Faith

Fear not!

A couple of days ago, Michael Perkins published a beautiful post at his blog, The Handwritten, that talked about fear. In just a few words he expressed how fear trick us into doubting the amazing plan that God has for us.

Erasing fear

Photo credit: ©iStockphoto/yenwen

The interesting fact is that it is not the first time I get a message about letting go of my fears in a short period of time. You know when you hear or read something, and it seems like a little bulb has been turned on inside your heart, and you know that God is talking to you? Yes, this is what I am talking about.

Just to list a few messages I got: there was a chapter in the book “Untitled” by Blaine Hogan that talked about it; the preface of the book “48 days to the work you love” by Dan Miller that I started reading a few days ago also talked about it; a sermon that one of the elders of my church preached a few weeks ago focused on the verse 36 of Mark chapter 5; and even this picture in Pinterest that I stumbled upon a few days ago! Yep, God is talking to me indeed.

So I decided to check the Scriptures and dig a little deeper into the subject of “fear”. Let’s take a look at a few examples when God tells someone to not be afraid (or “fear not”, in the classic translations):

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Getting a sign from God

I was enjoying my vacation last May, traveling to the USA. At that time, I already knew that God wanted me to quit my job, but I was still asking for signs to confirm it.

Faith

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/TylerRogers

My sister was with me, and we wanted to go to a christian bookstore before we left for Brazil, so we got a couple of addresses from a website and used the GPS to get there. The first one was closed, so we went to the second one.

There we were, and after I finished browsing through the DVD section, I got to the books section.

For many years, first with my old Palm device, then with Kindle (first, the app in my iPhone and then the physical Kindle), I got used to reading ebooks. The convenience of reading my books wherever I am, and the fact that I live in an apartment which has no room left for books led me to stop buying “paper” books.

So there I was, next to the books stands, and since I wasn’t going to buy any books, I just stood there waiting for my sister.

Then I saw a book, it was on the second shelf of books about five meters (16 feet) away from me. I couldn’t tell the title from where I was standing, but there was something about it. Out of lots of books around me, that one seemed to be calling me. I needed to check it out.

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Taking a step of faith

As I told you before, I have recently quit my job and I am now taking a “sabbatical” in order to find out what is God’s will in my life, what He wants me to do.

Step of faith

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Antonbela

The decision to quit my job was at first a crazy thought that crossed my mind. Then God talked to me through Scripture, books and articles and that crazy idea became more and more a real and valid option, then it became my choice – and I believe it was God’s will.

The first time that I seriously thought of such a radical change was when I was reading through the New Testament, and I got to the episode when Jesus sends out the twelve disciples in a mission to preach the Gospel to other cities. What caught my attention was this specific part of His instructions:

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts — no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.” (Matthew 10:9,10)

Can you imagine preparing for a trip and not taking anything with you? I’ve traveled a lot, mainly for business, and I can’t think of making a trip without taking at least some money.

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Time for a change

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot (Ecclesiastes 3:1,2)

Time for change

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/ISerg

As the wise Solomon once said, there is a time for everything in life. Every season that starts one day will end. We will only enjoy “eternal” when this life is over and we meet our Creator. In the meantime, everything that we can see and touch has an expiration date on it, one day it will end.

And I am now in between seasons in my life. One season has just ended, and a new one is about to begin…

I have already shared my difficulties with the high demands of my job and how I had been exhausted lately. I’ve been praying for a long time about it, and God responded with an answer I didn’t see it coming.

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How I got my job at IBM

It was December 1995, almost two years after I (truly) accepted Jesus as my Savior. I was working at the IT department of a government hospital and I decided to look for another job.

Building a career

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/RTimages

Before I started sending out copies of my résumé, I prayed to God and asked Him to choose which company I should work at. I told Him that I knew I would never make as good a choice as Him, so I asked Him for a sign: I told Him I wanted to be contacted by one company only (in spite of dozens résumés I planned to send out) – then I would know that it was the one, the one that God chose.

I asked one more thing: my salary was very low, I could hardly make it to the end of the month just by paying for food and bus and subway fares. So I asked God to double my current salary. I really needed it. And God knew it. But I didn’t consider this a ‘must-have’, just a ‘nice-to-have’ item.

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Out with the old, in with the new

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

one new shoe and one worn out shoe

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/WilleeCole

Last Sunday, at the Easter services, our pastor was preaching about how Jesus changes people’s lives.

He told us about a documentary he watched about this person who gave his testimony of how Jesus saved him from a deep dependance on cocaine and how He turned his life around. This person had lost everything: job, family, health. And how Jesus transformed him and got him free from the addiction and restored everything he had lost.

Then the pastor said that some volunteers from our church would show their own testimonies of how Jesus changed their lives.

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The rain came down

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:27)

Lightning

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/filmstroem

It is summer now in Brazil and as it is common during this time of the year, we’re having a lot of rain. A lot of cities have been suffering with major floods for the last few weeks. The worst of them so far happened in the state of Rio de Janeiro, that had the biggest tragedy caused by floods in the history of Brazil. The latest update (as of this writing) confirmed more than 600 deaths.

The number of victims may rise in the next days. First, because there are a lot of missing people and the officials believe that there are still bodies to be found. Second, because right now I am looking through the window to a dark sky in the middle of the afternoon. The rains haven’t stopped yet. Third, when we have floods, we also have the diseases that come with the water. So a lot of people that survived and also people that entered the waters to help others may have gotten infected.

We browse the channels on the TV and the sites on the Internet looking for some good news. The tragedy is so overwhelming that even the ones that weren’t affected (like myself) get desperate seeing so much pain and suffering.

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