Understanding Anxiety : Fear God, Not Man

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My brothers and sisters,

Fear is also one of those things that if left unchecked, will cause one to lead a life of mediocrity.  Fear can be beaten if we know how. These are some of the notes I’ve taken from reading a book listed below, and I encourage all to read it for themselves.

ANXIETY: POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

There are two types of anxiety; positive and negative. A positive anxiety pushes one to be responsible (eg. repaying a mortgage on time) and a negative one leads to unnecessary worry, which leads to psychological stress. It is also said that the common mental health disorder is anxiety. However, scripture makes it clear that we are not to be anxious.

THE TWO ELEMENTS OF FEAR

The source of fear (the fear object) will have two elements; presence and power. Both will need to be present in order to give strength to the fear, invoking a negative reaction. Over time, if the fear object is reinforced over time, this can lead one down to overthinking, faulty thinking, predictive thinking, day-dreaming resulting into a self-limiting, self-defeating lifestyle driven by fear or worse, cause one to withdraw into the realm of fantasy. What affects the mind, will ultimately affect the body.

THE SNAKE ANALOGY

If you were in your bedroom and were told that the most poisonous snake in the world was in the same room as you. One would understandably feel fearful. Both fear elements of presence (in the same room) and power (most poisonous) are present.

Let’s suggest that the same poisonous snake is not in your bedroom, but was locked in a cage in Australia. Though snake is still potent, its presence is far removed. There is no impending danger in proximity, and one can sigh in relief.

Imagine the same scenario but the snake is not poisonous. If you are afraid of snakes, one would still feel in danger. If not, then the snake can be quickly disposed of. Though its presence is noted, the snake is without power. The position would be the same if you discovered that the snake was actually dead.

To beat fear, either the power and/or the presence must be identified and removed or put in the correct context.

SCARED OF SATAN?

It is important to understand that as we are on this earth, so is Satan.

The bad news is until he is thrown in the lake of fire set aside for him and his angels (see Matt 25:41)  he will use his worldly powers to distract Christians into his submission.

The good news is that he has already been defeated and it is only a matter of time until this is done. For us, we need to know this truth in order to walk victoriously in our lives.

So, should Christians fear Satan? Of course not! Going back to the components of fear, yes, he is present, but he is not powerful. This is why he schemes, through the lens of the world, to get others to believe that he is powerful. Satan is not powerful and he never will be, unless you’re not alert to resist him.*

James 4:7 (ESV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

*For an in-depth Bible study on this topic, please find the following links below:

You vs The World – Part 1
You vs The World – Part 2

THE FEAR OF MAN VS THE FEAR OF GOD

 Should we fear man? Scripture reveals that the fear of man is a snare/trap (Proverbs 29: 25) and if we lived to please man, we would not be deemed servants of God (Galatians 1: 10). This begs the question why we should fear God and what does it look like to fear Him?  Simply put it means a reverent fear, similar to a fear when a child finds out his parents are nowhere to be found. Another aspect is fear in the sense of being scared of the being in question in a healthy way, a call to be responsible.

It can be understood why a fear of man exists; they could harm you physically (presence) or, emotionally, psychology thought an attack on reputation, sharing intimate information, or even blackmail (power). All these horrible experiences can be caused by man.

But what about God? Why should we fear Him compared to Man?

Matthew 10: 28 (ESV) (Emphasis added) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Man has the ability to destroy the body, but God, who is Omnipotent and Omnipresent (ALL powerful, and ALL present) can destroy the body and the soul.
Know that your soul has eternal value, and mustn’t be lost or given away cheaply. The world didn’t give you our happiness, and it has no right to take it away.

For those who are not Christians, this may seem a bit harsh and cutthroat, but allow me to share the good news; salvation is available to all those who believe in Jesus Christ! Click here to find out how! The Gospel: An Illustration

 HOW TO BEAT FEAR

Here are some helpful tips to help beat fear. I’ve broken it down into two categories; for we cannot ignore sin, and the harmful effects it can have in the future. Unfortunately, there are some consequences we are going to have to live with due to disobedience to God’s word. Nevertheless, God is a forgiving God and will provide grace to empower you to move forward towards freedom, which is found at the end of a disciplined life.

For an in-depth Bible study on this topic relating to the Holy Spirit, please find the link below:
Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

You cannot change your past, but God can allow you to become free from it –  Dr Neil T. Anderson.

Irrational fears:
Identify both fear elements;
Put them before God in prayer and meditate on scriptures, e.g.  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV);
Ask yourself factual questions surrounding both elements and remove one, or both elements;
Reinforce your mind with the truth as revealed in scripture;
Live in freedom and walk in victory.

Legitimate fears:
Identify both fear elements;
Put them before God in prayer;
Ask yourself factual questions;
Seek God’s for forgiveness;
Accept his forgiveness and Repent; Take responsibility for your action and mitigate by seeking help, guidance, accountability and work to on challenge until it is solved;
Produce fruit by keeping with repentance;
Reinforce your identity with the truth as revealed in scripture;
Live in freedom and walk in victory.

Book Recommendation

I recommend this book entitled Freedom From Fear: Overcoming Worry and Anxiety by Dr Neil T. Anderson and Rich Miller. I was quite sceptical at first, (total freedom from fear? Really?) but I was blown away at the wisdom shared. It is definitely worth the investment and would go on my personal list as a must read.

Thank you for reading and may God bless you on your journey of spiritual growth.

Tunde T. Amao

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Something Men (And Women) Should Know

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Hello, my brothers and sisters.

In the month of September, I had attended my first #Pentalk Event for the first time and I was utterly amazed at what I heard. It was an extremely refreshing discussion and of course, I took a lot of notes!

I shared my notes on my Instagram story and thought I’d share them here for all, especially for my brothers out there!

I want to share something with my brothers in Christ and my brothers of mankind.
Despite what you think, the women are WELL aware of some of the issues of masculinity and with the difficulty of us men sharing our emotions.
Our inability to share our emotions can cause stress on the ladies. They worry and are concerned about whether you are emotionally available or not.
Now, guys, I get it. We do process emotions differently but don’t overgeneralise it. Some men are not quite emotional, some men are.

The issues why we don’t wanna share is because of:

The “man-up” stereotype;

 You are worried about how unmanly or soft she may perceive you to be if you did share;

A lack of trust.

One gentleman at the event shared that emotions are meant to be expressed, more for yourself than for your relationship. You must feel comfortable with expressing them to the woman you are with. If you cannot do this, then why are you with her?

Flipside: IF you are with someone who considers you unmanly and soft for expressing your emotions and is generally uninterested about your own issues and you find yourself playing an act or restricting yourself for the purposes of your relationship, then that’s not the lady you should be with.

Flipflipside: It is not your place to determine what your special lady can or can’t handle. This cannot be a reason why you cannot express yourself. Let her know and let her deal with it. She’s not a baby.

Both parties need to come together with a heart of understanding, not expectation.

It is very refreshing to see that women are aware and expressing their concerns regarding male emotions. All they want to see is a physical manifestation of how you are dealing with any difficult circumstances, EXCLUDING VIOLENCE. Simply stating how you feel gives her an idea of how you are.

She is not a mind reader and you are not a Stone Cold Rock (WWE fans will understand). You are a human being and entitled to express yourself without unjust judgment, fear or having your masculinity questioned. Beware of those looking for the benefits of a relationship without having to deal with the difficult aspects of it. Relationships will ALWAYS require work.

Finally and most importantly, a message from myself: Jesus died for you gents. That means you have value, but it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to manifest and increase in value (challenge yourself, set goals and work to achieve them, read, take courses, take a new degree, masters or different line of work, develop yourself, build a network, go elsewhere; do something!) because the truth is, no one else will do it for you. 

And you can do it, when you believe you can.

Tunde T. Amao

Men and Women: The Real Relationship – Part 1

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Hello, my brothers and sisters.

I had to share this post. So much so, that this will be a three-part series as I would like us to take our time and to make sure that we understand what we are about to explore.

From reading various articles, books and hearing a few sermons and, most importantly reading the Bible, something jumped at me. It made me look at the nature of relationships differently. It is counter-cultural and to be honest, it is expected; we are talking about Kingdom principles here.

In short, we have lost sight of what a real relationship between man and woman looks like; the way the Lord God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has created and established.

I will be painting a picture. All I ask is for the Holy Spirit to move and to help me teach this foundational principle.

Let us begin.

THE TRINITY

The Trinity is very difficult to describe. The Lord has revealed Himself in three, but He is One. Make no mistake, and place particular attention to what I write next: We serve one God. The One who created the Earth. The Everlasting Father; The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has revealed Himself, in three; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The closest (not exact, but close) example we can use is water. Water comes in three forms; Water as a liquid (drinking water), solid (ice) and gas (vapour). These are three forms of water, but they are still water, just in different states.

I say it is a close example because God doesn’t come in three states, which imply three individual separate beings of matter. God revealed himself in three, but He is One. He is ONE and we serve One God.

God has revealed himself in this manner as we see in Scripture (emphasis added) :

Genesis 1: 2 (NIV) – In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.

John 1: 1 (NIV) – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

The “He” is referred to the Word. Who is the Word you say?

John 1: 14 (NIV) – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We have the Father, the Son; Jesus, and God’s Spirit; the Holy Spirit revealed. The perfect unity. God revealed in three; One God.

ADAM AND EVE

As we see in the Book of Genesis, God created the world, the animals and then mankind. Please notice something here; with everything God created (and saw that it was good), there is ONE thing that God saw that was not good: the fact that Man was alone.

Genesis 2: 18 (NIV) – The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’

God loves us. He loves us all. The Bible declares that God is love in 1 John 4: 8: Whoever does not love, does not know God because God is love. In a nutshell, God being love created mankind so He could express that love to us. God expressed that love by Creating man. Seeing that man was made in His image and harbours His qualities, the fact that Adam did not have anything to express his love to is why God created Eve from Adam.

God reached into His Spirit and Created man. He placed the spirit of man into the Male. God saw that the male did not have anything to love, so just like He pulled the spirit of man out of Himself, God pulled out the Male’s rib and used it to create the Female, being the object of the males love, just like God made man (the spirit) the object of His love. The spirit is both in Males and Females because ultimately the Spirit came from Him.

This is why in the deepest areas in the heart of Men wishes for a Woman to pour out his love to her. This is why in the deepest areas in the heart of Women, wishes to be loved by a man.

But look around you. In the name of finding love, many people have gone through terrible ordeals. I don’t need to mention it, you have gone through, or know of someone who had gone through something terrible. Hearts are being broken and are being broken again and again and again. Lust has crept into the hearts of mankind and many people are feeling drained and constantly tired of having their love thrown away or not being reciprocated.

Look at the Trinity. Look at how God in His love had created man and out of man, woman. There is a process, a pattern, a shape; a model.

A real relationship isn’t between two people.

It’s between three.

[Part two]

Tunde T. Amao

Reading The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

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Greetings, my friends.

I’d just like to take this moment to thank all my readers for taking the time to read and follow up on this blog and I also will like to extend a warm, special welcome to any new readers! Thank you for joining us!

This book I want to talk about is an amazing read. I recommend to anyone I come across. In fact, it is a book of which I hold a very strong opinion that every person must read.

Entitled The Road Less Travelled, Dr M. Scott Peck had made a remarkable job using questioning, his experience as a Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and in his Christian walk to produce this guide that if followed, will help you build a happier, fulfilled life, as a person, parent, partner and spouse respectively.

This is an exciting read and without revealing too much, the book explores the following themes:

1. Discipline

2. Love

3. Growth and Religion

4. Grace

Dr Peck also speaks about the importances of mental health. This may be a difficult topic for some and a topic that many would not want to talk about, but as human beings, we owe it to ourselves, our families and friends to ensure that we are totally healthy; physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

When we are ill, we either take medicine or visit the doctors. When it is an emergency, we go to the hospital. When we are stressed or emotionally weary, we speak to our good friends and they give us a shoulder to cry on. The same when we are low in faith; we consult God through Jesus Christ for encouragement. On the point of mental health, how do we know whether we need help when we haven’t gone to check ourselves?

We need to be healthy in order to function. M. Scott Peck has used helpful case studies of patience he has seen and treated to highlight very important aspects of the human mind and emotions that we all should be aware of. He has also given us, what I call, a privileged look into his own mindset and thinking pattern through anecdotes about the existence of God and protection of His grace.

I have learnt so much from this book and have already started using the principles in my own life as well as taking the steps to be more aware of myself. I say this because, in order to truly improve ourselves and the way our life is set up, we need to be aware of the person we are and the place we are at right now.

For those who are looking for a healthy guide on discipline and how to love effectively and in the right way, then this is a book for you. Also, this is a special request to those who are parents, parents to be and those wishing to establish a family in the future: if you want to ensure the positive mental well-being of your children, establish a loving environment and to help your child grow up to be fulfilled, then you must read The Road Less Travelled. It will help your children and it will help you in turn.

Are there any books you would like to share that has helped you develop as a person? Please share it in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading friend, and all the best on your journey of self-discovery! God bless!

Tunde T. Amao

Bible Study – Helpful Tools

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Hello, my friends.

I thought it would be nice to share some very helpful tools that help me out during Bible study or when I want to ask questions or gain extra information about biblical history.

1. GotQuestions?org

GotQuestions.org has to be my favourite research tool for Bible study. The organisation provides answers to any biblical, spiritual or religious questions that one may have. There are various categories that most questions fall under and you can search and read GQ’s answers to the questions many others have asked. I often use this to ask biblically related questions, and research on Philosophical and Theological concepts. It also enables you to ask questions directly to them, of which they will research and provide an answer within 2 – 3 days! GQ is also available as apps which you can download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for android devices respectively.

NB: I will be using this tool to provide background reading on particular issues that I will share in future posts. I really enjoy this tool and I’m sure that you would too!

2. Open Bible.

The Open Bible is useful for researching scriptures within particular topics. Want to know what the Bible says about love? Pop it in the search box, click “Find Out” and read, learn and study to your heart’s content!

NB: I will also use this tool to refer to a cluster of scripture within a topic raised in the upcoming blogs (Just like what I did above)!

3. Commentaries and the Interlinear/ Concordance function on the Blue Letter Bible app (Click here to download on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices).

This is a very useful tool for those who wish to dive deeper into God’s word (Everyone should want to do this in my opinion). The Interlinear/ Concordance function enables you to explore the Hebrew and Greek words themselves and to learn the meaning of the original word. For example, the name “Eden” means “pleasure”. Once you locate the root word, it also provides the terms luxury, dainty, delight, and finery. and the term “garden” in Hebrew is gan, which means “garden” (of course) and an “enclosure”. (An enclosure of luxury, dainty, delight, and finery. Sounds delightful!)

Biblical commentaries are written by Theologians and can help with what we can spend a lot of time seeking before actually reading the Word; context. They also offer a range of biblical analysis and cross biblical referencing, which I thoroughly enjoy. My personal favourite is the David Guzik commentaries but have a look at the others for your own personal taste.

Remember, these are tools to help Bible study to be systematic, fun and informative. However, none of these will be helpful if the reader/researcher is not spirit-led. Before you open your Bible and notepad, shoot a prayer from your heart asking God to open your eyes to His truth within the words. Have a receptive spirit and be expectant to hear from our Heavenly Father. His Word is to enable you to know Him better and to discover His plans for you as well as to enable you to live an effective lifestyle based on his Word.

Are there any Bible study tools that you would like to use? Please share it with us in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading my friends, and my the Lord richly bless you. Amen.

Tunde T. Amao

 

Bible Study – Practical Tips

 

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Greetings, my friend.

As you may have read from our first post, we will now focus on practical tips for effective Bible study.

1. Having little to no knowledge is fine.

Don’t feel bad because you don’t know much about what the Bible holds. That’s why you want to find out! All you need is to have time set aside and a willingness to learn. The more you familiarise with reading and studying the Bible, the easier it becomes.

2. Have (access to) TWO (or more) Bibles.

Now, now, don’t panic. There is a good reason for this.

Although there are many different translations of the Bible, there are various “types” of Bibles. (Not to say that one is better than the other, as the Word of God will always be the Word of God.)

a. The Word for Word: Simply put, it is the literal translation from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles (Also called the Interlinear Bible). As the name suggests, it captures the message from the Hebrew/Greek Bibles and puts it in English; word for word.

Examples: Interlinear, King James Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version.

b. Thought for Thought: These “types” of Bibles capture the thoughts and meanings behind the words used. Though some words have been changed extensive biblical research has made sure that the Spirit behind the words is still conveyed.

Examples: New Living Translation, New International Version, New Century Version, New American Bible.

Having two (or more) Bibles to study from is excellent as you tend to understand what you’re reading better. Having a Word for Word and a Thought for Thought can give you a good overall picture and a better context of what you are studying. As you saw from the first post, I personally use the New King James Version and the New International Version when studying.

Remember, before you do your research on which translation of the Bible you want to own and study from, don’t forget to read it before purchasing. It won’t be helpful if you pick up a translation and you can’t get much from it.

NB: Feeling excited? You can even go and look for a Bible concordance and study the Hebrew/Greek words themselves to get an even deeper understanding of the meaning of the word and the context it is used in. I recommend the “Blue Letter Bible” apps which you can download on your iPad, iPhone and Android devices for free.

3. Have an action plan

Remember you’re reading to learn, understand and apply the Word of God in your lives. So you need to develop your own reading plan or strategy that works well for you. If your bible has small sections where topics are often discussed, then that will be the best way to start. If not, then you can use the internet to search a point and find out Bible says about it. I recommend openbible.info/topics/ a quick reference point to find passages in the bible about your chosen topic quickly.

NB: It doesn’t have to be topics. You can decide to read whole books! For those who want to understand Christianity in a nutshell, the best starting point is the Book of Romans.

Want to learn more about Jesus? Start from the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Seeking the wisdom of God to apply to your life? Then the Book of Proverbs is the way to go!

4. Ask for guidance and direction from God.

This is the most important point. Remember, we are not reading or studying for the sake of it. We’re seeking God’s face and asking for His input in our lives. We won’t be able to do this if we don’t know His word is in the situations we or others find ourselves in.

God has created every individual for a purpose. We need to ask Him to reveal to us what He has planned for us, and in one mind with Him so we can achieve what He wants us to achieve.

For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

We need to humble our spirit and enter the Lord’s presence before reading His Word. Ask for wisdom and ask Him to direct you to what you need to know right now and to put it into practice. When preparing to read and study the Bible, have an expectant spirit, be sure to know that you will receive something from God Himself, that will benefit you and will give you peace of mind and life in the spirit. You may not understand it right now, but when the appointed time comes, you’ll definitely know and appreciate that God has your back always!

This post is not meant to portray as the most full-proof method of studying the Bible. Everyone has different strategies and different methods of Bible study. The intention is to give practical points on a method of study for beginners and to help stimulate your minds whilst creating or developing your own study pattern.

What methods do you use when studying the Bible? Please share your method in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading and may the Lord continue to bless you as you begin to dive deep into His Word.

Tunde T. Amao