CHAPTER 2  FEAR


                           THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN


                                      By

                                 Phil Scovell

                           Copyright (C) 2003/2007

                             All rights Reserved



                               CHAPTER 2  FEAR


          You  were a  Christian when  it  happened and  should have  known
     better.   What makes  it worse  is the fact  that you  are now  in the
     ministry full time  as a pastor.   You have secretly cried  buckets of
     tears, you have confessed it over  and over again until you were  sick
     of thinking about it, and you have even fasted hoping that would help.
     You would cut off your  right arm if that would make the  pain go away
     in  your heart.   You can't share  it with anyone because  you are the
     pastor.  If anyone knew, you would never have been voted the pastor of
     any of the churches  you have already served.  Your  wife doesn't even
     know and if she did, she would  surely leave you.  It just isn't fair.
     With all your  Biblical  knowledge, and training, for  some reason you
     aren't  able to get  free of the  horrible memory of your sin that has
     tortured you   spiritually for the past  25 years.  Although  you have
     only been with this present congregation for three years, your   logic
     dictates only one course of action left so you resign.  After all, you
     reason, moving and  beginning over again with  another congregation is
     the only  think that has ever helped diminish  the pain.  Three months
     later, you are pastoring another church.

          A year   passes and the memories remain  semi-dormant.  Preaching
     familiar  sermons  feels good again  and a measure  of joy returns  to
     your  life.   You have discovered that winning people to Christ brings
     honest genuine spiritual joy so  you structure your entire life around
     winning  as  many people to Christ as possible.  Night after night you
     leave  the house to spend your evenings witnessing and bringing people
     to  Christ.  As your family life begins to suffer from your  perpetual
     absence, your church begins to grow.  Furthermore, your youth ministry
     begins  to expand since so many new families have begun attending your
     church.   You  decide to  start a  Christian school  and the  ministry
     mushrooms.  Within two years, a new  building has to be built and  you
     plunge into a  building program.  You  have been working eighty   hour
     weeks for  nearly three  years and  without vacations.    This way  of
     living makes it impossible to think  about anything but the  ministry.
     The  voices are faint now in your mind and any time, they come around,
     you confess Scriptures  by the dozens.   Nothing is going to  stop you
     now.   You are on  the victory road.   God is on  your side and  He is
     pleased.

          One day, one of your church members is sitting in your office and
     pouring  out her heart.   You never liked  personal counseling  before
     but never understood why.  As you think about it, partially  listening
     to the crying woman on the other side of your new large   oak pastoral
     desk,  you suddenly  discover the  reason for  having no   interest in
     counseling.    Listening  to  other  people's  problems  triggers  the
     emotions which you  don't like facing  because they  lead you back  to
     memories you don't like remembering.  So you shove  at those emotions;
     trying to force them to the back of your mind.  In this case, you feel
     obligated   to  counsel with  this hurting  church member  because her
     husband  is   a  very influential  man  in both  your  church and  the
     community.  Besides, he donated nearly all the money to build  the new
     church  facilities.   You still wonder why no one has  ever  shown any
     interest in your own pain.  Of course, you realize, no body  knows the
     burden you have carried alone all these years because  you  have never
     told anyone and you know you can't.

          Suddenly you  are jerked back to the present.   The woman in your
     office is telling you that she has discovered her husband is having an
     affair with  another woman in your  church.  Something   triggers deep
     inside of you and you flush with such tremendous  heat, it  feels like
     you  have been spot lighted with the  brilliance  of the noon day sun.
     The odd thing is, you are ice cold.  Without  warning, the emotions of
     your  own woundedness slam  through into your  conscious thoughts with
     such Titanic force, you  almost lose control.  You sway  in your  seat
     from  the sudden  dizziness and nearly  fall out  of your chair.   The
     woman's voice to which you are listening grows faint.  "What is  wrong
     with  me?" you hear yourself screaming in your  mind.  It was  so loud
     in your thoughts, you almost think you screamed out loud.  Quickly you
     find a way of terminating the counseling session;  forgetting even  to
     pray with her before she leaves.

          One she has left, you lock the  door and you sit in your pastoral
     office and cry as you have never  cried before.  The  amorphous weight
     you  have carried around in  your mind  for all these years takes on a
     vocal personification  and  that  scares and frightens you  even more.
     You  are the pastor and things like this don't happen to pastors.  You
     hold  your breath as you hear it  say,  "You are living a lie.  No one
     like you should be  in the  ministry.  You can't  help people when you
     hurt someone yourself."  You pound your desk with your fists until the
     pain in your hands  quiets the evil accusing voices in your head.

          Going home,  you wait  till everyone  is in  bed and taking  your
     Bible, you  study and read  all night.   When morning comes,  you have
     dedicated  yourself  to  walking  in victory  because  you  have  been
     forgiven  and  you are  right with  God  and you  have been  called to
     pastor God's people.   You have spent  the night listing all  the good
     things God has done  in the past three  years in your ministry.   Life
     seems renewed and you can't wait to  preach your next sermon.

          Saturday night,  you look over  your sermon notes and  smile with
     confidence  that the  Holy Spirit  has really  given you  an excellent
     message for the  Lord's day.  You pray silently and thank the Lord for
     all His wonderful blessings.  You determine in your  mind that you are
     going to  come to  your church  the next  day and   join  in with  the
     worship as  never before.  Nothing is going  to  hold you back because
     you are walking in victory.

          Then the voices speak  again.  "It isn't gone.   It will never be
     gone.  It will happen again.  We will destroy you."

          You  are so startled, you leap  to your feet; knocking your chair
     over.   The voice was so real  and so strong, it sounded like whatever
     it was had to have been right in the room close to you.  A cold clammy
     feeling creeps over you and your  skin ripples with goose flesh.   You
     stand frozen  in  place; your  eyes darting  around the  room for  any
     little movement.  Holding your breath, you listen for the slightest of
     sounds.  Then you hear  it.  It is soft and  quiet at first but it  is
     there.  You clinch your hands into fists  as you feel the fear rising.
     The room seems to fill  with air as cold and clammy as a tomb.  Out of
     the corner of one eye, you think you see  a shadow and your head jerks
     sideways to see  but it is gone.   You  feel paralyzed  from the fear;
     afraid to even move.  You know  something is in the room.   You try to
     open your mouth to pray but   the fear seizes your throat; cutting off
     any sound.

          Suddenly the  entire room  explodes into hideous mocking laughter
     and  blocks out   all other sound.   You scream and  this time you can
     hear your own  terrified voice.

          Sunday morning, standing behind your  pulpit and holding on to it
     with both hands for support, you resign.

     COMMENTS ON FEAR

          Fear is so common  in the lives of  Christians, you could  almost
     call it the common cold of the church.  I have heard the definition of
     a "disease" referred to as "dis" "ease."   That certainly is true when
     it comes to fear.  Most Christians struggle with some type of dis-ease
     (unease)  in their walk  with the Lord  and it generally  is rooted in
     some sort of fear based thinking.

     THE FEAR OF ALARM

          I was out one night visiting  people who had come to the  church.
     My  friend and I,  in the dark,  pulled into an  apartment complex and
     drove around and around  the buildings until we found the  one we were
     looking for.  They all looked identical.

          Getting  out of  the car,  we eventually  found the  ground floor
     apartment we  wanted.  We actually had to step  down a couple of short
     steps to get to the front door of  the apartment.  We both heard a low
     growl which emanated  from the depths  of the biggest  dog I had  ever
     heard.  Now that  I think of it,  he sounded more like a  grizzly bear
     than a  dog but you know how your  imagination kicks in when something
     like this happens.  He was  hiding in the shadows of the front  of the
     apartment.  We froze.  The  dog came closer and dragging a chain  that
     sounded like it could hold an elephant from charging.  I am not afraid
     of dogs, nor was my friend, but we both thought the same thing at  the
     same time; "How long is that  chain."  Fortunately, we didn't have  to
     find out, although we both were poised to run, because the dog's owner
     was seated at his dinning room table and at the sound of his dog's low
     growl, he looked  up and saw us  through the picture window.   We were
     let in without incident.

          This type of fear I call the "Fear Of  Alarm."  We were justified
     in  being concerned about our well being  but never did I feel we were
     in  much danger.   Why?   Because we  heard the  dog was  chained and,
     besides, we both knew we could run for it if it came down to it.

          Concerning fear  in the life of a  Believer, we have two choices.
     We either freeze or run.   Most of us run from our fear  because it is
     easier than standing our ground and facing the truth.  The problem is,
     however, this fear of alarm is always there.  We are afraid the  chain
     might be so long, he can get to us or that we might not be able to get
     away.  In such cases, we remain  in a sustained attitude of alarm.  It
     is a lie, however, that the chain might be too long.  Satan knows this
     but he  banks on the idea that we don't know the chain is too short to
     allow  any harm to come to us as  God's children.  In short, we really
     don't  know who we are in Christ  so the chain, in our imagination, is
     long; way too long.

          In the story  you have just read,  the pastor ran from  his fear.
     In his case, however, his fear was rooted in a sin  which had occurred
     many years ago.  He had been forgiven but fear was the catalyst.  Fear
     can take  on so  many forms  in our  lives, it  would take  a book  to
     describe them all.  Even then, something would be overlooked.

          I can  well remember a time in  my life when we were  so broke, I
     was afraid of my own mailbox.  It seemed as if ever time I went to get
     the  mail, there was something in  it that I needed  to pay but had no
     money  to do so.  I was afraid  of being broke.  I capitalized upon my
     fear as often as I could  by thinking up how bad things could  get.  I
     could be forced out of the  home we were renting.  My  family wouldn't
     have enough  food.  We didn't have food much  of the time so that just
     confirmed my fear  was valid.  I eventually got  around to considering
     the fact I was  a failure and didn't deserve a thing from  God.  I got
     what I thought; nothing.  Fear drove my fear and made for fertile soil
     for a perfect plays for demons to plant even more lies in my thinking.
     I was,  in other words,  always spiritually alarmed something  bad was
     about to happen.   Something bad always seemed to happen, too, because
     I was always looking for it.  Now I know why.

     AMPLIFIED FEAR

          There  is  the  fear  generated  by fright.    This  is  normally
     something which  happens suddenly  without forewarning.   I call  this
     "Amplified Fear."  I can recall  this happening at least two times  to
     me.  Our home was broken into by a burglar.  Just as  we walked in the
     front  door, he  slipped out the  back.   We lost very  little but our
     entire apartment  was tossed and  things lay everywhere.   Fear became
     very real  to my wife  and me at  that time.   The fear was  strong at
     first  but  it amplified  the  more we  considered  the possibilities.
     Since we are both totally  blind, and at this time we had no children,
     every little noise made us jump.  Our fear amplified the  sounds until
     we were nearly sick of harm and danger.

          Let me  ask you this question.  Do you  think it is possible that
     Satan  might  use this  opportunity  to  create an  unholy  fear  in a
     person's life?   The answer is amazingly obvious.  Does Satan use such
     opportunities?   If you don't believe  he does, you  have already been
     deceived.

     THE FEAR OF APPREHENSION

     Another form of  fear is the fear of apprehension.  This fear works on
     guess work, creativity,  inventiveness, originality,  and the  general
     attitude of "Nothing is ever going to work out for me."  We don't need
     any demon  assistance in manufacturing apprehensive fear but they love
     to assist us in every way possible.

          Years ago  I was an assistant  pastor in a  wonderful little town
     with a wonderful  group of  people and a  wonderful pastor in  western
     Colorado.  It  was our first time  owning our own  home.  It was  also
     brand  new with  a huge fireplace  and the  valley was filled  with my
     favorite song  bird; the  meadowlark.   We  had humming  birds in  our
     backyard,  a clear view of the mountains out our front picture window,
     which didn't  help two  blind people  all that  much,  but our  guests
     thought it was nice, and  we could brag about it  to our friends.   In
     short, I was about the happiest I had ever been.  The pastor taught me
     a great deal and to this  day, he is one of my spiritual  heroes.  The
     problem was,  I didn't make much money.   I traveled and received some
     offerings but I  always believe  what I  had been told  and that  was,
     preachers  are supposed  to be  poor.   Not poor  preachers concerning
     their Sunday  morning sermon  delivery but financially.   So  we were,
     poor.  I  was always apprehensive  about paying our  bills.  I  didn't
     care about food because everyone in the church hunted and either lived
     on farms or  had huge gardens.   So food was  never a problem and  our
     freezer was always full of deer and elk stakes and garden vegetables.

          I  especially remember praying  one night by  myself; begging God
     for 200 dollars  to complete what I  needed to make my  house payment.
     It was  just a  couple of  days away.   I  promised God  all sorts  of
     things.  The main  thing I promised was never to doubt Him again if he
     would come up  with this 200  dollars.  "So, did  He?"  Of course.   A
     friend, who  had been  supporting me  100 dollars  a month,  had extra
     money from  his business so  he sent  me 200 dollars.   Like  a dummy,
     thinking he had surely  made a mistake and it was  an oversight on his
     behalf, I called him to check.  No, it wasn't a mistake.  He just felt
     led to send me 200 dollars that month.

          Now, you are probably asking, "Did you keep your promise?"  No, I
     didn't.   Why?  Because I was apprehensive  that God wouldn't keep His
     promises.   Because of who I was,  and perhaps wasn't in  His sight, I
     was afraid and the devil always reminded  me I was afraid as well.  In
     short, lie based thinking caused  me to doubt the Word of  god and His
     personal promises to me.

          In my earlier fictitious story in one of the chapters, the pastor
     moved from church to church and buried himself in the ministry to keep
     from being  afraid.  The  fear became so real,  demonic manifestations
     occurred.  There  isn't a pastor you know  that would admit to  such a
     thing in  his own life  but it  is common  and if it  is common  among
     pastors, what about  the rest of  us?  We  all run from  fear by  over
     eating, exercising,  exercising at eating, dieting, perhaps memorizing
     hundreds of Scripture verses, reading the Bible, buying every book and
     tape  we hear  about concerning  the  success in  the Christian  life,
     sometimes, but  not very often, fasting for up  to an hour, buying and
     wearing Christian T shirts with  good catchy slogans, being certain we
     have  a Bible  plaque with  some powerful Bible  verse engraved  on it
     hanging in every  room of the house,  or even wearing a  bracelet that
     has the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) on it.  We  run by changing
     churches every six  months to a year  or by visiting several  churches
     without ever joining one.   What do pastors do to run?   When I was an
     assistant  pastor,  I  heard that  most  pastors  in our  denomination
     changed churches every 2.5 years.  Running, running, running.

          Any type of fear, gives the  devil a perfect opportunity to plant
     his  own  ideas  in our  thoughts.    He can  amplify  such  things by
     including his  own feelings  and putting them  on top  of ours.   This
     isn't a book  on angels and demons  but if you have  trouble believing
     demons have  feelings and  can use their  thoughts against  us, either
     keep reading this book  or run as fast as you can.   It won't help but
     you will probably  be deceived into thinking  it does; if you  haven't
     been deceived already, that is.


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