fearful child October 11 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25; Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39; Mark 5:21-43; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56; Matthew 9:27-34; Mark 6:1-6a; Matthew 13:53-58; John 5:1-15

Overcoming our Fears

What do people fear? Loss of income? Family? Failure? Sickness? Death? What do we fear? How do we overcome our fears? We will look briefly at several true stories of fear and faith and see what we can learn.

A Storm at Sea

In our first story, Jesus is in a boat with his disciples. “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped” (Mark 4:37, NIV). The disciples fear going under and drowning. Jesus, however, is asleep on a cushion in the boat. He is practicing the prophet Isaiah's words, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV). He also fulfills the prophecy in Psalms.

If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my [the psalmist's] refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways (Psalms 91:9-11, NIV).

This verse does not in any way imply that we should tempt the LORD by creating dangerous circumstances (Matthew 4:6), or that we should not try to use the abilities and opportunities God has given us to deliver ourselves. However, we should trust the LORD in circumstances beyond our control. Faith in God leads to peace and even sleep.

Demons and Pigs

In story two, Jesus drives out demons in a man and sends them into a herd of pigs. The demon-filled pigs then run insanely over the cliff of a hill, killing themselves. When the townspeople hear about it, they are amazed about the man but disturbed about the pigs. Perhaps, trusting in Jesus will be costly to their business. Have we had any of the same fears? It is true, trusting in Jesus can be costly, but the Apostle Paul promises “... my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV). God can replace what we lose; he has riches beyond imagination. We must learn to trust that the Lord is our provider in all circumstances.

Jarius and a Woman

Our third story has two scenarios. First, Jarius, a synagogue ruler, has a daughter who is near death, and he pleads with Jesus to come and heal her. He has faith in him. After hearing reports that she has died, however, he loses confidence. Jesus ignores the report and encourages the synagogue leader, “don't be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36, NIV).

It is difficult to have faith in God in dark or impossible situations. We are glad for the man who had his daughter brought back to life, but we know it is not always God's will to heal. How do we not falter in our faith in such circumstances? The Lord wants us to trust him in all circumstances. Either he will bring physical healing if it pleases him, or he will bring emotional and spiritual healing to those who are left.

On the way to heal Jarius' daughter, a woman, who has some internal bleeding, touches Jesus.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment (Matthew 9:21-22, NIV).

God can heal if it pleases him. Ask him and have faith that he can do it.

Two Blind Men and one Lame Man

The stories of two blind men and a lame man also speak of the necessity of faith to be healed (Matthew 9 and John 5). There faith was rewarded—their site and limbs were restored.

When we come to God with confidence that he can answer our requests, he is pleased. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV). If a child came to us and asked us to do something for him but did not believe we would or could do it, would we do it for him? It is not likely that we would, for we would be offended. Unbelief is not only an offense to us; it is an offense to God. “.. without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). Do we believe that? Do we seek him? Are our beliefs expressed in what we say and do? James says in his book:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do (James 2:17-18, NIV)

Lessons to Live By (Overcoming our Fears)

•  Faith in God leads to peace and even sleep.

•  We must learn to trust God is our provider in all circumstances.

•  “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). (more...)

•  Faith conquers fear and brings peace and confidence that God will work out all things for his glory and what is best for us. Let's trust him even in the most difficult or impossible situations. Let's move forward in our confidence in the Lord.

note: Matthew 8:28 says two men were demon-possessed, while the other gospel accounts mention just one man. This can easily be reconciled if one man was much more violent than the other and had this reputation. Perhaps he was the leader.

Focus Verses

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV) “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

Watch a video of how Jesus calmed the storm.

Watch a video of Jesus casting out demons and sending them into pigs.

Watch a video of Jarius and the woman with an issue of blood.

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A Look Ahead: The demands upon Jesus are great and the religious leaders are trying to limit his influence. How does he Expand his Influence? How can we expand the message and work of the gospel? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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