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Archive for February, 2012

“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.”        Psalm 120:1 KJV

My grandson, Noah, is a typical two-year-old. At home in his own environment, he entertains himself, wanders out of sight of his mother and explores; a content and independent young man. But whenever he faces uncertainty, new people or experiences, he runs quickly back to mom’s arms where he feels safe until he can assess things for himself. What he doesn’t know is that Mom is watching him, even when he thinks he’s on his own.

It seems to be a part of our human nature – when we feel safe, we develop a certain adventurousness, a willingness to try new things and to be independent, a.k.a. the “me do” mentality. But let something happen that upsets our plans,  frightens us  or goes contrary to our expectations and we suddenly decide we need the help of Someone bigger than us – God.

Thankfully He is always there, when things are going just fine as well as when things feel scary or out of our control. He never really leaves us to wander on our own. We just conveniently “forget” He’s there until we needed Him!

Lord, thank you for being there when I experience distress. But help me to remember you are ALWAYS with me. Amen.

 

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“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

TotallyTopTen.com listed the ten top things people fear as:

  • Snakes
  • Public Speaking
  • Heights
  • Enclosed Spaces
  • Spiders or other insects
  • Needles
  • Mice
  • Flying
  • Dogs
  • Thunder and lightning

Other things people fear include intangible things like death, fear of failure, fear of being alone…the phobia list goes on and on.

Gaining victory over those things we fear isn’t easy, but it is possible. We must first recognize where the fear comes from. It comes from  the enemy who seeks to destroy our very souls;; from past traumatic experiences which satan has engineered or through sin which has  exaggerated or distorted God’s creation in our minds until  the fear looms larger than life or God Himself.

God is the only  antidote for sin. As we get closer to God, we can tap into His power,  love  and peace to face and overcome our  fear.

Perhaps the real reason we are still afraid is that our image of God is distorted so that we cannot take the first step to trust Him.

Lord help me to see you so clearly, to know you so deeply that I can place my hand confidently in yours and  walk with you through anything! Amen.

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“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  Matthew 22:37-39 King James Version (KJV)

In the King James version of the Bible there are  783,137 words  organized into 2 testaments, 66 books, 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses. It was written by over 40 different authors over a span of 1500-2000 years. The various authors wrote in their own voices about the history, laws, poetry and prophecy of the Israelite people and later about the life of Christ and history of his followers. (Stats found at Bible Facts and Statistics)

Yet Jesus takes only one moment to boil the message of this huge compilation work into three simple sentences made up of 42 words which anyone can understand.

So why do we make it so difficult?

 

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“I  know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 CEB

Children’s personalities can be so different, but they have one thing in common –  the need to be heard.

When my granddaughter Katie was two years old, she talked  a mile a minute. She parroted back the words we said and told all sorts of imaginary stories on her own. If she didn’t know the right word, she made one up. If we didn’t listen to her she would stand right in front of us and sometimes even hold our faces in her little hands, jabbering away, until we responded.

What a big difference from her little brother Noah who is now two years old. He doesn’t talk at all, even though he understands everything we say to him. But he knows how to get his mom’s attention by patting her leg until she looks at him, then grunting, pointing and gesturing until he gets his message across.

No matter what we are going through, God hears us when we pray – whether we  vocalize our prayers or pat His leg and get in His face to gain His attention. He promises to be there when we earnestly look for Him.

That’s a good thing – because we may not be able to see His plan coming to pass, detail by detail during the process. But as long as we see Him and continue to communicate with Him,  we know He hears us and we can trust that the plan IS coming together.

Thanks Lord for hearing me! Amen.

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Why are you sad, O my soul? Why have you become troubled within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my help and my God. Psalm 42:11 New Life Version (NLV)

Being a pastor’s wife, people often call me with prayer requests and yesterday was no exception.

A dear friend called me in the afternoon to pray with her about a man who had been in a terrible car accident. Another friend called in the early evening to say that her daughter-in-law was to the hospital.

I’m always glad to pray with the callers, Most days I  can pray earnestly with them and then leave the burdens at Jesus’ feet. I’ll add the need to my daily prayer list and pray throughout the day when I think of it. No problem.

But yesterday I woke up with a headache and low-grade fever, probably the remains of a slight cold virus. Plus I already felt burdened by my son’s family needs which I learned about during our weekend visit. So when my friends called with their requests, I prayed and hung up the phone feeling even more discouraged and heavy of heart.

That’s when I heard God’s still small voice reminding me out of the clear blue of this verse in Psalms. “Why is your soul discouraged? Hope in God !” Hope was like a smile from God, lifting my heart in an instant as He gently reminded me of His power, strength and control.

Thank you Lord for your light of hope that brightens my heart. I don’t know how yesterday’s prayers will be answered, but I know and love the One who answers! Amen.

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There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 CEB

I love taking my grandchildren for a walk to the playground a few blocks from their house. They bounce along, chattering excitedly, anticipating the swings, slide and merry-go-round. But when we reach the corner where we have to cross the street, fear grips my heart. What if one of them runs out into traffic?

So with a stern voice I bark out the commands, “Hold my hands. Look both ways. Now we can cross.” This is a healthy  fear on my part because I understand the danger of carelessly crossing the road and I want my grandchildren to understand it too.

But what of the fears in a young child’s heart as they cower under their beds listening to their parents fight because of too much alcohol? Or the fear of something scary or hurtful happening because a child is “bad.” These fears may cause a child to close themselves off to love or to work extra hard to earn it, because they feel unlovable or worthless.

Scripture teaches us to “fear” the Lord, meaning to respect His power and to experience awe or reverence in His presence – much like going before a powerful judge or king. After all, he created the universe and has all power and all knowledge.

But if we learn to fear God as children through harsh life experiences or frightening interactions with people who should love us, we  end up trying to flee from his presence or to resist his love for us.

Do you experience feelings of inadequacy before God, trying to work harder to be good enough or worthy in His presence? Or have you tried to run from him, insisting there is no God or deciding He doesn’t care about you?

Lord, help me to have a healthy respect for your power. Heal my heart so I may have  enough confidence in your love to come boldly before you with my needs and desires, knowing you will hear and answer me. Amen!

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“The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is what fulfills the Law.” Romans 13:9-10 CEB

This verse is not necessarily about “loving ourselves.” It’s more of  a challenge to see ourselves through God’s eyes – as beloved creations of God’s own heart. He made us, therefore we have worth and value to Him.

If we think of ourselves this way, we will treat ourselves differently – with more care, love and concern. We will be more responsible to pass that same care on to others – seeing them as lovable, valuable creations of our heavenly Father and treating them with the respect and love that they deserve.

Father correct my vision of who I am in You so that I may fully care for others around me. Amen

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