Friday, September 15, 2017

The Safety of God's Presence

The Safety of God's Presence

The Safety of God's Presence
| Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley |

If you’re a parent, your arms were (or are) the place of safety for your children. When they got hurt, or when they felt sick or afraid or anxious, they would raise their arms for you to pick them up. Your presence could make monsters disappear and boo-boos feel all better, and little wounded spirits would be healed.

Take a moment to remember how it felt when your toddler (or any child) would grab you around the neck and hold on for dear life.

That’s what God’s presence can do for you.

All the spiritual disciplines and religious activity won’t change you or heal your fear and anxiety if they don’t help you enter God’s presence.

And worship is the way you get there.

In true worship you lose sight of what’s around you and see only Him. Whether alone or with other believers; in nature, church, or your own home; in silence or with music; your heart is stilled, cleansed, healed, transformed.

In the presence of God, evil leaves the way darkness leaves when you turn on the light.

When you are troubled, run into His arms through worship. Grab on to Him and hold on as if your life depended on it.

Because it does.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I [Jesus] have overcome the world."" - John 16:33

"Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!" - Psalms 46:10

"The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, 'Destroy.'" - Deuteronomy 33:27

 * Adopted from YouVersion Bible Plan: Overcoming Fear And Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Guard Your Heart

Guard Your Heart

Guard Your Heart
| Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley |

The fog of a troubled heart can obscure what’s really going on, but God’s Word provides plenty of clues.

If stealing, killing, and destroying are happening around you, you know the thief is at work. Sometimes that’s because of our own or other people’s sinful behavior, and sometimes it’s simply because we still live in this messed-up world.

Be especially alert for condemnation and confusion.

Condemnation from the enemy and conviction from the Holy Spirit may seem similar on the outside, but they couldn’t be more different. Condemnation is dark, hopeless, destructive, and holds you to your past. It feels like the end.

Conviction from the Holy Spirit feels light, hopeful, uplifting, and points you to your future. It’s a beginning and provides a clear sense of the next step to take.

Confusion from the enemy brings oppression, darkness, and fear. The harder you wrestle to break free, the more entangled you become.

Peace from the Holy Spirit brings clarity and light. Regardless of what happens externally, your inner world can experience calmness and hope.

When you are experiencing condemnation or confusion, literally STOP! Move away mentally and/or physically. Calm your mind, run into God’s presence, and listen for His voice. He will meet you there.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1

"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints..." - 1 Corinthians 14:33

 * Adopted from YouVersion Bible Plan: Overcoming Fear And Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Master Your Thoughts

Master Your Thoughts

Master Your Thoughts
| Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley |

Controlling your thoughts is not magic or mind over matter. Your thoughts are powerful, but they are not all-powerful. We usually place too little emphasis on our thoughts. Taking control of your thoughts will, over time, change your feelings and even your circumstances.

I learned basic computer programming as a senior in high school—using the old eighty-column paper punch cards. If one little hole was punched wrong, the output would be meaningless. We were told “garbage in, garbage out.”

To bring your thoughts under control, take care of the hardware of your mind. Your brain needs water, healthy food, exercise, and rest.

Put a strong filter on the input your mind receives. Decrease or eliminate input that is anxiety-producing, ungodly, or negative. Feed your mind daily input that is encouraging, godly, uplifting, and positive.

And do a reboot, a software update on your thoughts. Choose to focus on the truth, on things you can change, and on what God says about the situation.

As you care for your mind’s hardware, input, and software, your thoughts and emotions—the output your mind produces—will better correspond with “these things” Paul encourages us to think about.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." - Philippians 4:8

"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 * Adopted from YouVersion Bible Plan: Overcoming Fear And Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Be Anxious for Nothing

Be Anxious for Nothing

Be Anxious for Nothing
| Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley |

Anxiety can take over your thoughts and emotions and often lead to physical symptoms. In our world there’s plenty to worry about—financial pressure, family or marriage problems, political unrest, and so much more.

How can you not worry about what other people think about tomorrow, about success or failure, about your spouse or children?

Jesus said don’t worry about it. Don’t be anxious. But how?

The Greek word translated “casting your care” in 1 Peter 5:7 paints a colorful picture of taking what you have and throwing it onto something else. It’s the same word used to describe the way Jesus’s disciples threw their garments on the donkey He rode into Jerusalem (Luke 19:35).

Imagine your worry as something tangible, like a garment you’re wearing. Write down what worries you, or draw a picture symbolizing your worry.

Then imagine taking off that garment of anxiety and throwing it onto Jesus. Do something physical to symbolize casting your worry on Him. Take what you wrote or drew, crumple it up and burn it, or tear it up, or place it at the altar at your church.

Cast your worry onto Jesus, and leave it there. He can handle it.

" not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." - Philippians 4:6

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:34

"...casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7

 * Adopted from YouVersion Bible Plan: Overcoming Fear And Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare

Monday, September 11, 2017

Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid
| Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley |

God must have known we would struggle with fear. He says at least one hundred times in the Bible, “Don’t be afraid!”

As a little girl I had some Bible story books my parents bought for my sister and me. I can vividly remember the depiction of Jesus in the boat on the Sea of Galilee as the storm arose and threatened the lives of all aboard. When the disciples woke Him, Jesus stood up in the boat and with only a word calmed the wind and the waves. Then He looked at his disciples and said, “Why were you afraid? Why were you afraid when I was with you?”

Indeed, why are we afraid when He is with us?

Can you imagine Peter, John, or Paul spending one moment afraid of what other people thought, of what the devil might be doing, or of what persecution they were about to experience? Spending time with Jesus, seeing Him alive, and experiencing the Holy Spirit turned them from fearful to fearless.

If you could see Jesus standing beside you right now, do you think you would be afraid of anything?

Practice being in His presence and your fear will have to leave.

"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:7

"And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" - Matthew 8:23-27

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." - 1 John 4:18

 * Adopted from YouVersion Bible Plan: Overcoming Fear And Anxiety Through Spiritual Warfare