“Trust the LORD!Be brave and strong and trust the LORD.” Psalm 27:14(CEV)
“Young lions may go hungry or even starve,but if you trust the LORD, you will never miss outon anything good.” Psalm 34:10(CEV)
“But what about those people who are cruel and brutal? You will throw them down into the deepest pitlong before their time. I trust you, LORD!” Psalm 55:23(CEV)
“You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, say this: ‘God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!’ That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God's your refuge, the High God your very own home, evil can't get close to you,harm can't get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. ‘If you'll hold on to me for dear life,’ says God, ‘I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times; I'll rescue you, then throw you a party. I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!’" Psalm 91(The Message)
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7(KJV)
“We are living in the midst of an ‘epidemic of crime,’ at which thoughtful, God-fearing men everywhere stand aghast. The corruption that prevails, it is beyond the power of the human pen to describe. Every day brings fresh revelations of political strife, bribery, and fraud. Every day brings its heart-sickening record of violence and lawlessness, of indifference to human suffering, of brutal, fiendish destruction of human life. Every day testifies to the increase of insanity, murder, and suicide. Who can doubt that satanic agencies are at work among men with increasing activity to distract and corrupt the mind, and defile and destroy the body? (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 142, 143.)
1. What are synonyms for (a) trust and (b) fear? (For this part of the exercise you may use your thesaurus.)
2. What are antonyms for (a) trust and (b) fear?
3.What things do you fear the most?
4. Are most of us afraid of something?
5. When you are afraid, what do you do?
6. As a Christian, what can you do when you are afraid?
Frozen by Fear
March 13, 1964. It was well past midnight, a few hours before dawn. Kitty Genovese was returning home from work. As she was about to enter her apartment she was attacked by a man with a knife. “He stabbed me. Please help me! Please help me!” she screamed. Immediately many lights in apartments around her went on. The killer quickly left. But no one came out to help her. No one called 911. A few moments later, the lights went out. The killer returned to finish the job. As soon as she screamed again, the lights came back on and the killer ran. This happened three times. On the third try, the killer finished his job and quietly walked away. During the 35-minute attack, 38 people watched from the safety of their apartments. Not one person came to her rescue, so overcome with their own feelings of fear, they had no sense of moral duty or sensitivity. They sat idle as a fellow human being was brutally murdered.
Soon after the Kitty Genovese incident, social scientists began studies that they hoped would explain this “phenomenon.” They concluded that lack of compassion and empathy on the part of the onlookers was owing to feelings of anonymity and being out of touch with other people.
Witnesses, in an attempt to justify their inaction, said, “We were afraid,” “I was tired,” “We didn’t want to get involved.” Completely guilt free, wrapped up in self and their own emotions, they were oblivious to all around them.
HERE’S WHAT I THINK
All these years later, it’s easy to sit here and judge the people in those apartments. We can sit in the safety of our homes and say someone should have done something, raced down the steps and rescued the woman, aided her in some way. But put yourself in the same situation. Imagine you’re sitting at home and your peaceful evening is interrupted by the screams of a woman being stabbed to death. You run to the window to see what’s happening. At the sight of the attack, you are overcome with emotion, feelings of fear, anger, injustice, and surprise. What do you do? Do you help the woman? Do you let your own fear get the best of you? Would guilt affect your actions? What hold do guilt and fear have on your life?
Log on to http://guidemagazine.org.rtf to post your responses. Be up-front and honest. Say what you think. The lines below are provided as an alternative to posting. You may want to share your thoughts with your class later.
People in the Bible Who Were Afraid
Words in each line are merged together. Find the original words. Hint: The letters that make up each word are still in their original order.
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp.116,128
“Trust yourself in the hands of God. Do cease complaining, even though you suppose that there is something to complain of. Satan says, ‘I will harass him until he shall make shipwreck of faith’: but you need not be overcome by his devices. God will uphold you if you will only let Him. At times you are inclined to make a complete surrender of yourself to God, and then you feel at rest; but you take yourself back again, you do not let Jesus carry your burdens.”
“You want the will of God to be done in you, but at the same time you shrink from the pain and self-sacrifice involved in having it done. In order that the will of God may be done in you, you must trust your heavenly Father as a child trusts its parent. But you have an anxious, troubled heart; you are actually afraid to trust yourself with God, afraid of the consequences that such surrender may involve. Do not, I beseech you, mar your own Christian experience” (The Upward Look, p. 314).
There are 545 recognized phobias in the world. That translates into a lot of scared people. People scared of everything from water to fire to French culture. Maybe you don’t have huge debilitating phobia, maybe you do. But something everyone feels at times is guilt. Guilt has a way of casting a shadow on our lives.
Guilt and fear have plagued humanity since the beginning. Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden because they felt guilty for what they had done. Abraham lied to Pharaoh because he was afraid he would kill him and take Sarah.
There is only one way to fight these two emotions—trust. Complete trust in Christ. Because only He has the power to forgive and relieve guilt. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2Tim.1:7, NLT). Use that spirit; don’t hide behind a dark cloud of guilt and fear. Trust God and use the power He has given you.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what makes it so hard for us to trust God? Have you ever asked yourself, What if I hadn’t done. . . Have you ever played “What If?” with yourself, wishing you had done something different than what you did?
I believe that God put stories of men and women in the Bible so that we might learn from their lives. I have a few Bible characters listed for us to stop and ask “What if?” Fill in the blanks with your idea of “what if” for each character listed.
1. What if David hadn’t run away from King Saul? David was anointed the next King?
2. What if Jacob owned up to the fact that he lied and cheated his brother out of his special blessing? God wanted Jacob to have that special blessing?
3. What if Moses had trusted God and gone back to Egypt right away. Moses knew all along that he was wanted for murder, and that he had a problem with public speaking?
4. What is it that you feel God pulling at your heart strings to do for Him? What if you forget the fear in your heart? What if you just let go and let God?
Find the hidden phrase by using the letters directly below each of the blank squares. Each letter is used once.
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
Deuteronomy 20:3, 4 (Clear Word)
Joshua 10:25 (NIV)
Psalm 56:3, 4 (Clear Word)
Matthew 10:31 (Clear Word)
1 John 4:18 (NLT)
Find the hidden phrase by using the letters directly below each of the blank squares. Each letter is used once.
John 16:33 (NIV)
Decode the message by finding each substitute letter or symbol.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NRSV)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NRSV)
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME?
As a Christian you know for a fact that God is watching and protecting us at all times. You’ve heard Psalm 23 read again and again. You know forgiveness is freely given to all who ask. Yet feelings of guilt and fear can have such a hold on your life. You hear about a shooting on the news, and all of a sudden you’re scared to leave the house. You mess up once and feel guilty for weeks. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to simply trust God to protect you? Wouldn’t it be less stressful just to ask for forgiveness? Wish it could be that simple? It is.
1. You have studied this week about guilt and fear. From what you have studied, what can you do about the guilt and fear in your life? Use Bible verses to back up your answers. There are several in the lesson this week.
2. Does guilt have any purpose? If so, what?
3. What did Jesus say to the paralytic?
4. What should you do about the fears you have?
How simple is it to be forgiven and start over fresh? (Use some Bible verses to back up your answer.)
Steps to Christ, pp.49, 50
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4(ESV)
“Then he adds,‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’" Hebrews 10:17 (ESV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9(ESV)
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25(ESV)
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A new product called “Disposable Guilt Bags” appeared in the marketplace. It consisted of a set of 10 ordinary brown bags on which were printed the following instructions. “Place the bag securely over your mouth, take a deep breath and blow all your guilt out, then dispose of the bag immediately.” The wonder of this is that the Associated Press reported that 2,500 kits had been quickly sold at $2.50 per kit. Would that we could dispose of our guilt so easily! There is nothing on this earth powerful enough in itself to dispose of guilt. We cannot fix ourselves, which is what many of us try to do. That which makes it possible to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be healed, that which makes it possible for us to receive our life back again, fresh and clean and new, is the power of God’s grace in the cross of Jesus Christ.
This week try the Guilt Bag idea out. But instead of using paper bags, try using good old reliable prayer. Really, it may sound like a dumb idea. But try seriously for one week and see if you don’t feel less guilt.
Why not write your prayer out on the lines below.