Tag Archives: fear

some days you just need reminding

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some days you just need reminding

I’m sure you, like me, need some good, old-fashioned reminding of what is TRUE and RIGHT. Our enemy sure knows how to sneak in our thoughts to deceive us and bring confusion, frustration, doubt, anger, and even try to paralyze us with fear. However, and I am so thankful for this truth: our Lord is faithful and more than able to overcome these lies, if we will ask Him to cover and fill our mind and heart with His truth.

On a rainy day, like today, I’m feeling a tad pummeled by the enemy’s lies. So, I’m pulling out my armor! Here’s what I’m asking the Lord to fill my mind with:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. (Galatians 5:22-23)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (Psalms 4:8)

For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. (Ephesians 6:12)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.             (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. (Exodus 14:14)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalms 56:3)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.                                    (1 Corinthians. 10:13)

But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. (1 John 1:9)

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!   (Matthew 7:11)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalms 28:7)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalms 17:8)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

And do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27)

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. (Psalms 143:9)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

My prayer for you is that you would seek to feed on God’s Word to transform and renew your thinking. He is a good, good Father.

What steps?

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What steps?

I love time spent with my closest of friends. Whether we shop, have dinner, drink coffee, or talk on the phone together, I am blessed to have a very small gathering of close, godly, prayerful friends in my life. I am confident that I could call on any of these select few and they will be available to help. What a privilege to have a friend! The Lord is so good to place those in our lives to help encourage and pray for each other. He certainly knew what He was doing when He created us for fellowship.

While having dinner together, one of my “besties” and I were sharing our hearts and prayer requests with each other, as we typically do whenever we meet. We both were feeling a little fearful of the future and where it might take us. My friend reminded me of a scripture. It’s a fairly common scripture and one I’ve read dozens of times throughout my life but the Lord must have known it was then that I needed to be reminded of it. It brought me so much comfort and encouraged my soul at a time when I desperately needed this truth planted in my heart.

We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.              (Proverbs 16:9, CEV)

This scripture reminded me of the truth of God’s Word, which I was desperate to hear. You see, my emotions were starting to take over, threatening to drag a dark cloud over me. Overwhelm was trying to sneak into my mind, causing my already anxious heart to fear the unknown. Once again, the enemy was on the ready to deceive me, cause me to doubt, and throw the spear of fear my way. Reminded of His Word, I was quickly jostled back into God’s economy, where peace overcame me once again.

I needed to be reminded that sure, I can and should ponder, pray, prepare, and make some plans based on how the Lord is leading me. Having a constant awareness of His presence helps me to see His perspective, rather than my distorted, short-sighted one. I need to know that it is He who directs me and orders my steps. Also insightful are the additional references that Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides on this particular scripture:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV)

Now may our God and Father Himself, and Jesus our Lord guide our steps to you [by removing the obstacles that stand in our way]. (1 Thessalonians 3:11, AMP)

So, as you forge ahead in the new year, remember to ask Him to yield your will to His, and to open and close doors of opportunity according to His perfect plans for your life. His way may look completely different from the plans you’ve desired for yourself; in fact, they may initially look absurd. Rest assured, He knows best, so we can release our desire to control into His very capable hands. As I continue in my daily reading of His Word, I feel more confident of the unknowns in my life for it is He who goes before me.

 

 

STOP…& Pray why don’t you

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Crossroads — I’ve been here more times than I can count.  You know, laboring over a decision yet chatting it up with well-meaning people, some of which are strangers, I find myself just as confused and tormented as I was when I started. I feel that I’ve gone nowhere and fast.

If your heart is beating, I’m quite sure you have lived here too. Why is it that we so badly want to obtain the opinion of everyone else on the planet, except for the One who created us? I mean really, how silly is that? Or, we exhaust all of our very limited resources before surrendering to the Lord? If you are a believer, you’re aware of the goal as Christ followers: surrender. Surrender myself, my plans, my thoughts, hopes and dreams to the One who can make sense of it all and more importantly, give us His best. After all, He is not a God of chaos.

Surrender: to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another; to yield to the power, control, or possession of

For most of my life, I’ve treated these such decisions I’ve described as if I’m walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. One wrong step and I’m suddenly doomed because I made the wrong choice, in my mind anyway. Where in the world did I subscribe to this crazy line of thinking? Enveloped in this crazy thought process of mine is a measure of fear. Fear of what God might be asking me to do. Fear that I can’t imagine how in the world little ‘ol me could possibly carry out this assignment. Fear that I might fail and expose my ignorance to the watching world. Fear of the unknown, probably trumps them all.

God is not like this at all. He is a good and loving Father who wants and desires to give His very best to those who are willing to wait on Him rather than rush ahead to their own plans and agenda. Sure, our “plans” may make total sense to us but it’s important to remember that we have a very limited view of our lives; so limited in fact that we can only see what’s in the here and now. Conversely, the Lord sees the whole picture with all the circumstances we’re unaware of. Our “best plans” fall severely short of His plans for us as Christ followers. But the kicker is, we have to be willing to wait….and pray, which is a foreign concept in the instant society we live in today. The world screams, “hurry up and grab it or you’ll miss out,” which places the focus on self, while God’s economy challenges us to be patient, to wait on Him, to trust and obey, to pray and seek His wisdom. Sometimes, the most active thing we can do is pray and, His timing is not ours.

That being said, lately, I have felt quite convicted of just what I’ve written…talking to everyone else but God yet expecting His answer. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t prayed like I should be. I haven’t surrendered my desires, my will, my plan in order to hear from Him. I have allowed fear to place me in bondage. Interestingly enough, when I pray for others in my life facing similar life decisions is “Lord, will You deafen (name of friend I’m praying for) ears to all voices but Yours. Will you enable (him or her) to be able to discern Your voice from others clamoring for (his/her) attention. Will You speak boldly into (his/her) life that there is no doubt as to which path is theirs to take.” 

Sure, God speaks to us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, and even others. The point is to have a trusted few who are faithful followers in Christ, who will pray for you and point you back to Him. We cannot hear from God when we’re super busy and running hither and yon, consulting with everyone we know. Oftentimes, God’s path isn’t the most popular path and doesn’t always make sense to others. As I’ve been reminded time and again by my trusted (few) friends: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

My challenge to you, as well as to me, is to stop the madness. Stop the busyness. Still yourself before Him. Rather, get on your knees in humility, cry out to God surrendering the plans you have and yielding your spirit to His plans. Be still. Wait for Him. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed to make a decision right this very minute. Sometimes, prayer can be the most active thing you can do. Press into Him through prayer, and the reading of His Word. Trust that He has it all worked out…in His timing, not ours. And don’t forget that His ways are higher and He see the full picture.

I’ll close with a friend’s recent facebook post: “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” He is faithful! Amen!

 

 

 

 

Aside
hApPy??? NeW yEaR!

Most likely, you fit into one of two categories:

One, you love, love, love the blank slate of a brand-new year laid bare before you and you’ve already outlined your goals for the 365 days ahead. Or two, you’re a little fearful and possibly a little anxious about what the new year may hold and resolutions are the furthest thing from your mind because in your estimation they will never materialize, so why bother.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, I tend to lean more toward the second category. After all the excitement of the holidays, time with family and “get togethers”, I tend to feel a little blue once December 26th hits.  Possibly due to the fact that when I was growing up, it meant time to take down the tree, all the decor, and very quickly getting back into “the (dreaded) groove”. Then, there’s the weather which tends to be grey and gloomy with or without snow. The days just seem to melt one into another. At this point, I’m ready for summer. Heck, skip over spring! I’m ready for longer days with more sunshine and time to be outside.

At the heart of the “post Christmas” blues, at least for me, is the fear of the unknown. I am a little afraid, if I’m being honest, of what the next year may look like; or maybe, I’m just anxious about what the Lord may require of me in the year to come. What I fail to remember, however, is that God goes before me. He’s already in my tomorrows. He gives me the grace to face whatever comes my way when I need it. No, this grace doesn’t come early or late, but right on time. In fact, when I think back to times in my life when things did look quite grim, all I can recall is that God carried me through those times. He put people in my life (I call it ‘God with skin on’), to minister to me, to help me, to encourage me; sometimes in person and sometimes in the form of a cheery card, or a meal, even a meaningful prayer. The Lord is with me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. I have to make a conscious effort to factor God into all of my days.

A very wise former co-worker of mine used to remind me that most of the things we worry about in our lives never come to pass. They don’t materialize. They don’t come to fruition. So, why do we put ourselves through the torture of buying trouble for our lives? Why do we torment ourselves with such anguish? I’ll tell you why: the enemy wants us to forget that we have the Lord Jesus Christ at our disposal. He wants to render us useless and have us while away our days wringing our hands in disbelief. We need to remember that God is on our side, as believers in Jesus Christ. If we truly put our faith and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)

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)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

 

 

hApPy??? NeW yEaR!

What in the World?

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What in the World?

Watching the news is so depressing and anxiety riddling. You need only to listen to the morning’s headlines before you can feel emotionally paralyzed. While the answer can not be found in burying our heads in the sand and unplugging from all things news, we need to be grounded. We need to find our hope in something, or Someone greater than ourselves. What is the answer then when all we hear is news of gloom and doom, disaster, destruction, murder, terrorist attacks and disease?

The world needs Jesus. There, I said it. We are lost, living in a fallen world. The Bible speaks of days like this. Hard, difficult, ungodly acts that we experience today and every day. Just read God’s Word; it’s full of heartache, heartbreak and difficulty. We are not immune from anything in this life. Depressing as it sounds, this life we live here is not all there is. Thank goodness! It is not and never will be our paradise. Entitlement is not reality. Whoever has the most toys in the end does not win. Obtaining the best education, securing the best job and earning the most money doesn’t guarantee us squat. Having millions of dollars will never be enough and will never buy us what is lasting or satisfy our deepest longings. Doing A + B does not always = C.

Before you decide to throw up your hands in despair and hopelessness, or worse, read on…..

What is the answer then? Rather than “What to do?” it’s “Who to follow?” The answer is found in Jesus Christ. He is our only Hope.  By choosing to follow Christ, we are promised eternal life with no more pain, no more tears, no more death or disease. While life this side of heaven can be good, fulfilling even, exciting and happy sometimes, it is fleeting and certainly not a guarantee or constant. It all boils down to this one truth: em tuoba ton s’ti, translated “it’s not about me.” Plain and simple, when we exchange our life for His, we begin to see our lives through a whole new lens. No longer is it me in the driver’s seat, but Him. While this may seem like living a life out of control, it is about Him being in control because He knows all things and His ways are higher than ours. If this seems like a huge revelation, we were never really in control of anything anyway.

Allowing Christ to  order the steps of your life and direct your path is quite freeing actually. He changes our “want to,” exchanging our thoughts, desires, plans and control for His. Remember the old TV show, “Father Knows Best”? Well, our heavenly Father really does know best. He has written your story and mine. He has great plans for your life. He loves you infinitely more than you could ever dream of loving yourself. When we see our lives through His lens, we begin to see that this life we’re living is just temporal. It’s a short, brief blip on the screen. Don’t put all your stock in this life. Invest in your future which is hidden with Christ. He gives us hope, peace, joy untold despite how we are feeling, or even what we see on the news. Don’t miss another minute worrying or stewing about tomorrow. Twila Paris’ song, “God is in Control” is true. I’m glad I don’t have to depend on my limited resources to be in control….of anything. I have and would make a complete mess of my life. Decide to let Jesus “take the wheel” of your life and choose to follow Him every day that He has given you. After all, the end of this life is only the beginning of life forever with Him.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever.” (John 3:16)

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, do not delay one. more. minute. Decide today to choose Him. He is our Hope, our Anchor, our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Healer, our Great Physician. He does all things well.

Blessings on your day!