Fear or Faith? It’s Our Choice…the end result is up to us!!

So, when things happen in your life and you’re faced to make a decision — do you let fear overwhelm you, or do you choose faith to conquer?  Did you ever think about the consequences of your choices?  You’ve probably heard it said, that if you don’t make a decision, you really are making one.  Well, when we have to make decisions in life we can either allow fear to stagnate us, or faith to move us forward.  So, the end result is truly up to us.  Let’s look at a couple of examples.  The first one shows us what resulted from having faith and the second one shows us what resulted from allowing fear to take over and reign.

First would be when Joshua had to face giants to defeat Jericho.  In short, God told Joshua and his army to march around the city and play the trumpets and shout on the 7th day and the walls would come tumbling down.  Do you think Joshua thought “Wow God, that’s really not how I was thinking we should go in and defeat them, I really don’t see how that’s going to work”.  I know that’s how many of us today would feel.  But Joshua’s faith in God’s wisdom, love and power gave him the willingness to trust and obey God, and by doing so, Joshua defeated Jericho and won the battle!

The second example I’d like for you to consider is when Moses was leading the Israelites to take over the promise land, and he sent 12 spies to check things out.  Only two of the twelve spies had faith and believed they could take this land because they trusted in a Mighty God.  (By the way, one of the two spies was Joshua)  But the other ten, looking at it from a human standpoint, feared those people who looked like giants to them, and gave all the reasons in the world why they shouldn’t take over the promise land.  Because of their lack of faith, God told Moses they would wonder in the wilderness and would never see the promise land.  After I read this I thought, “WOAH!!!!  God, please help me to have faith in you so that what you promise will come true in my life.  I don’t want to be one who just wonders in the wilderness all my life because I was afraid and didn’t have faith in you to trust and obey Your will for me.”

So many times in our lives we have giants we face, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual, Our God is greater than all of these giants we face, if we will just surrender our ways and thoughts and accept His ways which He provides in His word.

For those of you who know me well, know that when I battle the giants in my life, I seek God’s face and I let Him know that I believe He is the Living God who can do the impossible, and is able to do all things.  When satan puts things in my mind, or others try to discourage me and tell me, “look it just doesn’t make sense, there’s no way….”.   I claim that God does things that may not make sense in our human eyes, but He who closed the mouth of the lions for Daniel, saved the three hebrew boys from a fiery furnace (they didn’t even smell like smoke – AMAZING), and the God who helped Joshua win the battle of Jericho, is still the same God I trust in today.

Then I hear, “that was God then, but He doesn’t do those things now.”  Well, I beg to differ with those who say that.  For instance, it’s been said that Psalm 91 is called the Soldiers’ Psalm.  We are told that in World War I, the soldiers of the 91st Brigade recited the 91 Psalm daily.  This brigade engaged in three of the war’s bloodiest battles.  Other units suffered up to 90% casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related death.  AMAZING, and guess what?  This happened in today’s time.  God is still at work if we will surrender ourselves, pray to Him, claim His word and trust and obey Him.

I may not have to face a lions den, or a fiery furnace, or battle to take over Jericho, but I’ve fought the giants of this world.  I’ve battled codependency and perfectionism, fear, anxiety and depression, where I tried doing it my way, telling God to come with me and help me overcome it, but to no avail.  But once I surrendered it all to him on April 13, 2002, I released all of my anger, bitterness, resentment, fear and depression to Him and asked Him to fill me instead with His hope, peace, joy, contentment, mercy, kindness and to let His love ring through me — and He did!!

Not too long ago my husband and I fought a financial giant where the buyers of our home and business in another state defaulted, as we were carrying the papers.  We were facing the possibility of losing everything we had and worked hard for.  But we rebuked fear, and surrendered it to God, trusting and obeying His ways, and He redeemed the house by having the debt forgiven, and resold our business for even more.  I’ve fought physical giants of constant migraines since a young teen, arthritis since I was 16, and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in 2002.  Even though I asked God to remove these physical ailments, I surrendered my will to His, and He has chosen to grow me in character through perseverence of these things.  You see before this, I was telling God the plans I had, and asked Him to come with me.  But through these ailments He has taught me to “Be Still, and Know He is God”, and to learn to “Wait upon the Lord”.   I have learned that I must surrender myself daily to Him, letting Him know I’m His and ask Him to use me each day as He sees fit.  What a difference surrendering to Him, and trusting and obeying Him has provided inside of me.  A peace, hope, joy and contentment, I could never get anywhere else.  You see, our God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He closed the mouths of the lions in biblical days, He protected the soldiers in World War I, and He’s still doing the impossible, if we will just rebuke the fear (caused by us viewing things from a human perspective and trying to do it on our own abilities), and putting our faith in Him, surrendering ourselves and trusting and obeying Him.  As humans we will be hurt and others will fail us, even those who love us dearly.  But I have found in my life that God is the one constant, firm foundation that I can depend on, who never fails me.  And as mighty and powerful as He is, He is so relational, that He desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  I’m so grateful for His love, wisdom, might and power that He provides each one of us every day, if we will just accept His gift of salvation, surrender ourselves to Him and trust and obey Him.  I challenge you, wherever you are, to do this, because you will see great things happen in your life.

Below are scriptures that you can claim for your own, and hold close to your heart.  And below that is a link you can click on, to listen to a powerful song by Chris Tomlin, called “Our God”.  Please feel free to read God’s promises, and enjoy the song.  I’m sure you’ll feel the power of our Almighty God.  May God bless you.

Joshua 1:5-9 “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life…so I will be with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you….Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law…do not turn from it to the right or left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let the book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful….Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.”

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 91      1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.       11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.       14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

click on this link to listen to “Our God” by Chris Tomlin & Feel the Power — God bless!

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Woman – Relational “To The Core”…

Wow, what an amazing weekend.  It was wonderful to spend last night and today with some wonderful women at our women’s retreat at CCW (Christian Church in the Wildwood)

Terri Wimmer was the guest speaker, and we are privileged to have her right here as a member at CCW.  She helped us realize how important, relational and powerful we truly are as women.

Starting with the Garden of Eden, she helped us realize that before the fall, we as human beings, created in the likeness of God Himself was in harmony with everything.  We were in harmony with God, We were in harmony with each other, we were in harmony with ourselves & we were in harmony with nature.  What a beautiful place that must have been.  Always in the presence of a loving God, receiving gifts, walking and talking with Him daily, providing a hedge of protection, having no sense of hurt, pain, shame or fear.

She also helped us realize that God created women to be relational “to the core”, just as God is.  This threatened satan.  He knew how powerful God created woman to be, and he knew that woman would bear offspring of the “image of God”, and he didn’t want that.  So he decided to go to her and tell her that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would not die, they would have their eyes open and would be wise and see things as God.  (This made me realize what protection we had under the wings of our heavenly Father, but by having the knowledge of good and evil, caused us to see things on the other side of the Garden we would never have seen had we obeyed.)  Well, Eve, as so many of us women do today, wanted that knowledge, wanted to know more, see it all, and ask why should I just follow God’s word, I need to know it all first, rather than letting God lead and we just trust and obey Him.  As Terri stated, we need to realize that satan always confuses reality, makes evil seem good, and brings doubt about God’s character.

Because of disobeying the one rule God had, He, being a just God, had to keep His word, and so came the consequences.  First the curse caused us to no longer be in harmony.  We were no longer in harmony with God, with each other, with ourselves,or with nature.

Terri helped us to consider how they might have felt after the fall.  Probably dissapointed in themselves for being disobedient and disappointing God.  They immediately realized they were naked (they now had this knowledge of good and evil, that God was protecting them from prior to the fall), and immediately they felt ashamed.  They were possibly afraid, because now they were no longer inside the hedge of protection, and probably had fears of the unknown.  This really helped me realize, that times when I don’t understand God’s direction, and I feel like I want to know the whole reason why before I obey, do I really?  Before the fall, they obeyed, and He provided and protected.  They had no knowledge to even have a sense of fear, anxiety or worry.  But after the fall, now that they had the knowledge of good and evil, it brought forth so much fear, anxiety and shame, rather than just living life with peace, joy, and trust.

I was thinking how wonderful the Garden of Eden would have been, why did Adam and Eve have to mess it up?  But then I think, if they didn’t, someone else would have, it might have been me.  And then I questioned God, “Why did you give us the ability to choose?”  But, in thinking about it, I understand His reasoning, because everything He made besides man, which was made in His image, have no choice.  They do exactly what he created them to do.  But as a creator, who is relational “to the core”, He wanted to make something that would love Him back, because they wanted to, not because He made them to.  When I thought about this, it just made me so thankful, that even though He’s a just God and there were consequences to disobeying, He loved us so much that He made another way for us to get back into a relationship with Him through the blood of His one and only son Jesus Christ.  And because of this, we can get back into the hedge of protection, “fear not” for He is with us, “Be still” and know He is God, and knowing this, causes me to be more willing to get up each day and surrender my life to Him, thankful for His love, and knowing that even if I don’t totally understand why He asks something of me, I know it’s for my best and I will trust and obey.  I’ve gained so much from this retreat, but the one lesson sticking out in my mind is that as much as I love to learn and gain knowledge, I have learned from this lesson to not question God, to not desire the complete knowledge of good and evil, but to read His word, trust in His guidance, and obey Him knowing He’s an all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving God who truly wants what’s best for me.

Terri made two trees.  One was the Tree of Life, and the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil.  She had band aids there, for us to place our hurts and things we battle and asked us to place them on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil to surrender them to God.  Then she asked us to write scriptures on post it notes that help and encourage us, and to place them on the Tree of Life.  My hurts and battles I surrendered today was codependency, perfectionism, control, fear & anxiety.  The scriptures I posted on the Tree of Life were:

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Isaiah 41:10  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Phillipians 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything,   but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,   which transcends all understanding,   will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (He’s my one constant, he’s the one I can always depend on no matter what, He never changes – Praise God!)

I hope by sharing my hurts and battles, and my scriptures of strength, you are blessed.  This can be very healing to surrender, and very invigorating to claim God’s promises.  So I encourage you, if you’re reading this, to just stop right where you are, get some band aids and write your hurts and battles down and surrender them to God.  Then write down scriptures that help and encourage you and take them with you, place them on your bathroom mirror to see each morning, in your car as you travel, in your purse so you can hold onto them as you go throughout your day.

I want to thank everyone who worked so hard before, during and after this retreat to make it happen.  You all did a wonderful job, and I pray God’s blessings upon your service and willingness to make all of this happen.  I pray God’s blessings upon each woman who took the time to attend this retreat, and hope they were filled with wonderful worship, great times of tears and laughter and building stronger relationships with one another.  And to each of you who will read this, that you will feel God’s love and presence, because He is a relational God “to the core” and desires a personal relationship with each one of us.  He is an AWESOME God!  God bless!

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Be Still! Wait! — Man that can be tough…but worth it…

One of the hardest things I have found for me to do is “be still” & “to wait”, yet I have come to realize, that’s what God is asking me to do so many times in my life, much more than He’s asking me to “do”.  And in doing this I’ve realized a more abundant, simpler, & fuller life!

“Be still and know that I am God…” — Psalm 46:10

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2002, I asked God to heal me because I had so much to give, and had so much I could do for Him if He would just heal my physical body of these ailments.  But I realize now that His answer was; “Wait,  you have some things to learn, and through these illnesses I am going to teach you great things”.

To help me explain what I’ve learned, recently I was reading a daily passage from the book “God’s Abundance-365 days to a simpler life” Edited by Kathy Collard Miller.  The daily devotion was called “The Simplicity of Service”.  Part of it goes like this,  “…The Voice asked, “Why are you so busy?  What are you doing in your busyness?  What are you living for?”  And her answer was very similar to mine.  “I am helping…..I am busy for You!”  Gently God showed me that my busyness was motivated by me, not God.  I had kept myself busy serving for many years but I had no time for praising, adoring, and listening.  Like Martha of the Bible, I had scurried around doing much for God.  Now I know He didn’t want my work; He wanted my devotion, affection, and love….The still small Voice is the source of abundant life.  Listen!  Make sure you’re not too busy to find peace through the simple, important things of life like relationships and worship. 

I have found this to be so true, and without being put on my back with these illnesses, I would have never realized the peace, joy and contentment I have received by “being still”, and “listening to His still small Voice”.   I’ve realized that in the busyness of life, it’s too noisy to hear His Voice, and life becomes chaotic.  But when we obey and “be still”, and spend time with Him in prayer and His word, surrendering ourselves to Him daily, we can hear His guidance, direction and wisdom, and we will have peace, joy and contentment that is never there in the busyness of life.  As He states in Matthew 11:29 — “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.  I am so grateful for a God who knows what’s best for me, and has healed me in so many ways emotionally and mentally through these physical illnesses of mine.

Also, in the book, “The Language of Letting Go–Daily Meditations for Codependents” by Melody Beattie, she writes about “Waiting”:  Wait.  If the time is not right, the way is not clear, the answer or decision not consistent, wait.  We may feel a sense of urgency.  We may want to resolve the issue by doing something–anything now, but that action is not in our best interest.

If the time is not right, wait.  If the way is not clear, do not plunge forward.  If the answer or decision feels muddy, wait.  Waiting is an action — a positive, forceful action.  Often waiting is a God-guided action, one with as much power as a decision, and more power than an urgent, ill-timed decision.

We do not have to pressure ourselves by insisting that we do or know something before it’s time.  When it is time, we will know.  We will move into that time naturally and harmoniously.  We will have peace and consistency.  We will feel empowered in a way we do not feel today.

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” — Psalm 27:14

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31

“Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.” — Psalm 37:34

Over the years I have come to trust in a God who is my firm foundation, the one I have been able to depend on, my one constant in life, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  I have found His words of wisdom to be so true and faithful, and I’m grateful I don’t have to do it all on my own in this big world.  I’ve come to realize that when I feel stressed out, and my life is a chaotic mess, I’ve started “doing” without “being still”, and “waiting on Him”, because when I obey and “be still”, and “wait on Him” I’m filled with a peace and contentment, even in the roughest seas of my life.  As He promises; “His yoke is easy, and His burden is light!” if we will just follow.

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