I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category:

Seriously, though, I did try to give up dark chocolate for the 40-plus days leading up to Easter. It was an agonizing 40 minutes! This year, I’m attempting to give up something even more near and dear to me: fear.

As a self-employed freelance writer, speaker, editor and college instructor, fear has been a constant companion. In Freelance Land, it’s always “feast or famine”! So, while fear is an occupational hazard, Jesus claims it’s a spiritual hazard. Twenty-one times, the Gospels record Jesus telling His followers to “not be afraid” or “not fear” or “have courage” or “take heart” or “be of good cheer.” Twenty-one times! The “Greatest Commandment” to love God and our neighbors only gets eight mentions. So, by numbers alone, “fear not” is also a pretty great commandment.

Fear indicates I’m not trusting God

Jesus teaches:

      “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matthew 5:28-32).

Fear requires as much effort as trust

Fear is an emotional black hole that attempts to not only swallow up peace and joy, but energy and creativity. So, I’m trying to expend my energy on trust rather than fear, since both require the same effort.

Fear borrows trouble from tomorrow

      “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 5:34).

Tomorrow, it looks like I don’t have any paying work. Today, however, I have meaningful work. Today I have money in the bank and bills are paid. Today I’m healthy.

One of the best pieces of advice for the best-selling book Jesus Calling is to keep the door to tomorrow shut tight.

So, for Lent, I’m giving up fear. It’s going to be harder than giving up dark chocolate, but I’m praying for God’s strength and grace to give it up for forty-plus days. And, hopefully, make it a life-long lifestyle.

Copyright © 2010 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved

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‘Upgrading’ Hope&Humor

March 24th, 2014 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

websiteevolution

Happy anniversary!

On April 12, I’ll celebrate 17 years online. Over three million guests from over 120 countries have accessed over 350 articles, book excerpts, cartoons, original music and videos.

However, 17 years in Internet time is 17 million years! So, it’s time to “upgrade” to a new look and platform. My current site looks like a scene from “Hoarders,” so hopefully this format will be easier to navigate with everything easy to find and always up to date. And you can now comment on each post and page. (Right now, I’ve updated and posted the 50 most popular pages from the last several years. Some pages did seem 17 million years old!)

Help spread the encouraging word

You can help spread the hope and humor by telling your online friends about www.jameswatkins.com (same address as before), post a recommendation on Facebook and Twitter, as well as following new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the RSS feed to the right. And if you find any glitches, leave a comment and I’ll fix it right away.

You can also click to provide a tax-deductible donation to the cause of hope and humor.

Thanks for seventeen years of following hope and humor!

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2).
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