Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

How the Enemy Smells Fear

She jumped back! The goose was sounding, “Honk! Honk! Honk!” He approached her, hissing and threatening. Terrified, my 6-year old daughter shirked back and bent over. She didn’t know what to do. She looked around, helpless. Only a half a foot taller than the goose, the goose smelled fear. He knew he ruled. So, he fed on her fear. He pushed her back even more.

I wouldn’t have it.

I walked over to him like a military woman taking charge and I shoved that goose back in the water with my heavy approach. I said, “Oh no you don’t. You don’t mess with my little girl that way. You get outta here.” The goose had to move.

Many of us are cowering in fear and hoping the enemy of our soul will move. We are whispering and telling him to get back. We are turning into ourselves.

Yet, fear doesn’t move our enemy, it feeds him. It draws him to us. It gives him a louder sound and makes his approach stronger.

The enemy of our soul only moves when we approach with strength and confidence. When we use our authority, our strength of size, and our power vested in us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Lu. 10:19)

I don’t know what sort of goose you face today. Maybe he looks like a giant. Maybe he is squawking loud. Maybe he’s hissing in your face. Maybe he is coming at you. Maybe he is getting you down. Maybe you feel depressed.

Get out of your chair. Speak up and kick him in the face. Tell him to get away because you aren’t going to listen to his lies anymore.

Make him — get behind you. Proclaim truth. Seize what God has to say to you. Tell your emotions to bow under the truth of God. Tell your heart it will be okay. Tell the mean words to get outta here.

Then, do the opposite of what he is telling you to do. Clearly, he is aiming to hold you back from something.  Love those who need loving. Help those who need helping. Give to those who you see are in need. Commit to being positive. Speak life to others. Listen only to the words in your mind that are truth, and only truth. Make yourself pray in the gaps of your day.

Many times, the only way to beat the enemy is to beat him at his own game. You have to take control of the thoughts he wants to control. The second you do that, you get back on track again.

Don’t be discouraged.

You are under a greater force — His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.  With Jesus, all lesser evils have to submit to the Power, the Might, the Strength and the Lordship of His name. We always have the upper-hand, through Christ. Many of us, myself included, need to start praying and believing this as the truth.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are in control. You rule all. You are over all. You have the whole world in your hands. All things work together for your good and our good. You know what you are doing. We are not being tossed like the wind; you love us like a good good father. We trust you. We believe in your good plan. We listen, not, to the enemy’s voice any longer. Pour out your grace and mercy on us. We need you, so desperately. In Jesus’ name.

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Are you Hating Your Waiting?

It’s as if God sat me down, to say, “Kelly, you, sit and wait. Wait for me, for your breakthrough. Wait for me, for your answers. Wait for me, and I will do it.”

Many of us are seated this way, waiting. Be it for a job, an answer, a child that needs saving, a financial saving,  a mental-healing or whatever, God has us sitting down. Sitting there and — waiting.

You may be saying, “For what? For what God am I waiting?” You may feel like you are twiddling your thumbs or counting dust particles in the sky. Or, that you are being a bad child for not moving. Or, that there is some sort of sin-problem you have.

On the contrary, God does not shame waiters, He blesses them.

“Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31 KJV)

God has for those who wait-well, new strength. He has for those who believe in His calling to trust, new heights. He has for those who are searching, a new walk. A running into what is ahead.

Boring-ole waiting and hoping is strength-renewing, when we see how it is all part and process of God’s faith-building and doing.

You are not wasting away in waiting, you are becoming a warrior, a special vessel who knows how to trust in the Lord, even in the hardest of times. Stay encouraged. Stay near to God’s heart. Stay active in His Word.

Waiting is not doing nothing; it is staying activated in Christ Jesus. It is believing He has a good plan, anyway. It is loving others, on full-throttle, knowing: God will do it! Jesus will come! God has your way! If not today, on the very best day — He will certainly come!

Glory to God!

 

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What to do When You Fear

I was afraid. The second I saw the picture of my kids, fear climbed up my arm. Undoubtedly, it wanted to go straight into my heart.

They did what!? They know I hate it when they wear public hats.

Friends, I admit: I fear my kids getting lice. I know what it entails. Growing up the oldest of 6 kids meant we got lice more than a time or two. I remember the itching. I remember the endless washing and boiling of brushes and laundry. I remember covering of furniture and the constant search up the nape of my neck.

Frankly, to return home from a weekend trip to see my kids pictured with the hat that every-kid-at-the-city-museum put on– did. not. bring. me. comfort. Instead, I was — provoked to nervousness.

The more I stared at the photograph, the more I knew: I stood at a crossroad. What would I do? Where would I head?

I could worry, and wander from God.
Or, I could cast my care on Him, allow Him to care for me and discover — how He cares for me.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7 MSG)

Far too often, I worry away God’s wonderful care. But, when I pray I get to stay under God’s providential care. I find His help.

With the hair-issue, to fend off worry, I made a decisive choice to:

ONE. Not panic. I remembered God’s truth.
TWO. Pray over both my kid’s heads.
THREE. Stop looking at that photograph.
FOUR. Return to prayer anytime my mind wanted to return to the issue.
FIVE. To (physically and emotionally) let this issue go, into God’s hands.

You can do the same. Just because fear announces, “I am here”, doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to it. Just because Corona Virus is all-up in your face, doesn’t mean you have to live shackled to the news, or your hand-sanitizer. Just because you figure horrible is going to happen, doesn’t mean that it is. God is greater. Nothing halts His care.

God is up to wonderful things. Give Him a space and a place to work, clear your table of worry and begin to behold His wonder.

I let it that photograph — go. Later that night, I hugged my kids with their hair all tangled up in mine. I laid down on what could have been “infected” pillows, without concern. I spent time with God, without wandering off to a hat or a kid’s head of hair in my mind. I stayed with God.

You can too.

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Do you Accidentally do this?

We need a breakthrough in my family.

We need God to show up in time, or we will be out of time. I am sure many of you may know this feeling. You need God’s help in time to make a decision. You need His counsel in time to know how to approach someone. You need His understanding in time to change within your heart.

I wonder if Jesus felt like He needed to see what Father God was doing, in time, in the wilderness? When Jesus was starving and being tempted by the devil? When Jesus was considering which scripture to use to combat the enemy’s attacks? Was Jesus hoping He would be delivered in time?

At one point, in this place, the devil spoke to Jesus, saying, ““If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]” (Mt. 4:6-7)

Essentially, Jesus said, “Don’t you dare put God to the test.”

After reading these words, “don’t put God to the test,” I had to admit: I have no idea what it is “to put God to the test”. Whatever this is — I know, I don’t want to do it. So, what is it?  

The more I looked into this, the more I learned how the Israelites tested God. For example, God met Moses. And, at this place, Moses made water come out of a rock through His staff.

But, notice what happened here. It is written: “Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” (Ex. 17:7)

Testing and arguing with God sounds like: “Is the Lord here with me or not?”

Like:
Is the Lord here to help me with this issue — or not?
Is the Lord really going to come through — or not?
Is the Lord really going to give me answers — or not?
Is the Lord really thinking about me — or not?
Is the Lord really Provider — or not?

Friends, let’s not test the Lord our God. We do not want to be held back, like the Israelites, because of our heart posture. We don’t want to be pawns used by the enemy. We don’t want to let spiritual pride lead us off-track.

God is who He says He is. He will do what He says He will do. He is faith-full over every situation. This means He has all the faith to faithfully keep every promise. He has all the hope to bring us out of even the direst situations. He has all the counsel we need, every time. He is ever-present and active in our lives, always.

Arguing and testing God is fruitless, and, often, stalls the abundant life Jesus has for us.

Today, proclaim: I trust you, God. I don’t test you.

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What People Think

I put the broken sunglasses on anyway…even though I knew they’d sit crooked, even though they were broken. I guess you could say — I don’t care.

I don’t care what you think about me.

I don’t care if you give me a side-eye glance because one of the two arms are broken off and the glasses are becoming more vertical than horizontal.

I don’t care that I look odd and that you may be thinking weird things about me.

I don’t care, because I choose to be comfortable outside, more than to care about your inward thoughts towards me.  I don’t care because the only other pair of glasses I own are now lost in some other state.

So, I plop the crooked glasses on my face and confidently hop outside with the couple we’re having over. I don’t care. If you don’t love me because of — my sunglasses, you would have never loved me anyway…

After a bit of chatting and sitting, one of the guests looks at me. He says, “Kelly, your glasses are so ministering to me.”

Really? That’s odd. I’m intrigued now. I sit up and lean forward.

“It’s as if you are saying, ‘I don’t care’.” He explained.

It’s true.

I love you, but…
I don’t care about impressing you.
I don’t care if you think I am too much for Jesus.
I don’t care if you call me intense.
I don’t care if I look odd when I tell people how much God loves them.
I don’t care if I don’t do what everyone else does, because it leads my heart down wrong-paths.
I don’t care if you judge me because of how I look.
I don’t care if you think you have more bible knowledge or good theology than me.

I do not fear you, so I can love you. With this, more and more, do not care…

What I do care about is God and what He is calling me to. I care about love that is pure and without pretense. I care about authenticity and welcoming others to be real. I care about real connection, despite looks. I care about what God is really saying and doing and leading us into, as a family, much more than I do about appearances.

Although a growth process, one of my greatest joys has been God teaching me to — not care! Now I am free! This is life and boldness for the Kingdom of God — like no other.

God speaks the best words over me, so I don’t have to be controlled by yours.

What do you care far too much about? How might God be calling you to — throw up your arms to say, “I don’t care! By George, I don’t care anymore…!”

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ( 2 Cor. 3:17)

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What You Tolerate

The social media image said, “You get what you tolerate.”

I paused from scrolling for a second to ask myself questions: What have I been tolerating? Putting up with? Grinning, and bearing?

Scripture doesn’t say, “Tolerate the enemy.” It says, submit to God. Resist the enemy and he’ll flee. (Ja. 4:7)

Never once, did Jesus meet a person and say, “Oh, so you are struggling with sin? That’s okay. Not a big deal; grin and bear it.” Neither did He say, “So, you are feeling attacked? Just keep going, pretend that what you’re facing is not there and hang out with it for a while.”

No. We DO NOT tolerate attacks, bondage, lies or defeat. We do not give room for lesser things to overrule God’s great truth. We shut annoyances up and shut them down. Immediately, in the name of Jesus!!!

Never, ever, should we permit lesser lies to overrule our prominent position in Christ Jesus. We are dead to sin and alive to Christ! We do walk with a new nature! Nothing can take away what Christ has done for us…unless we allow our mind to agree with falsehoods. Or, we decide to ignorantly walk in sin.

With this, we must allow nothing to steal our identity in Christ Jesus.

Instead, we can choose to adamantly, radically, and furiously block lies, attacks, offenses, unforgiveness, bitterness, rejection and self-pity from redefining who we are. From morphing us into something or someone we are not.

To do this, we must disallow anything from putting separation between us and our first love.

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (1 Jo. 5:21)

Because we are children of God.
Because we are eternally loved.
Because we are chosen.
Because we are called.
Because we are wanted.

Forever. And ever. And ever. And ever, more.

We are not slaves to fear. We are not defeated foes. We are not forgotten. We are not working to gain back ground. Or, trying to work around an angry father. We are not made to shirk or shrink back. We are not defined by the past. Or the sum of what others have said about us.

We are children. We have a dad who loves us. Who chose us. Who wants us. We have a Savior who died for us. A great path ahead of us. Nothing can stop us, in Christ Jesus.

Cast off whatever is entangling you. The enemy is a liar.

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Are You Truly Honest?

All was fine until I had to decide whether to lie or not. . .

Let me explain. Today, I sat in a new church with new people at a bible study group. Here, as the youngest, amidst all the white-haired heads, I felt free.  I didn’t care about fitting in.

The Pastor mentioned to the group that I wrote books, namely: “Fear Fighting” and “Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously“.  And, then we continued . . .  reading and learning — that is — until, the pastor stopped, looked at us, and asked, “Is anyone here struggling with fear?”

The room sat still. No hands raised.

But, my heart thumped. Why? Because I knew I should raise mine.

But, how can I? The girl who wrote the book about fear?  How can I admit today that I am struggling with fear? What will they think of me? How will I look? I’m a shame. I should be better than I am.”

But, I knew “my truth”. How I get afraid of powerless moments when I don’t know how to react. How I feel nervous that God won’t make a way for my dreams. I feel afraid that I may misinterpret scripture and lead his people or myself, astray (my worst nightmare). . .

As the man waited, I had to decide: Would I lie before man and God — by keeping my hand down — or would I admit my struggle, and raise it up?

I slowly inched my hand up, somehow signaling to the group: I am not perfect, not altogether and I struggling. . .

I half-expected them to laugh at me, to raise their chin up just a little higher than mine, or to question why I even write books. . . but they didn’t.

Then, the most interesting thing happened. As the group wrapped up, a bunch of women came over to me. They said,  “How do you spell your last name? We want to get your book. . . ”

And, so I consider today:

Maybe people don’t hate our weakness as much as we think they do.
Maybe our truth-telling doesn’t make people want to run as much as the enemy tries to convince us it does.
Maybe people aren’t looking for perfect friends, as much as they are honest ones.

Are you honest before man? Before God? Or, are you trying to hide the worst of you, because you figure no one will want you anymore?

Our revealing before God — and man — is our healing. But, our hiding often is — our increase of shame.

“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[c] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[d] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Col. 3:9-11 NLT)

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I’ve Got to Do Better than Her

She is going to make me look like a fool. It’s me against her. I have to come out on top.

Deep in me, there lives a competitive beast. One that promotes selfish ambition and untoward conduct. One that looks at other gals and compares them to me.

The beast says:

I need to be super impactful, smart and powerful. Or, I’m disposable.
I can’t let others get ahead of me. No one will pay attention to me anymore.
I should desperately fear being left behind. I’ll be useless without impact.

Competitiveness is a horrible beast to be chained to. It demands we control the uncontrollable. It sets us up to fail.

Does jealousy, fear, selfish ambition or a competitive nature threaten you, like me?

Lately, I’ve become so sick and tired of it’s bullying tactics. I’ve decided – through a deep investigation of scripture – to fight back.

Here’s how:

1. I humble myself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time (and in God’s proper way), He’ll exalt me.

2. I remember Christ rules over everything. He has all authority and every victory belongs to the Lord. If it is my victory, it is an empty one. But if it is God’s, it is fruitful.

3. I ponder the idea that by my strength, I get tired. But by His, I become empowered.

4. I bless those who hurt me, persecute me, laugh at me, talk behind my back and injure me. Why? Because God loves His creation. He is working on them. He is doing something. I don’t need to get my sticky fingers into His artwork. I can trust the masterpiece He is creating without trying to let my bitterness or irritation take control.

5. I wait on God knowing that, nearly half the time, it is by doing nothing I find He’s doing everything. Likewise, I step out when He says it’s go time, no matter how prideful, arrogant or self-serving it may seem to the world. Ultimately, I don’t serve others opinions of me, but Christ’s lordship. I follow it, stay close to it and trust it, no matter how it looks.

The beast dies when we die to our flesh and come alive to Christ. It can’t live when we stay surrendered and in-step with the Spirit. It has no rule when Christ rules. Period. And Amen.

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From “a Bad Hand” to “The Upper Hand”

For a large part of my life, I believed I’d simply been dealt a bad hand. I had thoughts like this: “Things work against me. No one is for me. The world will hurt me. People are out to get me. I can’t trust anybody. I am at risk of being continually injured or stranded. Bad circumstances find me.”

Bad. Hand.

Hurt. Kelly.

Struggling. To. Be. Okay.

Annoyed….Others. Have. It. Better.

Defined. By. My. History.

Have you, like me, allowed internal definitive statements to define your identity? Are you unsure how to climb out of the pit of injustice you’ve found yourself in?

Incredibly, God’s Word shows us the way. God has clear-cut, straightforward instruction for those who have been punched one too many times by the constant onslaught of the world. For those whose stomach feels like it is caving in and they’re about to give up.

Here it is…(notice the two main call-to-action points included within this statement):

“If you… 1.) listen to the commands of the Lord your God and 2.) carefully obey them, (then) the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand.” Deut. 28:13

If you listen and obey…

Then you’ll have – not the bad hand –  but always, the upper hand.

You won’t be the tail that gets stomped all over, but the head that is wise, smart and full of God’s truth.

Jesus, as the head, will get in your head and change the world of hurts you’ve been living in. Give Him a shot. Listen, obey and find yourself ahead.

 

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Trading Fear for Confidence in His Unshakeable Grip

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

If you were completely confident in God’s unchanging, irrevocable love for you, would it change how you walked? If you knew that no matter how many times you fell, he would be right there to catch you, would it change the way you lived your life?

I believe it would.

Several years ago, God showed me what confidence in a daddy’s grip can do. Our firstborn was six, and he set out to conquer a new set of monkey bars at a state park we were visiting. But after climbing the ladder and surveying the height, fear overtook him. I could tell he wanted to cross, but he convinced himself he wasn’t able to do it.

After spending a few minutes observing our boy, my husband walked over. He spoke words of encouragement and told him he would walk with him, arms out and ready to grab him if he slipped.

Our six-year-old hesitated another moment and then went for it. He made it all the way across without falling, and then there was no stopping him. He immediately went back for more.

The smile on his face spoke for itself, but for the rest of the afternoon he told everyone about his new accomplishment. Our friends. The neighbors. People he met on our hike to the waterfall.

Everyone heard, “Daddy wouldn’t let me fall, so I knew I could do it.”

It’s amazing what that kind of confidence can do for us, isn’t it?

When we know someone is walking with us and cares about every detail of our lives, we can move forward without fear. Even when circumstances look bleak, we can put one foot in front of the other because we know we aren’t doing it alone.

Can I tell you something? You have someone too.

If you’ve surrendered your life to the living God, he goes with you, behind you and before you.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 NLT

Even if everyone in your life has let you down or abandoned you. Even if your earthly father never gave you the love and assurance you needed.

God’s love is not fickle. It is patient and enduring. It withstands in the places where human loves fails.

This is the type of love that transforms our walk. It’s the type of love that enables us to do things we would never do before, because we know with him standing in the gap with us, we will never be alone.

Claim this truth as your own today. Speak it out loud when the lies of the enemy threaten to overtake your thoughts. I can promise when you do, you will see a change. And the change will be in you.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.