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Americans have just celebrated another “Presidents’ Day” honoring all who served in our highest office.

One of the most notable and relevant Presidential messages is from President Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address during the depth of the great Depression in 1933.

He said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Well, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu over again”.  Today, We find ourselves living in unsettling times.  Especially with regard to how our nation seems so divided and fearful.  While I’m sure there are many reasons we could cite for all the protests, unrest or disharmony, one reason remains clear: FEAR.

Fear is a dangerous and deadly undercurrent of life.  It will rob us of vitality, enthusiasm, anticipation and progress.

The Proverb writer is accurate when he writes, “I am worn out by my worries” — fear.

Think about the “fruit” of fear.

Fear ruins relationships because it prevents honesty.  When we deny our feelings and refuse to tell the truth we destroy those closest to us.

Fear hinders genuine happiness. Think about it; one cannot be happy and fearful at the same time.

Additionally, fear will sabotage success. The way we tend to think is the way we tend to react in life.  I am reminded that Job said to his friends, “Everything I fear and dread comes true.”

So what is the antidote to overcoming fearful living?

First for me, fear’s best antidote is filling my mind with God’s truth.  The Gospel writer John penned the words, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Living free from fear will come as you build your life on truth.

Secondly, I have discovered as I fill my heart with God’s love, I tend to be less fearful.  Anytime you replace bitterness, anger and resentment with God’s love and compassion, fear is expelled.

A contemporary translation of a biblical text reads, “Love fully developed, expels every particle of fear.”

Finally, an antidote to fear is to replace fear with faith — faith to acknowledge Jesus as your Savior and Lord.  Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and said, “Above all, be sure to take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile that the enemy hurls at you.”

Our adversary, Satan, seeks to put fear in our hearts and minds.  He suggests all kinds of things for which to be fearful.

The shield against such an attack is faith. Where do you need faith today?

Faith to accept Jesus as Savior?

Faith to join a community of believers?

Faith to change a career?

Faith to make a commitment in marriage?

Overcome your fear!  Fill your mind with God’s truth.  Fill your heart with God’s love. Fill your life with faith in Jesus.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at  tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.

Discouragement is a powerful tool of the “accuser,” our adversary; and this discouragement can lead us into a state of doubt and fear.

Remember how the Hebrews became so discouraged by their circumstances that THEY HAD LOST HOPE.

Numbers 14:2ff records a very dark and discouraging moment for Moses and his leadership:

Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the  people wept that night. All the Israelites complained about  Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died   in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land   to die by the sword? Our wives and little children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to  Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader   and go back to Egypt.”  Numbers 14:1-4

Notice the question, “Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”.

You may recall that this passage speaks to the time right after 10 spies filed a very negative analysis of possessing Canaan, the Land of Promise.

The people worked themselves into such a state of despair and discouragement that they demanded “slavery as their NEW VISION.”

Today, discouragement is still a powerful tool of the “accuser,” our adversary; and he seeks to create in our hearts and attitudes a state of doubt and fear.

For many years and during the most recent months we have seen situations all across this country that point to how divided and fractured our nation is. Nightly news casts, internet blogs, opinions of “experts” all seem to point to a nation that is being ravaged by racial, economic, and social class unrest and mistrust.

The adversary is sowing the same mistrust, hatred and division today, which is creating a spirit of discouragement and fear in the lives of those who claim to KNOW and TRUST God.

WE MUST NOT FALL into a state of fear and distress.

The question is HOW do we LIVE ABOVE fear and distress.

Here is Truth from God’s Word:

Remember what God has promised.

Remember when we experience hardship, it’s part of the process, not a sign that God isn’t working on our behalf.

We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not  crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we  are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down,      but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.   2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Remember God will finish what He started. He doesn’t leave us behind.

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you[a]     will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.      Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)

Bottom Line:  Don’t Despair!  REMEMBER:

God’s Love WANTS what is Best for me;

God’s Wisdom KNOWS what is Best for me; and

God’s Power WILL ACCOMPLISH what is Best for me!

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at  tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.