Fateful fear

“Never let fear decide your fate.” ~Farmer’s Almanac

This summer’s crazy journey has been full of times when I could have allowed fear to keep me from doing something.
Fear could have kept me from deciding with my husband to move out of state, away from my family and friends to a place where I knew no one and had no immediate safety net.
Fear could have kept me from continuing to go forward with our move when our original housing plans fell through– twice.
Fear could have kept me from turning down a “guaranteed job” in a school (my career field), before I even had an interview at another job.
Fear could have kept me from so many little things during this adventure.

BUT GOD has proven Himself faithful again and again over the years and this new adventure was not the time to doubt Him or His abilities.

My husband had his job offer two days after we arrived, I turned down one job to be offered a different job less than 24 hours later. The second job– the one I took– has benefits, opportunity to grow within the company, and higher pay. We had an apartment lease signed in less than two weeks after our move here. God’s time table is perfect!!

Second Corinthians 5:7 says it clearly, “For we live by faith and not by sight.” I will chose to believe in the God who is greater than anything I will face, bigger than any obstacle, stronger than any entity, faithful, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. This God is the one in whom I believe, in whom I have put my trust.

Where are you putting your trust? Don’t let fear decide your fate– let your faith grow by trusting the God who said He “will never leave you or forsake you” Hebrews 13:5.

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Permanent vs. temporary

This post contains mature subject matter…

Over the past week I have seen blogs and posts, and heard news reports that have dealt with the subject matter of sex. Sex as God designed it and sex as the world uses it.

News reports of a father who left his child in a hot, deadly car to post inappropriate pictures of himself on the internet. Blogs of how sexual addictions cause deep and sometimes permanent damage in marriages, and the big one; how the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the popular book series of the same name, is in post-production and already causing quite a stir.

Sex, according to the world, is something for your pleasure only and a way to prove your prowess. Look at the magazine covers by the check out line “27 ways to leave him begging for more” and the like– how does that nurture and deepen a relationship? The feelings you experience truly may leave you breathless, but does it leave you truly satisfied?

A sincere, safe, selfless relationship, created and blessed by God, doesn’t “leave you” at all. It fills you. The goal of a sexual relationship, as created by God, is to be an act of giving– not taking.

When we treat others as something to use and discard, instead of someone to treasure and care for, we are trading the permanent for the temporary.

My sons deserve wives who know they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). My nieces deserve to have husbands who will know their role as a Biblically-based servant -leader.

My prayer for the next generation is that they will know that they are precious, and prized, and valued, and loved, and treasured above all things. The only way that will happen is if we make a point to change the world’s view of Sex.

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Back to the beginning

I have been thinking of the movie The Princess Bride (1987) when Inigo is in the Forbidden Forest and says, “You told me to go back to the beginning… so I have.”  Inigo is at the end of himself and his leader, Vizzini, told him to go back to the beginning. Inigo’s Barnabbas-like friend, Fezzik, comes to him and encourages him to continue on the journey. So it is with us.

We have gone back to the beginning and are awaiting further instructions.  We have Barnabbas-like friends, who have also gone back to the beginning and are now seeing the fruition of obedience, encouraging us to be faithful.

Isaiah 46:9-11 says the very words that provide me comfort.

     “remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
 calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.”

 

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Glorious Unfolding

As I was driving a load of boxes from our storage unit to our new apartment yesterday, I heard Steven Curtis Chapman’s new song “Glorious Unfolding.” I loved the lyrics and how they fit our present journey. I was reminded that what looks like crazy from a human point-of-view, really is something amazing from Heaven’s point-of-view.
I hope these lyrics encourage you, too.
Blessings
Glorious Unfolding
Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding

Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

Writer(s): Steven Curtis Chapman

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24 little hours

On Monday we went apartment hunting. It has been a slow process and a potentially discouraging one. My husband and I changed our search area and immediately found a place. We filled out the paperwork and waited. The next day, we received a call, we had been approved. Our move-in-date happens as soon as the landlord puts in the new carpeting.
Amazing, within 24 hours we went from discouraged to encouraged. I love it.

Yesterday evening I received a phone call–one I had been waiting for with some anxiety. The enemy as I have said, has been hitting some crazy line drives at me, trying to convince me that important relationships are/were in jeopardy since I moved. It has made me anxious, losing sleep, worrying, having imaginary conversations with these important people in my head. Just crazy. Two minutes into the conversation and I realized all was fine. Nothing to fret or worry about. Again, just 24 hours from fretting to fine.

It made me think about the disciples during the weekend between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Scripture tells us nothing about Saturday. Saturday is silent because nothing happened.
For 24 hours men and women wept, worried, feared, and wondered about their Teacher and Lord and all He had taught them. What they didn’t know was that Sunday was coming. In 24 hours, angels would sing and Heaven would rejoice because Jesus had conquered the grave. But they didn’t know that on Saturday. (Read John chapters 19 & 20 for more details).

Are you struggling and feeling like there is no hope, no end, no resolution, no understanding in sight? Could it be that you are in the midst of your 24 hours? Could it be that you are waiting for God to “show up?” Don’t lose hope. Hold on. It has been my experience that when God does “show up” He also “shows off”** all of His amazing love, grace, mercies, and His plan for your next steps.
Hang in there, your Sunday is coming!!

**”show up and show off” are from Jerry Jenkins’ book Hometown Legend. A great read and that line had always stuck with me. (Jerry Jenkins is also the co-author of the Left Behind series).

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Being and Doing

My family and I have been looking for housing for the past week. Everyday we go online and do a search, drive around in neighborhoods we think we’d like to live in, looking for “for rent” signs. We’ve contacted numerous landlords, but we’ve had only a handful return our calls. We’ve had a couple very good leads, including one that was “perfect” and they would take our dogs too, but then she called a couple hours after our walk through to say she went with another renter.
Add to this, my anxiety and restlessness from things I left unfinished when we moved, and it would be easy to understand why I only get a few hours of sleep at night.
The struggles and trials we are experiencing seem to be insurmountable. Yet, I know the truth. God is able to handle this situation too.
In Exodus 14 the Israelites, newly freed from slavery, arrive at the Red Sea. News comes quickly that the Pharaoh and his army with chariots are coming to kill them. Naturally, they panic. Turning to Moses, they demand to know what he is going to do to keep them from being killed. Moses, who can do nothing, turns to God. “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭14‬:‭13-14‬ NIV)
God tells Moses, Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭14‬:‭15-18‬ NIV)
In two moments God says to be still and to get moving. It seems contradictory, but then I realized that God is telling them– ” You can’t do this, so rest in me– I’ve got this, and in the meantime, here is something you can do- so go do it.”
Our inability to find something in one major town, led us to look in another one, which is where we would prefer to live. Within minutes of arriving in the second town, we found an apartment complex that would meet our needs for the next year.
I need to “be still” with God (Psalm 46). Trusting Him to take care of the details. I also need to be ready to move when He gives us direction.
How are you doing with stillness and action? Do you need to talk with God about it, like I do?
Ask Him to help you calm your spirit and rest in Him. He cares about you, more than you know.

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Pop flies and line drives

I am supposed to be asleep, but all I can do is toss and turn. I am fighting self-doubt. Self-doubt is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons. He uses it to make us second-guess decisions we have made, to make us worry about things we have no control over, and to basically incapacitate us.

In this crazy journey my family and I are on, we have seen God show up in huge, amazing, incredible ways. Yet, somehow the enemy is trying to get me to see the decisions we have made as bad ones, wrong ones, “were-those-really-the-best-choices-you-could-have-made” ones.

As I toss and turn tonight, the enemy is tossing ideas and thoughts into my head, “what if you had waited until everything was all settled to move?”
“What if this person thinks that you are a fool to move?”
“What if that person does such-and-such and you are too far away to fix it?”
“What if? What if? What if?”
ARGGGHHH!!!

Scripture says we are to “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭5‬ NIV). So every time the enemy tries to attack me, I am to capture what he is throwing and demolish it. I am striving to imagine myself with a huge baseball mitt on my hand, snagging all of the pop flies and line drives the enemy is hitting to me– ultimately getting him”out” every time.

Father, you promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). I need you tonight Father, to help calm my spirit, protect my mind, and prepare my heart and soul for a restful sleep (Ephesians 6). Please be my shield and protector from all he throws at me (Psalm 119:114). Thank you for being the God who protects, loves and provides for His children. I love you so much.
Your Daughter,
Amen.

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Independence

July is not just when my country celebrates it’s birthday; it is also when I celebrate my birthday, the day I chose the freedom offered by Christ. It has been 24 years since I reached out to the God who loved me enough to give His Son in my place to cover all of my sins, foolishness, and stupidity. Jesus filled all of my pits, holes, and crevices with His grace, His love, His healing, and His amazing mercies.

Scripture says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,”
(Isaiah 61:1).

As Christ stood in the synagogue in Nazareth and read Isaiah 61:1,2 to the people in the congregation, he was declaring the opportunity for independence from bondage, from sin, from sorrow and grief, from loss and from hopelessness. He told them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus told them in essence, “I am declaring your freedom– available through me.”

How do you need to declare independence? Is it from regret? Guilt? Sorrow? An addiction? An unspoken sin? What is stopping you? If you cannot do it on your own, ask for help. Talk to someone who can walk with you through the steps of declaring independence. A pastor, a trusted friend, a mentor, a teacher, someone who will help you see you are not alone.

Make today your day of independence.

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Pay attention!

Whenever there is a lot of disorganization in life, there is a tendency to want to jump in -right away- to put things back into order. I have this compulsion for sure. But, I am learning in this topsy-turvy season, if I don’t have my time with God first– before anything else– no amount of work with my hands will be able to fix the disconnect from God in my heart.

The enemy is hungry for us. John 10:10 says that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;”. In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” If this is how the enemy of God feels about us, what are we to do?

Scripture is clear, we are to “seek first, the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The first words in 1 Peter 5:8 tell us, “Be self-controlled and alert.” If we are “too busy” to get our focus on God, then we do not have steady footing for our day. Ephesians 6 talks all about our need to prepare for battle. In the ancient world, the key to any soldier’s success was to still be standing at the end of the battle. One pastor said it like this, “To stand is to live.”

If we are not taking ten minutes, fifteen minutes, however long we have in our schedule, to stop, sit still, pray, and listen for leading from God, then we are losing our footing and may lose the battle. Don’t allow the days worries and woes sweep you out and away from the one thing you need most (see Matthew 6:25-34). Jesus.

**for help in the area of busyness and prayer check out the book Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels.

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Singing souls

There are many mornings when I wake up with a song playing in my head. What I love about this experience is how the words always fit my situation. I don’t listen to the radio when I go to bed or to wake up, so that isn’t the influence. I believe it is my soul singing, subconsciously, to God in response to His actions.

This morning I woke to an old Darlene Zschech song called Love You So Much. With all of the crazy things we’ve gone through, I love that my soul, at its deepest level, still sings praises to the God who has carried us through. May these words bring your soul peace and remind you of WHO is in charge.

Blessings.

Hear these praises from a grateful heart
each time I think of You the praises start
love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

Lord, I love You, my soul sings
in Your presence carried on your wings
love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

how my soul longs for You
longs to worship You for ever
in Your Power and Majesty
lift my hands, lift my heart,
lift my voice towards the heavens
for You are my sun and shield

hear these praises from a grateful heart
each time I think of You the praises start
love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

Lord, I love You, my soul sings
in Your presence carried on your wings
love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

how my soul longs for You
longs to worship You for ever
in Your Power and Majesty
lift my hands, lift my heart,
lift my voice towards the heavens
for You are my sun and shield

how my soul longs for You
longs to worship You for ever
in Your Power and Majesty
lift my hands, lift my heart,
lift my voice towards the heavens
for You are my sun and shield

hear these praises from a grateful heart
each time I think of You the praises start
love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

love You so much, Jesus, love You so much

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