“This is what the LORD says-he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 (NKJV)
Whether you live in Detroit, New York, or LA, you’ve probably felt the effects of the current economic crisis. As the crisis deepens, many people are being overwhelmed by fear: Fear of jobs lost, fear of economic ruination, and even fear over what tomorrow may hold. But never forget, fear is our worst enemy during this time of crisis.
Franklin Roosevelt, once said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Even more importantly than what President Roosevelt said, was the time frame in which he said it. When were those words spoken? They were proclaimed during FDR’s first Inauguration Address, on March 4, 1933. What’s so important about that date? And how is it linked to our current crisis? President Roosevelt proclaimed those words at the height of the Great Depression, when our nation was suffering the worst economic crisis in history. Looking back, we know that President Roosevelt understood what he was talking about, and knew how important it was for people to conquer America’s greatest foe.
In our world today, many people are trying to make a buck selling fear. Like who? Like most of the media outlets, newspapers and magazines on the planet. But they are doing the world a terrible disservice, and it must be stopped! Fear-mongering is public enemy #1. When people give in to their fears, it causes them to stop spending and investing, and as a result, it drives the crisis even deeper. That is why fear must never be used as a marketing ploy, by the media, or anyone else.
According to the media, the current economic situation in America is as bad, if not worse, than during the Great Depression. But nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is, they’re using flawed statistical data to prove that more Americans are unemployed today than at any time in history, including the Great Depression.
What the media outlets aren’t telling you is this: While more people are unemployed today, than at the height of the Great Depression (from a purely numerical standpoint), here’s what they refuse to tell you:
o The U.S. population, in 1933, was less than half the current U.S. population!
o In 1933, the U.S. population was only 125,578,763.
o Compare that to the current U.S. population of 299,398,484+ people.
o The only reason media outlets can legally say more Americans are unemployed now, than during the height of the Great Depression, is because there’s almost 175,000,000 more Americans today, than in 1933!!!
o So you see, their use of statistics is entirely unfair – because America has more than twice the population it did 76 years ago.
It should be a crime to misuse statistics the way journalists do today. By refusing to give us an “apples to apples” comparison of statistical data, they make people think the current economic situation is much worse than it really is.
Here’s the statistics the media should use, if they really wanted to give us a fair and unbiased comparison (current economic situation vs. the Great Depression):
o In 1933, the U.S. unemployment rate was 25.2%.
o Compare that to the current unemployment rate of 7.9%. (Dept. of Labor – Jan. 2009)
Now tell me, does that sound like the Great Depression to you? Not on your life, it doesn’t! What it does sound like to me; is that a lot of people in the media are mongering fear for profit. Now don’t take me wrong: I’m not saying the economy isn’t bad, but it is not as bad as it once was, or as bad as the media makes it sound!
How do we eliminate fear from our lives?
Here’s the problem: fear doesn’t take logic into account. Though fear feels tangible, and your feelings make fear seem like its based on reality, fear is founded upon neither.
Are you paralyzed with fear? Many Americans are. They’re afraid of what the future holds for them and their family. And they’re afraid the American dream, as we’ve known it, has ended. If that describes you or someone you love, then you definitely need to read what I am about to say.
The greatest enemy we presently face – is fear itself. Fear is paralyzing America, and has caused people to crouch in the hovels of their afflicted minds, refusing to use their creativity to pursue their lofty American dreams.
Fear resides in our psyche, as emotion, yet it can have a terrible, tangible impact upon those it dominates. Even when fear is not based on reality, the impact it has upon those it rules, as an unwanted and unwelcome tyrant, is very real. Fear is a tormenter, and will rob our bright and glorious tomorrows, if we allow it.
Can the power of fear be broken, and peace be restored to your life?
Indeed, victory over fear is very possible. But that’s only half the story: for once fear’s hold has been shattered off your life, peace will come.
“Fear is torment.” It tires you out worse than a hard day of physical labor, and will keep you awake at night like a strong opiate unleashed upon your system.
The good news is, that the power of fear can be destroyed, if that is, you will commit to pursuing the pathway that leads to its obliteration. The secret to overcoming fear: You must learn to surrender your heart and your fears to God. If this crisis has proven one thing true, it’s that we are powerless to overcome fear with our own efforts or abilities.
However, God pledged (in the Bible) to help us conquer our fears, through faith in Him. So write it down: no matter how fearful things are, you must ask God to rule over your fears, rather than allowing your fears to rule over you.
During a time of crisis in his own life, King David of Israel penned the words of a psalm (song) that has brought great consolation to those who have walked in treacherous or fearful places. Learning David’s secret is paramount to eradicating fear from your life, and shattering the stronghold it possesses over you.
What is David’s secret to triumphing over fear? It is found in Psalm 23:4-5; “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.” (NKJV)
David walked through many dark and deadly valleys in his lifetime. King Saul, hunted him like an animal, and sought to destroy him on several occasions; he often faced overwhelming odds on the battlefield; and even his own son, Absalom, tried to kill him. But through it all, from boyhood to the throne, David refused to allow the fear to rule his heart or mind.
Reflecting on the shadowy and deadly valleys David walked through, should give us great comfort, knowing that he shared moments of similarity with us. But how did this shepherd boy-turned-king conquer his fear? That’s simple: he conquered fear through his childlike, but powerful faith and trust in God.
The giants in your life may seem insurmountable, and your weapons may seem inadequate, but if you will put your faith in God, and trust Him like David did, your slingshot will be more than sufficient, when God is in it. If you will cast all your cares upon the Lord, refuse to lean on your own understanding, and trust Him at all times, you’re on your way to winning the fear battle in your life.
The solution for fear may sound trite, but it isn’t. Trust me, I have put this truth to the test, and God’s love has conquered my fears, on more occasions than I can recall. Like it was yesterday, I remember the fear that came into my heart when doctors gave us bad reports, or when the economy turned sour during past recessional times, and we felt the icy hand of recession threaten to rob us of everything we worked so hard to obtain.
Through the lens of time, however, I can look back over those days and say that God was always with us; protecting, leading, and guiding our steps. Like many of you, I have been paralyzed by fear, kept awake at night by it, and endured it’s ill effects for weeks and even months at a time. During those times, fear became a familiar foe, and I grew to know it well, and learned to despise it even more.
After wasting many precious moments of my life on fear, I finally learned the secret to overcoming it. The valuable lessons I learned during the darkest hours of life, still sustain me. Lessons I learned in the war with fear include:
o If you love God enough, you need not fear the unknown. God promised to be “with us always,” shelter us from the storms, and shield our hearts from fear. There’s an old Christian saying that is worth reviving. “I may not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.”
o Discovering Jesus Christ in a personal, life-changing way, and learning to trust Him with your life, is the secret to overcoming fear.
o One of the titles of the Lord is “The Prince of Peace.” When you learn to plug into the fear-conquering power that resides within the bearer of that title, you will be amazed by how swiftly, and radically your fear-level will decline.
o Learn to totally trust God’s plan for your life. In Jeremiah, God declared this truth over His creation: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
o God’s plans for you are good, not evil. His greatest desire is to bless those He created, and to make them a blessing to others.
The biblical patriarch, Joseph, first learned to overcome fear, by trusting God in a dark and hopeless pit, where he had been abandoned by his brothers. His life-lesson intensified when he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife; and was wrongfully imprisoned in a filthy Egyptian prison, where he languished, forgotten for years. But through every crisis, Joseph learned to trust the God who never failed him. So much so, that when it came time for his destiny to be fulfilled, he stood in the security of his faith, and saw the Lord, who never failed him in life’s darkest moments, rescue Egypt and many nations of the earth, from famine, through him.
Don’t allow fear to rule over you. Though you may be facing fearful moments, write this down: you can conquer your giants, and defeat your foes by faith in God. How? Instead of concentrating on your circumstances, give your full and undivided attention to God, and simply believe that He is willing and able to do what He promised He will do for you.
James 4:7 gives us excellent insights into overcoming fear. Fear is conquered by trusting God, and resisting the father of fear – the devil: “Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.” (NIV) Never forget: the devil is a liar, and he rules people through fear. When the power of fear is broken off our lives, the enemy’s reign is ended.
It’s time to dream again!
Dream now or dream later? I believe the best time to dream is when you need miraculous answers or breakthroughs in your own life, or in your nation. We need people to begin dreaming now, when there is so much uncertainty, and trouble in our nation. In fact, I can’t think of a better time for people to start dreaming of ways they can help overcome this crisis, and create brighter tomorrows, than right now.
We must not allow fear to rob us of our ability to dream. Daring to dream is what made America great – from the very start. No matter how severe our dilemmas have been, Americans have always maintained their ability to dream.
Proverbs 29:18 (King James Version) states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Our ability to look by faith, beyond obstacles that historically were considered insurmountable, to see divine possibilities instead, has helped make our nation great. Our ability to dream big, during the toughest times, has enabled us to triumph over insurmountable odds, defeat insuperable foes, and find solutions to dilemmas that once were deemed unattainable. And that alone, I believe, is what has separated us from many other nations of the world.
A Nation of Dreamers:
While we don’t have time to detail every American, who dared to pursue their dreams, and who gave us some of the most amazing discoveries, triumphs and accomplishments in history, I would like to remind you of three compatriots who dared to dream big, regardless of how impossible the circumstances or obstacles they faced at the time.
1. Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright Brothers will forever be remembered as the fathers of flight, because they dared dream that they could conquer gravity! Though no human had ever flown before, two visionary siblings believed that one day, humanity would no longer be earthbound, but would soar in the heavens like the eagles.
Thanks to their ability to dream an impossible dream, and their willingness to take risks in the pursuit of their dreams, the Wright Brothers accomplished the impossible one December morning, in 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
How about you? Are you willing to risk it all, to reach new heights?
2. Thomas Alva Edison. He single-handedly lifted the world out of darkness, and brought us into the light. Imagine yourself living before the invention of the light bulb. What an oppressive, dark, and restrictive world it would have been. Everywhere you went, at night or in dark places, meant carrying candles, lamps, or torches. And to think, we sometimes get tired of packing our cell phones?
How entirely impossible Edison’s mission must have seemed to people in that day: to create a sustainable source of light within a glass bulb, and power that fragile orb by the pulsating currents of electricity.
Needless to say, few people gave Edison’s dream any chance of reaching the light of day. Fortunately for us, Edison wasn’t intimidated by public opinion, or the size of his dream. After hundreds of failed attempts, in 1879, Edison flipped the switch and the light stayed on.
Are you willing to pursue your dreams all the way to success, like Edison, regardless of how many failures you may encounter along the way? The bottom line is this: you can either choose to live in the darkness, or you can keep dreaming until the light comes on!
3. Abraham Lincoln. Our beloved 16th President dared to dream of preserving an indivisible, hallowed Union, where all Americans would be considered equals.
And what a lofty dream it was! How thankful our nation should be, that a poor, prairie farm boy would persevere against unbelievable obstacles, to become the president of the United States, lead America through the dark night of disunity, and help us emerge from the devastation of war, as “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Though President Lincoln is greatly loved and revered by Americans today, during the days of his presidency, he was intensely hated and ridiculed by many people on both sides of the battle line. Daily, he was castigated by journalists, ridiculed by southern sympathizers, and mocked by lawmakers for many of his executive decisions, and wartime decisions.
As the war raged on, and casualties mounted, President Lincoln lived under the constant threat that America would be torn apart by the war. I cannot imagine how terrible the years of ceaseless conflict must have been for the kind-hearted and caring man who led our nation. As the Commander in Chief, what must it have been like to read the casualty lists following battles like Petersburg, Chickamauga, Chancellorsville, Antietam, or Gettysburg, in which tens of thousands of brave young men died? Indeed, sorrow and fear were President Lincoln’s continual companions.
In the end, his incredible perseverance was rewarded, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his confederate army at Appomattox Courthouse, in Virginia, on April 9, 1865, and the states were reunited at long last. Sadly, Abraham Lincoln was not allowed to celebrate his greatest triumph for long. For on April 14, 1865, an assassin, named John Wilkes Booth, forever dimmed the eyes, but not the dream of the man who dared to believe in a lofty place, called the United States of America, where “all men are created equal.”
How far we have come as a nation. Having just elected the first black president in our nation’s history, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the great emancipator and his undying dream. In the light of this historic event, every American should reflect back upon the dreary days before the Lincoln presidency, when men and women were bought and sold like livestock, and express our thanks to God for giving us an incredibly visionary leader; who would dare to set the future course for our nation, where “one nation, under God, indivisible” would one day be able to fulfill his great dream.
It pays to trust the Lord. Now is not the time to live in the torment of fear, paralyzed by real and imagined foes, but rather, we must trust God with our collective and individual destinies, and ask Him to help us dream again. The only way we will overcome fear (and its torment), is to live by this truth: All it takes to overcome fear, is a genuine love for God, commitment to honor Him with our life, and trust His plan for your life.
Are you up to the task? I hope so, because “peace that passes understanding” is only a simple, faith-filled prayer away. As you turn to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, He will take away your fears, and restore your ability to dream again.
Why don’t you talk to Jesus about your fear issue today, and let Him replace it with His gentle presence, and ever-abiding peace? Don’t forget: “Perfect love casts out fear.” He stands ready to perform this much-needed miracle in you, right now. All you need to do is ask.
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