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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
“When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.” Proverbs 13:12 TPT
This verse… Oh man. This verse…
The first part has been my truth for many years now. Fighting to keep believing. Seeking Jesus. Worshipping in the darkest parts of depression, when I’d rather stay in bed and sleep my life away. Or escape to a place I’d rather be in movies or books.
I even painted the first part of the verse in the ugliest manner possible…
About a year and and some months later God encouraged me to paint the second half of the verse. I used the exact same colors.
Looks totally different, doesn’t it? Perspective matters. What you believe becomes reality.
Remind yourself daily that God is for you not against you. Remind yourself you are unconditionally loved. Remind yourself that God is working things out for good for those who love Him.
Because, let’s be honest, the world can be an asshole who sucks the joy and peace right out of you.
Point to ponder while you wander…Not all dreams come true when we are young, so don’t let the frustrations of the day to day steal your joy. Keep dreaming. Keep believing.
Mark 11. It challenges me. Calls me higher. And inspires me.
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:22-25 NLT
This passage has a simple message…just ask, believe, and you’ll receive.
But a life of faith isn’t lived in a plastic bubble. Life gets hard and messy ad complicated. We get all tangled up in emotion.
That is where this one small caveat comes in. Verse 25…“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Unforgiveness. A seemingly small thing that can actually taint you and imprison you in in the past, and simultaneously blocking you from receiving from God.
God takes this forgiving thing seriously. Not as a judgmental law thing, but as an I love you thing. Choosing to forgive releases you from the bondage of the past. It allows you to move forward and be healed. This forgiveness is the very thing Jesus was talking about in Mark 11 and Matthew 6.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Point to ponder while you wander…If you hold on to this anger and hurt it becomes unforgiveness, and that becomes bitterness! That’s why you are required to forgive others. Not as a law…but as an invitation to be free from bondage. And the added bonus…forgiveness aligns you to be able to receive from God.
Don’t stop believing!!
“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 NIV
Running low on strength to persevere?
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He trains me for battle, my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.” Psalm 18:32 & 34-35 NIV
To be still and know that He is God requires you to believe Him not just believe in Him.
Do you believe He will do what He says He will do? Do you believe He is a God of His word? Do you believe He is faithful.
If you’re struggling with believing Him, I recommend two things. 1. Worship. Nothing reminds me of who God is and His faithfulness more than worship music. 2. Study the lives of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, their perseverance, their relationship with God, and God’s faithfulness to them.
Something to ponder while you wander…true perseverance means no matter what you see or feel, you don’t stop believing God.
There’s a difference between knowing in your head that God’s able to be your rock, salvation, defense, provision, refuge, strength, and etc. . . and standing firm in that knowledge no matter what your circumstances look like. I turn to the Psalms a majority of the time when I am stressed out or my circumstances are not so hot. David went through a lot of trials and he is a good example on how to vent your emotions and then declare what the Lord says over your circumstances. David also shows us how not to be swayed in the wind by every single thing that happens to us and around us. Even when the thing happening to us originated with someone close to us.
Here is the first two verses of Psalm 62:
“Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.” (NKJV)
The I shall not be “greatly” moved, to me, is like saying I am really bothered by this but I will not let it wreck me. It’s the knowing in your head that God is for you. Biblical scholars believe that King David wrote Psalm 62 during the time of his son Absalom’s rebellion (Beginning in II Samuel 15). I can see how the first few verses could be written during the events of II Samuel 15:13-14:
“Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” (NKJV)
This beginning of this Psalm is David’s way of convincing himself that God is still for him and not against him. It’s David remembering what God had done and in his head asking, “God’s still for me, right?”
Later in II Samuel 15:25-29, David tests that theory by sending the Ark of Covenant back to Jerusalem.
“Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.” (NKJV)
It is then, I believe that David chose to stand and declare “I WILL WAIT RIGHT HERE FOR THE LORD AND I WILL NOT BE MOVED BY THIS!” It’s when his head knowledge became practical and he decided to stand no matter what. Believing that God would defend him. Then David wrote verses 5-7:
“My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.” (NKJV)
David continued on with verse 8, reminding all of us that we can fully trust God at all times. No matter the circumstances.
“Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.” (NKJV)
God did deliver David from Absalom’s rebellion and he continued to rule the people for the rest of his life.
On this absolutely gorgeous day…that I’m thoroughly enjoying….I see this little teeny cloud. And I started thinking about Elijah praying to end the drought. I am not praying for rain but I am praying that you get a hold of the same kind of resolve that Elijah had telling his servant and Ahab to run from that teeny cloud, knowing with all that he was that God had answered His prayer.
Faith is believing before you see the manifestation of your promise or answer to your prayer. Knowing that He who has promised is faithful.
“Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” 1Kings 18:44
Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing!
“But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
Just because a stray negative thought comes into your head doesn’t mean you have to believe it and let doubt toss you around like a toy ship in a hurricane.
Maintain your hope (your joyful and confident expectation of good from God) by casting down those negative thoughts and reminding yourself in whom you’ve placed your trust. Hope feeds faith!
PS Casting down simply means to throw. How do you throw a thought? By calling it out and saying NO! Then replacing it with God’s truth.
“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14 NIV
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the faith walk is not for sissies. Waiting can be boring, annoying, frustrating, painful, sad, and on and on. Essentially waiting sucks.
But!! I know that God knows more than I do. I know that His timing is stop on a dime perfect. I know God is faithful. I know He always keeps His word. I know these things in both my heart and my mind, because I’ve experienced them in my relationship with God.
I have hard days where I want to complain too. I really do understand. But I’ve learned that complaining doesn’t really do me any good. So I’ve started using my words to praise Him for what He’s doing and thanking Him for what He’s promised as though I already have it. This turns my waiting from frustrating into worshipping!!
I was lamenting (also known as whining and complaining) to God yesterday that not being able to do anything about a situation in my life was torturous.
As I was waking up this morning (literally only had one eye half open) He told me that I am doing something, I’m being still and trusting Him.
He explained that faith always requires action. Sometimes that action is getting out of the boat when He bids me to come. (Read Peter’s story in Matthew 14:25-32) But sometimes the action is being still. Both are actions. Both are equally challenging.
Choosing to trust God and waiting on Him is walking by faith just as getting out of the boat and stepping onto the water is walking by faith. Both require believing and trusting God.
Being still isn’t passive. It’s active. It’s praying. It’s believing and trusting God. Being still means knowing that God is for you. It’s perseverance in long waiting periods. It’s maintaining your hope, joy and peace even when you cannot see beyond today.
When I got out of bed I flipped my verse of the day calendar to today’s verse. Guess what the verse was about today? Yep. Waiting on God.
“I wait for the Lord my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for morning, more than watchmen wait for morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
I’ve prayed that you will know for certain if are to do something specific or to be still in your present circumstance and situation. I pray that no matter the action required or how long it takes that you will be able to maintain your peace and joy.