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Week 1 Day 6: Love that Casts Out Fear

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
I John 4:18

Love that Casts Out Fear
We have some fears built into our DNA that have helped preserve us as a species, whether it be a fear of pitch darkness or some other phobia. I believe that the true, deepest fear that we have is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God.

-Br. Jonathan Maury



Transcript: In this week of our “Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John,” we reflect on a text from the First Letter of John: “God is love.” And today we focus more directly on another verse from the First Letter of John: “Perfect love casts out fear.” Our human existence is plagued with fears. We have some fears built into our DNA that have helped preserve us as a species, whether it be a fear of pitch darkness or some other phobia. We also deal day to day with our fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar, which comes up again and again in small ways. But it is in these fears that we forget the perfect love which casts out fear.

But I believe that the true, deepest fear that we have, the greatest fear that we have, is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God.  When I feel myself to have, by my words or actions, caused my loss of the loving regard of others or of God, I’m already punishing myself with self-inflicted wounds. But what does the letter say? The letter says “there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.” God is by nature that Perfect Love, the perfect love which comes in Jesus. Jesus’ actions and teachings are rooted in this truth. In the twelfth chapter of John’s gospel we read Jesus speaking: “Now is my soul troubled and what should I say: Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this reason that I’ve come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

Jesus knows that by keeping up relationship with God in prayer and in openness of heart, his fears will be calmed and dispelled and healed. And Jesus by example teaches us to rely also on relationship with God, who is the perfect love casting out fear. Let us pray today for Jesus to grant us memories of those times when our fears have been dispelled by the perfect love which casts out fear, by the remembrance of God which has come to us either in our life of prayer or in our relationships with others. And we might also bring our present fears before the Father, as Jesus brought his fear so that that perfect love which is God, God’s presence, may be imparted to us, that we may glorify God’s name this day in ways great and small, ways particular to us and reflect that perfect love which is without fear, that perfect love which is God.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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60 Comments

  1. Dorothy Wilson on March 18, 2018 at 06:24

    I did fear change, I feel God’s presence in my life everyday. I feel the love from the Trinity embracing me.
    People come & go , but God’s love is constant.

  2. Julie on February 26, 2018 at 21:30

    I remember a very distinct moment when I was filled with anxiety & fear of the future. I had just turned 60 and reflecting back I realized how quickly the last 20 years had passed. I knew that the next 20 would pass even more quickly. My job was so stressful and taking physical and mental toll. I wanted to retire but feared it wouldn’t be possible for at least 10 years. The fear that if I had to work in the toxic environment 10 more years, I might die because of it. Fear that I wouldn’t see my grandchildren grow up. FeR that my husband and I would never be able to retire financially. Fear fear fear.

    After walking the labyrinth the third time, I heard God’s voice in my ears, just as if He was next to me. I heard Him say, “It is what it is, for now.” I carried that with me, and the peace that came with it, to my retirement. It continues to remind me “It is what it is, for now.”

    F -false E-evidence A-appearing R-real

    • John on February 27, 2018 at 19:56

      Thanks for your honesty…I can relate to your fears. I love FEAR…I wrote it down and intend to share it.

  3. Mary Anderson on February 23, 2018 at 23:55

    For one reason or another, I am late in responding to this lesson. I am glad that I waited. In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Parkland School in FL. I find it very relevant. Many of us fear the intrusion of an active shooter. No one thing can prepare someone for an event so life threatening and devastating. We can live in fear that it will happen again, but we can do something to help prevent it. Arming more people with guns, arms them with fear; arming people with harsh words against those that did not stop the shooter, adds more fear; those that say we shouldn’t practice our drills to be prepared, adds more fear. All of these things push God and His love away from us. We can put our fears to rest with the power of God’s love. With God in our hearts we do take action.

    We bring peace by changing legislation and banning guns that are only used for killing; we bring peace by recognizing mental illness and address it; with peace and love in our hearts we practice our drills to keep everyone safe. It is God that unites us with his perfect love. That perfect love is without fear; that perfect love which is God.

  4. David John Drew on February 21, 2018 at 21:52

    O God, I am afraid of who I really am, of what I am composed – as I stand surrounded by swirling masses of the unknown, I fear that which is beyond the comforting borders that constitute the life that I am, of what I know… the base fear of making connections and relationships, of friendship and intimacy… the fear to love and be loved… to completely surrender my whole self to others.

    Of what am I composed – is it only flesh and blood, a beating heart, exhaling and inhaling lungs, a brain with a mind. I fear reaching out beyond the darkness that surrounds me and grasping the unknowable… am I not also a spirit whose origin is in the Divine? Fear causes me to retreat, to recede and fall back into my own self-perpetuated delusions, to retreat into my home, the familiar environment and old outworn habits. I fear change and anything new. I persist in resisting you. So, I am plagued by my egotistical insistence to create divisions and distinctions… separations between myself and others, to build a dividing wall between you and me.

    Lord, I see that you have expressed your love for me in so many different and various ways that they are beyond accounting. You love becomes manifest in the way I walk and talk – yes, you blessed me with a voice, your love is communicated in the food that I eat, the people I meet at work, in the street, in my family and friends, your love sings with each dawn bringing warmth to the world that we know, your love sweeps through a dark, midnight sky sparkling with stars and distant unknowable planets in solar systems beyond our vision, your love whispers in the winds that blows through the lush vegetation – the greenness of our earth, the delicate scent of summer flowers, and the icy breath of winter – all the seasons, your love plunges in the waves of the seas, in the tides and times, your love is an amazing composition, a delicate, balanced harmony of many modes and tones, and yet also remains and persists in silence… there is no end, no perceptible height or depth to your voice but that it is infinite in magnitude – dwelling in the microcosmic and macrocosmic… infinitesimal and all pervading.

    Almighty God, I see that punishment is the self-enforced restriction of the capacity to embrace you in all dimensions and forms, to feel your embrace in all the things that constitute our lives and destiny. Your love opens the bars of the prison in which we have secluded ourselves, and allows us total freedom with you. Your love is the potential to make all things a reality. Punishment is the self-inflicted negative power that restrains us from being who we are; children of God in light and in love.

    As the dark clouds recede, a path is illuminated – the way I can walk forward to you.

    Lord, I pray that the negativity of fear and uncertainty be cast out from me and burned… and may the positive light of your love dwell forever within me and all those in the world.

    Lord, I am grateful and thankful for you giving me the voice to express these thoughts – may they be pleasing to you.

    + Amen

    Pax – David

  5. Nancy Roth on February 20, 2018 at 20:56

    This is the reply that resonated with my own feeling response. My distress when I realize that I have hurt someone I love is devastating, and helps me to take responsibility for my actions, and to try to repair the damage I have done.

  6. Ruth West on February 20, 2018 at 09:42

    Thanks for this good sermon. One of my very favorite Psalms is # 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?…”
    Through His perfect love we know we are safe. “He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” I have put my trust in Him.

    • Bryan Cook on February 24, 2018 at 18:18

      Thanks Ruth for giving me a measure of comfort and hope. I guess the bottom line is we cannot have good without evil in this world. Evil cannot exist without good. The scientist in me says that is the greatest circular argument ever. Religions have used it ever since the late evolution of man as an excuse to perpetuate thier particular belief or polity. I will cling to the promise of God that we will be freed from evil when our souls are set free from our physical bodies and that this applies to everyone, good or evil, because we are instantly forgiven our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus.We just have to recognise and admit that they were sins All I can do is to continue to follow a moral pathway of peace and love……do you sense the old 60’s counterculture in me?!

    • Vanessa Rose on February 25, 2018 at 07:15

      That is a great example Ruth, thank you for sharing..another that comes to mind is “Be Still and Know That I am God” Psalm 46: 10. King David I am sure knew the power of the God’s word in the Psalms.
      Reflectively, we can remember when the disciples fell asleep on the boat….all of us in this day and age can feel the restlessness of our world and need to be filled with the Bread of Heaven. God also promised his children “I will be With You Until the End of the Earth”. Matthew 28:20.

  7. James on February 19, 2018 at 03:44

    Afraid of your ex-spouse, the bully down the street, your rival at work? Then learn to love them and your fears will vanish and courage will replace discouragement. It’s easier said than done, but God compels us to give it our best effort.

    I can’t help but to think of all those people on the Bachelor and Bachelorette TV series who always say that they believe they are falling in love and are nervous and scared. I always think how can anyone be afraid and in love at the same time. Doesn’t seem like love does it? At least the way John describes it in his letter.

    Fear is an emotion I never seek out. “Oh, let’s go looking for fear today”, is a phrase that will I never utter. Fear is indeed a punishment for me. However, there are many people who love a scary horror movie or white-knuckling the first precipitous drop of a roller coaster. Perhaps it’s because it is a controlled fear and they subconsciously know that no harm will befall them.

    Do you want to know if you’re really in love? Ask yourself, “Am I afraid”? If you are, then it’s not really love. This includes your love for God. God loves you fearlessly, can you say the same for yourself? If you say yes then you are headed toward perfect love and an everlasting relationship with The Lord.

    • Bishop Hollywood on February 19, 2018 at 21:59

      Love is a powerful force that knows no fear. It consumes us to the point where as we open ourselves up to the great possibilities of pure Bliss. We have allowed fear to creep in and stop us from truly loving God and each other, the way we know how. Our basic instinct is love. When a child comes into this world, he/she doesn’t know hatred or fear, it only knows love. Why? Because one the child just came from heaven and two, it hasn’t been polluted by the toxic teaching of this world. Let us go back to being like little children, let us love one another, without fear or restrictions. Let us open ourselves up to the remarkable possibilities of togetherness and oneness. Watch how different the world will be.

      • Vanessa Rose on February 25, 2018 at 07:24

        Thank you Bishop Hollywood:

        As adults in our continuing walk with Jesus, I think all of us can at some point admit to forgetting that we have to come to Jesus as a child with the same pureness of heart. Matthew 14:2-4
        “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “ Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children”. Thank you for sharing.

    • Rodney on February 19, 2018 at 22:25

      Fear, is a powerful word… Yes I am in fear of my ex, I am in fear of being humiliated, I am in fear of being bullied once again, or over and over again.. Some where, some how, and for some time I have lost my power.. I’s lost.. I do believe, I know GOD is with me since I have been a very young child.. I know he was with me me as I was fighting my cancer….

      • Nancy on February 20, 2018 at 22:47

        Rodney, you are as worthy as anyone else but I truly understand your feelings and torment………..whether it’s been a person or a group, a loved one or someone you just barely know, that has brought you to these fears, YOU are still completely loved today and everyday by the Lord. Pull away from the world, little by little, find a quiet safe place and just sit and think and feel – inviting God into your thoughts……it will be a very personal and sometimes a slow journey but you will realize that this time is precious and your fears will melt as you put them up against God’s light. Our minds can only hold one thought at a time – choose your most loving one……….

        • Vanessa Rose on February 25, 2018 at 07:28

          Beautifully said, Nancy. I would say to Rodney too a quiet place to close your eyes, imagine your favourite bible story….or a favourite place, beach or mountain scene focus on a image and pick one word (mantra) to focus on too. If you become distracted let that word be your centre. “Jesus Come Forth”. “Holy Spirit Abide in Me”. Hold onto that though for 2 minutes, the next day 5 minutes, until it becomes 10. Feel your breathing as a calm. Close with the Lords Prayer or even ‘Thank you Jesus’…you should feel better and know Gods love…..

      • Vanessa Rose on February 25, 2018 at 07:29

        Rodney find favourite chair or place you call your own…..a quiet place to close your eyes, imagine your favourite bible story….or a favourite place, beach or mountain scene focus on a image and pick one word (mantra) to focus on too. If you become distracted let that word be your centre. “Jesus Come Forth”. “Holy Spirit Abide in Me”. Hold onto that though for 2 minutes, the next day 5 minutes, until it becomes 10. Feel your breathing as a calm. Close with the Lords Prayer or even ‘Thank you Jesus’…you should feel better and know Gods love…..blessings and prayers.

  8. kevin on February 18, 2018 at 04:25

    how close can a human being actually get too perfect love.

    • James on February 19, 2018 at 04:04

      I believe it’s when you experience love without fear as John’s letter indicates.

  9. John G. on February 18, 2018 at 00:33

    John David, thanks for pointing out that our fear can be greater than the thing we fear. I have a fear of public speaking because of unsuccessful experiences in the past. I am taking on another speaking assignment next week and have experienced a lot of fear about it. My fear is mostly ego, concern that I am not enough to be a discussion leader. But I have already worked many hours on my presentation and done the best I could. It is time to remember that God’s love casts out fear, to trust God and hope that God will shine his light on all who participate in the upcoming discussion. I will take your suggestion of thanking God for this opportunity to trust him for the benefit others.

  10. Vanessa Rose on February 18, 2018 at 00:09

    Thank you Brother Jonathan: I will keep all of us in my prayers during this study in “Meeting Jesus”. I appreciate with thanksgiving your wisdom, grace and guidance.

  11. Vanessa Rose on February 17, 2018 at 23:58

    Thank you Brother, for you words of wisdom and to remind us of God’s love for each of us. The prayer you offer is wonderful. The absence of fear is LOVE. We often need to ‘get out of our own way’ when our fragile selves let fear interfere. the question is often to the degree of this fear acknowledging it but ‘moving on’, letting GO and letting GOD’. Grace, wisdom, strength are all found at HiS Holy table and his blessed sacrament.

  12. Nancy on February 17, 2018 at 19:19

    So good to hear your voice Jonathan! And a timely message for me this lent. Thank you.🙏🏻❤️

  13. Barb Bixby on February 17, 2018 at 18:35

    Loving, beautiful, focused. Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Blessings to SSJE for providing this daily moment for a holy Lent.

  14. John David Spangler on February 17, 2018 at 18:09

    In thinking about fear, the first thing that came to mind was Churchill’s warning that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is defined as anxiety or to be afraid of. That God casts out fear confirms the wisdom of his words. When we become afraid our problem is remembering that He does. More often than not whatever we may face is less of a problem than the fear of facing it. I have found that the best way to confront fear, or indeed any problem, is to offer a prayer of thanksgiving. By doing so any fears are dissolved.

  15. Eben Carsey on February 17, 2018 at 07:02

    I think that we have no need to fear God’s perfect love in spite of the fact that, at least in some ways, “Love dismembers before it makes whole,” as Jungian therapist Helen Luke has said. This is no superficial relationship, however, to which we are being invited. In order to receive the fullness of a love relationship, one has to trustingly, vulnerably, honestly, and courageously engage with the Lover and the Lover’s concerns and desire. When one is standing outside of this love relationship, not fully committed to it, it can appear frightening.

  16. Rhode on February 17, 2018 at 03:41

    When I was 19 – 25 yrs old I was plagued by major league anxiety issues. Frequent trips to the ER for sedation (these were pre-anxiety med years) robbed me emotionally, physically, financially. One day, in the Hospital, I decided I no longer wanted to live and questioned out loud – ‘IF you are real (God) and listening please take this from me and I will try to figure out why I got this way” — a poor bargaining prayer. It was all I could think to say since my mind and body were paralyzed by fear. Within the minute, my mind cleared, my body stopped being numb and I felt like I could get up and walk out of the ER. So I did. I really did not know I had been ‘healed’ until months of symptom free living later, then years of it. Drs. and friends have offered alternative explanations for what happened and I understand how I could have manifested my own healing… but, I am 64 now and I still choose to believe God was there for me that day, that vital moment in 1973… because He is still with me today. My fears brought me before God broken and receptive. Life free of pain, free from sorrow, free from fear, free from death is not human. Learning how much God loves each unique one of us and how, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, His grace guides us into replacing our fears with hope and trust…this is the lifelong gift – this is lifelong healing – this is the perfect love casting out fears.

    • Suzanne Haraburd on February 17, 2018 at 04:09

      Beautiful testimony. Thank you.

  17. Beverly on February 16, 2018 at 23:19

    “… the greatest fear that we have is losing the loving regard of those close to us…” This is so true for me, and I realize I can fear that even more than the loss of God’s love (which I do believe is eternal). On no, holding on to, defending, the loving regard of others is one more of the idols I worship! Not a happy thought, but an important realization. All the more reason to seek—in every moment—to let the “perfect love” of the Divine Indwelling live through my choices and my actions.

  18. Jaan Sass on February 16, 2018 at 23:10

    His love casts out all fear this phrase is difficult for me. I have depression and anxiety issues. Fear is, unfortunately, part of that package. The biggest fear that I have is rejection from the people who love me most and ultimately God. I know all of this not true but the emotional storms are convincing at times and I withdraw from everyone. I want this to be true in my life.

  19. Helen on February 16, 2018 at 22:50

    This verse always confuses me. I believe that God’s love cast out fear. So I pray that God never leaves me and helps me to feel and understand that love.

    • Vanessa Rose on February 18, 2018 at 00:06

      Helen, if I can offer some comfort in my own journey with God. Each of us reply on scholars and our ministers of the church to enable us to understand and make the Scriptures relevant in our lives. God’s love cast out fear, means that it will be broken down and dispelled that is: fear will be more, for HIS love can concur all!. God is always with us where we are at any time. Perhaps a simple prayer “God be with me today in my waking hour and I the falling asleep at the end of the day”. Perhaps write it down (this makes it concrete and put in your pocket or a favourite place in your dwelling.

      • Vanessa Rose on February 18, 2018 at 00:07

        “Fear will be NO more”…sorry for the typo.

  20. Peter J Parker on February 16, 2018 at 22:34

    So often I hear people wishing to punish others, diminish them, exclude them, get rid of them or the thing they stand for. It is so helpful to see through that judgmental stance to the fear beneath it; the fear of being punished, of losing approval. Have they learned of the pain of disapproval from some very conditional love shown to them by parents?

  21. Mary 85 on February 16, 2018 at 21:30

    Because God’s perfect love casts out fear, the following is one of my favorite Bible verses:
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. “

  22. David Ames on February 16, 2018 at 21:18

    I agree with you that we can cast out fear by questioning the 2nd Amendment, but it must go further than that. We must enact gun legislation that prevents people from owning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. If we are to do God’s loving work, then we must act as well as pray. I’m a university professor and every single day I go to teach, I go with a fear that there will be a shooter on our campus. Sometimes the fear is greater, sometimes lesser. I cast out my fear because I must spiritually and materially. Part of loving others is pursuing my calling and giving students my mentorship. I grieve profoundly for all those beautiful souls who should be in school right now, without fear, in a sanctuary where the faculty feel safe and free to teach and the students feel safe and free to learn and pursue their dreams and their callings. I grieve also for the parents and the loved ones who will carry this loss and trauma with them for the rest of their lives.

  23. David Ames on February 16, 2018 at 21:03

    Yes, “Perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.” I can affirm the first portion of this verse, but not the second. All the school children, especially those in Florida yesterday, who live in fear are not fearful because of punishment. Their fear is about guns and the fact that it is so easy for someone to acquire an assault weapon and kill so many of their colleagues. We can cast out fear by realizing that the 2nd Amendment has limits; it had to do with a militia for protecting citizens, not an unbridled individual right to own weapons and use them to kill fellow human beings. How do we instill God’s love in a way that casts out fear? Can we teach children that all life is risk and that to be human is to be vulnerable? That’s a hard lesson for children. The best we can do is to assure them, and to reassure ourselves, that they are loved by parents, teachers, friends and even strangers, especially as do acts of kindness toward others.

    • David Ames on February 16, 2018 at 21:18

      I agree with you that we can cast out fear by questioning the 2nd Amendment, but it must go further than that. We must enact gun legislation that prevents people from owning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. If we are to do God’s loving work, then we must act as well as pray. I’m a university professor and every single day I go to teach, I go with a fear that there will be a shooter on our campus. Sometimes the fear is greater, sometimes lesser. I cast out my fear because I must spiritually and materially. Part of loving others is pursuing my calling and giving students my mentorship. I grieve profoundly for all those beautiful souls who should be in school right now, without fear, in a sanctuary where the faculty feel safe and free to teach and the students feel safe and free to learn and pursue their dreams and their callings. I grieve also for the parents and the loved ones who will carry this loss and trauma with them for the rest of their lives.

      • David Ames on February 18, 2018 at 04:07

        Thank you for your reply. I agree with you that we must act to ban semi- and automtatic weapons. I needed to be more specific when I referred to 2nd Amendment limits. However, I would go even further — I don’t believe guns have a.place in a democratic society. I might make an exception for single shot hunting rifles, but even that is a word of caution as I favor protecting animal life. My heart goes out to you as a school teacher and to all the grieving families who have lost their children. Losing a child through violent acts is the most difficult experience parents must endure. I have taught college students and appreciate that all students of evey age should feel safe in our institutions and everywhere in society. My best regards for you in your teaching and mentoring of our students.

    • Aliki D Barnstone on February 17, 2018 at 02:31

      I agree with you that we can cast out fear by questioning the 2nd Amendment, but it must go further than that. We must enact gun legislation that prevents people from owning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. If we are to do God’s loving work, then we must act as well as pray. I’m a university professor and every single day I go to teach, I go with a fear that there will be a shooter on our campus. Sometimes the fear is greater, sometimes lesser. I cast out my fear because I must spiritually and materially. Part of loving others is pursuing my calling and giving students my mentorship. I grieve profoundly for all those beautiful souls who should be in school right now, without fear, in a sanctuary where the faculty feel safe and free to teach and the students feel safe and free to learn and pursue their dreams and their callings. I grieve also for the parents and the loved ones who will carry this loss and trauma with them for the rest of their lives.

  24. Michael on February 16, 2018 at 20:14

    As I read comments day after day, I’m always struck by how so many quote the Bible to support or refute some point. I rarely read the Bible. This is not as a condemning or supporting statement, but merely as a fact. My prayers are conversations with God and periods of silence when I attempt to hear his voice. It’s what I seem to understand. Maybe it is my arrogance, but I’m hoping this is enough. The verses and scripture are often too confusing and leaving wondering what was meant, or what I’m supposed to do next. In some way I suppose I fear I’m doing something counter productive and not working toward a greater understanding of God and myself, but I belief God applauds my feeble attempt and that’s has to count for something as well as supports the notion that God has a strong sense of humor

    • Jennifer on February 18, 2018 at 21:23

      Thanks so much Michael, your comments are inspiring. I am one of those who are reminded of scripture when I pray. I suppose it is because when I first believed in the gospel I spent many years with my children in a bible club where bible verses were read and memorized. Over the the past 30+ years since then I have heard the bible read in church and studied it in group bible studies. I am not sure if the verses that come to mind during this Lenten study are “theologically correct” and necessarily apply to the discussion but for some reason they come to mind and I share them here 🙂

    • Vanessa Rose on February 25, 2018 at 07:34

      Michael, may I humbly suggest a bible study group…very often a learned person or minister will bring to light the words of scripture for you. As I learned in my studies at Wycliffe College even theologians grapple with interpretation the Holy Scriptures. Prayer is a great vehicle to converse with God and build on that relationship and relationship to others. The Holy Spirit will guide you and I prayer for you, don’t forget God knows in our hearts our prayers, concerns for he loves us unconditionally…in other words you don’t have to do anything to earn the it Is a given a free gift.

  25. Bobbi on February 16, 2018 at 20:13

    “But I believe that the true, deepest fear that we have, the greatest fear that we have, is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God.” When I first listened to this comment by Br. Jonathan I thought, ‘No, that’s not me.” But in praying on it, I realized, “Yes, it is me, playing God.” When I do something that feels wrong, I fear I may lose the love of others because I have let my ego become god.

  26. Wendy on February 16, 2018 at 20:01

    I struggled with this one. The assert of one person’s belief of what our greatest fear is –losing regard by those close-was intrusive for me and disruptive to the day one reflection on conditions. I am not being critical … just sharing that I personally struggled with that idea.

  27. Jennifer on February 16, 2018 at 19:58

    Thank you for this message and invitation to think about these important themes. I am thankful for many times that God has dispelled my fears and anxieties when I turn to Him for guidance and He directs me to bible verses that meet my deepest needs. I can cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me. My circumstances may not change but my thoughts and anxieties about the situation changes when I cast my cares upon Him because I know and trust he cares about me. Jesus said in Matthew 10 that I am of great value and that “every hair of my head is numbered”.
    When I was growing up the worldview of my culture and the people who influenced me before I knew I was a child of God made it very difficult as a 26 year old women to listen to and follow God’s messages to me in the bible. There have been many times when the bible has been really difficult to follow because it went against my natural inclinations and worldview. But God was able to heal my hurts, help me learn to trust Him, and trust that following Jesus is the best way. I fought against God on many issues but found there is great peace in trusting and obeying His way of living this life instead of sticking to my own way of doing things according to my worldview that previously kept God’s influence out of my life. Like the song “trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus – than to trust and obey. http://youtu.be/BtKtpA0MZaI

  28. Virginia on February 16, 2018 at 19:14

    This was a very helpful meditation for me, for I have vowed to surrender my many anxieties, fears, for one of my Lenten disciplines–not easy–worrying about tomorrow comes easily to me! But, because of this meditation, I realized that I was focusing on MYSELF as the source of Perfect Love–striving to be more “perfect”. Thank you, Brother, for pointing out to me that GOD is PERFECT LOVE. My focus needs to be on GOD, not on my self.
    Already I feel more at peace.

    • Vanessa Rose on February 17, 2018 at 23:51

      That is wonderful Virginia, well, this brought me to focus on Matthew 6: 28 “Lillies of the Field””
      “Why are you anxious about clothing?
      Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
      They don’t toil, neither do they spin”. Sometimes we need to be reminded and to get out of own way.
      God is patient and kind and thank you for sharing your thoughts…….you were an inspiration.

    • David Jones on February 19, 2018 at 11:20

      Thanks for sharing Virginia

  29. Lynn on February 16, 2018 at 18:37

    Thanks, Jonathan. That was beautiful and so true.

  30. Bryan Cook on February 16, 2018 at 18:36

    Fear can be healthy if it leads to caution with the goal of preservation of life, husbanding this earth and caring for all living beings. Fear can be destructive if it leads to overwhelming anxiety and depression accompanied by self- and over-medication, destruction of self and others and , indeed, the commission of the “seven deadly sins”. God’s love and wisdom enables me now to tell the difference and act accordingly. I always take the time, often in fear, to say the serenity prayer…” God grant me the serenity ( which is in unconditional love) to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. So often. mountains become molehills.

  31. Susan on February 16, 2018 at 18:28

    I am broken in my body. I need courage to mourn my brokenness and move out of it to the light. I need not fear for God’s love for me.

    • Jennifer on February 16, 2018 at 20:07

      My heart goes out to you Susan. I am praying for healing of your body and peace in your soul as you move out of feelings of brokenness into the light.

  32. Jennifer Stuart on February 16, 2018 at 18:04

    Thank you Brother Maury, for so beautifully naming the abyss that many experience. This separation from others and God brings profound pain. In this earthly world where violation and violence darkens our humanity living into God’s love means having the courage to reach out to another. Overcoming our fear and distrust to walk the bridge of grace. Hope and love perhaps become inseparable.

    • Chris on February 16, 2018 at 23:41

      Thanks Jennifer (& Br Maury). There is a paradox here. Where people around us are not used to holding others’ pain or distress (thus either backing away or trying to fix us). We are left not knowing (with resultant fear/anxiety) how much we can trust/be vulnerable without losing those valuable connections with people. We hear it said that God calls us to more openness and vulnerability, but when we venture out in trust, our experience reinforces our fear and teaches us it is safer to hold back!?

  33. Ruth rogers on February 16, 2018 at 16:32

    God love is uncontional the fear is the unknown what may happen I need to trust in god love and believe in his presence the unknowing is the fear I and tobretember god presence is here always

  34. Keith Aldred on February 16, 2018 at 15:06

    God’s love is beyond man’s understanding. Give us the faith to trust, knowing that He knows us as His children.

  35. Lisa Sutherland on February 16, 2018 at 15:03

    I found this very comforting.
    I inflict pain on myself by thinking wrongly that i will loose other’s love. Its not true. Just that anxiety is my default button. So im handing it over to God now. Thankyou.

    • Jeanine on February 17, 2018 at 05:44

      Certainly fears of abandonment are kind of hard wired into our DNA. I think it was Mother Teresa that said that loneliness is the plague of this century and losing a relationship is certainly painful but I wonder if another fear that is prevalent in our society is that of not having control over our situations, lives, relationships and so on. When I have the most problem relying on God and feel fearful is when I am in a situation where I have no or little control and need to trust God for the outcome. When God seems distant at those times I seem to distance as well and do feel abandoned by God even though a part of me wants him to rescue me. Again this is the need for trust in God’s will which can be so challenging.

    • Marie M on February 17, 2018 at 07:46

      I’m enjoying this everyday…

      • Jean Whittredge on February 17, 2018 at 19:15

        Dear Brothers. I got so much out of this week. Perfect love from Jesus really spoke to me as I journey with dear friends who have cancer God love helps my friend and root out fear. Thank you for your powerful kind words!

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