“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I come that they may have life — and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10

Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:

  • This mystical passage, from the Gospel Writer Called John, is part of Jesus’s teaching about our relationship with God as a shepherd.
  • Throughout the gospels, Jesus’s wisdom guides us to abundant life, even in challenging times and difficult situations. His emphasis continually directs our attention to God as the Source, Substance, and Sustenance of our lives.
  • Like a shepherd leading a flock, God guides us to where we need to be. But we choose whether we’ll focus our attention on God and follow God’s direction.
  • If we choose to “stray,” per se, from God’s direction and our own still, small voice, we may find ourselves in frightening, disheartening experiences. And sometimes, fear can seize us, shrink our worldview, sap our energy, and diminish our sense of purpose.
  • As numerous mental health professionals explain, fear is a thief that robs us of vitality and joy. Forrest Talley, a clinical psychologist, explains in a November 2019 Psychology Today article that fear leaves “anxious concerns about the future in its stead. By whispering a million reasons not to take action, it steals opportunities that would otherwise make your heart pound with excitement and lead to a life more fully lived.”
  • In her book, Open Your Mind and Be Healed, Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, teaches: “There is nothing to fear by choosing life. You are choosing to take the words out of the books, off the pages, and out of the churches. You are choosing to permit the all of God to express through your body. . . . You choose to follow your elder brother and Wayshower, Jesus.  . . . You choose to know the truth that you are made of the substance of God.  The substance of God is perfect, whole, complete, changeless, and ageless.”

Contemplation Questions:

Ask yourself:

  • When I reflect on my life now, what do I fear?
    • Without analysis or judgment, list, word map, or illustrate all the fears.
  • When I consider this list of fears, which are mine and which have I inherited from well-meaning, though misguided others, such as relatives or the media?
    • Separate the fears, noting which fears are which.
  • When I consider the list of fears again, whether my own or another’s, how am I being robbed?
    • List, word, map, or illustrate everything lost or taken from you because of the fear.
  • What do I do that focuses much more of my attention on fears, rather than on God?
    • List, word, map, or illustrate any ways you focus on fear.
  • When I breathe deeply into my body and contemplate Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon’s declaration that I have nothing to fear by choosing life, how do I feel?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all your feelings.
  • When I breathe deeply into my body and imagine that I am following God as Jesus and other spiritual masters have, how do I feel?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all your feelings.
  • When I breathe deeply into my body and recognize that I am made of the substance of God which is perfect, whole, complete, changeless, and ageless how do I feel?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all your feelings.
  • Considering both fears and feelings, what are at least three (3) things I can do to develop a strong, courageous focus and shift my vision beyond fear?
    • List, word map, or illustrate everything you can imagine.
    • Then, review the fears you noted previously and begin applying your new strategies one by one.
  • Who are at least three (3) wise, trustworthy, loving people in my life who can encourage me as I focus on everything life-affirming for me and move beyond fears?
    • Note who these people are.
    • Note what you will do to stay connected with them.

Work slowly with this devotional, especially if you have felt overcome with fears.  Take one fear at a time and do whatever you can to gently shift your focus and efforts beyond them.  You can affirm something like: “I have nothing to fear.  You [whatever fear is] have no power over me.  I am strong and courageous.  I choose to move ahead, and I choose [whatever life-affirming thing you are choosing instead.]”

Also, if possible, keep a sense of humor in the process.  Sometimes, when we step into the unknown and stare fear in the face, we realize that we’re more courageous than we imagined.  For more about that in my life, and about overcoming fear, see my blog, “Face Everything and Rise.”

© 2021 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.

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