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Intimacy – Self-Sufficiency = Fearlessness

1 Dec

“What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God” ~ Monica Baldwin

I’m convinced that it is intimacy with God and dependence on God that creates the fearless life.

“When our spirituality is characterized by self-sufficiency rather than God-sufficiency, we rarely feel the need to depend on God, and our souls are not consumed with a passionate desire for Him.  Instead we are prone to long for God only in times of impending need or when earthly things have proven to be unrewarding.  We long for Him in the tough times instead of cultivating a daily, ongoing, deepening relationship to Him as the only genuine source of true satisfaction.  He is there in case we might need Him, not because we do need Him.  He functions as the divine “911” of our lives.  When life cruises on a level plain, though we might never admit it, we have the sense that we don’t need God.  Not really.” ~ Radical Reliance by Joseph M. Stowell

I got a letter from a friend the other day.  In it, she wrote that no longer was detailing her illness to her friends, as she was sure they were tired of it.  She now is detailing her illness to God as he can take it.  Just talking to Him.  She’s not self-sufficiently dealing with her illness, she’s developing intimacy with God.  Lovely.

We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Cor. 5:20 Message

The “Fearless” Psalm

19 Nov

Rejoice!

If you had to choose a passage in the Bible that best ministers to your fears, what would it be?

For me, it’s Psalm 91.  Let’s look at the first verse today:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.

The word for dwells, yashab, means to STAY–right now.  Where are we to stay?  In the secret place.  The secret place is the place of shelter and protection that God has for us.  That place is secret because we can go there any time and no one need know.  It is the place where we are covered by Him.  If we do that we will be staying in the place of God’s protection (his shadow–the shadow of His covering).

We have a responsibility here.  These promises are for all of us who choose to remain in close fellowship.  It is our responsibility to take the time to snuggle up under His wing–under His covering.  That’s my goal for today–snuggling up to the Lord God on High.

Still Wrassling After All These Years

22 May

God, give me light!

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death  Psalm 13:1-3

“I’m just gonna die if God doesn’t DO something.”  Am I the only person who’s had this dramatic thought?  It’s always comforting to read the Psalms because we see David crying out so transparently and know we are not alone.

Another translation of verse 2 says “How long must I take counsel in my soul?”  Our soul is not the place to go for counsel.  We need to look up, not in.  When we take counsel in our souls we are indeed wrestling with our thoughts.

But I love what David asks for in verse 3:  “Give light to my eyes.”  That word light means:  to illumine, light up, cause to shine.  It’s sometimes translated “enlighten me.”

It’s written in the imperative.  Giving God a command.  A command that God wants to complete.  Look up today, not in.

What is Your Identity In?

2 May

We are like fresh and new blossoming bluets in Christ.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  I’d like to say that my identity is 100% in Christ.  While that’s true positionally (Due to His death on the cross and my acceptance of the free gift of salvation, I AM in Christ.), I’m on a journey toward that happening practically speaking in my life.  My identity is in being a good mom and wife.  I’m proud that people even outside of the family call me Mama Sue.  However, it’s easy to be crushed in that identity.  Another identity of mine is in being a goodhardworker.  What happens now that my vertigo interferes with my work ethic.  A crushing.

Many men have their identity in their athleticism or sexuality.  What happens, then when the knees give out or the prostrate gland starts causing problems? Crushing.

I’m thinking that this crushing is not a bad thing.  That it leads us to finding our identity in what matters:  in our relationship with Christ.  I am His.  He is mine.  I am fresh and new.  It is a process that begins with initial salvation and continues forever.  My prayer today is to learn from the crushing to find my identity in Christ.

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 Amp.

Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up ~ Winston Churchill

11 Apr

This morning God took His scalpel to me and I responded by prostrating myself on the floor in repentance and empowerment.

Ok, back up a step.  You see, I’d ignored Winston Churchill’s and God’s instructions to fight the good fight.  To never give up.  We’re told in Nehemiah 4:14:

I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

I had stopped taking courage from our great and terrible Lord regarding a family member and was experiencing extreme lethargy in my prayer life as a result.

God is great (all the time) and terrible, which means to be feared, that we should stand in awe of Him, and that He is to be  reverenced, honored, and respected.  And this God empowers us to FIGHT.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Eph. 1:18-21

Never, never, never, never give up.  Fight the good fight!

Jesus, Not “I Dream of Jeannie”

9 Apr

The name, pansy, comes from the French word, pensee, which means "to think." The pansy symbolizes "You occupy my thoughts." Let God occupy YOUR thoughts.

Sometimes it seems that we follow after God for what He can give us and not for the relationship we are able to have with the Creator of the universe.  But it’s ALL about relationship.  Sometimes I wonder if these little posts can be taken as “Three Simple Steps to Get Rid of Your Fear.”  If it ever seems that way, please know that is not my intent.

God can and does work all things together for good for those who love Him.  But He is not a genie.  We don’t get to control things.  Our idea of what is good and His can sometimes be radically different or reached on quite a different timetable or through a different path than we may want.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
[This is] the LORD’s declaration.

“For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

  • Thought is machashabah in Hebrew,  (Isn’t that a lovely word to say?) which means thought, plan, and purpose.
  • Way, or derek,  means journey, road, path, direction, and habit.
  • Higher means exalted and lofty.

God does things His own way in His own time.  So, my “One-Step Plan To Deal With Everything” is to continually develop your relationship with Christ.  Read His Word and respond to it.  Talk to Him intimately.  Listen.  And listen some more.

God: The Great Reverser

3 Apr

God created light and lit the darkness. God reverses.
Jesus gives us life instead of death. God reverses.
The Spirit guides us when we would wander aimlessly. God reverses.

What do you need reversed today? You’re probably chuckling, if you’re anything like me, and saying, “Where should I start?”  Here’s where I started:

  • Today I prayed that God would reverse the negativity that I’ve been experiencing at work and it’s already lifting and turning to a new excitement in my teaching.
  • I also prayed that God would reverse my tendency to internalize  my emotions when life hurts.  I need to cry and not bottle things up!  I’m going to continue to pray the same.  I feel no results, but know that God is working.
  • I prayed that God would reverse a terrible situation in the life of a loved one.  I see no results.  But faith is not based on what I can see.  I will just keep praying.

I’ve been teaching Beth Moore’s series on Esther in our church here in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and it’s been such an encouragement to me in so many ways.  Today, I studied the reversal that happened when the King granted Esther her petition and she and Mordecai drafted a new proclamation and sent it out all over the Kingdom.

First, Haman–using the King’s authority sent out an “order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.” Esther 3:13  The Jews reaction was four-fold:  In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.  Esther 4:3

We are under the same type of order:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10a)  The thief can be thought of as Satan or false teachers.  Satan often whispers lies in our ears to steal from us.  The world often whispers lies to us.  False teachers on television can whisper lies to us.

The new edict gave the Jews the right to ” assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.” Esther 8:11

The situation was totally reversed.  For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.  Esther 8:16  (The word “honor” means that they realized how precious this gift was.)  Jesus is the Great Reverser.  He says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10b

Ask for reversals in your life.  Find scriptures that apply to those reversals and memorize them.  God CAN REVERSE!