Tuesday, December 7, 2021

December 8, 2021

                                                     Week Two / Wednesday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Losing


I cried out, “I’m slipping” and your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.  - Psalm 94:18-19


Over the years I have always been good at worrying about things that I have no control over. Only when I turn things over to God can I know, through His love and comfort, that all things work out to the good.


After my divorce in 1981, my fears developed as to how I was going to keep from losing my house and how I was going to raise two children without child support.  With lots of prayers, and finally letting God take control, I have accomplished what I didn’t think was possible: My children are grown and have families of their own.  My house is paid for and I am financially stable.


My son and his wife lost a baby last year and we were all devastated.  When they conceived again this year, I had to fight my anxiety and fear of them losing another child.  God’s love and consolation brought joy to me.  A perfect healthy granddaughter was born, and the doubts and fears that I had were taken away by God’s holy promise.


The fear of losing can cripple you to the point where you are afraid of trying anything new or believing in yourself.  






As my relationship with God has grown over the years, my fear has turned into faith, love, and trust that I am never alone and will always have the power of God’s love and grace to guide me through… whatever my challenges may be.


May we all feel the love and joy that only God can give us this advent season.

In what ways do you fear losing?                  


Read Psalm 94:18-19 one more time.


  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  

 

  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


 

Prayer for Today: God, help me to know that your love and support will always be there when I have doubts and fears.  May we all look to you for comfort knowing you are in control. Amen

 

Written by: Sarah Doyle

First Impressions Team, Operations Team


Monday, December 6, 2021

December 7, 2021

                                                         Week Two / Tuesday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Success


For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 

– Isaiah 41:13


There are a number of reasons why one might fear success. Perhaps we have been told in our youth, by someone we admire or perhaps a parent or someone we depend on, that we just don’t measure up, that we’ll never amount to anything; and perhaps, down deep, we’re afraid it’s true.  We fear that they are right.  … Or, perhaps, we are afraid of being more successful than someone else. The problem with these fears is that they come from human measures, human comparisons.


The counter to these fears is reliance on God and trust in him. God’s plans for us are far better than our own. Several scripture passages speak to this: 


Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” 


Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 



God promises in Isaiah 41, “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. … For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 


In what ways do you fear success?                  


Read Isaiah 41:13 one more time.


  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  

 

  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


Prayer for Today: Relying on your help, Lord God, let us count following Christ as our highest achievement. Amen

Written by: Charlie McFarlin

Retired Pastor, Worship Team, Prayer Team


Sunday, December 5, 2021

December 6, 2021

                                                         Week Two / Monday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Being Forgotten


But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  - Isaiah 44:1-3


God has made us to long for eternity.  We know that we were made for something bigger than what we can see. The 17th-century mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him … since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”  

We try to fill this craving in our hearts with relationships, jobs, or social media. It may satisfy our desire to be remembered for a short while, but that fear of being forgotten will eventually creep back into our lives. 

We are all created by God, and we desire to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Even in this fallen world, we want to leave a legacy. We have to constantly remind ourselves that we were created for another world, a world we are not currently living in; and, this lifetime is just a flash in the bigger picture.  

God remembers us from the moment we are created. 



Rather than asking ourselves, “How will those I know remember me?”, we should ask, “How would we want God to remember us?” 

In my own life, I hope to be remembered as someone who was a warrior for Christ and stood for truth, in both the easy and difficult times. 

In what ways do you fear being forgotten?                  


Read Isaiah 44:1-3 one more time.


  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  


  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


Prayer for Today: LORD, please help me to fix my eyes on eternity, and not get caught up in all the empty ways the world promises to fill my longing to leave a legacy that will be remembered.

Written by: Jessica Barrett

Small Group Leader


Saturday, December 4, 2021

December 5, 2021

                                                         Week Two / Sunday

Overcoming the Fear of…

The Unknown


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.  - John 14:27


In 1950, while my family and I were visiting my grandparents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I contracted polio. I was seven years old. I was taken to a hospital and placed in quarantine for three months. My pediatrician in Knoxville arranged for my admittance to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Georgia. I was at the rehabilitation hospital for nine months of surgeries and treatment. In the hospital, there was a picture of FDR in his wheelchair and the inscription read, “Nothing to fear but fear itself.” At an early age, this quote

helped me understand the word “fear”.

Later in life, I tried to study the Bible, but it never clicked with me… until I started going back to church. I was encouraged by my wife to go to the Men’s Bible Fellowship. I also met our new pastor, Bryan Wilson, who is a blessed mentor.

In 2010, I became the caregiver to my wife. This was a frightening and a fearful time of the unknown. I love my view of the Smoky Mountains from my home, and it was from there that I read Psalm 121:1-8:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth… The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.

This scripture brought me much peace and understanding. To this day, I don’t feel afraid as I know that God is beside me. He taught me to pray about the present and the unknown, and to encourage others to do likewise.

In what ways do you fear the unknown?                  


Read John 14:27 one more time.

  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  


  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


 

Prayer for Today: Our Father in Heaven, thank you for all your blessings and your love to me. You gave me the peace, strength and courage when I needed it. Amen.

 

Written by: David L. Foy

Small Group Leader


Friday, December 3, 2021

December 4, 2021

                                                         Week One / Saturday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Failure


Have I not commanded you? 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 1:9


“Failure” can seem like such a harsh, hurtful word, can’t it? For me, it’s so personal! It hits me straight in the heart. “What if I fail?!... What will I do?! What will happen?! Does it mean I’m a failure?!” 


Because of how it makes me feel, it’s easy to allow the fear of failure to set in before I even begin a journey. Just the thought of failing can prevent me from starting. But, that is the real failure, am I right?! 


I think I have this idea that failure is final. That if I fail, no matter what it is, it’s the end of the road. I’m done. Finished. Alone. 


But you know what? Failure is not a dead end!

No one wants to “fail,” but in that “failure” I’ve had some of the greatest moments of growth in my life. “Failure” is a part of the journey. 


We have all experienced those times in our lives where we had a plan and things just didn’t go according to that plan. Is that failing? No way! If we are doing what God created us to do, what we are designed to do, and always seek Him, we never fail! 






In fact, with God, that “failure” will fork into something else… Something greater, and better, than we could ever imagine. Maybe we don’t see it in the moment, but God commands us not to be discouraged! There is always a greater picture than what we see. HIS picture!


In what ways do you fear failure?                  


Read Joshua 1:9 one more time.

  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  


  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


 

Prayer for Today: Lord God, help me to be strong and courageous and not discouraged when things don’t go as I have planned. Let me be reassured that you are with me every step of the way. That YOUR plan is greater, and better, than any plan of mine could ever be. 

 

Written by: Angelique Faller

Small Group Leader


Thursday, December 2, 2021

December 3, 2021

Week One / Friday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Being Abandoned


He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day...  - Psalm 91:4-5

 

Fear of abandonment or rejection has motivated much of my behavior in life.  When reading the novel Ivanhoe as a youngster, I realized that I would need to be an obedient son in order not to be disowned by my parents.  When difficulties occurred between my parents, I felt the need to be a good son so one of them would not abandon the family in a divorce.  If mistakes were made, I believed they should be hidden so God would not be displeased and take away His blessings or protection.

King David, who wrote Psalm 91, suffered the loss of his city one day.  He came home to the burnt frame of the town, to find that raiders had come and taken everything of value: his gold, his goods, his family, his soldiers' families… and the raiders had destroyed the rest.  Some of the men with him spoke of stoning him because they thought that God had clearly abandoned him.  But, after the initial grief had washed over them, scripture says, "David found strength in the Lord his God." (1 Samuel 30:6) Then, he inquired of the Lord and was told that he was to pursue the raiders, for he would retake all that he and his men had lost.

Even when things go wrong in our lives, when bad things happen all around us, God assures us of His concern, care, and protection.  

 

 

As it says in Psalm 91, "...under His wings you will find refuge, His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." 

In what ways do you fear being abandoned?                  


Read Psalm 91:4-5 one more time.

  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  


  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


 

Prayer for Today: Lord God, let me not lose my faith because of fear or difficulty.  Let me always take refuge under your wing and find strength in you.  In Christ’s Name, Amen. 

 

Written by: David Bell

Retired Pastor, Small Group Leader

 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December 2, 2021

                                                         Week One / Thursday

Overcoming the Fear of…

Repeating the Past


Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  – 1 Peter 5:6-7

 

I was a teenager in the late 60s and early 70s.  There was no social media then and for that I am grateful.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have every dumb, stupid, and clumsy thing I said, or did, broadcast to hundreds of friends and strangers for them to see almost instantly.  Not a good thing.    

And to make matters worse, those images never disappear.  They never go away.  Just think about some of today’s celebrities and politicians that have had one small quote, or one small part of their life, brought back after years or decades; and then, it is pasted, front and center, on the front page for all to see.  No amount of apology can erase it.  Careers are ruined by a mistake made years ago.

We are blessed to worship a God that not only forgives, but also forgets, our past sins.   Psalm 103:12 states, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  We do not have to worry about the past.  The past is gone.   

Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Praise God for forgiving and forgetting our past.   He wants us not to be trapped in the past, but to follow him now and in the future.   



When we follow him, our future is secure.   We know, and can be assured, that he cares for us and wants the best for us.   Rejoice!

In what ways do you fear repeating the past?                   

 

Read 1 Peter 5:6-7 one more time.

  • What does this scripture tell you about God?  


  • What does this scripture tell you about your fear?


 

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for forgetting our past and giving us the best for our future. Amen

 

Written by: Mike Steinle

Facilities Team, First Impressions Team