March 4 – Do Not Fear – Unafraid Faith Heroes

Read Hebrews 11

We read through the names like a list on a plaque. Each hero of the faith representing more courage, more unafraid, than most of us will probably ever know.

We read their stories, remember their amazing, and maybe we wonder how we ourselves might ever aspire to such brave acts on God’s behalf.

I don’t remember who inspired it, but somewhere, sometime, I was challenged to write a reminder in my Bible at the end of this great-hall-of-faith chapter. A reminder that I, too, can live so unafraid. So right there in my Bible, at the end of Hebrews chapter 11 after verse 40, I wrote, “41. By faith Bria . . . ”

I am in no way suggesting that the Bible can be added to, amended or even abridged. But those 16 characters scribbled by my own hand serve as a challenge for me. To keep my eyes away from fear. A challenge to focus my sight and place my fear on the only One Who can handle it. A charge to live. Unafraid.

I look through the list, admire the living and the unafraid as I read of Abraham’s courage to believe the promise and relocate to foreign lands, unknown territory. Noah’s bravery to face the ridicule and speak against the status quo.

Each one did more than merely survive. All of them lived. Unafraid because of their faith.

It led them to life beyond what anyone could have predicted. It took them through the fear that holds back and straight to God’s plan for abundance and real life.

Each of them had much to lose. Often their very lives were at stake. Still, they were not afraid because of where they fixed their focus.

They set their sights on God’s abundance. Unafraid of what they might face because they knew the certainty of what lay ahead. Almighty, always faithful God had more abundance and real life in store for them than any horror they might walk through this side of eternity.

That’s how Moses left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible (v27).

Each of these unafraid faith heroes practiced faith in the One Who saw what they could not.

Now faith is being . . . certain of what WE do not see (v1).

It’s essential for unafraid living. Faith and certainty and well-placed fear in the God Who knows, and sees, what we do not.

*I’ve written a short ebook on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. Next week, I’ll offer it when I launch my new personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com), but you can get it here right now. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

Bria Wasson

March 3 – Do Not Fear – Where Our Fear Belongs

Read Joshua 6:1-21

Joshua and the Israelites had just crossed the raging Jordan River, at flood stage. So here they camped, poised and ready to conquer the Land of Promise in the name of the One Who had led them to right here. Almighty God.

Still, Joshua had a lot to fear. Jericho was a walled city. Fortified and strong. And Joshua had led the Israelites through exactly zero conquests. Yes, he had all kinds of need for unafraid if he was to lead them into the land God promised generations earlier.

The last time Joshua was mentioned in this story, he lay facedown in the presence of Holy God. (See Joshua 5:13-16.)  It was the perfect place to begin a conquest. The only place to find true unafraid.

If we study the book of Joshua, we find him keeping this stance straight through every battle. Poised at the feet of God Almighty. It was the Israelites’ and his only chance for real life. The kind with victory and vitality and abundance. His only shot at conquest, Joshua knew that there was no way to conquer the land of Canaan but by God’s hand.  His plan.  His way.

So Joshua took every ounce of fear he had, and he placed it in Almighty God. And when he did, he heard God’s objective in one fell swoop of a word.

See… (Joshua 6:2)

God called Joshua to keep his fear in Him alone. He challenged him to live unafraid based on what only God could see.

We are called to the same objective. When we take our fear and place it on the only One Who stands worthy, we can know every battle has already been won. Because we know God, and we trust what He sees.

When we take our fear-filled focus and filter it through faith in God, our unafraid rises, and we find all we need to actually live like He’s called us to.

Facing the everyday calling to share His truth. Trusting His hand when the phone rings with news we dread. Walking through the fear we’ve known for far too long.

Before one toe touched ground on that just-outside-Jericho dirt, Joshua had to see what God considered already done.

See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands . . . (Joshua 6:2)

By God’s standards, the battle was over.  Jericho had already fallen.  And Joshua had every reason to enter the battle completely unafraid.

Bria Wasson

March 2 – Do Not Fear – The Kind of Fear That Leads to Life Unafraid

Read Psalm 16

It’s the excited that mixes with the scared I feel when I stand at the edge of the ocean. The constantly pounding waves and the water’s mighty pull back out.

The bus that stops and let’s the lady cross when it could barrel through and scare the crazy right out of her.

The fear of God is like the dangerously beautiful fire that burns big and bold, no room for irreverence. It is the mercy storm that picks and chooses what it will destroy, in all its fury and power and might.

The fear of God is that which never falters, always remains, forever burns. It’s the bush that burned but without turning to ash.

The hand that formed walls out of Red Sea water.

The man called Jesus Who conquered death.

It’s dangerous and safe all at the same time.

And the only way it can be both is because of Who God is. He is Almighty. Forever. Never faltering. Always enough.

He is good. Always good. And He is just. All at the same time. He is kind and merciful, and sovereign and holy. He cannot be messed with. All deserving of our trust. Most worthy of our everything.

A friend of mine wrote about it so well when she said, “When we understand His goodness and His love, our hearts begin to cry out that He be strong and enough for the trials of life.  And then we discover that he is a mighty God, worthy of praise, our awe and our adoration.  We think we want Him to be safe, but we need Him to be awe inspiring!”

You see, if we are going to place our every ounce of trust in something, in SomeOne, we need Him to be bigger than anything we might come up against. We cannot live with any semblance of unafraid, no aspect of the real kind of life Jesus came to give, unless He is truly mighty, beyond our understanding.

Turns out He is.

When we bank all our fear in Who He is, we find an unafraid we cannot otherwise know.

I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (v8).

Bria Wasson

March 1 – Do Not Fear – A Challenge to Live Unafraid

Read Joshua 1:1-9

I read somewhere that the words do not be afraid can be found 365 times in the Bible. That’s one for every day of the year. I actually read somewhere else that it’s 366 — so even Leap Year is covered.

I’ve been thinking about that, and I started wondering what might happen if I started to sort of put one on every morning when I get dressed. What if I took that truth and dressed my mind with it as routinely as I dress my body with my pants? Everyday.

What if every single morning after I get out of the shower, I read one of those do not be afraid’s and ask God to help me wear it well that day? What if every time I put it on, I think through the fabric with which it was made? The fabric of God’s absolute goodness, His Sovereign trustworthiness. And what if as I wear it all day, I consciously choose to pay special attention to that piece of clothing so that, no matter what, I will live? Unafraid.

I think that’s why God said it to Joshua so many times when he took the reigns of leadership over the Israelites. So he wouldn’t forget. So Joshua would wear well the truth of God’s Almighty I-will-never-leave-you grace that always takes care of him. So that he would do what God called him to do, even when the scary got really big.

Joshua had to wear it all the time if he was going to actually lead the Israelites into the land of God’s abundant promise. So should we. Because the life Jesus came to give us is a lot like that Promised Land. Full of His abundant blessings and promise and more life than we can imagine.

So, my friends, I offer up a challenge to you. For the next 14 days here, we’re going to look at what Life Unafraid might look like. What if for the next two weeks, we treat the do-not-be-afraid’s like actual pieces of clothing? And what if we start today. Right here with Joshua. Then tomorrow we’ll get another one and put it on. And we’ll keep on going until God grows our faith into an unshaken kind of unafraid such as cannot be thwarted by any scary. Ever.

Bria Wasson

March 3: How Fearing God Leads to Life

Read Psalm 112

When my husband and I decided to take the opportunity we were given and move to Germany with our two kids for a year, I was fairly uncertain. Because there’s a lot of scary in it. Here’s why we decided to do it anyway.

You see, much of my life has been dictated by the wrong kind of fear.

Like the fear of being alone that convinced me to give in to crazy forms of peer-pressure. Or the fear of a certain kind of illness that told me to never let my kids go to Chuck E. Cheese (okay, still working on that one) or on certain carnival rides.

For a lot of years, I allowed the feeling called afraid to motivate how I responded to opportunities. I missed out on living.

Tragically, I made my kids miss out on things of life that could have helped them grow and enjoy life more. So when we got the chance to live overseas and face the scary of all that it entails, my husband and I agreed we wanted the crazy and scary of the life God had offered more than we wanted the safe and secure of what we already had.

I believe this is the beginning of learning how to fear God.

There is a certain kind of afraid, that if we find it, and we don’t let go, will actually lead us into life rather than keep us from it. It’s called the fear of God. We’ve been talking about it here for two weeks now.

I did a little word study on the word fear, hoping I would find that the two words means two different things. But, alas, I had no such luck. That word fear, it means the exact same thing in both instances.

It’s the Hebrew word yare, and it means affright, be make afraid, dreadful, put in fearful reverence. So, if we put the two verses and the one meaning together, we might come up with something like this:

The person who is afraid of Almighty God will not be afraid of anything else.

And here’s where it starts to make sense. You see, if we take Almighty God for Who He is, trusting and believing that He is in fact all-powerful, all-knowing and able to do whatever He pleases, then we have no room left for the kind of fear that makes me miss out on living.

And we only leave room for real life. Unafraid.

*I’ve written a short e-book on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. I am offering it for free to people who subscribe to my personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com). I would love for you join me there. You can get it here right, too. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

brw

March 2: What Unafraid Does

Read Acts 16:11-40

Paul and Silas were guilty of spreading the truth about life through Jesus Christ. They set a slave girl free from a tormenting demon (who also happened to be annoying Paul), thus spreading Jesus’ Good News by virtue of a miracle. They also used words to spread the news of real life.

That’s what got them arrested. Telling the truth about Jesus Christ and the life He came to give. The kind of life that lives unbound by “afraid.”

For Paul and Silas, though, that meant bonds of a different kind.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. (H)e put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks (v24).

Somehow the freedom of “unafraid” put them in chains in the middle of a deep, dark cell.

So they had a worship service.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God . . . (25).

Wait! What? A worship service?! Yep, you read that correctly. Paul and Silas found themselves unchained by fear yet bound by chains for living the unafraid life, so they started singing praise to God.

That’s when “afraid” stepped in for the prison guard. Their praise shook the earth. (I like to think it was God stomping His feet to the beat of the tunes.) The chains on their bodies fell off even as their hearts sang, unbound and unafraid.

When the jailer saw the freedom of his two high-profile prisoners, his fear stepped up like a monster in a cave, and he picked up his sword to end his own life. “Afraid” called him out, and he buckled.

But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here (v28)!”

The jailer fell trembling, even as Paul and Silas helped him see the only right place to put fear. On the One True God Who calls thunder right out of thin air and breaks chains like tiny pieces of thread.

Right there and then, that prison guard took all his fear, and He transferred it to the One on Whom it belonged.

The contrast intrigues me in this story. Paul and Silas, who should have been the afraid ones, feared God so completely that they were able to sing. Meanwhile, the jailer, who should have been resting on his laurels, ended up falling down terrified as a result of Paul’s and Silas’ “unafraid”.

That’s what “unafraid” does. It points people to the One Who deserves the fear. It helps people really live.

*I’ve written a short e-book on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. I am offering it for free to people who subscribe to my personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com). I would love for you join me there. You can get it here right, too. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

brw

March 1: The Jesus-Inspired Unafraid

Read Acts 4

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (v13).

They’d spent three years walking with, hanging with, getting to know Jesus the Christ. And now, by virtue of His death and resurrection, His Spirit was living inside of Peter and John.

The same Peter who had cowered at the bonfire to the little servant girl’s questions while Jesus suffered inside, heading to His crucifixion. The same John who’d quietly followed Him and called Him Rabbi.

They had become life-givers by the name of Jesus Christ. Bringing complete healing to a 40-something crippled-from-birth man (3:16) and downright boldness to the priests’ questioning.

Peter and John not only proclaimed Jesus Christ’s name, they lived by it. And it made all the difference.

Their time with Him, His life in them, had transformed them into unafraid people the likes of which this world has not known since. For they feared Him and Him only.

No fear of the powers that be. Jesus was their King.

No fear of prisons or beatings. Jesus Christ the Messiah had conquered death.

No fear of speaking out against the injustice of the religious leaders. Jesus makes all things new.

And they were no exception. Indeed, He had made Peter and John new, as well.

That’s how they were able to stand in front of those priests and leaders and the temple guard and say what they did. It’s how they were able to pray so boldly and ask for even more strength to heal in Jesus’ name (v29), when they could have just asked for the persecution to stop.

That’s how thousands of people came to know the God Who Really Lives.

When Peter and John spent time with Jesus, their afraid flew out the window. God used them to display real life unafraid so powerfully that not even the Sadducees could deny it.

The same can be true of us. When we know Jesus that well, spend time with Him that willingly, we cannot help but find our own lives. Unafraid.

*I’ve written a short e-book on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. I am offering it for free to people who subscribe to my personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com). I would love for you join me there. You can get it here right, too. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

brw

February 28: Unafraid Unshaken

Read Psalm 91

Part of the afraid that I’ve always hidden behind was the fear of seeing something bad happen. Like a really bad car accident. Or a fist-fight. Or an old lady falling off her bike.

I really have no explanation for this fear. Other than an anxiety disorder that, if left unmedicated, has me making my husband check the garage door five times before we kiss good night. And constantly checking the ceilings for spiders.

That’s why I always struggled with the words in Psalm 91, where the writer says

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you (v7).

I don’t want none of that! No desire to have hundreds and thousands falling all around me. I don’t want to see it. No, thanks. I mean, can’t I just avoid everyone’s falling altogether?

But here’s the thing I am learning about unafraid: it is not shaken by anything. It does not worry. Ever. Not even about what it might see. Because it has no reason to. Life inside the unafraid holds no room for fearing things like what might happen. Or what I might see happen. Because all of its fear is properly placed in the One Who will never fail it. The One Who can handle all that fear and will only give what is good. Unafraid has no place for anxious “what will I do if’s” because it hides inside “I trust the One Who is already there.” The One Who knew what would happen. Saw it all before it did. And still, He hides me in His great big shadow.

This is the life inside of unafraid. The life I want to live for the rest of my days.

It’s the way to real life. Trusting the only One worthy of all my fear.

brw

February 27: When God Showed Up Inside The Unafraid

Read Daniel 3:1-30

What they did not see were the details.

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand . . . (Daniel 3:16-17)

Their fear of God led to their unafraid declaration to the king of the land. Because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood firm on what they hoped for, they were able to walk, unafraid, right through the furious flames of a furnace.

Their God-fearing faith made them conquer flames and quench fury.

We find fury throughout this story of three men’s unafraid.  Their refusal to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s huge trophy made him furious (v13).  Later, their immovable stance filled the king with such fury that his entire countenance changed (v19).  And then there is the fire.  The flames so furious they killed any and all who even came close.  Any and all, that is, but our three heroes of faith.

Dropped into a raging fire because of a tyrant’s raging jealousy, these three knew that God would take care of them.  They knew He would come to their rescue, whether on this side of eternity or the other.  And so they stood unafraid, unwilling to forsake the God they served.

But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up (v18).

Because they knew that their God was the only One worth fearing.

I wonder if their unafraid wavered when King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace seven times hotter.  I wonder if their stomachs turned a little bit when they were tied up.  Did they wonder why God had not rescued them from the heat?

I don’t know.  I do know this, however: Shadrach’s, Meshach’s and Abednego’s unafraid ended in two miracles such as one cannot dispute. First, they remained untouched by the fury of the flames. Secondly, King Nebuchadnezzar praised the One True God because of it.

Even as they fell into the furious flames, the God they feared met them inside. He rescued them from the fury and then used them to quench it.

Unafraid faith extinguishes fires of all kinds.  Sure, it might enrage the fury of some.  But faith that chooses to see like God sees quenches the fury inside that terrifies us and make us want to run the other way.  When we live with certainty of what we do not see, we live unafraid. And God meets us there.

*I’ve written a short e-book on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. I am offering it for free to people who subscribe to my personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com). I would love for you join me there. You can get it here right, too. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

brw

February 26: What We Need to See to Live Unafraid

Read Jeremiah 1

Jeremiah knew all that he needed to know. He had all he needed.

“… say whatever I command you (v8).”

Called to speak God’s message, all Jeremiah needed was communion with Him. All He needed to know was how to listen to God and do what He asked. Speak the words He gave him.

So much of this story deals with Jeremiah’s physical senses. What he saw. What he spoke. And that limited perspective is what fed his fears. Because of what he thought he didn’t know how to do. (See verse 6.)

Jeremiah’s calling was not an easy one by any means. He had to tell his own people about God’s impending judgment. He was commanded to call his own family out on their wicked ways. No easy task from anyone’s perspective this side of heaven. It provided a lot of fodder for afraid.

But God had a plan that involved fear of a completely different kind. God was calling Jeremiah to life. Unafraid. Truly, all he needed to fear was God Almighty.

I think it’s funny that Jeremiah’s first response to God’s call included the words, “Ah, Sovereign LORD.” Because, really, if God is Sovereign, then Jeremiah had nothing to dispute.

How many times do we do the same thing. God calls us to obey Him in a certain way — maybe to speak His truth at work when we know it will only bring ridicule — and we know that He is almighty and sovereign, but our senses don’t agree. So we dispute His plan and argue against His choosing us. Because it’s scary. Because, as far as we can tell, we are not properly equipped and we have every reason to be afraid. Because from our perspective, our co-worker or even our pastor would do a much better job.

But all Jeremiah needed, and all we need, for unafraid was to trust what God could see. To look to Him and Him alone.

To prove His point, God asked what Jeremiah saw. That’s when he said something like, “I shaqad a shaqed.” And the words he spoke sounded like I see seeing. For, the almond tree he saw had a name that sounded just like the Hebrew word for watching.

And when he spoke the words, he knew God was watching, backing up His every word. Every stroke of Jeremiah’s vocal chords.

Trusting God’s watching, His always almond-tree-I-will-stick-with-you-and-will-be-all-you-need-to-fear. Because He was enough for Jeremiah, and He is enough for us. Indeed, trusting and fearing God alone is the only way to really live. Unafraid.

*I’ve written a short e-book on living unafraid. A manifesto, if you will. And I would love for you to read it, to find the challenge to really live. Unafraid. I am offering it for free to people who subscribe to my personal blog (www.BriannaRWasson.com). I would love for you join me there. You can get it here right, too. Just click here for the download. Then start living. Unafraid.

brw