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Preacher's Pulpit: Fear not in this new year

December 28, 2001|By Basil Bell, special to this newspaper

May I suggest a New Year's resolution? Fear not!

Fear is probably the No. 1 cause of paralysis.

By paralysis I mean the arresting of your body, mind and spirit. The overwhelming fear of death can be just as paralyzing as death itself. Freud said that all fear is a fear of death. In order to have a happy New Year you need to be free from fear.

When fear is felt about things that truly threaten security, then fear is protective. A reasonable fear of lurking danger enables us to take a reasonable precaution against it. However, when fear is incorrectly directed it's destructive.

All of us have fears. Many have a fear of failure in business or a fear of failure in interpersonal relationships, a fear of things that go "thump" in the dark, a fear of discovery of a wrong committed.

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This last one is a fear associated with guilt. There are 1,000 and more fears that can overwhelm your personality. But no one can be at his or her best unless the person is free from all fears.

Jesus speaks of the seed that was choked with worry. Notice that Jesus puts the choking things in this order: choked with worry, money, pleasures (see Luke 4:18). We would have reversed that order. We would have said that the pleasures of sex and appetite, lust and money are the chief sources of arrested development. Jesus said worry is. And life bears him out.

Now, my friends, the one sure method of eradicating fear from the mind is by surrendering one's life to God.

The surrender of the life to God means that all fear and worry is laid before Him and the future is left in His hands in perfect trust. We are then able to avoid any worry for the morrow, for God knows our needs and will take care of us.

Did you know that there are 350 "fear nots" in the Bible? One for every day of the year.

One of those "fear nots" is found in Isaiah 41:10. It says, "Fear not, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Notice that the Bible text says that God will be with you.

If you trust in the Lord God you are never required to face either the known or the unknown alone; the Lord is there. In those times when your fear surges from your knowledge of what is to come, God is there. In times when it is the unknown that causes you to fear, the Lord is there.

God is there with the full knowledge of what is to come and with the support needed to sustain you. The Lord understands the terror that accompanies the prospect of a loss or a cross.

Have your fears become a controlling force in your life? Do you find yourself missing opportunities and experiences because of your fear of failure, rejection, places or circumstances? God never intended for you to be controlled by fear.

So, give yourself to the Lord, our gracious God. Trust God for everything and when the terrors of death strike you, you will be able to bear it.

Whatever it is you are facing, remember, the Lord is there. And with God on your side, or better said, with you on God's side, I trust you will have a prosperous New Year.

>> Basil Bell is pastor of the El Centro Seventh-day Adventist Church, 610 S. 10th St.

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