While driving over the high-rising Interstate 10 bridge at Whiskey Bay with his family years ago, Skip Blythe was struck with fear.

“I know it doesn’t make sense, and I can’t explain it, but my whole body suddenly tensed, and all my muscles tightened,” the Greenwell Springs minister shares in his new book “Fear Not!” (Oak of Acadia Publishers). “I could not wait to get to the other side of that bridge, and I was praying the whole time for God to deliver us. I was terrified.”

Blythe, a member of Healing Place Church of Baton Rouge, said he eventually conquered his fear through more prayer and quoting Scripture, including “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind” from 2 Timothy 1:7.

“I wrote this book because I know that we all struggle with fear from time to time, and I want to help people in the area of dealing with fear,” Blythe says.

In his compact 137-page book, Blythe shares various Scripture passages, offers encouragement and tells of biblical characters who faced fears.

In Chapter 5 titled “Donning Our Spiritual Armour,” Blythe said faith is one of the most important protectors against the enemy.

“Faith declares that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he writes. “Our whole Christian life is based on our level of faith. Faith sees the answer in the Spirit realm before it is manifested in the natural.”

Other chapters in the book include “God’s Declaration Concerning Fear,” “Peace that Passes Understanding” and “Fear Begets Fear.”

“Fear Not!” is Blythe’s second book. His first was “Why God?: Learning to Understand the Ways of Our Creator.”

Blythe has been in the ministry since the mid-’80s. In 2003, Blythe joined Healing Place, where he has been involved in the music and teaching ministries.

Contact Blythe at (225) 802-0007 or skblyt@cox.net .

About the family

The family is the first institution that God ordained and comes even before the church, said the Rev. Reginald Pitcher, of Baton Rouge.

“The most instinctive and fundamental social group of man and animal is the family,” the guest speaker said Sunday during a stirring message for the Family and Friends Day Fellowship at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Grosse Tete.

The order of priorities for Christians should be God, family and church, Pitcher said.

“You put God first, strengthening your family second, then you’ll have godly families to populate the church. Pastors would have a much easier time if you keep things in that order,” Pitcher said with a encouraging nod toward New Mount Olive pastor the Rev. Anthony Royal.

Pitcher shared several aspects that weaken and strengthen the family.

Some aspects that weaken the family, he said, are parents showing favoritism among the children and men putting work over their family.

“We’re too busy trying to make a living and losing our families,” Pitcher said. “There has to be a balance. Why would you put your family in a position where the family is weakened because you’re not giving momma the attention that she needs or the children what they need because you’re out trying to make money?”

Families are strengthened when there is honor among parents and children, and by parents sharing stories of God’s faithfulness.

“Old folks used to say that you need to look over your record and see how far God has brought you and then tell that to your children,” Pitcher said. “It’s important that we tell our children of God’s goodness and his blessings. ... You may not have a whole lot of material things to leave your children, but you better leave this: that God can do anything but fail.”

It’s important to live the word of God in front of the children, Pitcher said.

“You can’t live any kind of way and expect your children to be well-balanced,” he said. “The reason why we have so many dysfunctional families and dysfunctional children is because you live one way in the church and one way out.”

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com.