On the Verge of Fear

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There is a fine balance between acting in a responsible manner versus reacting in fear. The church has a responsibility to ensure that all are safe that walk through it’s doors.

The responsible church has plans for inclement weather. Plans to guard against predators who prey on children.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. – Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

What happens when the church falters from responsibility into fear? I have been wrestling with this question. Wisdom and innocence alight in a dance. Chuck Norris hired to defend the front door.

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My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody

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My Name is Mahtob is written from the perspective of the daughter from the book and motion picture, Not Without My Daughter; Mahtob Mahmoody. She shares her memories of how her mother and her escaped Iran and made it back to the United States. Only to live the rest of their lives in fear that her father would come and take Mahtob back to Iran. Her story also included how she forgave her father for what he did and continued to do in her life. She tells of how her mother, family friends, teachers, and the Lord helped her reach a place where she did not hate her father for the wake of destruction he caused.

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The recurring theme throughout this book is forgiveness. Her mother, realizing that Mathob was growing bitter, sought out ways to help her remember her father as a person, not the monster he had become. And also showed her that her heritage was not a bad thing, but something to be celebrated. Another recurring theme in this book is the fact that neither Mahtob nor her mother would say anything ill of the man who kidnapped them.

My Name is Mahtob was a page turner from the very beginning. My heart ached for the five/six year old girl who ran away with her mother from her father. I wanted to protect Mahtob, as a young adult, when her world was shattered once again by her father. My favorite part was in the last few chapters. Mahtob is still affected by the abuse her father caused but time and distance has made her realize a few things:

  • She has sorrow for a father that let his “dysfunction rule his life”.
  • That her own adaptability was due to her father’s absence in her life.
  • Her memories of her father were not “distorted” by others.

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into Mahtob’s life.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Cultural Lies

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I am not usually down with Rick Warren, but I thought that this was a good quote:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. – Pastor Rick Warren

Quote of the Day – Fear of Failure

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“The fear of making a wrong decision shouldn’t strip the faith right out of our faith. The only way our faith will ever strengthen is for us to use it. We need to apply thought and prayer to our decisions and then trust God for the outcome. We need to set our sights on growing in faith, not shrinking back for fear of failure.” – Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes

GamerGate

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I resigned from a position I enjoyed last week. A combination of social media overload and a recent controversy in the gaming culture deflated my sails. I’m truthfully not sure what to think about something I have considered a hobby since 1989. I dislike:

– The sudden hostile atmosphere online created by the GamerGate scandal. This goes for both Christians and non-Christians alike, who have succumbed to fear and ultimately emotion. GamerGate was an opportunity for rational/academic discourse on how people should be treated online and video game journalism ethics in general. Instead, wagons have been circled and all discourse has been shutdown.

The game has changed. I’m not sure what this means for me. I feel God is telling me to focus on what is important. Right now, I’m not sure gaming is.

At Church: Fear and Anxiety

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We all know the story. God compels Moses to go before Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites. Pharaoh resists. Plagues ensue. Pharaoh eventually relents and Moses leads the people out of Egypt.

Once the Israelites left, Pharaoh suddenly has a change of heart:

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. – Exodus 14:5-6 (NIV)

Notice that the Egyptians are not happy about losing their slave labor. So Pharaoh leads his army forth to recapture what he believes is rightfully his. God has other plans.

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? – Exodus 14:10-11 (NIV)

God delivers his people from the Egyptians. In the end, Pharaohs army is wiped out in the Red Sea.

Like I was going to have a post about Moses parting the Red Sea and not include Mr. Charlton Heston.

Like I was going to have a post about Moses parting the Red Sea and not include Mr. Charlton Heston.

This morning, my Sunday school class started a new series on fear and anxiety. My teacher pointed out the difference between the Israelites’ response (they thought they were going to be whole sale slaughtered) and the Egyptians’ response (they wanted their slave labor back). Fear often causes us to believe things that are simply not true.

Lately, I have been reading through Jon Acuff’s Start. In the book, Jon suggests writing down our fears when they occur/paralyze us. After writing down the fear, Acuff suggests then writing down the truth beside it. So something like:

Fear: I am going to lose my job and never find one again.

Truth: I have job security due to my position and even if that isn’t true, I will be able to find another job due to my degree and experience.

Just want to encourage you today to kick fear in the face. Start by realizing that sometimes the things that we hear whispered in our heads are lies. So write them down. Capture them. Confront them with the truth. We can do this.