PREPARATION FOR THE ENDTIMES
Proven Biblical Strategies I Used to Win the War
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations in this book are taken from the New King James Version, Holy Bible. Copyright © 1979,1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Publishers.
Used by permission.
Copyright © 2016 by John Corin
All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.
Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the publisher.
FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US
THE SPIRIT OF FEAR;
BUT OF POWER,
AND OF LOVE,
AND OF A SOUND MIND.
2 TIM 1.7.
Who has not at some time felt afraid, even very afraid? To some degree and at some time this disquieting emotion has affected us all; it is the common lot of mankind. Perhaps it was butterflies in the stomach at the thought of giving a speech, sleeplessness over an important event looming, or the sick feeling in the stomach when faced a fierce dog blocking a pathway, symptoms of fear everyone has. But for a growing number of people this unpleasant emotion has become more than just occasional. As they toss and turn in their beds or daily consume antacids for a churning stomach, many increasingly now suffer with chronic anxiety. Tension headaches incapacitate many more and some freak out with alarm as the icy fingers of a ‘panic attack’ grips their heart? And millions more almost certainly seek relief with comfort food, medications, cigarettes, alcohol or by taking marijuana and other drugs for underlying worry?
If fear has become your constant companion, something you can’t shake off, you will find the answers to it in this book I have written from my own experience battling fear. Whatever level of distress, whether it is low-grade worry, unnerving anxiety or crippling fear from a phobia, I believe what you read will help you in your battle to beat what holds you captive. I may not give you the answers you want to hear or offer a solution for every issue, but in some way I know the book will be of help. Even if your fear is serious and brought dysfunctional behaviour, the strategies I share will give you real keys to beating it. You will find help too for some health issues such as stomach ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure and those other ailments induced or aggravated by fear.
Rather than the problem diminishing, fear is on the increase as we head into this twenty first century, impacting many in significant ways. We are more afraid despite our ‘high tech’ security systems for personal security and investments hedging us against a financial downturn. Why is this? Some lay the blame on the current prospect of terrorism compounding any existing anxieties we have about personal safety. Others lay it at the feet of the disintegration of the family unit and insecurity this has wrought; some blame the breakdown of society in general while a few finger environment as the main culprit with its threats from toxins and diseases. Whatever the cause, we know not just the ungodly, but Christians too are impacted by this pervasive climate of anxiety.
In fact, as a Christian you may feel ashamed how fear controls your life and especially how it restricts your freedom to serve the Lord? Well don’t be. I certainly don’t condemn you, nor will I tell you to have more faith to beat it or say worry is a sin and sternly rebuke you. Neither will I use the Bible to beat you over the head for this or any other failure. I have walked in your shoes and for those who battle this enemy of personal peace I only have empathy and not condemnation. My goal in this book is to encourage and inspire you with hope there is an answer. What I offer are practical strategies the Lord showed me in the Bible more than forty years ago to beat my fear. And what worked for me I know can work for you. So I share them with confidence that you too can win this war if you are willing to pay the price to obtain your freedom that must be paid.
Now the fundamental answer to fear, as it is for all problems (sin, sickness, loneliness etc), is found in claiming what our redemption on the Cross purchased for us. Our salvation is in the atonement of Calvary; it provides a solution to every adverse outcome we have suffered since the fall of mankind. And fear is certainly one of the glaring tragedies of our sinful condition. The answer to your freedom from fear is found in the making good what the atonement secured for humanity. God has done His part and provided the solution; it is up to you to appropriate the redemption you have from the curse of ‘law of sin and death’. Waging warfare against your enemy fear (be assured it is an enemy) must be firmly based in the victory Calvary secured for all believers. We are to overcome by what ‘the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev 12.11) represents. And to secure this freedom we legally have, the Bible reveals the artillery needed for the fight. Our ‘commander in chief’ has given specific instructions in His ‘manual for living’, clear strategies to help us win the victory over a formidable foe. But it is up to us to put them into practice; God will teach our ‘hands to wage war’, but will not do what He has asked us to do. So the bottom line is; are you ready to do everything the Lord requires to war against this enemy. You will only do it with His strength and by the leading of the Spirit of God, but the decision to wage war is up to you. You alone are the key to success in the war with fear.
The psalmist said ‘I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears’. (Ps 34.4) A verse that surely gives us hope this war can be won. But note, the psalmist does not say the deliverance was necessarily instantaneous; almost certainly, it was achieved over time, short or long, and it will be the same for you. So don’t fret long as to how long it takes; over the long term your freedom is assured if you are willing to employ biblical military strategies. Success will come as each small battle is fought and won, one encounter at a time, until the final one and the war is decided. Much as we would like it to be, victory over fear is almost never a fight won by ‘a knock out in the first round’. But it can be won!
So despair no longer if you are sick and tired of fear’s torment. Study the strategies I share in this book, put them into practice and persist with them until success comes. The main thing is not to give up when you have reversals along the way. And to be realistic, there will be resistance to your efforts to become free you need to anticipate. Expect a fierce fight, even a ‘dirty one’ and count on the counter attacks. But having said that, there is no reason why what I share will not do for you what these truths have done for me. Meditate therefore on the instructions to gain understanding and make sure to seek the Lord for grace to conscientiously apply them.
First though, I need to show what you are up against. Many Christians are unaware what their fear really is and what I want to convey about this is vitally important. It is not what most think. By this I mean, fear is not only natural as hidden spiritual elements are always involved. Therefore, I need to persuade you fear is not your friend (except in a very limited way); it is an enemy and it is imperative I convince you of its malicious intent. Not only toward you, but towards the church in general and the Kingdom of God. Because of fear, too many of God’s children are prevented from witnessing, from taking up a vocation of missionary work or other avenues of service for it ever to be a friend. No, by any stretch of the imagination, fear is not a blessing; it is a curse God wants you free from, not only for the quality of life you’re entitled to, but also for His own honour. My prayer then is that after reading my book you too will join the army of those who rise up with renewed courage to ‘stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made (them) free’. (Gal 5.1).
In an act of faith, you can even now start to proclaim your freedom. If you are a redeemed believer in Christ, why not start your military campaign with a ‘declaration of independence’? Speak out loud to the powers of darkness fuelling your fears and tell them you are determined to wage war against their tyranny. Tell them also you will fight on through disappointments and reversals, indeed persist until every tormenting thought and debilitating emotion is gone. By confessing with your mouth and ‘call(ing) things that are not as though they were’(Rom 4.17) the word of faith you speak can prophesy a future you will see come to pass. So open your mouth to speak your deliverance right now. Don’t let fear scare you with thoughts about any repercussion the declaration may bring. God is on your side and He will fight for you; so be brave and hesitate no longer. What is the alternative? It is to continue to be tormented and miserable and as fear takes its toll become more physically and emotionally dysfunctional.
I pray you will not delay but decide to fight for your freedom. Now I do not promise you glory without some ‘guts’, but any sacrifice and effort you make will be well worth it. May the Lord bless you in your war to beat fear.
I will never forget the day I found a steeply descending hill as an adventurous boy about 10 years old looking for a thrill on my push bike. It was an opportunity for adventure I couldn’t miss! Impulsively, I launched the bike down the slope and within fifty metres had gathered enough speed to be racing toward the bottom hidden in the shadow of trees. What more of an adventure could I ask; the wind was stinging my face, my heart was beating faster and faster and my fingers gripped the handlebars ever tighter as I headed towards the shadows.
It was about half way down the hill I realised something in those shadows had escaped my attention. The road at the bottom of the hill took an unnoticed turn, one sharper than I could safely navigate at speed. There was no doubt about it, I was heading for disaster if I did not apply the brakes quickly and forcefully. The problem was, I had left it too late to safely do this. Besides, it never was my intention to use the brakes from the beginning, they only spoiled an adventure!
This was the moment when terror dug its icy claws into my heart. And soon after, there formed in my imagination an awful scene of my approaching future. In my mind’s eye I could clearly see a twisted bike with different parts of my anatomy spread all over the road along with a copious amount of blood. (I think the imagined scene had something to do with a gruesome motorbike accident I came across as a young child. I was there soon after it happened and the scene of a road covered with blood haunted me for years.) My future in this adventure was not going to be a pretty sight and the end would undoubtedly be painful.
Fortunately, the conclusion was not as disastrous as I imagined. Despite my panic and a mind ‘frozen’ with fear, I managed by sheer willpower and physical strength to force the bike to lean in the direction of the bend. As I hurtled ever closer to the bottom of the hill, little by little it veered where I needed to go. When I finally did strike the raised kerb of the bend with a jarring jolt it was more a glancing blow, and after wobbling for a few seconds I toppled from the bike to sprawl on the hard road with only moderate force. The outcome was more a loss of face than skin or blood. In a few weeks the gravel grazes and cuts to my arms and legs were healed, even if my pride was not.
Perhaps terror has not seized you like this, but for me it was a traumatic experience, one that will never be forgotten (although it does not any longer cause emotional distress). If you have known fear like this you will also know what a powerful and debilitating emotion it can be; it torments the mind, distresses the soul and exhausts the body. Possibly no other emotion can affect us so negatively. Although it can galvanise us to action when faced with danger, its harmful effects far outweigh any benefit it gives. It is decidedly more of a hostile enemy than a welcome friend.
Although this experience of sheer panic was new to me, fear in general was not. It had been my companion from early infancy, a buffeting adversary that had never left me alone for long. Only at seventeen years of age when I was converted (‘born again’) did I find relief after discovering divine strategies to beat it. Praise God, from a life racked with worry, nervousness and anxiety, almost immediately it started to change to one of peace and joy. Now to be honest; it didn’t recede all at once, but as I diligently applied the truths God taught me fear did give way. The strategies I share in this book are the ones that gave me this freedom. Undoubtedly a number of factors caused fear to impact me for the seventeen years until my conversion and the first would have to be my birth. I was born (along with a twin brother) during the Second World War to a sensitive, ‘nervy’ mother. We were premature babies, born when she was in her mid thirties and in addition to the stress of the world conflict she struggled to cope with mothering three older children and a philandering husband. Two new babies in addition to the others proved too much; she suffered a nervous breakdown and my brother and I to be taken away and cared for by a professional baby nurse. As you can imagine, tearing me from my ‘mooring’ in the early months of my life had a deep impact; I lost the only person who could give me, a highly strung and sensitive child, the security and love I needed. Fear wrapped its tentacles around my tender heart to make me the fretful and anxious child I soon became.
My father, an emotional cripple, provided for us materially but was unable to compensate for the loss of motherly affection and show the love I needed most. Eventually my brother and I were returned to my mother’s care, but the trauma of the separation had damaged me. This, along with the sibling rivalry later on for our mother’s affection all provided the fertile soil for inferiority, insecurity and a lack of identity to take root in my heart. Roots that soon sprouted to make me an anxious, nervous and timid child. Evidenced by my wetting the bed till late infancy, constantly chewing my fingernails and t painful shyness that forced me to run and hide under a bed when strangers visited. An anxiety that broke out in a psychosomatic disorder in my pre-teens causing me to arrive home from school several days each week doubled over with excruciating pain. After examinations by doctors, including a specialist who called it a ‘migraine stomach’, these cramps strangely and inexplicably stopped. No organic cause for the pains was ever found.
However any sense of relief I enjoyed was short lived. Soon after this I was stricken with a speech impediment, an embarrassing stutter that plagued me for six or more years. As an extremely sensitive teenager this only increased my fear as I was daily humiliated before my peers at school and friends in the neighbourhood. I was unable to say my name when called in class roll or give any kind of speech in public, and to talk on the telephone was especially traumatic. It was a disability that bode a future of ostracism with the real prospect of failing in any career I undertook and marriage.
Thankfully, my life radically changed when the local storekeeper witnessed to me about Jesus Christ and the salvation He offered soon after my first year of pharmacy studies (but with a real concern as to how I could function in such a role). After offering some protracted resistance to the claims of the gospel I eventually committed my life to Christ and began a journey that has been ongoing now for more than 50 years. In my mind, there is no doubt becoming a committed Christian was the important door that put me on the pathway to freedom from fear and the stuttering. I will be forever grateful to the Lord for the salvation I found in Christ, not only for my sins, but also for setting me free from the affliction that caused me so much suffering.
Not only did I complete my professional studies and practiced retail pharmacy for 15 years, I entered full time Christian ministry to serve in Churches and Bible Colleges in two nations. One of the first signs of victory over fear, one my mother noticed, was my nervous nail biting habit had virtually stopped overnight. Other victories followed at a slower pace and, in fact, it took some years before I had total freedom from the stuttering. Yes, to my delight, Jesus and His written word, the Bible, had the answers I needed. I did not have to go to speech therapists or other ‘professionals’ with dubious cures or dangerous remedies such as hypnotherapy to make me ‘normal’.
I admit, this did take real effort and a lot of patience on my part. The fight was fierce and ‘bloody’ and at times demanded an extreme effort to battle through disappointments and setbacks. It was certainly not easy and in my lowest moments I wondered if it was worth it all. It was only when free of the stuttering and not having to hide from any socialising did I realise how insignificant the cost was compared to the joy of living free. Indeed, I have confidently faced crowds in the hundreds in my public speaking role, all without any butterflies having their butterflies. Hallelujah!
Even now, these many years later, some of the old anxiety will rear its head when I am tired or stressed. But once again victory over my old enemy is mine if I make the effort to use the keys God originally showed me. I also fully recognise we cannot avoid all together being afraid. None of us escape it when faced with an event like a terrorist attack or other traumatic situations beyond our control. And I recognise that to have a concern, even some worry over responsibilities we have can be a healthy motivation. What we should not have to suffer however is a level of anxiety that makes us chronically stressed, sick or dysfunctional.
Now, I need to admit upfront is the approach I am about to share to ‘beat fear’ is an unashamedly biblical. I do not have any ‘new age’ techniques or insights from modern psychology, even if some of these are useful and I am not against these per se. My approach therefore may be too narrow and restrictive for some. My only defence is that my intention is to share the insights I was given, not what others advocate. To read other books with their secular answers may be of some benefit even though I personally stayed clear of them. Many of the answers they give have ‘side effects’ and unintended consequences akin to how some medicinal remedies affect us! As far as I am concerned, we have answers to fear in the ‘owner’s manual’ (the Bible) the Lord has provided; ones that are sufficient for ‘life and godliness’. To drink from the ‘broken cisterns’ of this world that may have hidden consequences is both risky and unnecessary. Having said that, I am also not against consulting professional help or even using prescribed medication to cope with severe fear where necessary.
The strategies I offer are found in a single text of scripture, that of 2 Tim 1.7 ‘for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’. This was the divine answer the apostle Paul gave to a timid Timothy, a battle plan he felt his fearful ‘son in the faith’ needed. It was the plan I was shown by the Lord to beat my fear. Notice first, how this text strongly intimates fear has a spiritual component; an important truth I found to be the key to winning the fight and something I will address later on. Next, notice Timothy is given three divine antidote(s) to fear; that of power, love and a sound mind. We will look at each of these in depth that our heavenly ‘Physician’ has prescribed for the fearful.
None of the strategies I share are difficult to understand or apply and they will work for you as they did for me if you are determined to persist with them. Now, your fear problem may be more extreme than the examples I give. Be assured however, although it may take longer, success can be yours too if you follow the plan I lay out. One other point; I acknowledge those with severe fear will almost certainly need Christian counselling and assistance that a book like this cannot provide. I discuss some of these issues in chapter five.
Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for [[
2 Cor 2.11.]]
A successful tactic used in war is is to hide from an enemy your true identity. ‘Fear’ finds this battle tactic especially useful to camouflage its evil work, disguising itself in a number of seemingly unrelated physical, emotional and mental conditions. Many times we misunderstand our true foe and don’t know that fear is the real problem, all because it so skilfully deceives us. And by obscuring its real nature and intent, fear gains the upper hand. This of course is why it is so hard to defeat guerrillas and terrorists using the same ploy. One of the first lessons you must learn is; it is nearly impossible to combat fear with the right armaments and strategy without a clear understanding of its identity and capability.
Naturally, proper reconnaissance and ‘military intelligence’ is utilised to counter this subterfuge. For those given to fear, especially a fear of the unknown, a most unhelpful scenario exists without such information. Let’s see then if we can identify the true nature of fear and some of the ways it masks its true identity. Without its true nature exposed, you probably will fail to recognise how much of the stress, tension, anger and other problems you suffer is really from underlying fear. The following ‘identikit’ I propose will hopefully be of value.
This ‘identikit’ will not satisfy everyone; as a subjective experience in the main, fear is different for each of us. Hence, I will try to describe it in the widest possible terms to identify its multifaceted effect so it will not escape your detection. Unfortunately, few appreciate how extensive the ‘footprint’ of fear is; how in a host of obvious and not so obvious ways it affects individuals and society. Hopefully the following ‘identikit’ will remedy this and better equip you for the battle. As a start, the technical definition of fear is; a sense of apprehension or dread, caused by an expectation of threat to ones well being.
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Few doubt we now face â€˜perilous timesâ€™ ahead and the climate of fear of these times is already more than troubling for many; it is distressing, even debilitating. â€˜How you can beat Fearâ€™ explores the Biblical text 2 Tim 1.7, convincingly showing how the prescribed antidotes to fear are Power, Love and a Sound Mind. Using insights from his own very personal battle with fear and from a counselling ministry of more than 20 years the author reveals the practical steps anyone can take to take to win the war. Each â€˜antidoteâ€™ is explored in depth and a clear explanation given of the strategies they provide. Topics include; * How to counteract the great hoax fear uses to trap us * How to get a â€˜stomachâ€™ for war * How to battle intimidation * Why only humility will beat some fears * The key to understanding phobias * * How â€˜perfect love casts out fearâ€™ * The key to beating a fear of man * How to beat the fear of rejection * What can be done for extreme fear. John Corin and his wife Dulcie, are the Directors of FairHavens, an independent Prayer Counselling ministry founded in 2000 to serve the churches of Perth, Western Australia. Before this he served 15 years in full time pastoral and lecturing ministry in Pentecostal Churches and Bible Colleges.