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Don't Dread the Unknown

Anxiety Fear Worry

Source: "Doctors remove pea sprouting in man's lung" AP, 8/12/2010 5:48 PM

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Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2021-11-14

Scripture: Philippians 4:6

Author: Barnett Gushin


In August of 2010, the Associated Press reported the story of 75 yr. old Ron Sveden of Brewester, Mass., who was suffering from failing health, difficulty breathing, and aggravated coughing spells. Tests showed "an ominous dark spot" on his lung, which he concluded was probably cancer. 

Though Sveden himself feared the worst, his doctors told him that tests were inconclusive, and only exploratory surgery would prove definitive. Upon removal of the mass, lab work concluded it was nothing more than an aspirated pea which had sprouted in the dark, moist environment of his lung. Needless to say, Sveden was greatly relieved to know the certain doom he'd projected would not come to pass.


Don't dread the unknown...wait on God...sometimes what looks like an "ominous dark spot" is really just a pea sprout.  Unfounded speculations of what God has in store for us can prove to be the damp, dark environment in which fears and anxieties are left to grow unchecked.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

The Carrot And The Stick

Motivation Fear Love (Uncondtional)

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-12-20

Scripture: 1 John 4:18 ; 1 John 4:19

Author: Illustration Exchange


Carrot and stick motivation is a motivational approach that involves offering a reward—for good behavior and a negative consequence for poor behavior. 

The Carrot and Stick approach of motivation is based on the principles of reinforcement set forth by philosopher Jeremy Bentham, during the industrial revolution. It is derived from the old story of a donkey, who was motivated by a carrot dangling in front of him and the jab of a stick from behind.


Some people are carrot people and some are stick people.  Among Christians, the carrot people attend prosperity churches (where prosperity is promised to those with the appropriate amount of faith), while the stick people attend more legalistic churches (where punishment is threatened to those who fall short of obedience).

But when God’s love is described as unconditional in the Bible, it is saying that God has put down the stick and has thrown away the carrot.  God’s unconditional love is not a bribe.  God’s unconditional love is not a threat.

The truth is, neither the carrot nor the stick can produce unconditional love.  Both motivations are based on fear, so they are only able to produce fear and insecurity.  But when a person receives God’s unconditional love, all fear in their relationship with God is immediately dispatched.  That person becomes free of the carrot and of the stick.  Instead of being controlled by fear, they are now free to love God just because they want to, not because they are afraid not to. 

Only God's unconditional love can transform a human heart so that love is the only motivation it needs.  

"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first" (1 John 4:18-19).  

Curing The "Yips"

Intimidation Confidence Fear


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Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2020-08-14

Scripture: Philippians 3:10 ; Ephesians 6:19

Author: Neal Pollard


The term comes up most frequently in golf and baseball. In 1998, L.A. Times writer Thomas Bonk interviewed elderly PGA golfers like Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, and Paul Runyan, whose career went back to the 1920s and 1930s, to find out if they knew the origin of the word “yips.” Nelson said, “I first heard it when I was on the tour in the ’30s. It was always just there” (Thomas Bonk, 2/26/98, “‘Yips’ or ‘Twitches,’ Who Knows Origin?”). 

No less than the Mayo Clinic discuss this condition, which they describe as “involuntary wrist spasms that occur most commonly when golfers are trying to putt.” But, as they point out, anxiety makes it worse as the athlete “becomes nervous and self-focused–overthinking to the point of distraction–that their ability to execute a skill, such as putting, is impaired."

The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “Nervousness or tension that causes an athlete to fail to perform effectively, especially in missing short putts in golf.” I am more familiar with this term in baseball. Mackey Sasser was a catcher who, after a home plate collision, began having difficulty accurately throwing the baseball back to the pitcher. Second baseman Chuck Knoblauch started having trouble throwing accurately to first base. Pitcher Rick Ankiel could not keep from throwing wild pitches and Jon Lester, another pitcher, has had trouble for years throwing the ball to first base. 

Just Google “yips” and you can read about how traumatic and life-changing it is for those who once mindlessly, successfully did a task they ultimately found debilitatingly difficult to do. They consulted psychologists and hypnotists, struggling to get back to where they just didn’t think about the fundamental task that now overwhelmed them.

But, some have succeeded. Steve Sax, who suffered from the yips in 1983–the second baseman had 26 errors by the All-Star Break–would rebound to be the best defensive second baseman in 1989. He credits a conversation with his ailing father during the 1983 break. His father told him it wasn’t a mental block, but a temporary loss of confidence, that he needed to practice being more confident and it would positively affect his play.


Have you ever found it difficult to do something that once came easily or naturally? Has fear ever gripped you and become a roadblock to success? Certainly, there are mental health conditions that cause people to panic and wrestle with anxiety. But, what about the person who tried to share the gospel with a friend only to suffer rejection or maybe even embarrassment? What about the one who tried to gently confront someone at spiritual fault or overtaken by sin, who was rebuffed to such a degree that it was traumatic? What about the new Christian who was asked to lead public prayer, whose mind went blank, froze, and nearly couldn’t complete the task? There are several areas of Christian duty that can cause us to “freeze up” or shy away from doing them. An unpleasant experience can get into our heads and talk us out of trying to do them again. 

How can we overcome this? Consider a few tips from Scripture:

  • Forget the past and focus on the future (Phil. 3:10)
  • Pray for boldness and confidence (Acts 4:29,31)
  • Ask others to pray for your ability and boldness (Eph. 6:19)
  • Get others to join you or help, where possible (Ecc. 4:9-12)
  • Look to Christ for your confidence and success (Phil. 4:13)
  • Don’t let a past failure define you; Keep at the task (Acts 15:38 and 2 Tim. 4:11)
  • Elevate your motivation and remember why you do what you do (Col. 3:23)
  • Focus on those who may be taking their lead from you, who look to you as their model (1 Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7)
  • Rediscover the joy (Phil. 2:17)

These are just a few of the divine strategies from the mind of God. We have a Father who speaks to us in His Word. His counsel is also for us to practice being more confident, but to look to Him as the source of that confidence. The end result is more than mere professional success. We can impact eternity when we overcome any obstacle to our service. Do you need to “get back in there”? Utilize the tools He has given! You’ll be so glad you did, and so will others.

Strong Hands Soothe Fear

Fear Fatherhood Confidence

Contributed By: Ben Kurz | Date Posted: 2019-11-25

Scripture: Psalms 23:4 ; Isaiah 41:10

Author: Ben Kurz

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Roller Coaster Lines

Death Fear Judgment of Believers

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2016-10-26

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:54 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10

Author: Thomas Bevers

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The Rule of Love

Law (of God) Fear Jesus' Love

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-07-28

Scripture: John 1:17 ; 1 John 4:18

Author: Illustration Exchange

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God Watches Over Every Atom

God's Care Fear Apologetics

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-26

Scripture: Colossians 1:17

Author: Richard Swenson / Illustration Exchange

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Good Fear

Fear Wisdom Guidance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-01

Scripture: Proverbs 1:7

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Step Out of the Waiting Places

Opportunity Fear Complacency

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-03-25

Author: AJ Julian

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Afraid of the Light

Light Truth Fear

Contributed By: Chris Horton | Date Posted: 2015-03-07

Scripture: John 3:20

Author: John Lennox

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