July 16 – Fear of – Inadequacy

Read 2 Corinthians 3:5

Our competence comes from the Lord, not our own doing.  If you believe God can do all things, why wouldn’t you believe He is capable of equipping you with what you need to complete what He wants you to do?

Throughout the Bible, God used flawed people to guide and share hope to the flawed world. 

One of my favorite quotes is “Jesus didn’t call the equipped, He equipped those He called.”

If you don’t believe that, just look at His twelve disciples.  This rag-tag bunch of fishermen were chosen to tell the world God’s plan of salvation! Not a king or emperor, the learned men of the temple, or even the high priest!  I’m sure they felt inadequate as well, BUT God equipped them for the mission He needed them to do!

Throughout the Bible we read about how other ordinary people were made to be extraordinary people of faith.

Moses stuttered, BUT GOD made him the spokesman for a great nation.   

David was a murderer, BUT GOD made him into a great leader and called him a Man after God’s Own Heart!

Joseph had been abused, BUT GOD used him to save his people from starvation.

Mary was just an ordinary young woman, BUT GOD chose her to become the mother of Jesus!

Peter denied knowing Jesus 3 times, BUT GOD built His church on him.

Paul once persecuted Christians, BUT GOD used him to spread Christianity to the known world!

When you think about it, the Bible is like a giant makeover show.  You know the kind where they take someone and give them a makeover and the transformation is unbelievable! The person does not look at all in the end like they did in the “before” picture.  But, for the transformation to take place, there needs to be a willing person – someone who wants to be changed.  In God’s case, it needs to be someone who is willing to be used for His kingdom.

What will your spiritual “before” and “after” pictures look like?  What are your skills and, better yet, what do you feel are your inadequacies? In God’s hands they can become your strengths! I never in my life thought I would become a writer!  That was the very last thing on my list of what I thought God would want me to do, but here I am writing this to you!

Are you willing to step out and let God use you to bring others to Him? Are you ready for YOUR makeover?  Ask God to tell you what HE wants you to do.   Don’t be surprised if it is the one thing that is furthest from what you imagine.  Then watch the hand of God work its power in you! 

You will be amazed!

Pat Arnold

July 15 – Fear of – Death

Read John 11:25-26

A friend’s 20-year-old son died in a car wreck when someone ran a stop sign and t-boned him at an intersection. Today there is a memorial to this young man on the campus of Malone College where he attended, with Romans 8:38-39 on a plaque. Later they had the required court case in the Wooster, Ohio courtroom, and my friend asked everyone in the courtroom to hold hands in a circle as he led a prayer of forgiveness for this person who accidentally hit his son.

The fear of death can be a strong and powerful force. But maybe we can encourage someone who lives under a constant fear of their own mortality. If you have ever gone into Hospice, you may have observed that only God knows when someone will die. The doctors and nurses can give an estimate of time, but only God knows.

When we will die is not a matter of accident or chance. The Bible makes it clear that our lives are in God’s hands. He knows the time of our death. The Bible says,

“Man’s days are determined; you (God) have decreed the number of his months…”Job 14:5

God knows when our time will come. James says:

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there.’ . . . Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’”James 4:13, 15

God decides if we live and do this or that.

“So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:31

You are not at the mercy of man’s chance, carelessness or evil. You are completely secure in God’s all-knowing hands, and you will not die except at His decision. 

“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”Proverbs 16:33

Everything we need in life and death was bought by the blood of Jesus.

“To live is Christ, and to die is gain”Philippians 1:21

Every time the fear of death comes into your head, consider this prayer to God: “If you let me live, Christ will be honored on earth in my life.”

Then get on with your life, your family, your work and everything else that you do. Take a meal, clean the kitchen, hold the door for someone and be open to love others. Go about your daily life with a joyful uncertainty about when you will die because only God knows. So enjoy the day and do your best today. 

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

Be a blessing to someone today!

Tom Weckesser

July 14 – Fear of – Being Judged

Read Matthew 7:1-3

One definition found online of the phrase “to judge” says “to express a bad opinion of someone’s behavior, often because you think you are better than them.”

How true is that?

Unless you have been made fun of yourself, you don’t realize how harmful some off-handed comments you might make can be.

I have been overweight my entire life.  In our society, it is not OK to make fun of some things but a person’s weight is always open season!

I have been made fun of by all kinds of people. And yes, when I was younger I was frozen in fear of being judged! That fear used to stop me from doing a lot of things: singing solos, going to parties, and even participating in family member’s weddings.

All because of the fear I had of being judged.

When you are overweight, have a deformity or a handicap, you try to pretend that it doesn’t exist.  And in your mind, it doesn’t until some unthinking person thinks that they need to point it out.  Like you don’t have a mirror in your house?  So, you think, “Oh thanks! I didn’t notice!” or “You are so kind to point out what I was hoping no one else in the room would notice.”

Why do people do that? 

I have concluded that they feel that, if they point out YOUR faults, no one will notice THEIR OWN.  They might claim that they are just trying to “help” but, in reality, is isn’t “helping” at all- just hurting!

We all want to be accepted for who we are.  Not what we look like, how we talk, walk or even smell! 

As I got older, I realized four things.

  1. I am a child of God, not a child of man.
  2. He loves me just the way I am right now, not the way others think I should be!  
  3. God’s not finished with me yet! I am His “Work in Progress” so I shouldn’t judge MYSELF by what others say or think. 
  4. When people feel they need to judge me, that is THEIR problem, not mine.

God has used all the pain I felt for years to help others.  For many years, I worked with children who were beaten down emotionally every day, sometimes by their own parents.  Many acted out in class. However, they just wanted to be accepted!  They would do whatever it took to get that approval, not judgement from their peers.  Why do kids join gangs? Fear of judgement and the need for acceptance!  Gang members accept them. Too bad many regular people, even Christians, don’t.

Look around you! Seek out the people who are frozen in their fear, wanting to be accepted!  Is it someone you know or a stranger?  Is it you?  Sometimes it only takes a smile or a listening ear to melt those bars of fear that have them imprisoned.   

Pat Arnold

July 13 – Fear of – Rejection

Read Psalm 34:17-20


We feel rejected when someone refuses to accept us or something we believe in, or they refuse to hear us or consider our idea or point of view. A “reject” is something that is not wanted, unsatisfactory, or not fulfilling a requirement. Have you ever experienced feeling disapproved, refused, or had someone withhold understanding or affection?

We all, to some degree, have a fear of rejection. The reaction to this fear can look different depending on the person. Some of us are more wired to “fight” when we face a conflict (or a rejection)- we become hurt, disappointed, even indignant. We argue passionately for our case. Others of us move toward the “flight” response – shut down, lose confidence, and run away.

I recently heard an interesting talk at a work conference called “Rejection Proof”. The speaker had discovered that his fear of rejection was holding him back in significant ways in his personal and professional life, so he decided to embark on a journey of “rejection therapy”. The idea was to spend 100 days asking for things that were so outrageous that you would be rejected, thus helping you to become desensitized to hearing “no” as the answer. At the end of this journey, he shares some things he learned: rejection is really just someone else’s opinion, it’s also a numbers game (sometimes you just need to ask enough times to get a “yes”), and it can definitely be a source of knowledge. He also shares that instead of limiting ourselves to either “fight” or “flight”, we can instead ask “why” when we are rejected and stay engaged in the conversation instead of running away.

I was challenged to think about how I interact with others. Do I fight and argue? Shut down and run away? Or do I stay engaged, ask why, and adjust my ask? These observations can be helpful when sharing the truth of the gospel.

Fighting and arguing doesn’t change someone’s mind.

Shutting down and running away are counter productive responses.

What if we humbly ask “why” when someone is resistant to hearing about their need for grace and forgiveness? Stay engaged, humble, and respectful as we consider the response? Maybe ask for something else (like simply a consideration and open mind and heart instead of an immediate decision)?

Rejection hurts. What a comfort to know that the Lord is nigh to those who are broken hearted, and will deliver them from affliction. He sees His followers as righteous, and delivers us from our troubles when we cry out to Him. In Psalm 34:17-20, we read that our afflictions will be many, but He delivers us from them all!

Be encouraged as you face rejection. Remember that because of the grace of Jesus, you are accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). Approaching potential rejection from a place of eternal acceptance makes all the difference!

Rachel Franks

July 12 – Fear of – Pain

Read Romans 8:18

I once heard a story of a reclusive woodsman who lived in the mountains of West Virginia.  When you choose to live in wilderness like that, you have to learn to coexist and protect yourself from the wildlife.  In the New River area, black bears are commonplace. The story that I heard was of a man who had to deal with a bear who had become quite comfortable in and around his house.  The man set a trap for the bear… the trap works by metal jaws seizing on the bear’s leg. When the bear was caught, he became enraged.  Before approaching the bear, the man tranquilized it.  A department of wildlife crew came out to move the bear several counties away.  It was a coordinated effort to protect the man’s home, but also to respect the bear’s autonomy, and to provide a safe place for the bear to thrive.  In an obvious way, the bear trap was used to HELP the bear.  Is there any chance the bear saw it that way?  The pain the bear felt in the trap was very real, but temporary, and the bear had no idea why it was happening.  Ultimately, some good came out of that for the bear.

Are we so different when dealing with present day pain? 

Paul tells us in Romans that we are to keep eternity in mind when dealing with present-day pain.  Paul uses the word ‘sufferings’ to describe this thought. Similarly, in 2 Cor. 4:17 Paul describes our trials as ‘light momentary affliction’. It’s almost as if he is incredulous that we could be so worried about our present-day struggles when God’s eternal promises of coming glory are so profound. This is such a difficult concept to wrap our heads around; do you understand and believe this?   

Pain is all around us.  Physical pain through cancer, accidents, or negligence. Emotional pain through hurt, loss, or grief.  Psychological pain through manipulation, mental illness, or human rights abuses.  Murder, adultery, human trafficking, childless parents. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic abuse.  Sometimes it’s just as simple as a mean person we have to deal with daily.  None of it is trivial, and all of it hurts.  

Consider God’s promises, though! Eternal glory is promised to us. Our forever is secure. He promises us a new heaven and earth.  A new, better and resurrected body with no pain, no tears, no weeping! He promises a future living peacefully with King Jesus.  And God’s promises aren’t just for eternity either; He promises that EVEN NOW, all things work together for the good of those who call Jesus their Savior. Even in our pain, God is promising to make something new out of it – for our good and His glory.  We just have to look.

Remember God’s promises, and keep the end goal of eternity in mind. It’s the HOPE that comes from Jesus!  

Craig French

July 11 – Fear of – Uncertainty

Read Matthew 6:25-34

I praise God that anxiety and worry hasn’t plagued my life as it has others. For some reason, I have always been quick to not fret about what I can’t control and surrender it to the Lord.

However, this season of life has been much different.

Kelly and I are in a stage where there is a lot going on and we’re trying to piece everything together. I would say that this season with two young kids has had me experience anxiety and worry for really the first time ever. There have been times where I can feel my chest literally tighten. There have been times where I have had to excuse myself to cry out emotions that come welling up to the surface. I have felt physically ill as I consider all the plates we are juggling, the future that our kids are going to experience, and the fact that there will come a point where I can’t control that.

It makes me sick.

It’s easy, believe me, to get stuck in this season of worry. What is the future going to hold? How is this going to work out? Are we going to be okay? How are we going to pay for this? If you’re not careful, you can find yourself obsessed with worrying about things that you have no control over. There have been several times where Kelly and I have had to sit down and sift through all the junk and boil it down to the things that only we can control.

There’s so much in our reading today that helps us in times of uncertainty:

“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?

This puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? If God cares for animals that provide nothing of eternal significance, doesn’t it make sense that He will provide for us all the more?

During a recent anxious season with Kelly and I, we told each other, “You know, God has provided for us so far. He’s not going to stop now.” This doesn’t mean that God is going to snap His fingers and solve our problems, but, all things considered, we are going to be okay.

“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.”

As followers of Christ, our priorities should be different than those around us. People worry about things that, when considering eternity, don’t matter. Our focus shouldn’t be on earthly things but the eternity that is to come and those who, if they were to die today, would miss out on eternal life with Jesus.

Are you allowing your feelings about uncertainty to occupy a space in your mind and heart that they shouldn’t? Do they have more power than they should?

Friend, God knows your struggles. He’s right there with you.

If you find yourself in an anxious and worrisome season, look back over your life and identify all the areas where God has provided for you.

He’s done it before and promises to continue doing it.

He’s not going to stop now.

Look over the promises of our reading today and re-align your priorities and surrender your anxiety and worry to the Lord.

Place them at His feet and turn your focus to things of eternal significance.

Jake Lawson

July 10 – Fear of – Failure

Read Psalm 73:26

“My flesh and my heart faileth:

but God is the strength of my heart,

and my portion forever.”


For some, including myself, just the word invokes feelings of fear! 

Failure can be defined as a lack of success, inability to meet an expectation, giving way or fracturing under stress, falling short. Have you ever fallen short? Really wanted to do a good job at something, but found yourself unable to “pull it off”? How about expectations – your own or those others have of you? Ever been unable to meet the expectation? Like actually unable – no matter how hard you worked, or tried to explain yourself, your decision or performance just didn’t meet the expectation.

And then there’s stress… life ever been stressful? Like these past few years maybe? Have you felt like you are “giving way, fracturing under stress?” – that definition really resonated with me. I often call it “falling apart”, because to me, that’s how it feels. I can recall, in the spring of 2020, with my whole world seemingly crashing down around me, my flesh and my heart feeling like they were literally failing me. I had just been through the initial phases of pandemic planning in my new role in healthcare, and was battling opposing viewpoints from family, friends, and coworkers. Even my own viewpoints seemed at war with each other, as I could see “both sides” of every issue we were trying to navigate.

I was discussing a few particularly stressful encounters with my husband – part venting, part trying to make sense of it all – when the symptoms set in. Dizziness, nausea, heart pounding, shortness of breath… and eventually, feeling disconnected from my body and losing control – literally like I was falling apart. I later learned this was a panic attack – caused in part by unmanaged (aka high functioning) anxiety, and the lack of personal control over my emotional and spiritual well-being. And, guess what?

I started to heal from all of this when I began to learn how to make GOD the strength of my heart. This verse tells us that our flesh and our hearts WILL fail us…. it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN. We all are fallen creatures, made in God’s image, but broken by sin. On our own, we will consistently fail to meet expectations, and fall short. But if we align ourselves with God through faith in His son Jesus, we can trust Him to be the strength of our heart, and to be our portion – our inheritance, source of security, and our hope.

Friend, when you feel like you are failing, don’t fear. Fall into the arms of Jesus, and let Him carry you. He will be your strength.

What is your relationship with failure? In what way do you need to align yourself with God? How can you direct others to the arms of Jesus as well?

Rachel Franks

July 9 – Fear of – Loneliness

Read Psalm 23:4

People have so many ways to connect with others these days.

We can call each other, send an email or text message, or even record a voice message in a greeting card. However, with all these options, it is estimated that over half of the population in America feels lonely. I would say we fear loneliness. It’s not the fear of physically being by ourselves that we necessarily feel, but the fear of being disconnected and unknown by our peers or family.

We want to be understood and valued. We try to involve ourselves in so many social activities so that we don’t feel alone. During the pandemic, our socialization was restricted and we may all have felt disconnected at times. Besides restrictions during the pandemic, others feel lonely when they lose a spouse or a loved one, or they struggle to connect to a certain group, or even in a crowd of people where they don’t feel known (anyone remember jr. high?). Loneliness is an emotion most everyone feels at some point throughout their lives. I daresay, even Jesus felt lonely.

Mark 14 records the events of Jesus’ anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed about the events leading up to His death. He asked His closest friends to stay alert and pray with Him and they didn’t. He probably felt alone in His struggle.

Can you relate?

I rarely had an opportunity to feel alone as I grew up. Having a twin sister is like having a built-in best friend. We did everything together. We shared the same friends and participated in the same activities. We were together all the time. Then, we decided to go to different colleges when we graduated from high school. We were going to be 8 hours away from each other. As I struggled to find my place and connect with new friends, I learned quickly to lean in to God’s promises.

In Psalm 23:4, the writer says, when he felt lonely and overwhelmed in his darkest season of life, he trusted that God was close to him and ready to offer protection and comfort:

“I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Just knowing that God is close is comforting.

“Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you.”James 4:8

When we endure hardships such as loneliness, we need to cling to this promise and not be afraid. God wants to be our comfort and connection. If you are struggling to feel connected, pray and ask God for His protection and comfort. Ask that the feeling of loneliness would not be overwhelming and that He would reveal ways to be connected to others in meaningful relationships. Perhaps God has brought you to this place of loneliness in order to draw you close to Himself.

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9

Tammy Finney

July 8 – Fear of – Change

Read Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

 In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company faced a strong challenge from Pepsi. “The Pepsi Challenge” was an advertising campaign where participants, in a blind taste test, were surprised to learn they preferred Pepsi over Coke. The Coca-Cola company responded with a reformulated product that was launched on April 23, 1985, called “The New Coke.”  This was a national disaster: ads were ridiculed, and “New Coke” was dumped publicly into sewers.  On July 11, 1985, the previous version of Coke was brought back as “Coca-Cola Classic”. As a result of all this, they lost millions in research and advertising. The Coca-Cola Company thought this change would bring about a positive public response as they were trying to please the public, trying to make their product better. 

There are times when change is good.  A new job, a vacation, a new outlook.  Change can be desirable and exciting.  However, when change brings loss of finances, loss of health, or the death of a loved one, change can be frightening.  Fear creeps in, there is now an “unknown” in our life.  How will my life look now?  What’s going to happen? For those who know Christ as their Savior, even during the most difficult changes in this life, there is hope.  Our foundation is set upon an unchanging, perfect, and faithful God.  

He is the one constant in an ever-changing world.

Christ is Changeless because He is God.

“I the LORD do not change…”Malachi 3:6

Christ is unchanging in a world that’s full of change.  Because Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the gospel message is timeless. The plan of redemption is the same and will always remain the same. His love for man is eternal. His assurance of resurrection and eternal life remains untouched. If He were to change His plan, and, if He were different today from who He was, then who could we depend on?

What would we be able to expect from tomorrow? 

Christ is Perfect, so there can be no change.

“…your Father in Heaven is perfect.”Matthew 5:48

Every plan, every action, every decision is perfect, because a perfect God deemed it so. There is no need for change.  If He were to change His plans, then that would suggest that it wasn’t good or perfect in the beginning.  If God changed, then what certainty do we have in this life?  What hope could we stand on when things of this world change?

Where in your life do you need to accept His good and perfect plan?

Christ is ever faithful.

“…your faithfulness reaches to the skies…”Psalm 36:5

Because He is faithful, we are encouraged to persevere in our faithfulness to Him, when the world around us is ever changing.  He was faithful to His people in the days of Abraham and remains faithful to you today. Our devotion to Him may change daily, but His love is steadfast. He chooses us every day. He is constant and faithful always.  

As we saw with the example of “New Coke”, Christ will not change to accommodate public opinion. He will not change to satisfy our desires. Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can trust Him with our “todays” and with our future.

He has always been true to His word and will remain so.

“…But You remain the same…”Hebrews 1:12

Janene Nagel

July 7 – Fear of – God

Read Psalm 89:7 and Hebrews 12:28-29

We just passed by Father’s Day and I was thinking about my Dad, who passed in January 2018.  I have a lot of fond memories of my Dad, and I knew that he loved me and wanted what was best for me.  I also knew to toe the line.  He used to do this thing when I was little – when he ‘sent me to my room’, he stood in the doorway, pointing to my room, which forced me to push past him on my way.  I dreaded this (he never actually did anything to me as I hurried past, hands covering my caboose!), and can honestly say it quickened the pace of my trip to my room. 

We laugh about it now… it’s quite funny to all of us. I was fearful of the discipline that my Dad would apply to the situation.  I wasn’t scared of him, but, when I knew that I was wrong, I was at the mercy of his disciplinary decisions, and I always knew that discipline was coming.  In the end, this was for my good, and my father knew that he needed to hold me accountable for wrong actions or decisions.  

Though not exactly the same, the ‘fear of God’ is similar.  In Psalm 89:7, a “God greatly to be feared” is spoken of, and we need to rightly understand this concept.  The Hebrew verb used here is “aras” (ah-RAHTS), which has a different meaning than the colloquial American understanding of fear.  More directly, this means to regard or treat with awe, or to inspire with awe.  You can see this echoed in today’s sister verse; Hebrew 12:28 where the Aramaic words aidos [(ay-THOSE) – awe or reverence] and eulabeia [(ave-LA-vee-ah) – caution, piety, reverence, discretion, or dread] are used.  Many translations simply use the word ‘fear’ as the English translation.

This can be confusing for people. Many of us grew up being terrified of what God might do to us if we messed up! Pillars of salt, fire from the sky, plagues of insects and bodily sores are just some of God’s just punishments. How terrified might we be in the physical presence of the perfect, holy, righteous, just Creator of the universe?  Particularly when knowing our own sin before Him?  

BUT… God is, at the same time, loving, merciful, and near to the broken-hearted.  We need to be in awe of God, because we know that He IS God!  God saved us; He sent His one and only Son so that we may LIVE!  Hallelujah!  Jesus bore our sin and shame.  God’s wrath FOR OUR SINS was poured out on the cross where Jesus died. As you travel through this series, remember that you need not be scared of what God might do … it has already been done!  We need not be afraid of hard situations we encounter in our life; God didn’t cause them.  The New Covenant ushered in by Jesus promises that faith in Him is all that is needed to overcome the world.

Craig French