teaching during traffic delays, answered my prayer for misplaced items, and offered a life lesson in my husband's choice of programming. Thank You for fighting for me.
Courage in His Shadow
Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day.
Psalm 91:5 TLB
During a trip to visit my sister, my husband and I took a tour of a cavern park nearby. We sat on a bench inside the cave, waiting for the scheduled lightshow to begin. The pointed stalactites hanging from the ceiling resembled giant teeth, ready to devour us. Then all the lights went out. Pitch darkness pressed around me. I gripped my husband's hand. The show had begun.
In total darkness, we can't perceive direction. Our sense of balance — as well as security — is lost. Danger might be lurking right next to us.
The biblical theme of that lightshow reminded me that I have no need to fear the dark. Since the day I believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior, the only darkness in my life is the shadow of the Most High.
O Holy God, Your faithfulness is a permanent shield and fortress. Thank You for Your promise to be a light in our dark days.
Whom Shall I Fear
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
Psalm 27:1 NASB
Fear lives next door to faith.
David's personal testimony proves he was serious about praising the Lord, yet he still pleaded with God not to hide His face from him. David's enemies stumbled and fell when they came against him, yet he asked the Lord to not deliver him into their hands. He knew God wouldn't abandon him in the days of trouble, yet his one desire was to dwell in God's presence every moment.
Like David, our one desire in life should be to dwell in God's three-fold presence all the days of our lives. In God's omnipresence, we see Him everywhere we look. He dwells in us as the Holy Spirit the moment we believe in Christ, and He will never leave us. In His manifest presence, His embracing calmness soothes our souls in our darkest moments.
Teach us, O Lord, to focus on our faith in You and see Your goodness in the land of the living.
Victim or Victor — the Courage to Choose
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.
Proverbs 21:31 NASB
The first therapeutic step after encountering a crime is to make an important decision. Do we want to cower and remain the victim, or take action and be the victor? Whether we've suffered at the hands of a bully, a scammer, or a violent criminal, facing the offender takes great courage.
As the Philistines victimized the Israelites, David's faith in the Lord gave him courage to confront Goliath. "'The LORD zzzwho delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine'" (1 Samuel 17:37 NASB).
We all have a Goliath to face. Confronting a bully, apprehending a con artist, or testifying against an assailant. God provided the right stone to make David the victor instead of the victim. Our stone is the Rock, which is Christ the Lord.
Father, as we prepare to fight our Goliaths, help us choose to be the victor. For we know if we want victory, we can't fight without You.
Fear of Unanswered Prayer
Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NASB
In the middle of my workday several years ago, I realized I hadn't yet said my good morning to the Lord. My C.A.T.S. prayer (Confession, Adoration, Thanksgiving, and Supplication) had slipped into a "sometimes" rather than daily prayer. I asked God to remind me to greet Him every morning.
The next morning, I awoke with a hymn going through my mind. More than ten years later, I still wake up to the song of His choice. I hum a few bars and say, "Good morning, Lord. How can I serve You today?"
During a recent medical crisis, I expected an immediate answer to my prayers. But nothing changed. In my distress, I wondered if my prayers bounced back from the ceiling. Then the soft melody of the hymn, "Under His Wings," floated through my mind, giving me strength and encouragement.
God reminded me He answers all our prayers — in His own time.
O Lord, how I rejoice as I pray and wait for You to act!
Fear of Running Out of Gas
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Hebrews 12:3 NKJV
When the tiny gas tank on my dashboard lights up, I immediately look for a service station. A previously broken fuel gauge made me aware that cars don't run on empty.
Neither do we.
Christ's disciples must've experienced "low fuel" moments. Peter's spiritual gauge probably dropped below empty when Jesus looked at him after the rooster crowed. Peter bitterly wept.
God has provided gauges within our souls to warn us that we're nearly empty. They're as obvious as a dashboard light, if we remain alert. We neglect fellowship with believers and spend less time reading the Bible. Soured attitudes and lame excuses follow.
When discouragement sneaks in, it's possibly a warning light on our spiritual dashboard. We can call a friend from church, open the Bible, and pray for the Lord to refuel our tanks. He won't leave us stranded without hope.
Father God, thank You for not leaving us on empty. We have an everlasting fuel supply through Your love.
Fear of the Should-Haves
Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.
Acts 27:25 NASB
The words, "You should have ..." are not easy to hear. They usually invoke a humble response of, "I was wrong." Those words are not always easy to say. We are blind to the future, but hindsight has 20/20 vision.
Paul warned the centurion who was in charge of him that impending danger lay ahead of the voyage. But the centurion listened to the captain and the pilot instead. They made their decision to sail based on the condition of the harbor, instead of listening to Paul, who had God's ear.
Although Paul said, "You should have listened to me," he encouraged the men because God sent an angel to disclose that all lives on board would be spared. God's plan included Paul being shipwrecked before going to Rome.
Almighty God, when we face a dreaded "should have," let us remember that You are still in control. As with Paul, You will use every situation to bring about Your plan for us.
Courage in the Light
"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."
Matthew 4:16 NKJV
Two weeks without sunshine during a Texas Panhandle winter put me in a dreadful mood. Constant cloud coverage, heavy with snow, made the drab winter days neither light nor dark, but a dreary shade of gray.
As much as we need sunlight to maintain our physical and mental health, we need "Son light" more to care for our spiritual well-being.
Jesus said, "'I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life'" (John 8:12 NASB). With Him as our light, nothing is hidden; everything is in view. We can find joy in the drab and gray moments because He is always with us.
In sunshine or clouds, in night or day, let us praise the Lord, for our Light has dawned.
Gracious God, the light and presence of our Savior give us the courage to face life's dreary days. Whom shall we fear?
Courage to Accept Criticism
Don't refuse to accept criticism; get all the help you can.
Proverbs 23:12 TLB
Arriving at my first writers' conference, I learned the only thing I had correct was the font. I gasped at the words, Come see me, a faculty member had written on my manuscript. A professional writer wanted to discuss my work! I felt like a schoolgirl getting called to the principal's office.
When I met with her, she told me why she hated the love interest character in my romance novel. Her opinion made sense. Her carefully asked questions helped me create a more believable storyline.
I admit I'm not that eager to accept suggestions from my husband while I'm driving. He likewise rejects my advice when he's behind the wheel. Criticism is like a large pill, but offering it in kindness and love makes it easier to swallow.
We won't learn and grow if we aren't aware of our mistakes.
Precious Lord, thank You for the critiques and assessments that teach us to improve ourselves in every task we do. For we do them all for You.
Courage to Write
"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!"
Job 19:23–24 NASB
One Saturday every month, I meet with a group of Christian writers to critique and encourage each other in our quests to write for the Lord. We see an assortment of genres, from fiction novels to devotionals to memoirs.
During my first meeting, I sat in awe of the successful, published authors in my small group. They offered their expertise to bolster us "newbies" on our journeys. As we studied the craft, our confidence and courage to write grew.
Job wished to write about the glory of the Lord, even in his agony. While it is unknown who actually authored this book of the Bible, we know the Lord guided the stylus to tell Job's story of loss, suffering, and restoration. We can trust His guidance in our work, too.
Lord God, the tapestry of our words is carefully stitched to tell of Your glories. Your will is handwoven through the stories of our lives.
Fear of Deadlines
Remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for.
Colossians 3:24 TLB
Nothing gives me sweaty palms like an approaching deadline — especially from an outside source. I've set a deadline for myself, but a friend always has a party, out-of-town family members drop in, or my husband invites the neighbors to supper. My personal deadline becomes more and more flexible as I move it farther and farther down the calendar. Flexibility isn't an option when a boss or publisher sets the cut-off date, but distractions still prevail.
Interruptions are a deadline's worst enemy, so I created a self-motivating motto:
If you shirk God's work for a day of play, There is twice the price you'll have to pay.
Christ has called us to do the chore. Let us not shirk His work, but take courage to face our deadline — and finish the job.
Regardless of the task You've given us, Lord God, we trust You will help us stay focused as we prayerfully rely on You.
Fear of the Empty Nest
"Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west."
Isaiah 43:5 NASB
Eager to spread my wings and explore the world, I left the nest as a fledgling at the age of seventeen. Being underage, the law forced me to move back home. By the time I reached my twenties, my dad considered installing a revolving door to our home. I had become a seasoned flyer while still trying to establish my independence.
Whether sending off fledglings or seasoned flyers, parents' hearts fear, yet swell with pride, when their children grow up and leave the nest. Like teaching a child to ride a bike, we won't let go of the handlebar until we're sure they've got their balance. What better balance can we give them but the Word of God? Like John, we have no greater joy than to hear of our children walking in the truth.
Heavenly Father, as You bring our offspring back to the nest from time to time, let our joy be complete when they return with hearts full of Your love.
Silence — Dread or Delights
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak ...
Ecclesiastes 3:7 NKJV
What does it mean when all the crickets in the night become silent? Danger.
All creatures hush their activities when evil lurks, or so it seems in movies. It could mean we should prepare for the dispensing of judgment, as in the thirty minutes of silence when the Lamb breaks the seventh seal.
Let us instead find delight in silence, a welcome relief after a busy day filled with beeping machines and talkative people, followed by honking traffic.
The first thing I do when I get home from work is turn off the radio my husband listens to while he's cooking dinner. He likes the chatter of talk radio. I want peace and quiet. Silence is golden.
God has assigned the moments of silence and sounds. We can overcome our dread of silence in His Word. As His children, we have no fear of the judgment to come. We can delight in the quiet assurance of His forgiveness.
Dear God, our souls wait in silence for from You only comes our salvation.
Fear of Having Authority over Others
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
Matthew 28:18 NKJV
I was only thirty-five when my new boss pointed at me and said, "You're now the supervisor." As a secretary with the company only a few weeks, I wondered, Why me? What made him think I could take charge of the other secretaries? The thought of being a boss petrified me. What if I had to fire someone? After praying about it, I felt comfortable accepting my new responsibilities and title. It was an opportunity for the Lord to work through me — my mission field!
When Jesus presented the Great Commission to the eleven disciples, He passed the baton of authority to them. They were the new bosses, yet were still under Christ's power. They could heal the sick, make the lame walk and the deaf hear, but only in His name.
Almighty God, as we govern or manage others, let us remember that You are the true source of our authority and to show mercy where mercy is due.
Fear of Retirement
"After retirement they can assist with various light duties in the Tabernacle, but will have no regular responsibilities."
Numbers 8:26 TLB
After thirty years of work, my friend decided to retire. But every month she found another reason to stay a little longer. She dreaded the day when she would no longer awake at the crack of dawn to go to work.
Most of us look forward to a time of unlimited leisure, until retirement stares us in the face. The emptiness of a blank day yawns at us as we imagine sitting in a rocker with nothing to do. Yet those empty moments immediately fill up with to-do lists, hobbies, and friends in need.
Like the Levite priests, we can still perform light duties for the church when age slows us down. We can find many small jobs in the Lord's service, like offering someone unable to drive a ride to church. A shut-in might enjoy a home-cooked meal ... or a dessert.
God our Father, as we fear the final closing of the door to our workplaces, remind us that there is no full retirement from Your service.
Excerpted from "Fear Less, Pray More"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
180 devotionals that will bless your day. Lots of great bible verses and insights. I would recommend this book to any woman struggling with worry and stress. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Life is full of changes, which can cause fears that seem to come out of nowhere. This devotional guide features 180 readings and prayers designed to assist you in conquering any fears that you have through God’s Word. With God, you can live courageously. I liked this devotional. It covered many fears that can affect anyone throughout their life. There was a somber tone felt throughout the book. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.