• Heidi J. Smith


Lady selling a fish from the Zambezi River

The sun scorched my family's arms and faces as we watched the truck lower the motor boat into the dark water. Along the shore, bugs swarmed around piles of dried fish, and barefooted children ran and played. Women chatted in the foreign language while balancing baskets filled with fresh fish and vegetables on their heads.

As my family and I stepped into the boat, my friend turned to us and said, "If you fall out of the boat, try to remain as still as possible."

"Why?" my daughter asked.

"So the hippos and alligators don't get you! I will try to circle around and pick you up."

My daughter looked up at me and said, "I'm scared. Do we have to go?"


Have you ever been scared of something?

Maybe you are afraid of trying something new, traveling to an unknown place, meeting new people, giving a speech, letting your kids go, confronting someone, asking for forgiveness, or sharing your faith. You fill in the blank_________________.

FEAR PARALYZES us. It keeps us from experiencing new places, people, and positions.


The Bible records 365 "Fear Nots" for each day of the year. God promises to be with us as we face uncertain situations. Here are seven for this week.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." Psalm 56:3 NIV

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 NIV

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 NIV

"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." Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." I John 4:18 NIV

Jeff and the boys after our boat ride

My family and I rode the boat down the Zambezi River and remember it as one of our favorite memories. We saw monkeys, elephants, hundreds of hippos, and an alligator sunning itself along the shore. Because we were willing to step out and try something new, we had a wonderful experience.

What do you need to step out and try?

In our lives, we can stay safely on the shore, but we will miss opportunities. Or we can step out in faith with the Lord's help.

Lord, please help us to propel forward in faith and not be paralyzed in fear.

*******Please share one of your favorite "Fear Not" verses.

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Heidi J. Smith