Encouragement ExchangeHow could you give encouragement to someone today?
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The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to
those who fear Him (v.13).
During my first 3 years in Uganda, I had occasional
contact with blood as I held dying children,
helped to dress wounds and open tumors, and
sought to comfort AIDS and cancer patients.
My understanding was that as long as there was no
exchange of bodily fluids or blood, I was at zero risk for
contracting HIV. It therefore came as a terrifying shock
to me when, during the summer of 2010, a doctor found
my white blood cell count was dangerously low, possibly
indicating that I had acquired HIV. Though a subsequent
HIV test came back “negative,” it took me several days to
recover from the fear I had experienced while anxiously
awaiting the results.
Fear can cause grown men and women to tremble
(Exodus 20:18), and it can cause such paranoia that even
“the sound of a leaf driven by the wind” sends him or her
diving for cover and running “as though fleeing from a
sword” even when no one is in pursuit (Leviticus 26:36).
Fear can cause ulcers, heart attacks, and other health
maladies. It can also prevent us from taking steps of faith
or lead us to acts of desperation. There are many positive
effects that fear can produce when properly directed.
Fear of God, for example, “will keep you from sinning!”
(Exodus 20:19). Fearing God in a reverent manner
and obeying His commands also positions us to receive
God’s blessings (Leviticus 26:36.
The “fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom” (Psalms 111:10;
Proverbs 9:10), and helps us “escape from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). “Fear
of the Lord,” Proverbs 19:23 says, is to be embraced, for it “leads to life,
bringing security and protection from harm.”
Make it your goal to let fear work in your favor, by fearing God above all
According to Proverbs 29:25, what type of fear is a dangerous trap? Why?
What fears do you need to release to God? Why is it vital that you
reverently fear Him as you live out your faith?
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