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Stirring The Deep


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Fear Riding on my Shoulders

Fear Riding on my Shoulders

 

This last week as I started to venture down new paths, fear started banging at my back door.

When I examined my heart, I found doubt. I doubted the power of God in my life. Not His power, but in my life in this area. After all He has done . . . after all His confirmations, encouragement and help, I doubted. After all He has done in other areas of my life, which has been truly tremendous, I doubted. Memories of past failures crept into my life. Times where I started something but it never quite made it. Times where I was like a ship prepared to sail but never caught the wind. What if that happened again?

This morning during my quiet time I poured out my heart to God. I laid out my fear before Him and in the stillness and quietness, He spoke to me:

This is not your work it is mine. And I will complete it to the end. Your failures before weren’t failures but were what you needed to go through to come to me. You were always mine, but you didn’t know it. You needed to walk a path that unsatisfied you and left you empty to prompt you to seek me. Don’t fear. I’m with you. Forget the past, push forward with me knowing you don’t walk alone anymore. I’m with you until the end. Don’t give room to this fear. Fill that space with my promises; 2 Corinthians 9:8, Ezra 8:22, Psalm 46:1. Just be who you are and let me do the rest. I will work in and through your life according to my purposes. Walk by my still waters and green pastures and be at rest. You are in a different place now – in my kingdom. Life isn’t like it was before when you walked without me and without my power. Trust me. Walk with me. I will show you my power in this.

With His words filling my ears, I realized my fear wasn’t real. It came from a dead past. When emotions like this arise that aren’t based on truth, it is our enemy warring against us. Whether, it is an external enemy or an internal one, seeking God’s face and truth is the answer. Fear is a successful tactic to keep us from moving forward. Whatever God is calling you to – embrace it as His will that will be done. Fill the spaces of fear with His promises. Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing His power in your life because you listened and followed fear instead of Him.


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The Power of Illusionary Fear

The Power of Illusionary Fear

 

Friday morning during my quite time, the slight hum of a lawnmower drifted into my window followed by the smell of fresh cut grass riding the Santa Ana breeze. As the sounds and smell resurrected memories that took me back to my childhood, my flight came to a screeching alt. The sound of scurrying little feet stumbling over toys whipped my head around only to see Sophie’s tail disappearing behind the corner. The unidentified sounds enhanced by a gardener passing by the window carrying a huge garbage can were a little too much.

Sophie

Sophie

Her response reminded me of us. Fear consumes us and we run and hide when in reality we are in our Father’s presence safe and protected. Though it is irrational, it feels very real and propels us into a reactive flight or fight mode. Here was Sophie in this well built solid house with me protecting and watching over her and she acted like she had no protection at all. She had absolutely nothing to fear, but that wasn’t her view of the situation.

Often fear grips us when in reality we have nothing to fear because God is by our side as our shield, protector, and defense. Most of the time our fear is just as irrational as Sophie’s. We are in our Father’s presence. One who is powerful and mighty and for whom nothing is impossible and we are acting like He isn’t there at all or He has no power (at least in our lives).

We respond according to our beliefs. Sophie believed she was in danger so she ran, hid, and cowered. But her belief was wrong. Often when we experience fear it is because lies are taking over. We believe God can’t or won’t provide, protect, deliver, protect, or redeem. But, the truth is we have God and all He is by our side every moment of every day. And if you have God Almighty by your side what could you possibly fear?

Those of the world are at the whim of the world and their fear is more justified. Walking without God, they lack the safety we have. But we are no longer mere men but God’s children, and now most of our fears are unrealistic. We are under the shield of Almighty God. So why are we cowering? Running? Hiding? Do we believe God is who He says? Do we believe He truly cares for us? If we give that fear creditability then like Sophie that is what we will experience and not His peace, comfort, mercy, and love that is there for us.

‘Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is true the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And we should fear it because the unnecessary havoc and anxiety it creates in our lives. Fear leads us further away from where we want to be. It is debilitating. It leads us to the wrong actions, it shuts down opportunities we would have had, and it puts unnecessary angst on us and others. It is a powerful emotion in our lives and when it is misplaced it takes us exactly where we don’t want to go. Our beliefs and thoughts are very powerful. God created them that way so that our beliefs in Him would be powerful. This is why God so adamantly tells us to trust and believe His truth and not someone else’s. His brings life and all others bring death.

Fear counters trusting God. You can’t trust God and be consume with fear. When I tried to pick up Sophie and assure her all was safe she leaped out of my arms. When we fear we jump out of our Father’s embrace. Though He is still there and wants to comfort and assure us, we are too consumed with fear to experience His comfort. We mistakenly think He doesn’t care or isn’t there. He is always there for His children; but we aren’t trusting in what He is giving us – Him.

I have wasted huge chucks of my life on unnecessary fears. And though irrational fear still grips me in moments of doubt, I am finding it is happening less and less as I draw near to God. Drawing near and knowing Him leads to trust and trust dispels fear.

What fear has you in a death grip? Consider God’s promises and mediate on His Word, is it rational in light of His truth or are you acting like Sophie?


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Living Free Because of Christ

Living Free Because of Christ

 

In Ginny Owens’ song Free, she sings we have been made free. Free in every way including free to dance without concern or worry because of God’s great love toward us. Yet, how many of us experience this light heartedness on a daily basis that moves us to dance before our Lord like King David? 2 Samuel 6:14 “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”

Jesus Christ came to set us free. Isaiah 61:1 Not only did He bring freedom from the bondage of sin and its penalty of death, but also He brought it to every area of our lives. Freedom from troubles, afflictions and fears. Psalm 34:4, 17, 19  Freedom from worry, anxiety, and concern. Matthew 6:25-34  Freedom from proving, earning, and striving for internal wholeness. Colossians 2:10 And so on.

The freest people in the world are those who are completely surrendered to God. Sounds like a paradox, but I have found it true in my life. When we believe, trust and live by the ways of God we experience freedom for our souls. It is God’s design. We follow Him and we live free. All this world offers puts us in bondage in one way or another because it is counter to the ways of God. Only living in God’s truth do we experience true freedom. Most believe the opposite is true. That He binds us to rules and regulations. But this is not the God I have met.

Take a glimpse at what God does for us:

Changes our circumstances to help us
Moves the minds and hearts of others in our favor
Gives us purpose, value, meaning
Opens doors, closes doors
Heals us, blesses us
Renews our minds to what is true and real
Gives us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind
Fills us with His love to pour into others
Delivers us from poor decisions
Gives us mercy for our foolishness, gives us what we don’t deserve
Defends, protects, and delivers from the evil plans of others
Makes our paths smooth
Fights for us
Gives us insight, direction, counsel
Provides for our needs internal and external

As for His rules, they all boil down to love. True love doesn’t bind, but frees. Oppressive rules and regulations come from man’s ill attempt to speak and work on God’s behalf to control others.

There is nothing God won’t do to bring about good in our lives if we seek, ask and trust. Psalm 84:11 God is in control of everything, therefore there is no limit to what He can do for us in any given circumstance. Tremendous freedoms come when we aren’t limited to ourselves or others but have God on our side working for us.

The main hindrance to living free outside of lack of knowledge is trust. Trust is the result of continually seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is born out of an intimate relationship with Him; a relationship that requires time, attention and devotion to nurture. When I feel the weight of a chain wrapped around my ankle keeping me from dancing, I know it is because of lack of trust. God is on my side. What do I have to fear or be worried about? Is His love to small or His power to weak? The truth is in my mind but it has yet to fully become my truth, because when it is mine I am free.

My husband said trust is like a light shining into our souls that extinguishes fear. Trust and fear can’t coexist at any one time and fear is the core emotion that keeps most of us from dancing. Because we have lived for years in a reactive mindset of fear, it is easy for this habitual response to take over.  Though it may sneak in we no longer have to succumb to it.

Our response to its invasion? Abide in His truth. As we continue to fill our minds with His Word we will start to think and respond differently. For seven years, I have been intimately seeking God in His Word. He has dispelled many fears, worries, and afflictions. What lingers is a remnant of what once was. Though fears still creep in they are fewer in number and less powerful than they use to be. I have found the path to freedom to conqueror what remains – abiding in His presence in His Word.

For believers, fear is an illusion. The truth is we are in the palm of a mighty, powerful God who loves us beyond measure. He desires to show Himself strong to those who are loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:7 He desires for you and me to know Him as God in our lives. He wants to show Himself to us, but He wants us to seek Him with all our heart, soul and mind. When we seek our trust will grow, His promises will manifest in our lives, and we will dance with all our might because we are living free in the arms of a mighty loving God.

2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.