Overcoming The Biggest Fears

Death is defeatedDid you know among Americans the fear of death is only #2 on the list? Yep, 68% of people list this as their top fear. What could be more fearful than death?! Believe it or not, the #1 fear—listed by 74% of people—is public speaking! (Followed in a distant third place by the fear of spiders by only 30% of people).

Why would people fear speaking more than death? Maybe because they don’t think they have anything to say.

But if you almost died, or had a near-death experience, or even temporarily crossed over to the other side, don’t you think you’d have a story to tell? And don’t you think lots of people would want to hear your story? And wouldn’t you want to tell it to as many people as you could?

In other words, if you could stare down death and come back from the brink, you would not only overcome your fear of death, but your fear of public speaking too!

In John 11 there is the story of a man who not only had a near-death experience, but he actually died. In fact, he was dead for over four days! Lazarus was a part of a family that loved Jesus, and the Bible says that Jesus loved them dearly too.

Prior to this account of Lazarus’ death, there is no mention in Scripture of him speaking at all. He was clearly one who suffered from the fear of public speaking, and quite possibly the fear of death too. But after Jesus raised him from the dead, the Bible says large crowds came to Lazarus’ hometown of Bethany to hear his amazing back-from-the-dead story. And not only that, they began to put their faith in Jesus because of his story! (see John 12:9-11).

We have a back-from-the-dead story to tell too. All of us have sinned against God (Romans 3:23), and because of that we are under a death sentence for our sins (Romans 6:23). But when we put our faith in what Jesus did on the Cross for us, and we ask God to forgive us of our sins, we have been brought back to life!

We have looked death square in the eyes and laughed!

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

Now our darkest valleys—even our valleys of death—have no fear for us. The Lord is our Shepherd … His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives AND we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

Not only should you not fear death, you shouldn’t fear public speaking. If you have been forgiven of your sins, you have a back-from-the-dead story to tell.

People need to hear your story! Why? Because they’re scared of death! So tell them about the love of a Savior that rescued you from death.

I invite you to join me next Sunday as we continue to celebrate Jesus Christ’s victory over death!

11 Quotes From “God’s Favorite Place On Earth”

God's Favorite Place On EarthI loved this book! Please read my full book review of God’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola by clicking here, but my one-word review is: Wow!

Here are a few quotes that especially caught my attention—

“Jesus talked a lot about losing, taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and laying down our lives. These are the fruits of brokenness before God. It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations. 

“On the contrary, people who have been broken by the hand of God know how to turn the other cheek. They know how to go the second mile. They know how to give their coats when asked for their shirts. They know how to speak well of those who misrepresent them. They know how to return good for evil. They know how to lose. And in so doing, they exhibit the Spirit of the Lamb and allow God to win.” 

“All service must flow out of a razor-sharp desire to please God rather than a desire to get noticed by others. If it does not, it will lead to either complaint or criticism.”

“As high as God is going to elevate you is as deep as He digs to lay the foundation. Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places. And what doesn’t destroy you ends up defining you in some significant way.”

“Suffering is worldwide and neck deep. But for the Christian, suffering has a special purpose. It’s the chiseling of God designed to transform you into the image of His Son.”

“A Spirit-led man or woman is someone who has faced tragedy, faced loss, looked unbearable and exquisite pain in the face … and has stood his or her ground. With their garments still smoking, these men and women have said before God, mortals, and angels: ‘It is well with my soul. God’s enemy has thrown his best at me, and I’m still here. I’m still on the Rock. I’ve not sunk. I’m still standing. I’ve not been destroyed, and I’ve not gone under. I will continue to follow my Lord, come hell or high water, He is still on the throne!’”

“Christ saves as the Son of God, but He feels as the Son of man.”

“Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words. Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feel and weeping will suffice.

“Every crisis in our lives is an opportunity to broaden, deepen, and heighten our revelation of Christ.”

“Basing your faith on God’s performance—what you think He should do according to what you’ve been taught about His promises—is a profound mistake. … Thus the only solid basis for unwavering faith and an unshakable devotion is to believe that God is … and that He does ‘all things well,’ no matter what takes place.”

“Christians aren’t saved from troubles or delivered from problems. We have been given an ascendant life to rise above them.”

“Sharing what one has with others is what keeps our hearts detached from earthly treasures.”

God’s Favorite Place On Earth (book review)

God's Favorite Place On EarthGod’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola is one of those rare books that I could hardly put down! This is easily one of the most interesting looks at the earthly life of Jesus Christ that I have read in quite awhile.

This book focuses on the visits that Jesus made to the village of Bethany, and the family that lived there with whom Jesus spent considerable time. In fact, some of the most loved stories from Christ’s public ministry took place in Bethany; specifically, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the pre-crucifixion anointing of Jesus by Mary.

God’s Favorite Place On Earth doesn’t fit neatly into one literary genre. Each visit Jesus made to Bethany is told in first-person narrative form through the eyes of Lazarus. Although none of his words are recorded in Scripture, the way he “speaks” in this book makes the scriptural text come alive in a very tangible way.

After Lazarus tells his story, Frank Viola then steps in to help us apply that visit of Jesus to our lives. He makes the connection between the historical village of Bethany, and our hearts becoming a modern-day, present-tense Bethany for Jesus to visit and to minister.

So the book was simultaneously enlightening, inspiring, and immediately applicable. To help further the conversation, there are some great discussion questions included at the back of the book.

For a unique look at the ministry of Christ both in historical Israel and in your life in present-day, I believe you too will thoroughly enjoy this book!

Note: I happily reviewed this book at the request of the author.

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