Taming Your Fears book cover

Fear-Fighting Scriptures

Winning Over Fear

Fear is perhaps the oldest emotion known to mankind. Over the years, it has often been my greatest friend—and my greatest enemy. I was raised in a strict Pentecostal environment in the Deep South. My pastor, parents, and Sunday school teachers constantly warned that Jesus could return to the earth at any moment to “catch away” His people. They cautioned that anyone He found committing any kind of sin would face eternal damnation; there would be no mercy. When I went away to college and experienced freedom from my parents’ control, the fear of burning in a lake of fire and brimstone haunted me like a ghost.

In retrospect, I realize that this fear worked to my advantage. It was a real deterrent to the temptations that surrounded me: illicit drugs, sex, and wild parties.  However, once I graduated, moved to the big city (Los Angeles), and started a life on my own, I faced a host of debilitating fears. These fears were an enemy to my quality of life: fear of flying to my corporate assignments, fear of living in an apartment all alone, fear that every man I met was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, fear that any day a major earthquake would swallow up Los Angeles, fear of crossing over a tall bridge. On and on went the torment.

Let me hasten to say that fear is not always a bad thing. Fear is a natural response to real or perceived danger. Healthy fear causes us to lock our car doors, buy alarm systems, and to look both ways before crossing the street. Fear becomes unhealthy, however, when it controls our behavior and keeps us from doing positive things.

Fear is learned behavior. We can learn it from childhood conditioning, personal experience, observation of other people’s experience, media exposure, or other channels of information. Over the years, my apprehensions and trepidations learned through all these channels have been persistent; however, I have been equally persistent in my quest to overcome them.

I’ve modeled the pattern. I saw my fear of earthquakes progress from anxiety about the predicted “big one,” to extreme fear during a significant temblor, to quake-phobia in which I kept an overnight bag packed by the door. Further, until recently, I flatly refused to visit San Francisco under any circumstance due to its devastating quakes. It’s no wonder that Paul admonished, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). He knew that if we didn’t nip anxiety in the bud, it would progress in its intensity and get a stronghold in our lives.

Scripture declares that fear is not from God. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). As a woman of faith, I believe this and I passionately teach it. I also know that “believing is behaving.” Therefore, in the final analysis, our behavior is the decisive test of what we really believe. When we succumb to the “spirit of fear,” it is because we have embraced an erroneous belief about God and His ability or willingness to deliver us from the fear-triggering situation, person, or thing.

I have concluded that I will probably always have to battle one fear or another; however, I have resolved that I will not allow any of them to hinder my progress or derail my destiny. I’m going to run toward this emotional giant and conquer it!

Is Self-Caused Stress Sabotaging Your Peace?

Girl cutting down tree limb she is resting onAre you your own worst enemy—your biggest stressor? Do you engage in behavior that will often lead to a stress-producing incident?  Listed below are several behaviors or situations that you would do well to consider eliminating from your daily routine:

  • Some women carry really large purses which contain everything that they will need from sunrise to sunset. Trying to locate an item in it—particularly in a rush—can be quite stressful. To break the “everything but the kitchen sink” habit, note how often you actually use each item in your purse each day. If the answer is never, then it may be a good candidate for leaving at home. Try carrying only the basics such as your wallet, lipstick, and keys.
  • Do you shop with your purse open as if to say to a would-be purse snatcher, “Welcome; come on in”? Further, an open purse allows items to fall out of it.   I live in a hilly area and am spilling the contents of my purse when I go down the hills.  This is frustrating but who can I blame for self-sabotage?


  • Do you realistically plan for traffic or things not going as scheduled? Are your assumptions too optimistic as to how long it will take to complete a task or drive to an appointment? The truth of the matter is that I could indeed do things within the bounds of my optimistic time frame if I were the only person on the planet. But things happen.  Rather than bemoaning certain realities, you simply need to anticipate them.


And yes, I’ve been guilty of each infraction above.  But what I’ve learned is that it pays to reduce most of my daily activities to a routine. Good planning and forethought are critical to minimizing self-caused stress.  They will not reduce you to a life of boredom but rather will give you more time to plan something exciting and fulfilling.


See It Differently!

Here’s the deal. To stay at peace,  you must maintain a Divine perspective about the pain, inconveniences, or inequities that come into your life. To do that, you have to read the Word of God because it is HIS perspective. So, read something EVERYDAY. If in doubt about what to read, select a chapter from Proverbs that corresponds with the Date of the month. Today I’m reading Proverbs 3 (it is packed with wisdom that you can start practicing right now!).  Make it a habit of stopping throughout the day for a gratitude break. God is up to something good in your life. Look for it. It’s going to be a great week!

5 Ways to Keep Family Conflict from Driving You Crazy

After this past holiday season and an inordinate level of tension, I did some soul searching and drew a few conclusions about how to keep  family conflict from driving me crazy. Here’re five things BIG FAMILY GATHERING_outdoor-party imageI’m committed to doing going forward. I welcome you to join me:

#1: If you are a Christian (not just in word), lower your expectations. Why expect people with an ungodly,  worldly viewpoint to behave according to the Bible? Your job? Nonstop intercession (“pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion” (Ephesians 6:18))– as well as a little introspection to see where you could exercise more wisdom.

#2: Guard your heart by putting on the WHOLE ARMOR of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) each time you plan to get together and in between time also–so that you will be able to “stand firm against all strategies of the devil”. Don’t let negativity seep into your spirit and impact your attitude and general demeanor.

#3: Limit (not necessarily “eliminate”) your exposure to the negative folks who instigate family conflict.  Don’t buy into what they say about others. Draw you own conclusions about people–and give them space to be human. Remember that the Lord requires us to “love mercy” (Micah 6:8), so let’s extend it freely.

#4: Develop nurturing friendships with folks outside your family circle so that they can be a sounding board and a refuge (yes, God is our ultimate refuge) for when you need a little emotional support.

#5:  Don’t tell a family member ANYTHING in “confidence” about another family member. In the midst of a heated discussion, your confidante will likely reveal the info and its source (that will be you!) to strengthen their argument. Most people don’t have the wisdom or spiritual maturity to be that discreet during an argument so don’t put them in a position to fail.

Commit to these steps and you’ll have a strong likelihood of staying sane during the next inevitable family conflict.

Facing My Truth!

Women covering her eyesI received an email recently from one of my readers who confessed that she is having a problem with “jealousy” in a particular relationship. She wanted to be honest with herself about it. I gave her my input but marveled at God’s timing because, only a few days before, I too had decided to face the TRUTH about a certain issue.

You see, I’ve been on a diet since Jesus ascended into the Heavens (or it seems like it!). Some time ago, I went on an pricey program and lost noticeable weight but when I saw it was creeping back, I went into denial and stopped weighing myself. I just didn’t want to go on another strict plan because it is so inconvenient to our busy lifestyle—and I hate high protein/low carb eating (which really works for me; vegetarian eating makes me gain weight).

Well, I had my annual physical last week. I closed my eyes when the nurse weighed me so that I couldn’t see what the scale registered. I dared her to tell me.

However, the next morning, I decided to face the Truth—who is always a Friend and Motivator. I looked at my medical visit summary and although I didn’t like what I saw, I kept my joy. I reminded myself of all the blessings and favor I have in my life. I’m active (more than most in my age bracket) and can walk several miles at a good clip. I’m not on ANY medication for ANYTHING. Plus, I’m saved, sane, and a productive member of society, impacting the world with my gift of writing and pointing people to the Word. I have a great, long-term (39-yr) marriage and great relationships with my family (well, MOST of ’em) and in-laws.


As a public speaker, I have to live with the reality that people LOOK at women before they LISTEN to them. {Actually, in some environments, a little extra weight makes a woman more “relatable” as the audience identifies with her struggle. Wonderful–but that’s not my goal.}  Now, being a Joy Fanatic and not one to stay in the dumps for more than a few seconds, I asked myself, “What now?” I re-committed to taking practical steps to conquering this giant—without sacrificing too much quality of life. I’m not going to be obsessive, but I’ll continue my fight for fitness. By the grace of God, I will consistently drink 64-80 oz of water per day, engage in some form of exercise 5x a week for 30-45 minutes, eat less, and GET BED AT A DECENT HOUR (the main problem in my case).

So, my friends, if you have been in denial about any aspect of your life, I say decide NOW to make TRUTH your friend. We have the ULTIMATE HELPER—the Holy Spirit who guides us into ALL TRUTH (John 16:13) and empowers us to do what we have to do. STAY IN THE GAME; VICTORY IS OURS.

The Physical Rewards of Forgiving

GIVING-TO-OTHERS-WHAT-GOD-GIVES-TO-METhe act of forgiveness can literally take a load off your chest. So says Dr. Fred Luskin, director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project. In his bestselling book, Forgive for Good, A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, he reports that several research studies found that just the mere idea of forgiving someone allowed some people to feel better. On the other hand, if the participants in the study imagined themselves as unforgiving, they had negative reactions, such as high blood pressure. Throughout the book, he explains that people who are more forgiving report fewer symptoms of stress and health problems. Failure to forgive may be more significant than hostility as a risk factor for heart disease.

We can go a long way in promoting our general health just by choosing to forgive. Unforgiving people keep themselves in a constant state of tension by thinking often about the situation and people involved in a transgression. Such chronic tension can lead to depression and hopelessness. I know because I’ve seen it manifest in my family and several close acquaintances. Their bitterness and resentment have impacted every corner of their lives.

Why allow offenders to rent free space in our heads and control the quality of our lives by focusing on them? We can choose to avoid the stress and tension associated with reliving the hurtful situation—when we choose to forgive. Decide to disconnect that ball and chain today. Don’t worry about letting the perpetrator off the hook; you will only be disconnecting YOURSELF from the hook. You can do this.  LEARN FROM THE BURN, BUT FORGIVE TO LIVE.



Father, I have been financially disadvantaged in my dealings with X. By Your grace, I lay down my anger, frustration, disappointment, and unforgiveness. Because You guard all that is mine (Psalm 16:5), this outcome did not catch You by surprise. Help me put the loss in perspective and to remember that You can restore exceedingly and abundantly above all that I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Father, I need Your wisdom for how to proceed in resolving this matter—through legal channels or by simply forgiving the debt. I do not want to enable X to continue in her evil, dysfunctional,  or irresponsible ways, but neither do I want to destroy her emotionally, financially, or otherwise. Show me where I may have failed to communicate or formally document my expectations. Help me to see if I set X up for failure with terms or conditions that were too vague, too onerous, or even too lenient.

O Lord, You know the current state of X’s finances and whether she has the ability to repay me now or in the future. If she has dealt with me deceitfully, convict her of her sin. Your Word declares that bread gained by deceit is sweet, but afterward the deceiver’s mouth will be full of gravel (Proverbs 20:17). I pray that X will find no satisfaction, profit, or peace in the fruit of her deception.

Give her the courage to come forward and resolve this issue in a manner that honors You. Let her not be named among the wicked who refuse to pay back what they owe (Psalm 37:21). Rather, help her to become an upright person guided by integrity (Proverbs 11:3).

Father, thank You that You have made me a lender and not a bor rower. I acknowledge that You own everything I possess (Psalm 24:1). I want to be a good, discerning  steward of all You have entrusted into my care. Please do not let a root of bitterness spring up in me and stop me from helping others because of this disappointing outcome.

I submit this financial loss to You. I choose to walk in forgiveness and in the freedom-giving truth that You are the avenger of every wrong. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

My Most Eventful Month of the Decade!

Forgive,-Let-Go,-and-Live_bI hope that you’ve all had a great summer. August has been an eventful month for me.

On August 1, my new book,  Forgive, Let Go, and Live,  was released by Harvest House Publishers. I’m really excited about its potential to free people who are stuck in their story of hurt and offense. Here is a capsule of some of the key content:
• 25 Real Stories of the Tragedy of Revenge and the Triumph of Forgiveness
• 10 Signs That It’s Time to Let Go of a Hurtful Relationship
• A 12-Step Mini Program for Forgiveness
• 5 Rewards of Letting Go of an Offense
• 20 Scripture-based Prayers to Release Specific Hurts and Offenses

It is so critical that we guard our peace of mind and make every effort to have harmonious relationships in the various circles of our lives. Nothing gets accomplished without people.  You may read an excerpt and purchase the book at ( –or if you insist on wanting an autographed copy, order it from my website:

The second weekend in August, I traveled to Orlando, Fl for the culmination of my training to become an independent, certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach! I’m delighted to be associated with John and his team. He has been named the number one leadership guru in the world. John has set the bar pretty high and by the grace of God, I’ll try to keep it there. I plan to conduct corporate masterminds, seminars, and other gatherings primarily around the issue of connecting effectively with people and adding value to their lives.

Finally, on August 15, I was delighted to participate in the commencement ceremony of Next Dimension University, a private accredited Bible college on a mission to stamp out biblical illiteracy. They awarded me an honorary doctorate in Theology along with gospel greats Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, and others who are making a difference in the world. And no, you don’t have to call me Dr. Deborah!

I pray that you are pursuing your God-ordained purpose and being fulfilled in every way. Don’t be a victim to procrastination or fear—and for goodness sake, don’t wait until you feel “totally qualified” to step out on faith. Know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think—according to the power that works IN YOU (Ephesians 3:20). Be blessed and thanks for being a part of my “tribe”.

How to Pray When Overwhelmed

The Word of God is the Will of God.
 When you feel overwhelmed with the pressures and trials of life, try  praying the Scriptures. Here’s an example to get you started:

“Lord, I am beset with trouble. It seems that more problems arise each day. I am weary of my own sighing and can find no rest (Jeremiah 45:3). From the end of the earth I will cry to you.  When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy (Psalms 61:2-3). It seems that the weight of the world is on my shoulders.  I know that this is not your will. Please teach me how to cast all my cares and concerns upon you for you care about what happens to me (1 Peter 5:7).  Give me the courage to change the things that I can, the grace to accept the things that I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Let me bring glory to your name by doing only the things that you have told me to do (John 17:4) instead of being stretched in every direction by the wishes and demands of others. As pressure and stress bear down on me, let me find joy in your commands (Psalms 119:143).

Lord, do not allow me to become so busy that I eliminate my quite time with you. Teach me how to be still and to know that you are God (Psalms 46:10). Thank you for being my refuge, a very present help in a time of trouble (Psalms 46:1). In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.”