Fear Not!

Below is the text of the sermon I delivered Sunday evening (at 1700 or 5 p.m.) at Redland Church of the Nazarene on the beautiful campus of Rainbow Christian School.

The audio (MP3) file of the sermon is available here: //redlandnazarene.net/content.cfm?page_content=downloads_include.cfm&download_id=92

(Note: for old friends and acquaintances hearing the voice on the recording and saying “that’s not him” … this is part of the cost of being sustained for several weeks by machines after open-heart surgery – the “trach” tube lodged in my throat for a couple of months seems to have permanently altered that deep baritone you may remember.  I remain, however, very grateful for the medical technology and skilled Doctors, Nurses and med-techs that God used to work miracles – what happened to me has around a 90% fatality rate.  ... Update -- it turns out that it's an effect of some med's... sometimes I soulnd like "me"... sometimes, not so much.

If you like what you hear here (or read here), please know that yes, I would happily share my experiences, strength and hope with your group or organization, or preach or speak at your church or Christian gathering.

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Good evening, will you join me in prayer please?

Father God, great and gracious and Holy God, we thank you for this wonderful privilege of coming together to worship and praise you, and to speak together of your grace and your love. Open our hearts, our minds and our ears, Lord, to what you have to say to us, and speak thru me to all who would hear;  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

On the subject of public speaking, a great wit once said: 

"There are two types of speakers: those who are nervous and those who are liars."

Now – I’m probably way less nervous than most about it, because I’ve been doing it since I was in Junior High School – that’s what most of you call “middle school” – but, we called it “Junior High”, back when we held it in caves and wrote in the dirt.

OK, that’s not true – I’m not that old – we used tablets --- clay tablets.

But, seriously, I’m going to speak, a little nervously, about being nervous, or anxious, or -- scared.

We’re going to look at fears – concerns -- unease – anxieties – nervousness – these ways we talk about being “uncomfortable” in this broken world.

Are these different degrees of fear reasonable reactions to the things that we see happening around us?

I mean -- fear of public speaking – what is it that scares us? 

All of us, even the most experienced, are nervous or anxious when we get up to speak.  Why is that?

I think it’s because we’re self-conscious and afraid that people are going to judge us, and, maybe, judge us harshly.

So, we “fret” – there’s another good word for being scared – we fret about what we’re going to wear, and what to say and how to say it, and it starts to weigh us down, if we let it.

It is written, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25 [all scriptures from the New International Version or NIV translation])

‘Seems to say “anxiety” is a normal part of living, and that we all need a “kind word”, from a brother or a sister, to cheer us up.

Well, here’s a kind word from our eldest brother, Jesus Christ:

 “I have told you these things, so that -- in me -- you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) (Emphasis mine)

“These things” -- these “troubles” that he told his disciples about -- included being thrown out their synagogues, the center of their lives and communities. 

He told them they’d be scattered, isolated and alone and that people would kill them and call it service to God. 

And they were cast out, and they were scattered, and they were killed. 

And for nearly two thousand years, many of Christ’s disciples have been cast out of their homes and communities, scattered and alone – and many have been persecuted and killed.

Right now, Christians and innocent children are being persecuted and killed in the name of a god called “Allah” or “Shiva” or “the Party” or “Our Beloved Leader” or a god called – self.

Oh… (taps forehead) … supposed to be cheering you up – I feel like I might be “bringing you down”.

A kind word…  Here’s a kind word from another king…

King David wrote:

 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4)

Course, when he wrote that, he wasn’t the king yet –Samuel had anointed him -- but the First King of Israel – Saul – wasn’t exactly “on board” with the idea and was hunting David with every intent to skewer him on a spear and hang his head in front of the King’s tent. 

David was hiding in the court of an enemy king -- and pretending to be insane so that he wouldn’t be killed.

Cheered up yet?

You should be – both David and the true King of everything, Jesus the Christ, told us the secret to overcoming our fears:

David said the Lord delivered him from all his fears – And the Lord said – “in me -- you may have peace.”

Get it?

The Lord says there’s going to be trouble and troubling things in our lives  – but he CAN delivery us – that we MAY find peace in Him in the middle of anything and everything that life throws at us.

That peace is for real –

I know of a man who lay dying and in great pain in an Emergency Room a few miles from here, who looked up at the pastor and said “God is Good”. 

And, when Pastor talked to that man’s wife, a wonderful Christian woman, she asked him to pray for “God’s will”.

Were they especially brave people?  

I don’t think so –

I think they had faith –

They believed God’s word and God’s promises –

They believed in the character of God. 

They knew that they were going to have troubles – God told them – told us – we ARE GOING TO HAVE troubles. 

And they’d been thru troubles and heartaches and deaths and suffering already, together and apart – and they each knew what it felt like to be isolated, alone, and broken-hearted –

and scared – scared for themselves  -- scared for each other, and scared for the people around them.

In fact they still go though that – WE still go thru that... now and then.

So, are we “backsliding” -- being weak in faith – failing the Lord when we are fearful?

I think it’s … Sometimes, yes…  Sometimes, no.

I’ve heard it said and I think it’s true that the most common command in the bible is some version of “don’t be afraid”. 

One Bible scholar said he’s counted over 400 “don’t be afraid” passages in the most popular translations. 

Of course, an awful lot of the times that the scriptures say “fear not” or words to that effect, it’s an angel trying to keep us from freakin’ out, like when the angels appeared to the shepherds on the first Christmas, or when Gabriel spoke to Mary, nine months before that.

But, when I really searched out the verses and the passages that instructed us not to be scared while we’re dealing with regular life -- outside of angel encounters – and I added those that offered some specific encouragement -- neat word – “encouragement” – it means “add courage” – when I added the passages about courage to the one’s telling us not to fear, I came up with over 50…  (As a special bonus for my “web-readers” those scriptures are included in a document attached at the end of the transcript)

But, however you count, the point is that scripture has a lot to say about fear.

And when it comes to sinfully fearing…  It wasn’t the original sin, but it came pretty close on its heels.

Back before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit - they used to stroll thru the beautiful garden where they lived in the “cool of the day” -- with GOD – How cool is that?

And, that’s back when ALL the mosquitoes lived on flowers –

Now, only boy mosquitoes that do that --  girl mosquitoes live on US – that’s right – Mosquito bites are part of the cost of original sin.

If you want to turn in your bibles to the third chapter of Genesis – or just look up here on the screens -- we’ll start reading at verse six about the first time people felt the sinful kind of fear:

 “6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Now, I know that we’re commanded to honor our Mother and Father, and that probably includes our first Mother and Father, but – I got to say – this whole series of events – this whole series of sins – sins that we’ve inherited and still commit – they seem -- well – pretty stupid.

Now -- it’s easy to sit here and pass judgment – and scripture tells us that that’s one of the things that we should righteously fear – the way we pass judgment -- and – all of us here already have clothes on and we’re kind of used to knowledge of good and evil -- and we also know some things they didn’t – one very important thing they didn’t…

But – this situation in the garden – if stupid ain’t the right judgment - maybe “Crazy” is…

See, they eat this fruit to become “wise” and what’s the first thing that these newly “wise” people do?

(Acts out trying to “cover” self with hands and arms) They try to cover up!

Why?  They weren’t seeing something they hadn’t already seen, were they?

And they didn’t have to worry about the neighbors, did they?

Well… Yes and Yes.

They were seeing something new –  They were seeing sin

And there was this one neighbor…

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

I woke up yesterday, thinking about this sermon  -- cause there’s only two kinds of public speakers – and I was talking to my wife, about it, and I called the Lord’s question a “rhetorical question”, because, He knew exactly where the man was, but she said,

“No… it was a LOADED question.” and she’s right. 

Adam had -- right then – a chance to fear God – one of the right kinds of fear – the kind that is actually respect  – due regard – and he could have answered, like the prophets did,  “Here I am, Lord” --

But instead,

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

He wasn’t focused on God – the only thing to really fear – he was self-conscious, focused on his own sin. 

They had tried to get wise, but what they got was scared of their own skin.

11 And He said… -- God said--

11 … Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

More loaded questions, more chances to fear God and yet be brave -- to do the right thing – but…

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

You see what they did --- what we do?

They went from this (acting out the covering-up gesture) to this (finger pointing, left, right, all around)…

They went from trying to cover-up to trying to blame others for their own sins.

Adam even tried to blame GOD for his sin –

“The women you put here, Lord…”

“The woman YOU put here…”

(In a kind of “whiney” voice) “See, she give me this fruit…I just thought it was an apple or something… and then, all the sudden, I was naked, and, and…”

And Eve, said:  (whiney, higher pitched) “It was the snakes fault, Lord… He confused me… and made me naked…”

This is stupid or crazy or both – and you can take that from an expert in stupid and crazy. 

I spent a lot of years in the garden of stupid and crazy, but the Lord God sent His Son to lead me out … to lead us out of there, and to teach us to fear the right things, and to show us how not to be deceived.

See, it’s stupid or crazy to think we can hide from an omniscient God…

 “omniscient” means “ knows everything”  --

We’re always naked before Him -- He see’s everything – We can’t hide and we can’t cover up. 

He knew us when we were inside a lump of cells too small for the “naked” eye to see.

He knows about the wrong things we’ve done and about our unfair and unjust attempts to blame them on someone or something else… He knows…

And He’s fixed it so that none of that bad stuff and broken stuff and failed attempts to cover up our sins or hide from our responsibilities needs to scare us any more.

All of us, every one of us, since our first mother and father got scared and stupid and crazy in the garden – every one of us have sinned and fallen short.

But remember the words of the once and future kings: 

… the LORD… delivered me from all my fears

And…

 “in me you may have peace…you will have trouble. But … I have overcome the world.”

There are things in this world that are truly scary, some scare some, and some scare all.

You can Google it  –  not right now – but if you check it … you will find that the chances that you’re going to physically die are one-hundred percent.

So, you can stop worrying about that now… it’s a sure thing.

You’re going to be judged by others, and some of them are going to judge harshly… it’s a sure thing.

You’re going to be misunderstood, mistaken, mistreated, mystified and messed up –

sure things… 

You’re going to feel pain, both physical and spiritual, and you’re going to grieve for what is, what was, or could have been… for sure.

You don’t have to spend one moment in fear about whether troubles are going to come your way, or whether you can pray hard enough to prevent them, or whether you can just be “good enough” to live trouble free …

The Lord never lies… the Lord cannot lie… he is omniscient and omnipotent…

He knows everything and has All power…  whatHe says is so MUST BE SO!

So, you’re going to have trouble… it’s a sure thing.

These things are simply part of our inheritance as Human Beings –

Jesus wept (John 11:35) for his cousin and friend Lazarus, even though He knew he was going to raise Him from the dead. 

Jesus grieved for the people that refused to be gathered to him (Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34) – because Jesus was fully a man, a human being, as well as being God.

So, if you’re a Human Being, you can stop worrying about that stuff… they’re sure things.

I’m not trying to tell you that you should be completely fearless, just the opposite, in fact.

Scripture says if we want to be truly wise, we should be afraid -- of the Lord God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Psalm 111:10)

That same kind of kind of fear – that is respect and due regard for people, places and things is wise -- for two reasons.

Both will help you get a little further away from that stupid and crazy place where we try to cover up or hide from our problems rather than step out in faith and bravely deal with them. 

First, understand that there’s a whole lot of kind of scary things in this world whose outcome and effects are not “sure things” – things that we have the power to do something about – things we have the RESPONSIBILITY to do something about.

If there’s a Hurricane coming at the place where I live, I can and should be concerned – you can call it scared – and I will pray for God’s protection for me and mine and everyone else in the path of the storm.

But I also am going to put up shutters and put away things that might blow around and find a safe place to ride it out… because it’s not at all a sure thing that it has to tear everything up or hurt me and those I love.

Those things show respect and due regard for hurricanes… and myself.

If I’ve got to go thru a kind of scary situation like standing up in front of people and preaching to them, I can pray – Always start, continue and finish with prayer and thanksgiving – it’s in the book (holds up Bible) –

I can also make sure I understand the situation and circumstance as well as possible, thru study of my subject, thru careful preparation of my words and message, and thru realistic appraisal of my audience and my fears.  Am I actually going to be judged harshly?

Probably not, unless I just totally fail to prepare and deliver. 

I mean, have any of you every gone into a lecture hall, or auditorium or sanctuary thinking, “Man, I hope this guy is really bad!”

Or what about the scary prospect of graduating from High School – back in the caves we called it -- High School.  Anyway, what about graduating School and facing… what? 

More School of a new and different kind?  Finding a job, or a better job? 

Being a “grown up”? 

Figuring out how to pay for school or an apartment?

Scary stuff… How do I show respect and due regard in a situation and circumstance where everything is changing?

Lean on the one-hundred-per-cent sure thing that is the Lord God. 

Pray to him:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Study (holds up Bible) the instruction book for ---everything.

And, understand the second reason what the wise know to Fear God and treat people, places and things with due respect and due regard…

Scripture tells that the challenges and difficulties of life that concern us or downright scare us will, with His help and by His grace -- will strengthen us and teach us perseverance, trust, hope and love.

And those that have walked with Him can also testify to the fact that some of those trials and difficulties that are so scary are actually great blessings.

For example, I told you that I’d been getting up in front of people to speak since I was back in the caves -- that’s because I began scripted speaking and performance as a way to help overcome a severe stutter. I was so anxious and fearful about speaking to other people when I was a kid, I couldn’t get three words in a row out of my mouth without stuttering and stammering to a complete stop.

Now, God has changed a scared and stuttering little kid into a man with a career of, and a vocation for, speaking to people.

Yeah… God’s like that.

He also took a medical emergency that only about one in ten people survive and turned it into a lesson about overcoming pain, and fear, and stupidity and craziness and walking with Him into a place where my main purpose is to proclaim the good news in a dark and scary world, a world where we’re going to have trouble – but we can have peace – because He has overcome the world.

As our musicians return for a closing song,   I want to invite you, if you don’t know Him, If you aren’t feeling His peace…

 I want to invite you to stop trying to cover up your problems and your fears, stop trying to hide from Him who’s calling to you, “Where are You?”

Here I am, Lord –

Here we are –

Bring us your peace -- wipe away our tears -- wipe away our fears -- Here we are.

Don’t be afraid… don’t try to hide… that’s crazy. 

Can’t you hear Him calling…    come on out…   just as you are…   Come on out…

In Jesus’ Name…

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Do not Fear, for He is with you

 

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” -- Exodus 14:14 (ESV)

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“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -- Deuteronomy 31:6

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -- Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

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“Even 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.” Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

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“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? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” -- Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)

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“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” -- Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

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“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” -- Psalm 42:5

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“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” --Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)

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“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” -- Psalm 56:3

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“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. -- Psalm 55:22

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“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,” --Psalm 91:1-6 (ESV)

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When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. -- Psalm 94:19 (ESV)

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! -- Psalm 111:10 (ESV)

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He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. -- Psalm 112:7-8 (ESV)

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The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? -- Psalm 118:6 (ESV)

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“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore. -- Psalm 131:2-3

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“But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” --Proverbs 1:33 (ESV)

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” --Proverbs 3:5-8

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“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV).

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“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” -- Proverbs 14:27 (ESV)

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“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -- Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

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“Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’” -- Isaiah 35:4 (ESV)

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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. – Isaiah 41:10

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“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.“-- Isaiah 41:14 (NIV)

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“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. ’” -- Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

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No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)

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… the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. -- Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV)

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -- Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

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“You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’” -- Lamentations 3:57 (ESV)

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“Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! -- Joel 2:21 (ESV)

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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -- Matthew 6:25-34(NIV)

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“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”-- Matthew 10:28-31 (NIV)

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“He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” -- Luke 4:18-21(NIV)

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“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” -- Luke 10:19 (ESV)

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“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” (Luke 12:22-26, NIV).

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“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” -- John 3:16-17 (NIV)

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“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. -- John 14:1 (ESV)

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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. -- John 14:27 (ESV)”

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“… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -- Romans 8:26-28 (NIV).

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“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? “ -- Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. -- Romans 15:13 (ESV)

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“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” -- 2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV)

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“… He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -- 2 Corinthians12:9-10

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” -- Philippians 4:6-7

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“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” -- Philippians 4:13

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“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

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“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” -- Colossians 3:15 (ESV)

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

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Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -- Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

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“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” -- Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

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“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” -- Hebrews 13:6 (KJV)

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Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. – 1 Peter 2:17 (ESV)

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“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)

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“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 (ESV)