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Fear is in the Slave Trade
Fear holds you captive. It enslaves you to live a smaller and/or lesser life than the full and abundant life God intended for you to live. Fear allows you to exist but not actually live.
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15 NIV
Fear paralyzes you. It invites you to hide and avoid risk, rather than believing God.
“Even when there was no reason to hope, Abraham kept hoping- believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, ‘That’s how many descendants you will have!’ And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead-and so was Sarah’s womb.
Abraham never waivered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.” Romans 4:18-23 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander… You can choose to live abundantly in constant awe of your awesome God. In hope. In faith. In belief.
You can choose to cower and let fear enslave you, paralyze you, and turn your abundant life into just blah ol’ existence.
“The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV
Real Communication Straight from the Heart
I appreciate this passage because it involves real communication between Abram and God. It showed him asking God real questions about his doubts and concerns. And God’s responses to Abram.
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.’” Genesis 15:1 NLT
What happened in the sometime previous to this later? Well Abram went to war to rescue his nephew Lot. In doing so he reclaimed all the spoils those kings took from Sodom and Gomorrah. The first thing he did was to honor God by giving a 10th to Melchizedek. Then the king of Sodom asked Abram for his people back and told him to keep all the plunder for himself. But Abram was like…no way! Then you’ll get credit for making me rich instead of God. So he took nothing of the 90% of the remaining plunder. He asked to keep what his warriors had already eaten, and that his allies received a fair share, but gave the rest back.
Wow! That’s legit trust in God.
God’s response to Abram was to tell him that fear is a liar, and that his reward for his faith would be great.
You’d think that Abram would be celebrating that promise. But no. Abram had a father’s heart and mindset. What is the point of blessing and protection if it ends with me? If there’s no legacy, then Abram only needed enough for him and Sarai. Or he could even die right then.
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Genesis 15:2-3 NLT
This wasn’t a woe is me attitude.
This wasn’t ungratefulness.
It was a father’s heart. A leadership mentality. He understood that he needed to pass on what he knew about God and set up the next generation to go further than he could.
Abram shared his heart with God, and God responded.
“Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:4-5 NLT
That is a huge promise. Mind blowing.
“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6 NLT
The thing that stands out to me, besides the importance of open communication with God, is that Abram had no Bible to read or way verify God’s track record on promises. He simply believed God.
I have the Word. I know His track record of faithfulness and promise keeping. I want to simply believe like Abram did.
I have promises from God that blow my mind and terrify me to my very core. I want these promises to be fulfilled because they are the dreams and desires of my heart. And the thought of a life that doesn’t include those promises sounds absolutely boring and drab.
But for those promises to come to pass I have to do my part. Trust God. And comply with the small steps of faith He has asked of me. Trust and obey. Simple, right?
Should be but not for me lately. Fear has been attacking me worse than ever. I feel paralyzed and apatheic.
You know I hate fear (if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time). Fear is a punk and a bully and no match for God.
And yet, I find myself hiding and procrastinating. Procrastination is a symptom of fear. It is delaying until it’s too late so that you can say…”Oh I wanted to but I just don’t have time.” Or “I’m too busy.” Those are fear excuses.
I have enough time to do everything God has requested from me. I just need to choose to actually use the time to do it.
I want to comply. I want to desperately. But when I start doing it I am inundated with thoughts of how terrible my output is and fear of failure. Sometimes fear of success too. I’ve been so anxious lately that I’ve been breaking out in hives. That’s not God. God does not want that for me.
I asked for prayer yesterday from some trusted mentors and friends, and one declared this over me:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
It’s what I am standing on today and praying over all of you. Go forth in boldness my friends in what God has asked of you. Jesus believes in you, and so do I.
Point to ponder while you wander… Before Abram received all God promised, God changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many). So for an entire year everytime someone said his name, Abraham was reminded of his promise.
Remind yourself of God’s promises every day. Remind yourself of His track record. Talk to Him about what’s on your heart. And just believe Him.
You are Seen
”God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.” Psalm 36:5-6 MSG
No one slips through the cracks, because His name is El Roi…the God who sees.
He received this Name from Hagar. She is most known for being Sarah’s Egyptian servant. But God saw Hagar independently of her title and position. He comforted her when she and Ishmael were cast out. Read Genesis 16 Genesis 21 from Hagar’s perspective, rather than Abraham or Sarah’s, to get a better understanding.
God called Gideon a mighty man of God, when Gideon was hiding. No seriously. Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to hide it from the Midianites when God spoke to him about leading Israel against the Midianites. Read Judges 6 to see where Gideon’s story began.
In the middle of the so and so begat so and so for the tribe of Judah, we find this blurb about Jabez: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called him Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” I Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV
Jabez’s mother labled him because he was birthed in a whole lot of pain. A person’s name during this time and in this culture was a big deal, and he got saddled with Jabez. Jabez literally means sorrow or grief. But he didn’t want to be defined by that or have that be his legacy, so Jabez cried out to God, and God gave him what he asked for.
God saw Jabez.
God saw David too. His father put David in a back field with the sheep. But God saw his heart and heard his singing. And He annointed David king. Read I Samuel 16 to see the beginning of David’s story.
I love this verse…”But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him (David’s brother). The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 NIV
I think that most of us get blinded by our own inadequacies and failures more often than we realize. We also tend define ourselves by what others have labled us.
But God sees differently. He has the ability to see who we are now, our character. He also sees where we are going and what we need to get there. And He is for us.
Think about the Apostle Paul. God saw him while he was Saul, a Pharasee of Pharasees. He was persecuting Christians at the time. He was anding out death warrants for people to be stoned. He held people’s coats while Stephen was stoned. But God saw who he could be, and literally blinded Saul with His light. Saul became Paul and wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.
When we seek Him like Jabez and David did, when we trust Him like Hagar and Gideon did, when we are willing to submit to course correction like Saul, God is able to take us where we could never go on our own.
Point to ponder while you wander…No matter how invisible you may feel in this life know that God sees you clearly! You are significant to Him. Jesus thinks you are worth giving His life for. You ARE loved. You ARE seen.
Musical Monday: No Longer Slaves
Today is Monday. Monday is a day some actually dread. But I John 4:18 in the Amplified Version tells us in God’s love dread does not exist.
“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].” 1 John 4:18 AMP
In that vein, today’s musical selection is, No Longer Slaves by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser.
Point to ponder while you wander… You may have heard this song before, maybe many times before. But take some time today and really listen and declare who you are. And who you are IS A CHILD OF GOD. The rest is just details. 😉
Pursued By Goodness and Love
“So why should I fear the future? For I am being pursued only by Your goodness and unfailing love.” Psalm 23:6 TPT
Most translations say “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”.
It does mean to follow after earnestly. But from studying it, I believe the original Hebrew word, radaph, is more intense than that. It means to pursue ardently, put to flight, to chase, aim eagerly to secure, or to attend closely upon.
Point to ponder while you wander…I have wasted too much time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Expecting bad, just because other people have chosen to let me down. God didn’t do that. Other people did.
God gives good gifts to His children. And I am his child. (James 1:7 & Matthew 7:11)
God pursues us ardently with His goodness and unfailing love. He never fails to continually pursue me ardently. (Psalm 23:6)
God promises that if I seek Him, I will find Him. No game playing or lies. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
So today I am choosing to say, “Thank you God, for giving me hope for the future and chasing me down, wherever and whenever I strayed, with your goodness and unfailing love. Even when I blamed You for people’s choices, and especially when I literally screamed obscenities at you. You are the Rock to which I cling.”
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” Hebrews 13:6
His Extra + Your Ordinary = Extraordinary
His super + Your natural = Supernatural
Point to ponder while you wander…You are not alone. You have an ever present help. His name is Holy Spirit. 😎 You’ve also got Jesus and Father God. That is quite the team!
Musical Monday: Hakuna Matata
Monday again. Let’s kick off this wonderful week with an important reminder…Jesus is interceding for you, God is for you, and Holy Spirit is with you, ready to empower you. So stop dreading the day! Stop working!
In other words, Hakuna Matata!!
If you were a kid in the 1990’s or had a kid in the 1990’s, you’ve probably heard this song before. Hakuna matata is a Swahili phrase that when translated means “No worries.”
Now where besides the Disney cartoon have I heard that before? Hmmm. Oh yeah! The Word of God! Do not fear is in the Bible 365 times. And yes, worrying, like dread and stress and anxiety, is a type of fear.
Hakuna Matata, God’s People! Hakuna Matata!!
Point to ponder while you wander…”Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need & thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
Life is For Living
This morning I was praying about what encouragement to send out today and I heard Romans 8:10. This is the verse:
“Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” Romans 8:10
Jesus came to give us life. Not so that we could just exist or barely make it, but so that we would really live full and abundant lives!! In other words, life is for living!!!
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” John 10:10 AMP
We are spirit. We have a soul (mind, will and emotions). And we live in an earthly body. That body will die. Because, here on earth, death is inevitable.
But death here is not the end.
We are spirit. Spirit doesn’t die like the body. So when we leave this world it’s not the end of life, but the beginning of eternity with Jesus.
“For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NIV
So live this first life fully, but there’s no reason to fear death. To leave here means we will be with our Savior, Jesus.
Point to ponder while you wander. . . We were given freedom so that we could be free. (Galatians 5:1) We were loved first, so that we can love. (1 John 4:19) And we were given life to live!! (John 10:10) #hope #lovewon #lifeisforliving
He Makes Me Brave
I like to hide. I like to hang back and watch, until I am sure about an activity or a group of people. I sometimes doubt if i should give the Word I am hearing or post what I’ve written.
But I also have this reassuring Voice of Truth inside me that says, “Do not fear.” & “Just do it, Jillian.”
This voice enabled me to Study Abroad in England at 21, alone. Road Trip for 3 weeks all by myself in my 30’s. Parasail on Lake Michigan. Share my heart and my struggles with strangers to encourage those who are struggling. Let go of jobs, my house, and people when it was time to move on. And most recently to be there with my grandparents as they left this world for Heaven.
Bravery isn’t just for running into burning buildings to save someone. It is required for seemingly simple, ordinary things. Speaking to a group of people. Taking a new job. Asking someone out. Ending a bad relationship. Telling someone about Jesus. Being honest with ourselves. Asking for help.
Fear is a bully and a liar. It prevents people from being honest and real with themselves and others. Fear says, “They’ll judge you. Fear says, “You can’t do it.” It says, “Don’t bother. You’ll just fail.”
Fear is a liar. The truth is…
You are a child of God.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1 MSG
It’s okay to have weaknesses.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
It is okay to fail.
Jesus knew that Peter would fail. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. Yet, Jesus chose him anyway. Jesus believed in him and prayed for him. Then, after Peter failed spectacularly, he regrouped with his people and Holy Spirit. THEN He preached in Jerusalem AND…”Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” Acts 2:41 NLT
You Can, with Jesus’ Help
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
Bravery and boldness comes to us when we need it, when we know Who is with us, and what He did for us. You are never alone. You are never forgotten. You are never forsaken.
Something to ponder while you wander… “You make me Brave”
You may be the meekest and weakest, but God still believes in you. Let Him make you brave. Don’t believe me? Read Gideon’s story beginning in Judges 6. God found him hiding, and still called him a mighty warrior.
Hope is not Frail
I painted this about a year ago. It now hangs at the end of my bed. But it used to hang in the kitchen of my old house. The house I lost due to long stretches of unemployment.
After a two year suckfest, my life was rebooted last fall. I moved into a new place, got a new and better job, a newer car, and started going to a new church.
I’ve had my life uprooted and rebooted before, but this time is different. This time I cannot seem to find the rhythm of the new normal. It just doesn’t look like I expected…so I’ve been in a funk.
But it has dawned on me this week that I’m trying to be the old me in the new place, and I’m not the same person I was before the last two years of lean life.
Two years of alternating unemployment and part time work. Two years of leaning completely on God to provide. Two years of learning that God really doesn’t leave nor forsake you. Two years of my reality being one of my worst cast scenarios, and finding that God really is enough. I could go on, but basically it was two years of living Romans 5:3-5.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4 NLT
Jill translation: When everything falls apart…and continues to fall apart…no matter what you do. And you keep asking what did I do wrong and how do I fix it? But you can’t fix it, and you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just life. And sometimes life is hard. You just gotta put one foot in front of the other. Every. Single. Day. Until you get to the other side. And in that suckfest you begin to find joy in the little things again. Things you forgot about. And you understand there really is strength in joy. What is important becomes clearer. Who is important becomes obvious. You realize God is with you in it and He’s loving you. He’s loving you the same as when your tithe was more in a month than you’re now making a month. And He teaches you that He is and always was your provision. And He proves to you that you can face fear because fear is merely a liar and a bully. You weren’t given a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. So fear doesn’t actually belong to you like it said it did. So you stop calling it “my fear.” And you begin to realize you really are more than a conqueror, you just didn’t have to conquer anything like this before. And you now know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
I am different now, and stronger, but the best part about this whole deal, or ordeal if you prefer, is that I have a real understanding of hope.
“And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!” Romans 5:5 TPT
Hope isn’t a weak or wimpy wish. Hope is not a frail whisper. Hope is a battle cry because your hope means that you trust in and rely on and wait for the Lord. For real. You don’t just say it because you think you should. And it’s awesome. And worth it.
God didn’t send me the two year suckfest. But He used it to draw me closer and He turned it around for my good. And the good is still being revealed a little bit every day.
Bonus point to ponder while you wander…God takes delight in those who hope in and wait on Him.
“No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11 NLT
So I say…
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Psalm 64:5-6 NLT