Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

Finding Renewal in Christ

Finding Renewal in Christ

The other day, as we (meaning my husband) shoveled back the snow from our house, I spotted this:

IMG_7142

I was amazed at how, even though 2-feet of snow had covered these daffodils for months, they will were still pushing up from the ground.

How does that happen?

The truth is – nothing can thwart God’s plan. Nothing can hold back his growth.

Things may look covered by foot-after-foot of weight,
but he is still at work underneath it all.

When the time – is the time – his seed will grow.
When our hearts are ready – he will bloom us.
When our life is perfectly prepared – our beauty can be seen by all.

Yet, the deep freeze is part of the process. We sometimes have to endure the cold times to get to the warm times, blooming times. And sometimes we have to endure the cold times, to appreciate the warm times.

So, when life gets grey, dull and gloomy, this does not mean that God is not at work, because he is. Even if we can’t see what he is doing, even if we feel like we are buried under pounds of pounds of snow, even if it seems that spring will never come and our season will never change, God is always at work.

We don’t have to see it to believe it.
We believe it because he has promised it.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

I have felt buried so many times. I have been buried under finances, under a promised diagnosis of MS, under relationship strains, under worries, under anxiety, under my past, under a hopeless future – my friends, you probably name it – and I have been under it.

Yet, looking back, I see that God was always growing me. He was always restoring what should have been dead. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Pet. 5:10)

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)

Whether the locusts ate it, the land froze it or
your heart buried it,
God restores, rebuilds and renews..

He renews the buds that are within and waters them to grow again.

Seasons come and seasons go, but God’s love endures forever.

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Living for Christ in a Selfie World

Less selfie and more Christ

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I’ve got something kind of embarrassing to say, something I kind of hate to admit, but I am sharing it today in hopes that God’s truth helps me overcome this annoying habit.

Here goes: I can’t stop making everything about me.

How that person responded – is about me.
My ministry work – is about me.
Someone getting chosen above me – is about me.
My husband’s response – is about me.
My children’s behavior – is about me.
The response of another – is about me.

Can you see where this is going?

Somehow everything centers around – me, myself and I. And even when I say it doesn’t, I lie.

I don’t want to do this, but it is almost like I can’t help myself. We live in a “selfie” world.

We take pictures of ourselves in the moment and all we can think about is how we performed, how we looked and what kind of response we will get. It is almost as if our worth is dependent on “likes”.  It is almost like others “comments” are vitally important in our missions.

So, I wonder, how do I really die to self instead of pretending all that matters is myself?

God says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt. 23:25)

I certainly don’t want to be that dirty Pharisee, but my cup is just the same – dirty on the inside and shiny on the outside. I lure others over with my outer beauty, until they come closer to see what I have inside. Truly, no one wants to be filled by a cup that only pours out black, dirty and tainted water. There is no living water there. Dirty unclean vessels can’t love as Christ would – nor live as he would.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil. 2:3)

How do I get over myself to dive into God’s will?

Because I am tired of swinging on the pendulum of righteousness – either I swing too far to the left and am completely inadequate and selfish or I swing too far to the right and am completely over-righteous and prideful.  

Back and forth I go.

Have you ever felt this way? When we ride this swing, we can never seem to rest in the peace of the Lord. We are always striving to be more, to do more and to give more. Both a guilty shame-filled heart and an overzealous righteous heart both have roots in the “me first” mentality.  

When one falls down, the other side lifts higher. Back and forth they go.

Yet, the middle place on the pendulum, the still place, is the place of love, grace, mercy; it is a restful place.

God calls us here.

So, how do we come to this resting place of stillness, shamelessness and surrender?
The place where we are neither self-centered or self-inflated, but simply self-less? 

Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity… (2 Tim. 1:8-9)

Note:
– The power of God saved us.
– The power of God called us.
– The power of God leads us in our holy calling.
– The power of God works not through our works but through his.
– The power of God works as he purposes.
– The power of God bestows grace over grace.

This is the power we walk in. Anything more or anything less than God’s power is just the endless movement of a pendulum that keeps heading in the wrong direction.

It is solely by the power of Christ that we do anything. When we work through his power, his power at work within us makes us selfless, humble and full of grace.

It reminds me of the lyrics of “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus”:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

We fade, Christ brightens.
We become selfless, he becomes radiant.
He shines, we take the back burner.

Not by the power of our own might, but only by the power of the great God we have in sight.

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Overcome The Real Enemy of Worry

Overcome the Enemy of Worry

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“Mommy, can you just be with me.”

The look in his eyes, says it all – he is worried and scared about the perceived “real enemy” on TV.

Fear and worry fills his face, but, my son seems to know that having mommy next to him makes all the difference.

He knows that with the presence of a parent, he is safer.
That the TV is not real and that his mommy is.
That nothing can come against when is mommy is there.

I love both his faith in me and his desire to draw near to me in this moment.

But, I wonder am I this way when I come face-to-face with worries?

Do I choose to sit with the enemy and dwell on his tactics
or do I choose to sit with my Father and dwell on his goodness?

Do I choose to let God protect me, guard me and speak truth into my soul
or I do I choose to let the show and all it’s details play on and on and on? 

Do I choose to sit with the fear-consuming, worry-ravaging, all-powerful Father 
or do I choose a screen that replays my worst fears,
my worst case scenarios and my enemy’s worst threats?

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Ps. 16:8)

I keep my eyes on the Lord!  I. WILL. NOT. BE. SHAKEN.

Eyes on God can’t have eyes on problems.
Eyes beholding nature’s beauty can’t be beholding life’s injustices.
Eyes beholding God’s love can’t be beholding the world’s hate.
Eyes beholding God’s truth in a still moment, can’t be running circles in fear.

When we have our eyes set on God’s perfect love, and we receive it in a moment of close embrace, fear is cast out. (1 Jo. 4:18).

The presence of God that sits with us when we fear, gives us a new perspective on what looms near.  His presence confirms to our soul – we are his.

By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Heb. 11:27)

Moses seemed to know God is “Emmanuel” – meaning, “God with us”.  He seemed to know, when God is with us, nothing can come against us.

When we dwell on God’s nearness, worry fades and strength pervades.

Moses knew he could move forward with “God with him”; He could persevere verses cower in fear.

He saw the one who is right there.
Always present.
Always helping.
Always leading.
Always loving.
Always protecting.
Always giving.

Do we see “God with us” in our problems? Do we allow his real and powerful presence to cast aside all our worries?

Because when we pull near, he is there and there is no room left for fear. His love pulls up and fills us up – in a real and powerful way. Then, worry has to leave.

Suddenly, we overcome the face of fear through the power of faith.
We know he is closer than any looming disaster and more powerful than they enemy.
We see him with us as we go through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4).
We remain in God – and he remains with us.  (John 15:4-5)

Worry and worship aren’t friends. When one comes, the other leaves. Stillness and a racing mind don’t hold hands either. One runs away from the other.

When we choose “God with us”, we seemingly find our way of escape, our protector, our strength, our hope, our defense. We can trust he is working all things out for his purposes, which are always good.

Enemies can try to come against, but when God is with us, we send their bags packing, because God wins every time.

Dear friend, I know what it is like to worry. I know the pain, I know the agony and I know the despair, but today, God is calling you to something greater. God is calling you to get real, honest and transparent; he is calling you to bask in his presence.

Will you call him near as the screen of life portrays images that invoke fear?  He offers the ultimate protection.

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Today, I linkup with #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

God, Why Did You Lead Me Here?

God Led Me Here?

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I remember a time where I prayed and prayed for direction, only to feel certain that I was being led down a specific road.

I sought direction. I sought God through his word, but when I went down that road, things started going wrong.

While I had prayed God would provide; there was no money.
While I prayed God would make things succeed; there was no success.
While I prayed God would bring me through; it seemed God was stopping me.

With everything going wrong, I was tempted to wonder what was wrong with God. I was tempted to wonder why he had abandoned me to my fears.

Faced with doubts, I nearly embraced them.

What kind of God brings you to a scary, desolate land?

He brought me after I  honestly asked, prayed and knocked.
He brought me after I honestly called out.
He brought me after I honestly sought Him.

Why would God guide me into pain? Into suffering?

But, much like me, there was another, who was led into temptation.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Mt. 4:1)

Can you imagine that the Spirit led Jesus into temptation?

That the Spirit led Jesus into a place where he didn’t eat for 40 days, a place where he was “with the wild beasts” (Mark 1:13) and a place where he had to stand up against the ultimate accuser seemingly alone?

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. (Heb. 4:15)

His identity was questioned.
His authority was scrutinized.
His power was negated.
His trust in the Father was tested.
Yet, he did not sin.

He combatted every lie, with truth. He combatted every temptation with the active Word of God. He fought every blaspheme with courage.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:13)

Jesus spoke all truth. Guided by the Spirit, he was a truth breather, a temptation extinguisher and a loved child of his most high King.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:14)

He knew his place.

Truth led him to the wilderness – and truth would bring him through.

We are under the authority of our Father, the Spirit and the Son. We are loved. Adored. Led.

But, our power always comes from remembering who is in charge, not who tries to be.
Our power comes from the one who is the definition of good not the tempter of bad.
Our power is found in knowing who is for us, not listening to who is against us.

Jesus’ final words to the devil were, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ (Mt. 4:10).

No matter what comes against, despite how “in God’s will” we feel, we are to know our role is to worship God – always. To lift him high- forever. And to trust him – in all things. To serve him – above all.

Because we can trust – if we truly have sought the will of God through the Word of God – that the we have been led to this precise place, for a precise purpose – in order that we may be shaped into Christ’s image with precision.

In this, fears, doubts and sin fall by the wayside.

As we combat temptation, we grow in faith.
As we fight the devil, we submit to God.
As we face our fears, we become fearless.
As stand alone, we seek God and we see him.
As we speak truth, we see the truth.

When we are courageous in the face of fear, bold in the face of fire, we do come out the other side – and we come out more faithful.  

The Spirit led us there for a reason.

Did you know that Jesus grew during this time of suffering too?

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. (Heb. 5:8)

Make no doubt about it, the Spirit always has a purpose when he leads.

While we can’t always say what it is, or even question why it is, we can know that likely we are being built up through the trials to endure the big purposes the Lord has prepared for us in advance (example: Jesus on the cross).

We are being built up, so we won’t be torn down. We are being built up, to be strong. We are being built up, to endure the fires of life.

The question is – will we trust God or will we allow ourselves to fall into temptation?

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Kicking Shame to the Curb

Kicking Shame to the Curb

I want to be closer to God, don’t you?

Sometimes, I want to grab all that he is so I can be all that I am. I want to just get over me, be done with my ways, and move straight into his.

But then, shame shows up.

Shame comes to tell me that I am bad.
Unworthy.
Unloved.
Worthless.
Without a plan.
An orphan of God.
Distanced from love.
Unheard.
Unvalued.
Unbelievable in my actions.
(Fill in the blank)

Shame takes us by our hair, drags us to the ground and then beats us up, until all we can see is defeat. It’s the ultimate sucker punch from the devil.

If he can succeed at shaming he can succeed at defaming God.
If he can succeed at shaming, he knows we’ll stop proclaiming.
If he can succeed at shaming, he can make sure we aren’t flaming for Jesus.

I have become more and more aware of this cycle – and I am fighting back, my friend, because life is too short to live laying on the ground with bruises. You can’t get up and serve God when you are always injured.

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame. (Is. 50:7)

Fighting back shame means 3 things:

1. We allow the Sovereign Lord to help us.
2. We hold fast to the truth that Christ makes us without all shame, without any blemish – essentially “unbruisable” in him. He paid the price to absorb all shame as he took his last breath on the cross.
3. We set our faces like flint.

What? What does it mean to set a face like flint?

flint
noun

  • a piece of flint used with steel to produce an igniting spark, e.g., in a flintlock gun, or (in modern use) a piece of an alloy used similarly, especially in a cigarette lighter.
  •  a hard type of rock that produces a small piece of burning material (called a spark) when it is hit by steel  – Google Dictionary

We, like a rock, keep our face motionless in the face of impending shame. As the devil leans back to deliver his punch of shame, we stay hardened, fearless and impenetrable.  We don’t make it easy for him to hit us, because hitting a rock is never comfortable. It’s not normally something you set out to fight.

And, did you catch the result?  The result is staggering, my friend. Oh, how I love it – a spark is produced.

A spark of courage.
A spark of hope.
A spark of light.
A spark in our heart.
A spark that brightens the situation.
A spark that paves our way.
A spark of renewal.

This spark does not hold us back from the plan of God, but lights the way for it. This spark lights God’s ways in our heart. It sets us on fire for him.

It sets God’s plans in our hearts, not our insecurities in where we walk.

Today, we walk shameless. Jesus took every last bruise on our behalf, so we don’t have to walk in shame. Now, we walk with the light, the spark, of Christ Jesus that leads us in complete holiness, complete surrender and complete security in him.

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Today I am joining Suzie Eller for her fabulous #livefreeThursday, Susan B. Mead for #DancewithJesus and the Five Minute Friday linkup.

A Sure-Fire Way to Get What You Most Want

A Sure-Fire Recipe for Blessings

Most of the time, and I hate to say this, I do anything but what is right.

I get frustrated at crying kids.
Get irritated at the load of work I have to do.
Feel annoyed with people who get in my way.
And grab hold of a discontent heart.
I look at others and judge.

I gravitate towards sin, especially when I am not filtering life through God’s Word.  With the burden of my sin and the distance it causes between me and God, I have been considering how to approach this. Because, like Paul says, I normally end up doing the exact things I don’t want to do. Then, I hate myself for doing them.

How do I do what is good to do and forgo what isn’t?

How do I find God’s  joy and his blessings
as I cast sin aside?

God delivered a simple recipe of truth to answer these questions in the sequence of these verses:

1.) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

It’s simple. Delight.
Delight in his truth.
Delight in his love.
Delight in his law.
Delight even more in his grace.
Delight in his power.
Delight in his sovereignty.
Delight in his being.
Delight in his guidance.
Delight in his mercy.

The more I delight, the more he will help me and offer me the deepest desires of my heart – the things I want the most. The things that I often try to obtain by sin. These are the things he wants to give me.  With this, God pushes out any works based approach as I delight in him.

The power of delighting casts out all fear of the future, people or circumstances, because God casts out any control they have over my future.

When we delight, they have no weight on God giving us what we most desire in the deepest recesses of our heart.

2. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Ps. 37:5)

If my ways are committed, then my ways are likely in his will. In this there is no disappointment, because I will what he wills. We are working in unison. It comes as no surprise to me that he says “he will do it.”

We delight and commit  – and he sees us through it.

When we delight in who God is and what he can and will do, all we want to do is commit to and trust in his amazing ways.

3.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light… (Ps. 37:6)

What is the result of delighting, committing and trusting?

He gives us the desires of our heart.
He does what we most desire.
​He brings righteousness.

The recipe for blessings is clear – we delight, commit and submit.

As we proclaim his goodness, sing songs of praise from our lips, we discover the joy that is God. We discover his ways, and we let go of our fears.

He makes us righteous solely by residing in him more. He delights us with the most amazing gifts of our lives, things we may not even be aware of, and he will do his will, which we also will in unison.

Let’s stick to this recipe, my friends – it will yield amazing results.

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Do I Need to Forgive?

Do I need to forgive?

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I wasn’t aware I had unforgiveness in my heart.

But, I wondered, “Do I need to forgive?”

So, I sat before the Lord and asked the Spirit to reveal to me if there was anyone I needed to forgive. Someone did come to mind. Someone rather unexpected.

This person had hurt me again and again.
They had stepped on my toes.
They had left me annoyed.
They had let me down.

I had forgiven them in the past, but new offenses had taken the place of their forgiven place.

I thought, in my mind I thought, “This person – again? How many times do I have to go back to this person?”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)

Jesus doesn’t call us to forgive and be done. He knew that one who is forgiven once, likely needs to be forgiven and forgiven again and again. He doesn’t call to a blanket statement forgiveness system, but a system of ever-flowing, ever-aware and ever-outpouring forgiveness.

How many times does Jesus forgive me?

He calls us to seek out the unknown pits of resentment  we hide- in us –
to uncover the known depth of love that he stands ready to outstretch – through us.

A moment of prayer highlighted my black tar within. I never would have realized it if I hadn’t asked. I had forgiven this person so many times, I thought they were covered. I thought I had forgiven.

Jesus knows that people hurters (like you and me) are likely to hurt again and he calls us to forgive them again. Why? Because we are called to something greater – agape love. Not love that says, “I love this day, I love your hair, I love that shirt. I love this place.” Not a shallow, convenient or useful love, instead we are called to the hard depths of real love. We are called to a love like Christ loved.

To love with a love that says, “Despite what you did to me (Example: nailing me to a cross):

I see who God made you to be.
I offer unconditional benevolence towards you.
Nothing can hold me back from offering deep goodness to you.
Christ shows me how to turn the other cheek.
Nothing can conquer the deep heart I have for you.

“…The greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

“As the Father loved me, so have I loved you, now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)

Does a bag of unforgiveness weigh you down? Have you been carrying around load of unneeded junk?

I noticed, the only back unforgiveness was breaking was mine.

It didn’t cause pain to the person that hurt me.
It didn’t teach them a lesson.
It didn’t make them change.
But, my shoulders slumped, my heart felt a little more heavy and my walk with God was burdened.

Yet, as I sought God; he revealed to me new view that changed my perception on forgiveness.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt 18:18)

When we forgive and we remove junk out of our purse,
the Lord doesn’t leave us with an empty hole.

He doesn’t leave that space unoccupied.

When we forgive the Lord comes back in to fill us up again.

You see, forgiveness is an exchange of our weighted junk for his refreshment.

Refreshment that offers wave after wave of grace, mountain after mountain of joy, an eternal hope of glory, solid-rock security, never ending significance and a waterfall of constant renewal.

Will we accept all that he has for us?
Will we reach out and grab it?
Becuase he holds this refreshment out to us.
The question is – will we seek to forgive?

Let’s ask God who to forgive.

Then he will remove the weight of unforgiveness that ties us down to resentment, so we can run our race unencumbered.

As we humble ourselves in love, God fills our bag. He fills it so high it brims with his goodness. 

We let go of the stronghold we have on the straps, we realize we are strongly held by him. He removes the weight of our straps and lightens our load in his love – to love.

The power of forgiveness is immense. Love transforms, lightens and lifts. Don’t miss the chance to ask God who you need to forgive today. He will pack your bag so full, you will finally see that what he offers is far greater than that ugly bag of junk you have carried around so long.

“…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48 

Do You Have Eyes to See?

Do you have eyes to see?

I remember when I was young, I went to the PGA US Open when it was held near my town.

Amidst the thousands of people,
amidst my sister who turned into a lunatic,
amidst people pushing and shoving,
I remember tottering on my tippy toes just to see.

I just wanted to see the world famous Tiger Woods.

I knew that I wouldn’t really get a hello from him or a handshake – there were too many people and he was too famous. I was too average and he was too important.

But I just wanted to grab a look.

Wasn’t it similar for Zacchaeus?

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:3-4)

He just wanted to see.
He knew he was small.
He knew he was guilty.
He knew he was unworthy.
But, he just wanted to see the man who had power.

He wanted to cast his eyes on the one who could entirely change the game. So much so, that little Zacchaeus went to new heights – in a tree- to see new depths – in the an unforseen King.

Jesus rewarded this “go-to-any-lengths-mentality.”
Jesus rewarded this heart that wants to view his glory.
Jesus rewarded this will to see from a new view.

Jesus rewards a simple desire to see.

Jesus responds in such a different way than any earthly celebrity would.

He is less concerned about his destination (Lu. 19:1), and more concerned about salvation.

He halts all his plans, just to to see one man everyone probably hates – and he turns it into a opportunity to heal.

Can you imagine for a moment how it is being in a crowd of people? Jesus would not be able to see ahead or behind him, but Jesus knew the only way he needed to be looking – was up.

He never had the need for speed, but instead had a deep desire to fill an aching need. He stopped, he saw and then he went the extra distance and met the man in the most intimate of places – his home.

Jesus saw the one who truly needed eyes to see.
He put his plans on pause, for a greater cause.
He saw the need of the moment, rather than the plan of the hour.

He saw what no one else wanted to see – “the sinner”. (Lu. 19:7)

Zacchaeus had eyes to see.
Jesus had eyes to see.

Do we?

Do we seek to see Jesus from new perspectives?
Do we give all our heart to find him?
Do we risk climbing difficult trees to seek him?

And, what do we see in the midst of the hustle and bustle?
What do we see in the spaces between our to-do list action items?
What do we see in the faces of those we love?

Because, when we stop to see, what we often end up with is a great visit
by the great Comforter –
who never ceases to leave us unchanged.  

He knows our needs and ministers to our hearts.

Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. (Lu. 19:5)

I want Jesus to visit me in my house, don’t you?

Because a visit from Jesus, changes our hearts, our minds and our lives as nothing else can.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lu. 19:9)

What does Jesus stand ready to give you when you only seek to see?

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Surviving the Worst Storms of Life

Surviving the Worst Storms of Life

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God leads.
I follow.

God sets a destination before me.
I trust in him to bring me there.

God goes silent.
I start to panic.

I question his plan,
doubt his cause,
and fear his promptings.

I wonder, where did my Lord go?

Have you ever been in these shoes?
Sure of where you are going – only to question, shortly thereafter, if God has fallen asleep on you?

You are not alone.

Jesus’ closest friends felt exactly how you felt.

You see they had a destination. Jesus said to the disciples, after a time of deep and meaningful life instruction, “Let us go across to the other side (of the sea).” (Mk. 4:35)

They knew where they were headed; they had a destination and Jesus was going to take them there.

But plans were changed as a storm threatened their boat.
Despite their effort to move, to go and to make progress something stood against.
It not only seemed their journey a lost cause, but they probably felt that way too.

How often are we like the disciples?

We scream out in our storms, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (Mt. 8:25)
“Where are you Lord? I am drowning here.”
“Lord, didn’t you tell me – to go?”

And, sometimes he answers.
And, other times – it seems – he doesn’t.

When he doesn’t, we wonder:

1. What did I do wrong?
2. How did I go wrong?
3. What is Jesus doing wrong?

We almost want to grab him and say, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’  (Mk. 4:38)

We are here Lord, we are in this rocky, turbulent boat called life, Lord!  Do you see us? Do you care? Where are you? How come you are not directing us to our destination like you planned?

We try to shake him.
We try to wake him.
We know we only need his touch – because it will do so much.

So, we bawl and we call.
And, he sees our squall.
Not to let us fall. He comes to our rescue as our all-in-all.

But, only then do his words brush up against our heart saying, “Dear one, why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mk. 4:40). Or, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ (Mt. 8:26)

And, in this moment, we realize, he was with us the whole time.
We already had the touch that we desired so much.
But, we missed his saving power.
We lost sight of him.

What if we actually believed -through the storm, rather than fearing – in the storm? 
What sort of miracle would Jesus do? 
What would we behold?

A deep sense that “we missed it” floods over us.

Because, while we thought he was sleeping and dreaming of things other than us, he was always planning to bring us through – according to his ways.

He was always in our turbulent boat, right there next to us.

We saw the storm raging, and felt alone, but he was right there – in the midst of it – not leaving our side.

While we feared waters would cover us and we would never reach the promised land, the Lord always had a hand of protection over us – even though we couldn’t see it.

Jesus calls us to grab hold of faith in storms that appear to prevent us from charting the course he set before us.

Faith that he won’t leave us.
That he is with us.
That he can be silent and working at the same time.
That he has a plan despite the circumstances around us.
That he is greater than our best efforts to calm any storm.
That prayer and joy and an eager expectancy of his rescue is the only way to go.
That he is greater than the nature of the world that surrounds us.

Jesus didn’t fall asleep on the cross. He knew where he was going.
He never lost his touch.
He is always touching.
He has already conquered all storms, all sin and all sadness.
He knows our destination and his destination for us. Nothing will come against.
Jesus always saves.

I wonder if the disciples wondered if Jesus had fallen asleep – and forgotten them – for 3 days after his death?

Or, did they remember this little boat in a big sea, that tossed like leaf in a windstorm, that threatened their destination and that made them fear?  Did they remember that Jesus was always near? That despite how things seemed, the Lord has a greater dream for them.

I wonder.

Perhaps, when the Lord greeted them this time, in heaven, he looked at them and said, “You of great faith, oh, how you have pleased me!”

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Just Do It Scared

Post by: Christy Mobley

And without faith it’s impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

I stood at the bottom my friend’s staircase as we discussed what to do. Give it away or keep it? Give it away or keep it?

I said, “Just do it. Give it away.”

With some hesitation she relinquished her excuses and then boldly stated, “I’m going to do it.  I’m going to give it away.” And then sheepishly added, ” But not today.”

She needed to get rid of some old clothes that were cluttering her house and driving her crazy. I guess her struggle was not so much in the giving away, but in the fear of giving away. Fear of the doing.

Fear forbids us to move forward.
It keeps us from doing what we know we should.

Her situation seemed easy enough to me. Cut and dry.  I’m a throw away girl. I can’t stand clutter, so it’s easy for me to get rid of extra stuff. Give it away, or throw it away. I don’t fear I’ll need it later.

Like NIKE, I can just do it.

Ah, but I’m not that way with everything.

As a matter of fact, recently I felt God tugging at me to make a couple of phone calls but I had a hard time picking up the phone.

I was paralyzed with fear.

It’s wasn’t like God was asking me to do anything so dramatic as when He asked Mark Batterson to kneel down in the middle of an airport like Batterson recounts in his book, Draw the Circle or brush some old man’s long gray hair, like Beth Moore talks about in one of her videos. (I think that was in an airport too.) It was just a couple of phone calls for heaven’s sake.  No, these phones calls weren’t dramatic, for me they were traumatic. Somewhere I had drummed up an irrational fear.  But everyone has their own “hang up’s” right?

Fear takes hold when our perception of reality gets skewed.

On this particular day the devil had planted an irrational fear in me and the more I dwelled on it, the more skewed my reality became.

When something like this happens how do we walk through it, and just do it?

I shared my feelings with my friend Danya, and she told me something she heard Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) say. “If you’re feeling God leading you to act and you feel fearful… do it anyway.  Do it scared.”

Most people think doubt is the opposite of faith, but it’s not. Fear is.

Fear stands on the opposite side of faith.

The devil wants us full of fear.
God desires us to be full of faith.

The devil wants to keep us trapped.
God wants to set us free.

Fear traps us.
Faith frees us.

The reality is, God stands by us in our fear and in us as we step into our faith.

When we just do it scared, we cross over the boundary that separates our faith from fear.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. But dear friends, God is gracious and gives each one of us our own measure of faith, (Romans 12:3) and we are expected to use it.

I’m not sure if my friend ever got rid of those clothes cluttering her house, but because of the encouragement I received, I made two very important phone calls. And when I did my anxiety was squelched. It was freeing.

And, I bet God smiled. ( :

Is God prompting you to step out in faith today but you feel a tinge of fear?

If so, let me challenge you to just do it. Do it scared.

Put a smile on God’s face by stepping over the fear and into your faith.

 

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can catch up with Christy at Joying in the Journey