Being that today is Halloween, the last day of October, it’s a great day to celebrate genuine love! I say this because Halloween was always a scary holiday to me, with all the skeletons, tombstones, ghosts and macabre images. When I was a kid, this day often left me fearful. In contrast, 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. So instead of accentuating fear, today I choose to celebrate genuine love!
Here are a few suggestions that might help you celebrate genuine love today:
Look for people to encourage throughout today – what they’re wearing, nice hair, friendly smile, beautiful eyes, witty wisdom & LOADS more
Let Jesus love you throughout today – reject the enemy’s lies that say you’re inadequate, have no hope, going to fail, or that you’re a mutant
“Who ME???” I think Gideon said this several times in Judges 6-9, in the Old Testament. I like Gideon alot because he’s relatable. His dialogue with God and various people around him reveal that he wasn’t a faith giant – anything but!!! Replying to God’s directives, Gideon put out fleeces, questioned God’s participation with Israel, snuck around at night to obey God & eavesdropped at the enemy’s tent to hear of Gideon’s impending victory.
Gideon wasn’t the poster child for supernatural faith and courage in the face of impossibility. But he is the posterchild for all of us who have doubts, fears, frailties and deficiencies. No matter how your faith feels at this moment, robust of ragged, God can do the impossible! More importantly, God isn’t repelled by your questions, doubts nor fears. Be encouraged in your heart, no matter how much fear or faith you may feel at any given moment. We can remain encouraged because God loves us and that love is never dependent on our faith, fear nor frailty!
When things seem uncertain or murky, this can be very disturbing. And if you’re like me, when I get unsettled, I can start to flounder and I find myself trying to find stability, certainty and comfort. My focus can get really jumpy and I struggle to be settled in my soul.
So it helps me to remember to keep my focus on Jesus. Indeed, there’s a great song by Darlene Zschech called, Jesus At the Center and listening to this helps me to keep Jesus as my central focus. We don’t have to know all the answers, be all-sufficient, have a perfect plan or fix everything. Jesus rightfully owns that space, so that we can keep our focus & worship centered on Him!
I like what Jehoshaphat says in 2Chron 20:12, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You!”
Let’s stay focused on Jesus instead of any worry, anxiety or uncertainty!
“Jehoshaphat was afraid & turned his attention to see the Lord & proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” 2Chron 20:3
Being afraid is a universal experience to every human & maybe there are times when we have more or less fear. But fear is not a rare emotion in our human living. What we do with fear is more important, in my opinion, than the actual fear. So when I read about Jehoshaphat being afraid & turning his attention to the Lord, it gives me some good input on what to do with fear. I’m thinking also that this could be helpful for you too!
Rather than biting your nails, fretting, getting jittery, nervous eating, etc, when we have times or experiences with fear, let’s be certain that our default instinct is to turn our attention to God, remembering that nothing causes God to “bite His nails.”
There are lots of things that intimidate me such as: traveling to unstable places, mingling in a crowd of strangers, having difficult conversations & being around people whom I perceive as superior to me. While it’s good to acknowledge these places where I feel intimidated, it’s better to work through them rather than avoid them. In the past, the way I’d handle this intimidating stuff is to avoid these kinds of situations & distract myself with things I like better.
But growing means that I make active decisions to face the intimidating stuff & choose to grow. Sometimes, this means that even though I may be scared, I still push through the fear & intimidation – do it scared.
Feel free to join me on this adventure – not allowing your growth to be limited by your fears 🙂
“The devil would kill ya with a hangnail if he could!” My dad had lots of fun quotes like this. From my childhood, I remember people laughing at this quote & I smiled like I understood, but I didn’t get it. Now that I have some life tread under my belt, I get it.
The enemy of your soul is out to rattle your cage, poison your thinking & sideline you with anything possible, even a hangnail.
Don’t let him – full stop.
Some helpful pointers:
Keep your eyes in Jesus.
Keep loving wholly.
Feed yourself the Bible everyday.
Chose faith & reject doubt.
Never forget that greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!
Do things that you’re unfamiliar with make you scared? I don’t think this is an uncommon experience for most people. On the other side, I think that we should sometimes be scared of the familiar or at least uncomfortable. I say this for lots of reasons. Being familiar & comfortable can:
create an illusion of safety & stability
lull us into taking stuff for granted
tempt us to rely on our own wisdom rather than trusting God
Let’s be careful that staying familiar keeps us from following God, growing & looking forward!
Goliath was scary, to be sure. More than tall, he had armor, weapons & enough confidence for his entire army. No Israelite wanted to fight him & die, or be the reason that Israel would become servants to the Philistines. Enter David, the harp-player & sheep-tender. Of all the valiant warriors with Saul, no one stepped up to defy Goliath, except this upstart teenager whose confidence was grounded firmly in Jehovah, the God of Israel.
The same rings true for us today. There’s always giants, intimidation, opposition & scary reasons to run, hide & blend in with everyone else. Let’s be David & stand on God’s side rather than align with fear, what’s popular & paralyzed insecurity. Never forget:
perfect love casts out fear
greater is He who is in you than any Goliath, roaring lion or lying devil!
This morning, I read a verse that hit me between the eyes – 2Kings 17:41, “So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; . . .” This verse really spoke to me about my passion to follow Jesus.
I think that we generally have respect for God, but all too often we serve idols. No one sets out, usually, to be an idolator but there are lots of subtle idols that can allure our attention. Greed seems to be the most obvious idol & it has certainly a firm foothold in our culture & values! Another subtle idol is image & vanity. Of course sports & fitness can be an distraction from serving Jesus & so can consumption & food. Comfort & convenience have also become significant values that often sway our priorities.
Let’s be sure that we respect & serve God with both feet!
“Do it scared!!” I’ve used this mantra on more than one occasion: snowboarding, my first triathlon, meeting important people, various travel experiences, etc. In my early 20s, my dad was massively helpful to me in dealing with fear – coaching me about not letting fear control me or make my decisions.
I most certainly don’t want to be controlled by fear, but here’s the good part of fear: fear can be helpful to inform us, but debilitating if we let it control us.
In Prov 9:10, it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom & my friend, we need as much wisdom in our lives as we can possibly hold! Let’s allow the fear of the Lord guide our decisions & organize our priorities!
I pride myself in not being scared. I’m not scared to:
try new things,
go new places,
try different foods,
fail during a learning experience
stand alongside someone when they go through difficult seasons.
As I think about being scared, generally I think of myself as fearless, until I consider various situations that I avoid because I’m intimidated or afraid. I think that all of us wrestle with fear but in different ways. So let’s be honest about the unique fears that are difficult for us. If we aren’t honest about our fears, such fears will often control our decisions because we refuse to be honest & face them.
In general, I want to live a fearless life, but the one fear that I want to nurture & protect is the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom & I need all the wisdom I can get! So having a healthy respect for God is an essential ingredient for letting wisdom flourish in my life.
Furthermore, remember that perfect love casts out fear 🙂
Pay attention to your fears & keep the ones that cultivate wisdom but challenge / toss the ones which try to control & shrink you!
Politics is a hot spot for many people. Everyone seems to get really lit up about who to vote for, what the candidates say or don’t say, the future of our country, moral underpinnings & HEAPS more. For his part, Donald Trump, has certainly escalated the emotional tone & conflict potential for our upcoming national election.
My concern for those of us who follow Jesus has many facets:
I’m concerned that we will watch & listen to the candidates more than we pray for the election
I’m concerned that we allow politics to divide us more than we allow Jesus’ love to unite us
I’m concerned that we are deceived to think that human politics can resolve the broken & fallen nature of the human heart
Whether you like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bernie or whoever, let’s make the commitment to pray for our country & its leadership more than we worry or complain 🙂
Mice look for some place warm in the Fall & they sometimes find their way into our house, like this year. So my husband sent me off to Walmart to get the normal mouse removal accessories & they’ve been strategically placed around our kitchen for maximum impact 🙂
In this adventure, I’ve learned that one of my offspring, who will again remain nameless, has a mouse phobia . Imagine our fun to learn about this new opportunity to be playful or mischievous depending on how your frame it.
This child is quite jumpy with the whole mouse thing, even though there’s a clear size & intelligence advantage. In some respects, the devil is kind of like a mouse, looking to sneak his way into our thoughts & scare us at unexpected moments. Just because the devil can roar doesn’t mean he’s a lion – 1 Pet 5:8. Let’s be careful that we don’t let ourselves be intimated by the enemy of our soul. Reject the mice spice ,)
When I was younger & more impulsive, I had a paragliding adventure that seemed kind of scary for lots of reasons. But instead of dropping out of the sky in a gravity plunge, I caught a thermal which shot me straight up like a rocket!
Sometimes when we agree to follow Jesus, it might initially feel like a free fall, particularly when we relinquish control to Jesus for making decisions. But let me encourage you that no matter what happens around you, following Jesus is merely a free fall for our flesh but a rocket ride for our heart! Good things begin to align when we take the plunge & trust Jesus 🙂
Easier said than done, like many things. It’s easy for a person who has fabulous people skills to tell a struggling introvert, “Don’t be afraid!” It’s easy for an expert skier to tell a beginner, “It’s not as steep as it looks, don’t be scared!”
Many years ago I sat on a plane across the aisle from a lady who didn’t travel much. We were on a small commuter plane & the turbulence was fun for me but terrorizing for her. While I was enjoying the roller coaster ride, I saw the color drain from her face & her knuckles get whitey, tighty. I could tell she was getting thoroughly freaked out & I knew she was a hair stylist so I started talking with her about her profession. “What’s your favorite thing to do, cut hair, dye it? What do you most enjoy?” Then I asked how she came to be a hair stylist, who were her favorite clients & why she liked them, etc.
we had a nice chat while the plane landed. Once I knew we were safely on the ground, I asked if she was ok, she looked outside, saw that we landed & breathed a sigh of relief. Then she realized what I’d done, distracting her from being afraid with our pleasant & engaging conversation.
I think the Holy Spirit wants to be this for us with things that make us afraid, talking us throughout success & overcoming 🙂
Fear isn’t cool. We can all probably remember at least a few times when fear was entirely horrifying. For me, I remember some walks home from school that were terrifying, waking up from a nightmare that virtually paralyzed me & the ever so common fear of not being liked. In our world today, people are afraid of Ebola, ISIS, losing their job, not getting married & lots more.
So let’s you & make a pact to say, “no thank you” to fear & then make the active choices to support that pact:
*be attentive to our decisions that we allow to be controlled by fear
*be aware of conversations that magnify fear – change the subject
*watch for places in our lives where we are cozy with fear
*actively choose love over fear because they are mutually exclusive (perfect love casts out fear)
*forward this to your friends to help grow an anti-fear mob!!
We live in a very interesting time. There are people chopping off heads & think that’s entirely acceptable & even praiseworthy – weird. This week had the 2nd blood moon in a year – also unusual. Furthermore, Ebola is now being compared to AIDS for its potential devastation to humanity value – yikes! And then lots of people think we are in the end times of the world – that God is wrapping up the human experience to move into a new era of life.
I think we live in strange times, for sure. But with that being said, there are some important things to keep in mind:
*God is still in control & God is love (a very good combination)
*lets be sure to stay fresh & intense with our prayer life
*be careful not to let fear control your thinking or outlook
Yesterday, we heard in the news that a person in Dallas was diagnosed with #ebola. The man who was diagnosed had flown from Libera in mid-September to the US and showed signs of being sick a week later. There’s plenty of news circulating about this development & this is a very important thing on which we should be aware. While I know that it’s important to be educated about this kind of stuff, let’s be mindful of some fundamental & important bullet points:
pray: let’s keep the Dallas patient in our prayers as well as the West Africa nations of Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone – super important to keep these nations in our prayers, along with the healthcare workers who are on the front lines in these nations
be smart: stay informed and current with what’s happening in our world so that we can know how to pray and make wise decisions
fear: let’s be mindful that we don’t let fear get a foothold in our thinking or decisions
love: pray that we can find some ways to help the babies & toddlers in Guinea, Sierra Leone & Liberia with Saving Moses!!
A very nice friend asked me today about overcoming fear & I felt encouraged that I should write about this today 🙂
In relation to fear, there are lots of things that could trouble us: fear of failure, fear of getting hurt, fear of something from the past, fear of falling down, fear of the future, fear of relationships, . . . . . . The Greeks used the term phobia and attached all kinds of things to this word (agrophobia, necrophobia & my personal favorite, snake-o-phobia).
So here are some strategies that could be helpful to overcoming fear:
do it scared – I stole this outright from Joyce Meyer; she’s uber cool!
face the fear a little bit at a time rather than to look at the whole thing
consider that the devil uses fear to control us & that God created us from the very beginning to have authority, dominion & power
catch fear in the early stage so it doesn’t go stupid
choose to trust God & reject fear – yes to trust and no to fear
keep trying – failing is more like practice if we take out the fear ingredient
remember that 1 John says that perfect love casts out fear!
Feel free to add your own advice & pass this along to your fam & friends! 😀
I read this morning about how King Saul was chasing David to kill him & how he stepped into cave to relieve himself. Unknowingly, David was hiding in the very same cave & even cut off a piece of King Saul’s robe! Although David could’ve easily killed Saul, David had more respect for God’s anointing on Saul than fear for his own life.
When we get in really, really difficult situations, it’s important that we act like David, honor God & stay out of fear 🙂