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You Serve A God Who Isn’t Limited By Your Fear (via Rebecca Reynolds)

Following Jesus alongside others provides encouragement and the example of other believers in situations similar to our own.
If encouragement gives way to comparison we can succumb to feelings of failure and lack of worth, not because of any inadequacy in us, but because we’re not the same as someone else.
And God has not created us all to be identical, or to respond to every dark valley the same as every other Christian.

From Rebecca Reynolds:

In the midst of fear, we also need to be careful about comparing our emotions with the emotions of others. In groups of nonreligious people, you will find some who are naturally bold. Certain personalities are just born risk—takers, not prone to thinking through consequences. Then there are rationalists who rarely allow themselves to be driven by feelings of any sort. Strategy is their default, not their instinct, so panic doesn’t hit them in the same way as it might hit a feeler. Feelers, on the other hand, may find themselves moved quickly and easily by circumstances or emotions. Tranquility isn’t on the emotional playlist as often as excitement, giddiness, sorrow, and fury.
Some of these inborn personality differences are impacted by personal choice, but chemical and genetic factors also come into play. God makes some people with a high natural capacity for analysis, others with a high natural capacity for risk, others with a high natural capacity for sensitivity. Instead of feeling pride or shame over our wiring, we can just acknowledge our defaults, seeing them as tools in a toolbox. We can acknowledge the pros and cons of our personalities and then ask God how he wants us to move forward.
So if you struggle with fear while someone in your religious community brags about his or her boldness, don’t let that comparison go too deep. This difference might not result from spiritual maturity so much as chemical capacity. And besides that, you serve a God who isn’t limited by your fear. In fact, it’s possible that your inborn sensitivity is vital to the specific work God has prepared for you.

Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pgs 101-102.


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Jesus Doesn’t Dismiss Our Fears, He Experienced Them And Overcame Them (via Winn Collier)

Jesus doesn’t dismiss our fears.
He spends much time telling his disciples that we’ll experience much that drives to the hearts of our anxieties.
And he goes to the very heart of fear itself, experiences it all, and emerges victorious, for us.

From Winn Collier.

“Incarnation is the place,” says Kathleen Norris, “where hope contends with fear.” Perhaps this hints at the reason, if Jesus was familiar with fear, he was not distraught in the boat that was battered by the ferocious storm. He was not afraid because he was aware of God the Father with him. Perhaps this also tells us why the cross evoked such a different, disquieted response from Jesus. There, as the sky turned black and as Jesus cried out as only a forsaken man could, God was nowhere to be found. That is a place of terror.
Christ has known ultimate fear. He has known fear in ways we never will. It is not that Jesus is unable to understand the range of our fears; it is that we are unable to understand the depth of his. We must resist any easy notion that Jesus never knew fear. This does injustice to his humanity, and it offers little hope when fear engulfs us. How can we say God is truly “with us” if he has not been at times immersed, like us, in the torrent of fear?
This God-incarnated, this blood—and—bone God—in-Jesus, came to “contend with fear.” He did not come only to face nobly fear’s blunt force … and die. Jesus’ face—off with fear did not conclude on a darkened Friday when hope was lost and hell quivered with pleasure. After cross came resur— rection, and in the mysterious hours between the two, Jesus took death and sin—all that makes up the foul side of fear—and placed them squarely under his crushing heel. Fear unleashed all it possessed on Jesus, a torrent of death and shame and abandonment and sin, enough to finish even the strongest of men. But fear did not destroy Jesus; Jesus destroyed fear.
Our comfort and courage do not come from a Jesus who was unmolested by fear; our Comfort comes from a Jesus who went into fear’s very bowels … for us. He drank in every acidic ounce of fright and distress and vexation. For us, he drank it in. And now, as he stands leaning toward us, Immanuel asks, “Why are you afraid?”.

Winn Collier, Holy Curiosity, Baker Books, 2008, pg 53-54.


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Take Heart by Citizens

Take Heart is a track from Citizens’ album Fear.
It seems to be a reflection on Jesus’ words in John 16:33 – 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 have overcome the world.”


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Looking Up by Citizens

Citizens have a new album entitled Fear releasing later this week.
Kickstarter backers have been listening to it a week early.
Looking Up is the first official video released.
This is not so much ‘sing in church’ material, and I don’t know why they’re busting all their best dad dance moves for the video, but the music is strong.