The ghost you’ve probably encountered . . .

Fear is such prevailing issue, I’ve focused on it the last two months:

https://davidrische.com/2018/09/ and

https://davidrische.com/2018/08/

I wanted to close out the series with a final word (maybe) on the topic. Why does it seem that there are certain things we just can’t seem to get past? Or if we are victorious, why do we sometimes we fall back into the same patterns again of uncertainty, lack of confidence, doubt, and of course, fear?

The Bible talks quite a bit about the unseen/spiritual realm. The Apostle Paul viewed it like this:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 14:8)

For the purpose of this writing, I’m going to use the words ghost and spirit interchangeably. Check out this passage:

For God hath not given us the spirit (ghost – my word) of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)

So according to this verse – such a being exists called “the spirit of fear.” The good news is that God hasn’t given it to us. Unfortunately for a myriad of reasons – most of us still end up receiving this spirit. The great news is that the answer to fighting it is found in the very same sentence. In fact, the spirit of fear is outnumbered 3 to 1. We battle that spirit with power from God, love from God, and a sound mind from God’s Word.

Power – But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) God’s power, might, and strength can easily overshadow any evil spirit, especially fear.

LoveGod is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them . . . Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. (1 John 4:16, 18) Pretty self-explanatory! And finally . . .

Sound MindYou will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3) It is phenomenal how much research is out there regarding the power of our thoughts, attitudes, and mindsets. What is even more amazing is the power we have to choose for our thoughts to go a different direction when fear and anxiety start to creep in. Replacing negative and fearful thoughts with scriptures, thankfulness, gratitude, hope, and positivity – helps overload our brains with the truth.

The Prophet Isaiah leaves us with this word of encouragement:

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. If you haven’t received my free guide “Overcoming Fears” – please shoot me a quick email and I will send it to you. My address is: david.rische@gmail.com and put “fear guide” in the subject line.

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Google Knows What You’re Afraid Of

Have you had an experience like this when on your computer? It is concerning when I accidentally clicked on a Statistics Conference in Baltimore – and now I am receiving non-stop notifications, advertisements, and alerts about it. How about this one: You are casually talking to someone about something – you go online, and that very thing you were talking about is in an ad? That’s spooky.

You can find almost anything on Google. I did a search wondering about: what do people fear the most? The majority of the lists are similar, so I condensed them into one. To find out what they are – please email me at david.rische@gmail.com (paste into your email server). In the subject line simply put “fear guide”. I will send you a free full-color guide I created (might take a few days – I’m a one man operation). The top ten and one-half fears are listed, but each one is also accompanied with a scripture verse. God’s Word is used to comfort us, give us hope, and equip us with weapons against fear.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10: 4,5)

Please contact me for this resource. I would also like to add you to my email subscriber list if you’re not already on there.

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. Again that’s david.rische@gmail.com. Subject line “fear guide”. Even though it is Photoshopped – my favorite picture is on the very last page of the guide. In the comments or through an email reply, please let me know if the guide helps you 🙂

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FEAR – What It Really Stands For

Fear, anxiety, and stress can be an unholy trinity. One or more of the three are probably present somewhere our lives right now. Watching the news or browsing the internet usually adds fuel to the fire – rarely do we walk away feeling better, encouraged, or inspired. Out of the three – Fear is the king. When we’re afraid – that smoothly leads down the path to anxiety and stress.

Fear of the future. Fears from the past. Fears about running out of money. Fear of not being able to pay off an insurmountable pile of debt. Fear of losing our jobs. Fear of a health diagnosis. Fear of terrorists. Fear of war. Fear of death. Fear of letting our kids go outside alone. Fear if our kids are going to turn out okay. Fear that someone is upset with us. Fear that a relationship is not going to work out. Fear of public speaking.

I could go on for pages and pages. This is such a predominant topic that I want to spend the next few blogs unmasking this subject. Plus, I have a free resource that will be available in just a few weeks can help you in your fight against fear.

The word “fear” is really an acronym. Two of the acronyms are negative, one is positive. It all depends on our perspective we choose to take. I’ve heard these acronyms in speeches, sermons, and they are all over the internet – so I have no idea who to give credit to for creating them.

  1. FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. The stories we tell ourselves. A thought enters our minds and a downward spiral begins. I’ve read studies showing that 85% to as high as 95% of what we fear is going to happen never does. Or, our image of what could happen compared to what really happens is drastically different.
  2. FEAR = Forget Everything And Run. Of course, there are those obvious things to run from – a snake in your path (actually, slowly walk backward with snakes), a natural disaster coming your way, or a bad decision that you need to walk away from, or someone trying to take advantage of you. I’m talking more about: The uncomfortable conversation we need to have and avoid – or better yet, go gripe to someone else about it. The position we want to try out for – but are afraid we won’t get it and talk ourselves out of even attempting it. Frustration with our finances – but unwilling to do anything to change our lifestyles. Feelings of hopelessness when you consider pursuing a dream. If any of these resonate with you – I’m right there too.

However, there is another way to confront our fears:

3. FEAR = Face Everything And Rise. Reflect on the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Really think deeply about that statement. Author John Eldredge puts it this way, “Walk right into those situations you normally run from. Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over . . . this is where you will discover your strength, in the daily details of your life. Begin to taste your true strength and you’ll want more.” (Wild at Heart) Sara Bareilles sings, ” . . . I want to see you be brave!!!”

Don’t get me wrong. If our children end up in the hospital – the common, normal response is fear. It’s how we are wired and is our first reaction. However, after that – we can choose to control our second reaction. Possibly filling our minds with positive thoughts, pray, talk to somebody, read Scripture,  and keep clinging to hope.

Bonus acronym from the internet!

Face It
Explore It
Accept It
Rise Above

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.  (1 John 4:18 NLT)

 

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

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Becoming Spirtitual S.E.A.L.S.

The Navy SEALs continue to fascinate me, two of my blogs have been about them in the past (please see June 1, 2017  and November 2015). Who knows everything they secretly accomplish behind the scenes and what sacrifices they pay? Part of me wants to become one – without becoming one. Many leadership books and articles about them have come across my path. I bought a SEAL t-shirt at a speaking engagement and frequently wear it in public. As of today, no one has asked me if I’m a current or former SEAL.  For $19.95, I purchased an online course called “The Navy SEAL 30 Day Mental Toughness Challenge.”  So far I’m 67 days into it – and still haven’t finished.

One day on a walk, I was contemplating if there was some type of equivalent to the Navy SEALs in the spiritual realm? A way to go deeper in our relationship with God? We know the obvious ways of studying the Bible, praying, going to church, serving, giving, and sharing our faith with others. Is there something more? After extensive searching and reflection – I created an acronym for SEALS:

Silence
Eating Less (or Fasting)
Alertness
Leisure (or a Sabbath Day)
Suffering

Let’s break down each one of them. Please don’t attempt all of these at once.

  1. Silence – Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46: 10) It is incredibly difficult to sit still and do nothing. Boredom has become a thing of the past. Multiple studies show that we look at our phones over 100 times per day! Psychiatrists are now treating people of all ages with the clinical diagnosis of Screen Addiction, Hypertexting, Social Isolation, and Facebook Depression (from the book Glow Kids). One remedy? How about a daily walk (and leave your phone)? C.S. Lewis believed if physically capable, everyone should take a walk every day. Maybe start small, 3 out of 7 days. It is a chance to think freely, create, dream, pray, vent, admire the outdoors, and be thankful. If nothing else, you’ll be a hero in your dog’s eyes.
  2. Eating Less (or Fasting) – I denied myself by fasting for them. (Psalm 35:13) One common theme found throughout the Bible is that when people were serious about praying, fasting was accompanied with it. This is not a way to “twist God’s arm” – but a way to humble ourselves, dedicate that eating time to God, and to get a little bit uncomfortable. Confession time – I struggle big time with this one. My four basic food groups are Mexican, Italian, BBQ, and Chocolate. Again, start small. Maybe miss one meal during the week. Spend that time with God instead.
  3. Alertness – Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. (1 Peter 5: 8,9) This one speaks for itself – having discernment about what is really going on around you. Jon Gordon states that “the narrative of the universe is the tale of good vs. evil.” Just look at all of the popular stories and movies with this theme (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superheroes, Disney films). In the Old Testament, it is said that from the tribe of Issachar, “All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take” (1 Chronicles 12: 32). We can pray to God for true insight, and ask Him for the eyes to see beyond the physical into the invisible realm.
  4. Leisure (or a Sabbath day) – Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20: 8) This can be a fun one if we allow it! A day off of pleasure, resting, and leisure – and it doesn’t have to be Sunday! Two great books on this subject are Sabbath by Dan Allender and Addicted To Busy by Brady Boyd. Allender states: “The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight. The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives. Without question or thought, it is the best day of the week. It is the day we anticipate.” Do we have anything that remotely resembles that in our fast-paced, schedule packed, and screen driven lives? This one is easy – pick one day of the week, every week. Schedule nothing – or, incredibly fun activities that will rejuvenate and connect you and your family.
  5. Suffering – Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. (Romans 8: 18) This is the toughest and probably the least popular one. The other 4 we have a choice in the matter. Christine Caine states, “Trials and tribulations don’t check with your schedule.” Suffering is extremely personalized – from the teenager being bullied – to the citizen of China who belongs to an underground church and fears for his life. SEALs get so tough because of their intense, painful, and extremely uncomfortable training. In a similar way, we grow in character and strength – through struggles, hassles, disappointments, tragedy, pain, and loss. The apostle Paul reassures that we’re not alone:  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  (Romans 8:17)

A Navy SEAL spends nearly every day of their career focusing on getting 1% better than the day before – what would happen if we did the same?

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. There is so much more material on these topics – please let me know in Comments if you’d perhaps be interested in reading a book regarding this subject sometime in the future 🙂

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Discovered! The Lost Kingdom of Elysium

Deep inside, don’t you think life should be getting easier the older and wiser we get? Shouldn’t there be fewer problems, issues, stress, disappointments – and more money stashed away?

Why is it then . . .

We go to the doctor for one thing, and they find something else?

You pay top dollar to have the AC fixed in your car, but they also discover you need a new set of tires to replace the bald ones?

The exterminator takes care of the fire ant armies attacking your land, only to discover clans of squirrels that have discovered a cozy residence in many private entrances to your attic?

How can we be middle-aged and still battling acne???

BTW – All the above situations are purely fiction and hypothetical 🙂

So what in the world does my above ranting have to do with Elysium? What in the heck is Elysium? I’m glad you asked!

Several ancient cultures, primarily the Greek and Romans, believed in something besides Heaven when we die, a magical paradise called Elysium. Here are just a few samples of the writings from that period:

. . . to the Elysian plain . . . where life is easiest for men . . . ” – Homer

“. . . And they live untouched by sorrow . . . ” – Hesiod

“. . . The good receive a life free from toil . . .” – Pindar

A place of paradise, an easy life, no sorrow, free from toil – that sounds pretty great right about now! Basically, it would be heaven on earth – where do I sign up???

My light bulb moment is that deep in the back of my mind – I somehow think I should eventually achieve an “Elysium lifestyle” before my time is up. Things will stop breaking down, illness will cease, problems should be minuscule, and piles of money will somehow come rolling in on a fairly consistent basis.

The Kingdom of Elysium is an unhealthy mindset that I frequently default to during the here and now.

Author Ryan Holiday has this brilliant insight:

Elysium is a myth. One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles. On the contrary, the more you accomplish, the more things will stand in your way. There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.” (The Obstacle is the Way)

Two solutions come to mind: thankfulness and perspective. I’m thankful to have a vehicle, a home, a job, family and friends, some savings, and doctors to go to.

My perspective needs to embrace the mindset that we don’t get heaven now – we don’t even get Eden. The same God who showers us with innumerable blessings also allows mysterious calamity to frequent our lives. True, unshakeable joy and peace come when our life purpose is centered around loving God and others.

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

 

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“It’s the most stressful time of the year . . . “

busy

Besides the holidays – the end of the school year seems to bring on incredible busyness and stress: state assessments, report cards, behavior challenges, proms, award ceremonies, graduations, financial burdens, illness & injuries, ball games, deadlines, paperwork, sales quotas, etc., etc., etc!  In our crazy, busy lifestyles – we all seem to have forgotten that one of the original Ten Commandments was to take a Sabbath Day (a day of rest) at least once a week.   I wanted to share a few quotes from a book I would strongly recommend to anyone who feels like they are running at full speed on a hamster wheel. It is called Addicted to Busy by Brady Boyd, and can be found at:

https://amzn.to/2HYH7sb

See if any of these quotes resonate with you:

  • “If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath – our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.”  (pg. 33)
  • “Ultimately, every problem I see in every person I know is a problem of moving too fast for too long in too many aspects of life.”  (pg. 44)
  • “God is not merely a peaceful person; God, in fact, is peace.  When we sit in God’s presence, we’re sitting in the presence of peace.” (pg. 56)
  • “I have a theory on this, which is that busyness is our means to impress.  If I’m busy, then I’m important, and if I’m important, then you’ll be impressed.  Right?”  (pg. 70)
  • “I’ve been to Jerusalem on several occasions, and each time I’m there over a Sabbath, I’m struck by how seriously the Jews take their day of rest.  In Jerusalem, you can’t get anything done on the Sabbath.  Nothing.  The whole town essentially shuts down. . . . I guarantee all Jewish shopkeepers are closed for the day.  They’re at home or at a synagogue with their families, enjoying a Sabbath meal, enjoying the pleasure of one another’s company, and enjoying the inner strength that comes when we rest.” (pg. 83-84)
  • “‘Jesus obeyed a deeper rhythm,'” . . . . Absolutely, he does just that:  engage, engage, engage, withdraw . . . . engage, engage, engage, withdraw . . . . It’s how we’re invited to live too.”  (pg. 105)
  • “Something always interrupts our rest, because real rest is always opposed.”  (pg. 164)

And in conclusion – my favorite part:

  • ” . . . . we think if we don’t get every room vacuumed, every bookshelf dusted, every meal made by hand, every child’s homework folder initialed, every birthday party attended, every plant watered, every inch of grass mowed, every load of laundry folded, every lacrosse practice made, every book read, every app mastered, every televised sporting event watched, every everything done, we will somehow be lesser human beings. I myself had lived according to that philosophy for far too many years.  I’m here to tell you it’s bunk.  The whole philosophy is bunk.  The universe will keep on spinning, and you will keep on being a great person, even if a few things are left undone.
  • A New Zealand Prayer Book has a fantastic prayer in it called “Night Prayer,” and one of the stanzas reads,

“It is night after a long day.

What has been done has been done;

what has not been done has not been done;

let it be.”    (pg. 89)

Great advice “let it be.”  Or, as the psalmist once wrote:

“Be still and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10)

 

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. If you’re in the book buying spirit – another quick read that can help you develop inner peace and create more margin is my book Five Prayers That Can Change History found at https://amzn.to/2jxlioV

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The time YOU were prayed for in The Bible . . .

Have you tried reading the Bible and it feels distant?

You gave it a chance and could not make a personal connection?

Could you use a little bit of hope right now?

Stick with me during this sequence and you’ll see when Jesus mentions YOU in the Bible – and a glimpse into his future plans for YOU!

So go back with me over 2000 years. Jesus is having a pretty intense and extended conversation with his followers called “the disciples.” Chapters 14 -17 in the book of John are a combination of Jesus talking, teaching, and praying. He just compared himself to being “the good shepherd” and his disciples are “the sheep.” (John 10:11)

He then says, “I know my own sheep, and they know me . . . I have OTHER sheep, too, that are not of this sheepfold.” (John 10:14-16) He is referring to more besides his disciples and the nation of Israel (which would include us as the OTHERs)!

But then it gets even more personal while he is speaking to the men, he states: “I am not only praying for these disciples but also for ALL who will ever believe in me through their message.” (John 17:20) What was their message? Be sorry for our sins > believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead for us > and choosing now to live for him. If that describes you – then YOU are a part of the ALL he was talking about! Isn’t that cool?

Like a well-crafted movie trailer – the story seems to take a turn for the worse. A few verses before he is praying for the ones in his care (which would now include US). He says to God, “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” (John 17:15) Wait a minute – “the evil one” is part of this deal??? Keep safe – how is the evil one trying to hurt me???

The trouble keeps piling on – Jesus forwarned them earlier, “Here on earth you will have MANY trials and sorrows . . . ” (John 16:33) Why did he say many and not a few? Take a brief glimpse into our world and our own narrative for evidence:

Innocent lives being taken

Financial hardships

Broken relationships

Incurable diseases

Unanswered prayers

Natural disasters

However, like any great story – a hero rises! There is a second part of the many trials comment – “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. BUT take heart, because I have OVERCOME the world.” (John 16:33) So why all the problems if he has overcome? Great question! I don’t have all the answers. What I do know – we get to experience a partial overcoming of our situations and circumstances, and a complete overcoming when we finally experience Heaven. For now – some diseases are healed, some relationships are restored, some disasters are avoided, and some financial situations are reversed for the better. But not all. How does He decide which ones? That’s what makes him God and not us.

And in conclusion of this great story – I go back a few chapters with some words of hope that Jesus started his message with:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

He’s had over 2000 years to prepare a place for us – that is the ultimate Fixer Upper! He probably keeps adding a little more to it every day – he just can’t leave well enough alone. 🙂 I don’t understand it all – but when he will always be with us – all wrongs will be righted, all diseases will be healed,  all disasters will cease, and the evil one will stop pestering us -forever!

We could all use a little bit of hope right now . . .

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. I mentioned at the beginning that reading the Bible might sometimes be a challenge. Some people feel the same about their prayer life – they don’t know where to start, what to say, or is anyone listening??? I wrote a book called Five Prayers That Can Change History. This book seamlessly takes you step by step on how to pray powerfully straight from the Bible. You can get instant access by clicking right here: https://amzn.to/2pO2Qew

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