Faithlife Sermons


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Almost everybody has heard about voodoo deaths and the curses that bring sickness and death in some primitive societies. When a tribe decides to punish one of its members, for example, the witch doctor may be called to recite some incantations and point a "magic bone" at the hapless victim who is then assumed to be under the spell of death.

"The man who discovers that he has been 'boned' is a pitiable sight," one ex­plorer wrote. "He sways backwards and falls to the ground ... he writhes as if in mortal agony and, covering his face with his hands, begins to moan." Later, he regains his composure, crawls to his hut, sickens, frets, and dies a short time later.

Dr. Walter Cannon, a Harvard physiologist has suggested that voodoo victims get sick and die because of the body's reaction to fear and the loss of support from the tribe. The heart beats faster and the capillaries eventually are damaged. Blood pressure drops and the vital functions cease. Having been left alone to die. the victim has no emotional support or physical help. Death is the only alterna­tive.--Gary R. Collins, THE MAGNIFICENT MIND (Waco: Word Books, 1985)

In his novel THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, John Irving writes: "If Garp could have been granted one vast and naive wish, it would have been that he could make the world SAFE. For children and grownups. The world struck Garp as unnecessarily perilous for both."

The Spirit of the Plague passed by an old man sitting under a tree. The old man inquired: "Where are you going?" The Spirit replied: "To Benares, to kill one hundred people."

The Spirit walked by the old man and ravaged Benares.

Later the old man heard that ten thousand had died. Once again the Spirit passed by the old man on its return journey. With anger the old man said: "You lied. You said you would kill one hundred but travelers tell me you slew ten thousand."

To which the Spirit of the Plague replied: "I slew but one hundred. Fear slew the others." Adapted from Frederick Bailes, HIDDEN POWER FOR HUMAN PROBLEMS (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1957), p. 57



An elementary school teacher was telling her class about statistics which in­dicate that more twins are being born these days than in the past, "Why?" asked a little boy. "Because," answered a little girl, "Little children are afraid to come into the world ALONE."

Albert Schweitzer said, "There's so much coldness in the world because we are afraid to be as cordial as we really are."

Wes Pippert, a Washington-based reporter with United Press International, said that early in life he was afraid of most things. He made a rational decision to acknowledge the fear and proceed to do everything he was afraid of. The result was emancipation. He no longer was afraid, for he had consciously decided to disregard his fears.--Wes Pippert, "Ambition, the Ethics of Success," HIS, February 1975, p. 31.

Dr. Ernest Thomas tells of a man who was obsessed by the fear that he was losing his hearing. He refused to see a doctor for fear that he would have to wear a hearing aid. So he struggled against the pall of silence gathering about him. He even resorted to carrying on conversations in writing so that he would not have to struggle to hear. The poor man was almost out of his mind. He was about to lose his position and everything he had. Finally, he was forced to see a physician. After a careful examination, the doctor made the astounding diagnosis that the man's ears were only stopped up. He cleaned them out and in less than a week the sufferer's hearing was fully restored. Charles L. Allen, IN QUEST OF GOD'S POWER (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1955).

Don't get exercised over nameless faces and faceless enemies. Accept your fears and worries. Some of them are legitimate, but most of them are imagined and needless. Know the difference. Know what to fear. —Donald Shelby


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