Monthly Archives: June 2013

Shutting the Door on Fear

Shut Door

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

One night this week, my husband and I were fast asleep until an odd noise disturbed the gentle hum of our AC, startling me into consciousness. The noise left me so dumbstruck that my heart began to pound violently against my rib cage, and I nudged Keith to wake up.

“Keith, there’s someone trying to open our front door!” I exclaimed while pushing myself out from beneath the sheets.

I grabbed my cell phone and could see the door knob twist and turn with the intruder’s persistent attempts to enter our home. Keith had dashed to the door and could see through the peephole that our would be intruder was actually a young woman. A woman who appeared quite disheveled (perhaps intoxicated) and may have assumed she was at the correct home. But she was accompanied by a large man whose presence caused my mind to fear. Though they left within seconds, I was deeply afraid.

At this moment the Father began to speak: “Christy, they won’t return. It was a mistake. Trust in Me. Don’t allow the enemy to have a place in your mind. What the devil has intended for harm, I am intending for good. Allow Me to be your Protector. Trust in Me.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

I immediately felt peace after the Lord spoke, but the inner struggle (between fearing what just took place and putting my trust in God) was still ever-present. In all honesty, it was difficult not to think about the worse-case scenario. We tend to meditate on what could have been (what generally never happens) and allow ourselves to become so distraught that we plunge into a victimization mindset (poor me).

This is exactly where the enemy wants us, beloved.

Allow me to describe to you the image that God brought to mind when revealing the truth of who Satan is and why I shouldn’t fear his pathetic attacks. He’s not big and strong like many of us believers think (even though he is stronger than man alone). Satan’s power is all a facade. A show. Remember, he lies about everything:

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44b

God showed me a vision of the enemy as a small, frail, insecure, rejected, pale being that was nothing more than miserable. This is the one, beloved, who taunts us to fear. When God put this into perspective for me, I realized it was quite ridiculous to keep meditating on the crap this sick little being was throwing out at me.

There is absolutely nothing to fear in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the One who is Big and Strong. Allow this truth to set you free, beloved.

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32

Satan isn’t original in anything he does. He simply mocks Jesus with lies. It wasn’t Satan who conquered the grave. Nope. It was Jesus who victoriously snatched those keys of death out of Satan’s hands when he hung on the cross and died for the sins of the world. There is no kingdom, no power, no authority, and no demonic presence that will ever defeat Jesus. Ever.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14

“On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16

This is the truth, beloved. If God is for us, who really can be against us?

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Whenever the enemy decides he’s going to deliver a crap load of lies at the doorstep of your heart, it usually looks like one of the following:

  • You’re going to die of this illness
  • You’re going to lose your family
  • You’ll never be married
  • You’ll never be good enough at what you do
  • You can’t reach that goal
  • You’re unlovable and will always be rejected
  • Etc, etc…because this list can go on and on

However, it’s only when we believe these lies that we give them power and deliberately choose to make the enemy bigger than he is. Allow me to expose this as it is: It’s a mind game. He wants your mind. He wants you to think things are worse than they are, becoming so severely crippled that you never realize the God-given potential (and desires) that reside in you.

Rebuke Satan’s lies in the name of Jesus and move on. You have this authority through Christ.

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:19-20

May you firmly stay in His grip this week allowing His perfect love to shut the door on fear.

Photo provided by pupillageandhowtogetit.com

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Responding to the Call

AA009679

While the morning was quiet and my green tea was steeping in the french press, God began to speak:

“The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

I have a call to be His voice to the nations.

This call is one I’ve known ever since I was a young girl. In my life, I’d journey to other continents in a quest to fulfill this mission that is deeply embedded in my heart.

The truth is that we all have a call. Because God is extremely purposeful and wise, He intends for each of us to live a life of purpose with Him at the center of our gaze. Regardless of your particular occupation, we should always work with the following three commands in mind:

1. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

2. “But first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.” Matthew 6:33 ISV

3. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

This is about you and Jesus. And living the most incredible, purposeful life while here on earth.

A couple of nights ago, Keith and I were browsing the TV guide and saw that a movie about Jeremiah was on. Out of curiosity, we turned to the channel, and within minutes my heart was captivated. You see, the Lord has consistently brought me to both Isaiah and Jeremiah as tools of training for my call and to emphasize that I was hearing Him correctly. And He will do the same for you.

God will always use His word (because it doesn’t fade like emotions) when preparing and confirming your purpose in life.

After the movie, I opened His Word and began reading the first few chapters of Jeremiah and was struck by three important lessons. The story begins with an everyday man responding to a high call and obeying His Lord.

1. “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

This passage confirms God’s sovereignty over our lives. Each of us (every person from every nation) is created in God’s image and has a call to fulfill once we enter this world. We are created on purpose for a purpose. Yet, we must seek God (with our free will) to find what He is calling us to, and then we must allow Him to faithfully direct us along the way.

 2. “Ah Sovereign Lord’, I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child’.” Jeremiah 1:6

Pay attention to this response of Jeremiah. First he refers to God as “Sovereign” (all-knowing, all-powerful, owning all things). Then he adds, “I do not know how…” This contradicts his initial description of God as sovereign, because he is attempting to limit God’s call with Jeremiah’s own inabilities. Finally, Jeremiah (a grown man at this point) closes his statement by saying he is “only a child.”

 

Is this not what we do as humans? We say “That’s nice Lord and thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not qualified to do that (I’m in too much debt, I don’t have that particular skill set,  or I have a set agenda and that really isn’t apart of it). While we’re prone to focus on our own inadequacies, we forget that the very One who is calling us is more than adequate.

We as humans will never accomplish the will of God through mortal strength. If we could, we wouldn’t need God. A supernatural challenge requires a supernatural response. That is why we can do all things, but only through Christ who strengthens us. We must depend on God. We must take our eyes off of us and puts them on Jesus. This is where intimacy is built.

 3. “But the Lord said to me. ‘Do not say , ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you’, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:7-8

Look at how God responds to Jeremiah here. He wants us to focus on Him instead of our inadequacies and environment. This is where many of us (including myself) often stumble. We pray for God’s will in our lives, but when the time comes, we’re more focused on the will of man. Allow me to elaborate. Jeremiah was afraid of what people would say or think of him once he actually went through with what God’s calling on him. He didn’t just feel inadequate; he also desired the approval of man. If we are to obey God in this life and walk closely to Him, we must forsake the desire to please man. And the fear of God must reign over the fear of man

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

 

Photo provided by www.movabletype.org
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A Dose of Wise Medicine

Spoonful of medicine

The book of Proverbs is often referred to as the book of ancient wisdom. Like a treasure chest filled with exquisite stones, it overflows with practical nuggets of knowledge and understanding. Yet, only when we apply this insight will we experience longevity and success in life.

“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

Three times over the past five years, the Lord has asked me to offer up whatever desire I had, because He would answer it…immediately. And each time, I responded with “wisdom.”  If King Solomon was able to enthrall the Father by requesting for such a gift (and experience such a wonderful life), I figured that I should also give it a shot. Wisdom has paid BIG dividends in my life.

Let’s take a look at what the Word has to say about it:

Long (extended, prolonged) life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches (wealth, an abundance of goods, relationships, and success) and honor (renown, regard, admiration, influence, authority). Her ways are pleasant (highly acceptable to the mind or the senses, gratifying, alluring) ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace (adopt, accept, include) her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed (experience holiness, joy, and be fruitful).” Proverbs 3:16-18

“Get (to come into possession of; secure, gain, receive) wisdom, get (obtain, achieve, acquire) understanding; do not forget (neglect, overlook, ignore) My words or swerve (to turn aside from a straight course, diverge, deviate) from them. Do not forsake (abandon, decline, renounce) wisdom, and she will protect (defend, guard, save) you; love her, and she will watch (attend; lookout out for danger) over you.” Proverbs 4:5-6

Wisdom is supreme (preeminent, leading, foremost, dominant); therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have (own, possess, control), get understanding (reason, insight, comprehension, discernment).” Proverbs 4:7

Here are just a few life questions (since there are too many to cover all of them) that serve as examples of providing wise and practical insight for everyday living:

1. How should I deal with a person who is argumentative?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” Proverbs 15:1

Don’t return their harsh words with your own contempt; that will only make matters worse. Instead, respond gently to avoid a harsh dispute. Intentionally choose to respond this way in advance through the grace of Jesus.

2. How should I respond when someone has offends me?

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12:16

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

The answer isn’t an easy pill to swallow, but it is wise. Instead of immediately erupting with frustration or annoyance, we should give the individual the benefit of the doubt. Disregarding or ignoring a hurtful/offensive word takes more strength than immediately responding in frustration.

3. If I want to grow in wisdom, what should I do relationally?

“He who walks with the wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

This is straightforward: If you want to grow in wisdom, then you have to surround yourself with it.

4. How can I pursue my dreams wisely?

First:  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

I do not take this lightly. Because I want to be as successful as possible in everything I do, I literally include Jesus in every decision I make (small or large) to ensure I am making the best choices.

Second: “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

This is the biggest difference between a dreamer and a doer. A sluggard lives with their heads in the clouds dreaming about their life plans, but takes no action to make them come true. However, one who is hard-working, focused, and persistent can actually see their desires become a reality. To sum this up, give it to God first, and then be faithful in completing your part. And don’t give up till you realize it!

5. In choosing wise relationships, what are some specific areas I need to pursue/avoid?

“A perverse man stirs up dissension (drama, strife, tension), and a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28

If an individual tends to slander others in front of you, know that they will more than likely do the same about you (behind your back, of course).

“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13

If you discover that others know about your private matters (because a certain confidante could not keep their mouth closed), carefully assess if this is an individual you want in your life. Trust is critical in relationships; they will not survive without it.

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

Extend grace and give the benefit of the doubt for an offense. But if it’s continually repeated, boundaries are being crossed and the relationship is jeopardized. It’s wise to periodically evaluate the health of our relationships.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

Someone who will stick with you through anything (all seasons of life) is rare and extremely valuable. As long as the relationship is healthy and not codependent (unhealthy enabling and dependency of one another), this is good for your soul.

“He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor, than he who has a flattering tongue.”

It’s great to have friends who will speak “truth in love” in order to correct you, rather than a person who deceitfully tells you what you want to hear.

May your heart cling to the Lord’s instruction in this book, beloved.

Photo provided by northwestmed.com
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