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Facing Fear Through Faith
October, 2014 - Issue #120
Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
The Ship Sinks?
by Jason Vanderpal
Before "Avatar" became the highest-grossing movie in the history of Earth, another film by James Cameron held the top spot. The movie "Titanic," released in 1997, held the highest honor for more than 12 years. Today, "Titanic" is one of only two movies to gross over $2 billion at the box office.

Here's a critical-thinking question: Why did people all over the world spend $2 billion dollars to watch a movie when they already knew the ending? Everyone knows the ship sinks! What is the appeal of dragging out the drama for three hours?

Perhaps the answer lies in asking a different question: How is it possible to enjoyably navigate the motion picture account of the unprecedented tragedy of April 15, 1912? Answer: Because moviegoers are free to weather the emotional highs and lows of the Titanic story without the heavy anxiety of questioning the final outcome.

Such is the same with the human experience through the eyes of a follower of Jesus.

The Bible tells us what the "end of our movie" will look like. God Himself, speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, says to all of us, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isa. 41:10) As followers of Jesus we can easily navigate through our fears and the trials of this life because we know we are cared for and what ultimately happens in the end.

Jason Vanderpal is discipleship director at Real Life Church. 775-2041

God's Positioning System
by Marlon Saunders
Faith is trusting God when you are unable to trace God.

The other day I had to be at an event in a city that I had never been to before. Thank God I had my GPS. The moment I got in the car, I turned on the GPS. I listened carefully to my GPS and followed every word specifically. My thinking was, since I do not have a clue as to how to get to this new destination, the best thing I can do is leave it to "something" that does.

By myself, without any help, I certainly would've been lost and ultimately worried. I would've been wondering how far away I was, if I took the best route, if I should have done something different, or any number of other questions that come to mind when you're going somewhere for the first time without any direction.

GPS eliminated all of those questions - and certainly eliminated all of the potential worry. While GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is used to give location information and directions, we have another GPS in life known as God's Positioning System. These directions are provided through prayer, reading the Bible and associating with the right kinds of people.

If you want to maximize your journey on this road called life and start eliminating those troublesome questions, anxiety, or worry, don't do it alone. We don't always know when, where and how but He is the "someone" who does. Immediately go to God and have Him install GPS - God's Positioning System - into your heart, mind, body, soul and spirit.

Marlon Saunders is the pastor of Valencia Christian Center. 296- 4VCC (4822)

Facing Fear with Faith
by Debbie Sperry
As I think about how faith helps us deal with life's scary moments, I identify two categories of fear. There is anxiety and worry, fears that manifest because of the stirring in our mind, and there is the fear of illness, loss and true danger. I think our faith speaks into both.
First, the scriptures teach us: "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Some of us are worriers. We spend our energy imagining the worst. Yet we are asked to put our trust in God and not fret over a million imaginary negative outcomes. If we are overly consumed with all the potential negatives, then we need to stop, pray and ask for God's peace.
The other fear, for the real dangers of life, might be for a bad medical diagnosis, a miscarriage in a high-risk pregnancy, the death of a loved one or an abusive spouse. God speaks into these fears, too. We are reminded to put our trust in the Lord, not because there's a guarantee that bad things won't happen - life dishes out bad stuff all the time - but instead because the life, death and resurrection of Christ teach us that God is in the midst of the bad stuff.

When we think we are alone, the Gospel message reminds us that God has gone through all of it - betrayal, heartache, loss, suffering, abuse and even death - and God empathizes with us. For me, the comfort in facing this type of fear is that God has not abandoned me. It may be hard to sense God in those times, but God's truth is that we will never be forsaken.

May God's peace that passes all understanding calm your fears and may you know you are never alone.

Debbie Sperry is the lead pastor at Valencia United Methodist Church.
www.umcv.org
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