First a big Woo Hoo and thank you to my Sweet Sister Paula, I was one of the lucky winners of her blogaversary drawings. I'm so excited, and will post pics on my blog when my beautiful journal arrives. Make sure you visit Paula Sweet Pea at her blog His Ways are Not Our Ways.
I don't know about you all but it's been a busy month for the Lueckfeld's so far. Though they are joyful things that distract me from keeping me up to date on my Yes to God study, I have to tell you I miss my peeps, and getting to read and keep up on my friends. That is one of the cool things about blogs though we can be behind and still get to get in on the conversation.
I'm playing catch up the last couple weeks, so I'm going to share my thoughts on Chapter 2 The Fear Factor and Chapter 3 Fashioned for Faith Not Fear. Our book is by Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart, and to get some more insight into what the others are reading head over to Lelia's blog Write From the Heart. Forgive me if I ramble there was so much in these 2 chapters my thoughts were full.
"Fear not" it's a simple statement it's all over the Bible. When God appeared to Moses, when the angels appeared to the prophets, and when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, all of them said "Fear not". Jesus told us to "Fear not", and so do the apostles in their letters. In fact Mica tells us that " 'fear not' is stated in the Bible 366 times. That's one 'fear not' for every day of the year, with one extra left over for those really hard days." How amazing is that, God is in all the details. We can wake up each morning and tell ourselves straight from scripture "Fear Not". My verse for this year to pray on was the one Micca shared.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" 2Timothy 1:7." Micca reminds that "You and I were created to live by faith, and in God, we have all the power we need for a faith that is stronger than all our fears."
Let's face it there are a lot of things going on that bring fear and worry to our hearts. I hear it and see it all the time at work. I have people who are afraid of loosing their jobs, afraid of the schools their children will be in, they fear for their safety in a neighborhood that is very low crime, they fear war and many other things. The recent events in our world have created so much fear, anxiety and worry. "fear is a faith problem rather than a psychological problem." Who wouldn't, shoot just watching the nightly news is enough to give you a sleepless night. As children of God though we must have faith, "It takes faith to battle fear and put to death our anxieties as we learn to live with assurance in a God we can bank on. Without faith fear robs us of our peace, our abilities, our hopes, and our dreams."
I know that when fear and worries hit me, I can really let it take over, I can run with it and feed right into Satan's lies. Fear after all is his favorite tool, he knows right how to feed our fear. He wants us to think that God isn't interested in our petty thoughts, or the details of our life, or that our faith in God isn't enough, that we must take matters into our own hands, not give them to God. I love this acrostic and it's been rolling around in my head since I read it:
How do you know what your Fearing is real. Fear can be good when it warns us of something harmful, painful, the unexpected, and disaster. We can also have a healthy Fear of God. A fear that drives us to want to please Him and not disappoint Him. The unhealthy fear we experience comes from Satan; "He's good at making our fears based on lies look real when they are not." "It's important for you and me to determine if our fears are real or simply Satan's hocus-pocus."
In the end of Chapter 2 Jennifer sent us to different scriptures. One set to show us who Satan was, and the other set was to show us who Jesus is and the drastic contrast between them.
Satan: Deceitful, cunning and prays on the weak and vulnerable. The Father of Lies, and murderer (he successfully killed the spiritual life of Adam & Eve and introduced fear into the world) He blinds man to God's truth so they will sink deeper into their own depravity. He looks for every opportunity to overwhelm us temptation, persecution and discouragement. He will do whatever he can to drag the believer from fellowship and service with Christ. He deceives the whole world but his time is limited. Devil is a Greek verb meaning to slander or to falsely accuse.
He is not my idea of someone I want to listen to or even have near me.
Now my Jesus: will have all governments rest on His shoulders. He's a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. He is the Light of the world and the Light of Life, he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, No one comes to Father but through me. Lord of Lord, Kings of Kings and will overcome all those who war against Him. Those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.
Jesus how can we not love someone who is described in this way. He's the perfect friend, father, husband, protector, counselor and He laid down His life for us. I'm choosing to follow Jesus, and listen to Him.
In chapter 3 once again I have so much highlighted that it's hard for me to post all the things that went through my head. So I'm going to share things that stuck with me all week.
God's shelters us from the storms. We are never promised a trouble free life, in fact we are told that trials will come our way. We will loose people we love to circumstances and death, we will suffer from illness, we will suffer financial stresses and loss, but through it all God will provide us the strength to endure, and give us a rest and peace to weather the storm. God sees the big picture, He knows how our trials will shape us
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust' Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart" Psalm 91:1-4
Casting our Cares. I don't know about you but I think that's one of those Christanese terms that gets thrown around. I know it's one my husband use to hear when we first started going to church together, that one and "just give it to God" what does that mean he'd say. I heard it all the time too, but how many of us really understand what that means. I know I didn't, and I certainly couldn't explain it to Brett. For along time I had the same thought Micca did, if I cast my cares upon Him, as Peter said in 1 Peter 5:7 "cast all our cares upon God for he cares for you" that all my troubles would some how just go away. That didn't happen, and that's not what Peter meant. Micca explains it better than I here; "The point is that when you and I cast our cares on God, we are recognizing that it's His responsibility to care for us-not ours." We still have to endure the trial, but God will grow us through it, and provide for our needs as we endure. "We only see what's happening to us at the moment. God may allow events to come into our lives--good things and bad things, things that make sense and things that don't. Every one of these incidents serves as part of His plan for our lives. What you and I may think is harmful, God is using for our good--to bring us to completion in godly conduct and character." I know very well that it's hard to see in the midst of the trial, but it's true. We must continue to have faith, and assurance that God is with us in it.
Genuine Faith, this one I really a wow moment. This past 2 1/2 years I have spent more time in the scriptures than I have since I first came to know the Lord. I read, and listen to teachings, and discuss faith with all my blog ladies, and friends here and in the non cyber land. I have noticed the change in my ability to recall His promises, changes in my heart, and a much more unshakable strength in my faith. I hadn't really put my finger on it until I read this "My faith in God didn't begin to grow until I started studying the Bible and discovering who He really is. In fact, I had misconceptions about God and about faith, and those ideas fed my fears." I have friends and family that are not followers of Christ, and when Brett and I went through our marriage trial, I had fears of his relapse back into painkillers and pornography, many of people would say just have faith that he won't. Huh how can I faith in my husband when I don't have trust in him. No the only thing that relieved my fears was knowing that it wasn't me that was in control it was Jesus, and if Brett did relapse Jesus would be with me to bring me through it.
I heard a lot about people putting their faith in their "Higher Power". But their "Higher Power" were things like the ocean, and some unseen unknown entity, or even the "program" itself, it was really faith in nothing. Well folks their is now higher power other than Jesus, and many of the people I met who didn't know Jesus lived in fear, and could find no peace. It was sad. We must get to know God so that we know who our faith is in, and to know Him you must "spend time with God in His Word". This is not the "god of my own understanding", after all that's a god I make up to suit my needs, this is the God of the Bible, the One True God.
Live like you believe. In the last few months, I will not say I have not feared with all the uncertainty that plagues our country. I will tell you that the fear I felt, I was quickly able to let go of as I found strength in God's word, and the promises of his protection and provision. Now more than ever I find living out my faith and letting people know where my strength comes from is essential. People need to see the Hope that comes from living with Faith in the One True God, the Hope that came with Jesus' death and resurrection. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. Brett and I don't know if we will keep our jobs, if will keep our house, or if my liver will relapse or even fail again, those are scary things. We do know one thing though our God, and our Savior Jesus will never leave us, He will provide for us, and He will give us the strength and peace to rest in Him knowing that it's His responsibility, not ours to take care of us, it's our responsibility to trust in Him and be obedient to His Word.
Next up Chapter 4, when I'm not sure. We are going up to my father in laws for a few days. So it maybe another combined post. We'd covet your prayers for a safe journey, and to be able to live our Faith to it's fullest while there.
In Him my friends,