Overcoming Fear Is Possible

Doing the very thing that makes you afraid can be God’s way of helping you overcome that fear.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 16/07/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: AnxietyFearTrust


The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

I remember the first time that I went to Zimbabwe to evangelize out in the rural areas of the country. That first day was a little scary (to say the least). The person driving me around dropped me off in the middle of nowhere! I was with a young teenage boy who had been in the area before, but there was nothing familiar in sight. We could not see any villages, there were no roads except the one we were on, and we were very near the Zambezi River where all the wild animals go for water during the day.

I would be lying if I said that I was not a little bit anxious and fearful. I didn't even know where I would be at the end of the day or who was coming to pick us up. As the day got later and began to cool off, the wild animals started to move around more and my anxiety increased all the more.

You can probably imagine why I was not optimistic about my evangelism trip at this point. I did not even speak the language of the people that I was there to evangelize. However, after a week of walking in 100-degree heat every day, nearly 200 people had come to Christ. The next week I stayed with them and discipled them every day for about eight hours and a church was started.

So, what did I learn through that experience?

This trip was one of the greatest lessons of my life. I learned that I could trust God completely to help me reach people that needed Christ and that He was my protection at all times – even in a very dangerous setting. It strengthened me that I could trust God – especially when I was afraid. By the end of the first couple of days in the country I found that I no longer felt afraid, and eagerly wanted to return to the rural areas and start evangelizing the next day. It was great. No wonder David could say in Psalm 27:1 “Whom (or what) shall I fear?”

Learning how to overcome fear is one of God’s spiritual tools.

Everyone has certain things in their life that make them afraid. However, doing the very thing that makes you afraid can be God’s way of helping you overcome that fear.

I remember the first time that I ever flew. I was very nervous, and every time the plane encountered turbulence, I would become anxious. I would immediately think “Are we going to crash?” However, I have been flying for many years now, and I rarely even notice the turbulence, and I certainly am not afraid or anxious about flying. 

Many people seem so fearful to share their faith that they never talk to anyone about Christ. They wonder what someone will think of them, or they think that they cannot answer all of their questions. The best way, though, to overcome that fear is to talk to someone about Christ. Your faith in God’s power and presence in your life will give you the help to overcome your fears of witnessing to someone. Listen to what God told Joshua in Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

What a great promise! In difficult times that make us afraid, God’s truth becomes our comfort and our strength. His truth gives us all of the reasons to have hope because our God is a great God, an all-powerful God.

Is there anything else that can help me trust God through my fears?

Any time that we are facing fears that seem to cripple us and paralyze our life, they are always harder to face when we face them alone. Sometimes we have to face them alone, but other times we need someone else in our life to encourage us and give us hope as we face our fears. Recently I had to speak to a group of people who were going on their first ever mission trip to Madagascar. It was a very long trip, and most of them had never been on a mission trip.

They knew nothing, and it frightened some of them. However, simply listening to me sharing with them about the many times I have gone to new places to minister Christ to people became a great encouragement to them. The encouragement that we can find from sharing our fears and anxieties with other believers can be a great source of strength in our life.


Pray this week:

Father, in those areas of my life that make me afraid, will you please bring someone into my life that can help me face those fears? I know that I need a spiritual helper that can be there to encourage me when I feel those fears coming on me.


Are you willing to open your life up to someone else to let them know about your personal fears that you are trying to hide from everyone else?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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How Fear Leads You to God

learned a long time ago that it was perfectly okay to be afraid of certain things.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 09/07/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Anxiety, Fear, Peace
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27
I learned a long time ago that it was perfectly okay to be afraid of certain things.  In fact, fear can be a great motivator to help someone stay away from things that may be very harmful to their life.  Fear can help a person be much more careful when in a very dangerous situation.  There is a particular beach fairly near where we live that has a very strong undertow.

Unfortunately, each year people become careless when swimming at that beach and they get caught in the undertow and drown.  When we go to that beach with our grandchildren, we stay right there with them and do not leave their side for fear that they could easily drown.  I live out in the country and we have some heavy tractor equipment to help keep up our property.  Most every piece of that heavy equipment is very dangerous when it is running and can kill someone very easily.  So, we have a healthy fear of each one of those pieces of equipment and treat each one with great respect.  

So, how should someone deal with real fear?
When used in the Bible, the word “fear” generally refers to something that causes anxiety and frightens a person.  Fear could almost be considered as an alarm system that something may not be right and that something very dangerous may be happening.  Fear has the ability to terrify us and cause us to panic.  I have often heard people say that they were “scared to death” of something.  My son-in-law, who is a very big and strong young man, is “scared to death” of heights.  He almost refuses to get on a tall ladder to fix something.  So, we know that certain circumstances can make us afraid.  When that happens, notice the simplicity of what Psalm 56:3 says that a person should do.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

Often times God uses frightening circumstances to help teach us that we can always trust Him.  He is right there with us and He wants us to know that truth in a very real way.  When my wife was teaching our young children how to swim, they were very afraid at first.  They were afraid of the water being over their head because they did not know how to swim and were afraid that they might drown.  Yet, I can remember how my wife stayed right there with them, and she would constantly be saying to them “Don’t be afraid.  Mommy is right here with you.”  Well, that is what this verse says to us when we may be afraid.  God is saying to us “Don’t be afraid.  I am right here with you.”  He knows exactly what is happening to us and has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.

What can God’s peace do for me?
In our verse in John 14:27, Jesus knew that after He was resurrected that His disciples were going to be facing many very difficult moments in their life that could easily cause them to be afraid.  They would be beaten, thrown in jail, and eventually put to death.  However, in the midst of all of those potentially fearful moments, Jesus wanted them to know that He had something that they needed.  He had a supernatural “peace” that He would give to them in the midst of those fearful moments.  When He spoke those words to them, they were afraid then that He was going to leave them and that greatly frightened them.  What Jesus is saying to anyone who becomes afraid of something or someone is that one thing that is desperately needed in those circumstances is His peace.  His supernatural peace is something that creates a calming effect in a person’s life.  His peace helps reassure us that He is really in complete control of our circumstances.  When my children were afraid of drowning, my wife was in complete control of their safety and would never have allowed them to drown.  She wanted them to have great peace in the midst of something that was making them afraid – and the same is true of what God desires for our life as well.  He is always in complete control of everything that is taking place in our life, and He wants us to understand that spiritual reality.

So, what should I do when I become afraid?
Well, more than anything else, we need to always be committing ourselves to our heavenly Father.  By fully committing ourselves to Him, we are learning to trust Him.  The greater our trust in His love and care for us, the less fear we will experience when the very difficult moments come in our life.  Fear has the ability to paralyze a person both emotionally and spiritually.  It has the power to overcome them so that they cannot function in life.  I know a young man who was severely injured in an automobile accident and he was completely paralyzed from his neck down.  He cannot do anything for himself – and that is exactly what fear does to a person.  It prevents them from being able to see God’s hand in their circumstances and it takes their focus off of God and puts it on their circumstances.  However, God desires the opposite – that our difficult moments help us to place our focus on God, and so there will always be times in our life when He allows us to be in circumstances that make us afraid so that we can learn that He can be trusted even in the midst of those trying moments.

Pray this week:
Father, I know that different things often make me afraid, but I truly want You to be the center of my life.  I do not want to be paralyzed by fear.  Would you please help me to face the fears that seem to threaten my life and to genuinely give them to you?

Would you be willing to write down all of the things that make you afraid and give that list to God and ask Him to help you overcome each one of them?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God’s Words: Peace

Life-Transforming Words

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 08/08/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Jesus, Peace
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23
When someone mentions the word “peace” to you, what comes to your mind? Unfortunately, the absence of peace in our world is what may stand out to you. There is so much hatred, unrest, and so many unbelievable acts of evil against innocent people, that we wonder if it will ever end. It seems that the whole world is always talking about how to achieve peace, but the sad reality is that they never have any real peace no matter how much they talk about it. What the world fails to understand is that true peace can come only from God. So if we leave God out of our “peace equation,” then we can never attain it. Only God has the power to give peace to our lives. In fact, one of the great titles of God is “God of peace.” (Hebrews 13:20)

What do you think the word “peace” actually means?
The word “peace” pictures joining two things together that had become separated from one another. I remember seeing a true story about a family who had become completely separated in a tsunami while on vacation. They were all swept away by the huge waves, and each of them was hurt very badly. They just knew that their other family members had died in the disaster; they each felt helpless and alone. However, God miraculously reunited them as a family, and they were overwhelmed with peace and joy.

So what does God’s peace actually do for me?
The peace that God gives also includes the idea of having a kind of inner restfulness. For the believer, that rest is given to them because they are actually at peace with God. The Bible says that before we came to Christ, we were actually His “enemies” (Ephesians 2:14). However, Romans 5:8 reveals why we no longer have to be enemies with God. It says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (also see Romans 5:1)

When Jesus Christ died for our sins, His death enabled His enemies to actually become part of His family. That is so amazing! Now, we not only have peace with God, but God actually gives His peace to help when very difficult things happen to us. That is the peace that Paul is talking about in Galatians 5:22 — the actual “peace of God” that is working in our heart and mind — and especially when difficult things happen in our lives, over which we have no control.

Did Jesus ever talk to His disciples about God’s peace?
In John 14:27 Jesus was talking to His disciples because He knew that after He left that they would be facing some very strong trials in their life. He said this to them: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

So, what happens when I go through something very difficult?
Some people think that they will have peace when they no longer have any problems. However, the peace that Paul talks about is a supernatural calmness that God places in our heart, no matter the difficulty of our circumstances. Jesus says in this verse that when we lose our peace, we often become afraid. We do not know how a difficult trial may actually work out for us, so we are fearful — and in the process we lose our peace. So, when Jesus talks about His peace, He is not saying that we will never have troubles in our life. Rather, He’s saying that when we do suffer difficult things, we can know that He will be right there with us (also see John 16:33).

What should I do when I am afraid?
One of the great passages in the Bible about anxiety is Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What a great promise for when we become afraid, nervous, or restless about something. As we pray and seek God’s wisdom and will for our life, He gives a supernatural peace that goes beyond our understanding. It is actually powerful enough to guard and protect our mind and our heart from worrying, so that the trials and difficulties no longer disturb us or make us afraid. We know that God is “guarding” us. So, the more we yield our life to Christ, the more His peace will help protect us from fear, from worry, and from thoughts that upset us.

Can I really experience God’s peace?
Paul encouraged the Thessalonian believers in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 with these words: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

This passage tells us that God really wants to experience his peace! What an amazing prayer for both us and these believers — peace at all times and in every way possible! That is what the God and Lord of peace wants to give to each and every believer.

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, would you please help me to yield my life to you so that I can enjoy your peace in my heart?

Do I truly believe that I can know the amazing peace of God when very difficult trials come into my life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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God’s Words: Kindness

Life-transforming words

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 03/10/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: KindnessJesusLoveGod


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

The people who had the greatest impact on my life were those who displayed the quality of kindness to me. When I think of kindness, I immediately think of my mother, the kindest person I have ever known. I don’t remember my mom ever saying one harsh thing to anyone — ever. She always found the best in people, and that quality became so contagious in her life.

I remember a specific incident when I treated her very inconsiderately. To my surprise, she did not respond angrily as I deserved, but instead showered me with kindness — even though I had hurt her. Because of her kind response, I never treated her poorly again.

What does it mean to be kind?

Kindness means to be gentle with people no matter how they treat you. If we are unkind and disrespectful to someone, he or she will not be motivated to listen to what we have to say. I believe that God wants me to treat each person with great kindness, so this is how I live my daily life. For example, you can say nice things to people and be pleasant with them — especially to those who are having a rough day. The Bible says that a gentle answer actually turns away anger that may be directed towards us (Proverbs 15:1).

How can you guard your speech?

Have you ever been short with someone? Did you just speak your mind to them without really thinking about what you were saying? Well, I certainly have, and the results have never been good. However, I find that everyone appreciates it when I guard my speech and say kind words. We never know what people are going through in their lives and how a kind word may impact them. People without Christ are often hurting in some area, and we can become God’s tool that reaches out and touches them. Kindness can open many doors to minister to others.

How does kindness affect other people?

One elderly woman in our church always reminds me of what an angel must be like. She is so gentle and so calm, and every word out of her mouth is a word of kindness. Her very presence makes others feel peaceful and relaxed. Her kindness is so real and so sincere that I could never imagine someone saying something ugly to her. Kindness creates an atmosphere where people will not be inclined to be harsh to others. In a word, kindness is contagious.

How do I actually show kindness to people?

Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

The biblical phrase in this verse “put on then” is a great picture of what it means to be kind. When we’re putting on our clothes, we have to make a decision on which clothes to wear. The same thing is true when you are choosing your attitude for the day. You can either choose kindness, grumpiness or some other attitude.

God wants us to become comfortable in the “spiritual clothes” that he commands us to put on — being merciful, showing kindness, being humble, patient, and forgiving of others. These are great spiritual qualities to “put on,” and we will find that God will use them in our lives to touch other people. So, consider “putting on… kindness” and watch how God uses it in your life!


Pray this week:

Lord Jesus, please give me a deep desire and strength through Your Holy Spirit to show kindness and grace to everyone I meet, no matter what the circumstances.


If someone were to treat you harshly, would you be willing to “turn the tables” and show them great kindness?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God’s Words: Faithfulness

Life-transforming words

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 27/03/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FaithFaithfulnessGodFaithful


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

I just love the word “faithfulness.” If there is any quality I want to always be developing in my life, it is being faithful to God. It is very difficult to be useful to God if we are unfaithful to Him. Faithfulness is the idea of someone being able to depend on us to do something for them. We all know how disappointing it is when someone tells us that they are going to do something for us, but then they fail to do it. If someone tells you that they will pick you up at 8 a.m., but they never show up, I doubt seriously that you would even ask them to come to get you again. Why? Because they were unfaithful in doing what they promised they would do.

I had a great friend who just died of brain cancer. After he found how he had cancer, he only lived about one year more. As he got closer to the end of his life, there were many of us who would take turns going to his home, visiting him in the hospital, spending the night with him and helping his wife move him and feed him. People cut their grass, took their children different places, fixed meals for them and came and just spent time with the family. It was the faithfulness of these friends that helped the family get through a very difficult time in their life.

So, exactly how does God define “faithfulness”?

The easiest way to understand that question is to simply look at the life of Christ and see how He lived. In everything He did, He was willing to do exactly what His Father wanted Him to do.  He never once swerved from doing what His Father sent Him to do – to die for our sins. Jesus fully knew what the enormous cost would be to Him personally, but He was always faithful to God’s will for His life no matter the cost. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says this about being faithful: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”

In other words, if we are going to be someone who God can trust to do what He wants us to do, then we must “be found faithful.” No one would consider a man to be a faithful husband if every two or three years he would divorce his current wife and go find another woman to marry. That would be a good example of what it means to be unfaithful. None of us would want to hear that our marriage partner was faithful to us 98% of the time. That would be just as bad as being unfaithful all the time. To be faithful means to remain, to stay, and to continue with someone no matter how difficult life may be at times.

So, how should I demonstrate faithfulness in my life? 

Well, the best way to demonstrate “faithfulness” is to simply be obedient to God’s Word. We would never consider someone to be a faithful friend who was always doing things that would hurt us in some way. Maybe they would make a promise to us that they would help us finish something that we were building, but then they would never come over to help as they had promised. For someone who is a fully devoted follower of Christ, the best way to demonstrate faithfulness to Christ is simply to be obedient to His Word. Jesus said this in John 14:15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 

That may be one of the simplest yet most important statements in the Bible because it defines how God measures our love for Him. If someone is always disobedient to God’s Word, then in essence they are not being faithful to Him and really do not love God. If you have children, you want respect from them, and the way they show respect is by being obedient to you. If you own a business, the way your employees show respect is by being more than willing to do what you ask them to do and to do a good job. Well, it is no different in the Christian life. God the Father calls on us to simply be faithful to Him, and we do that when we remain obedient to His Word.  

Does faithfulness have a reward?

Sure it does. Jesus gave a parable about faithfulness and this is what he said in Matthew 25:23 to those who were faithful.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

We will never be disappointed in how God rewards faithfulness, so be encouraged that you can truly be someone that He sees as a good and faithful servant.


Pray this week:

Lord Jesus, when life seems to bring me a very difficult test, my prayer is that You would help me to be faithful during the trial so that You can be glorified in my life.


If someone were to look at your life, would they consider you to be a loyal and faithful servant of Jesus Christ?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member