Journey From Bondage to Freedom

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I’m in bondage. Fear has taken ahold of me. I’ll be honest with you readers it has been quite awhile since I have been able to go to church, mostly for health reasons but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be listening to the tape of the service and even longer since I’ve read my Bible. Some Christian Right? I known overwhelming fear and while watching “The Fighting Temptations” twice yesterday with two different friends, (I thought the movie would be a blessing to them, but I think it blessed me the most).  I needed what it shared, my church and being in the choir was the first blessing it gave me, remembering the joy for it. But then when my friends were gone came the real blessing facing hard ugly truths about myself, and this to share with you, also terrifies me, but I know honesty and transparency is what is required. So as my stomach churns, I progress.

Phillipians 4:6-7  “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 

The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to fear! That we are to put our trust in the Lord. It is that simple. He promises peace if we just trust, pray and thank Him, easier said than done.

I did say that I’m in bondage and yes that as I sit here I realize I have been most of my life. Fear has been the main underlying storyline of my life that, and a general feeling of unworthiness. This last week I’ve been drowning in fear.

Letting myself fear is a sin of not putting my trust in God the creator of the universe. How can I be so arrogant? Could it be that I feel unworthy of His love? His grace? His care? How can I say I put my faith, my salvation in His hands, yet I don’t trust Him with my health issues, with my families issues, with my friends? Do I really believe God to be the God of gods and the Lord of Lords? The Holy Father of the Son of God Jesus Christ who died for my sins? If I do how is it that this magnificent God is not worthy of my trust?

Matthew 6:25-26 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t so or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

You would think that these two verses, especially the last sentence would calm me and put my mind at ease; to know that the God of the universe thinks I’m of more worth than the birds of the air. I wish I could honestly tell you that the nerves in my stomach the overwhelming fear of the unknown has been comforted, it has not.

Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?”

Makes worrying seem rather futile doesn’t it? I know it does to me logically as well, but that doesn’t change the truth of what I’m really feeling, anxiety/fear/worry still.

Matthew 6:28-30 “And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not adorned like one of these! If that’s how God cloths the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith?”

There it is again He will take care of us with not just adequate care, or good care, but adorned by God. He clearly tells us all over His word how much He loves and adores us. Yet my sin, my shinning folly is staring back at me from the words I’ve just typed, ” – you of little faith”. I’ve been out of a Bible study and of my own studying of the Word, away from church, and only talking with God for a very long time. I know our relationship needs more than that my faith has lessoned. I’ve fallen. My God help @me! Save me from the fear, the worry that permeates my being. Help me put my heath issues in your hand!

Matthew 6:31-34 “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is the answer on how to actively stop worrying! First we must make the decision to obey God by letting Him know what’s our my heart. Phillipians 4:6 “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. ” We need communicate with our Lord, pour out whatever it is that is weighing us down, He wants to know it all. After all He already knows it – He’s waiting for us to let Him in. As I type this I realize I haven’t really been letting my Lord in. Father forgive me. Even better when we take everything by prayer and thanksgiving, making them known to God it will eliminate the worry!

Now before you call me crazy let me try to explain if it isn’t clear. When we give  our worries to God and thank Him for answering our answering our prayers (in advance) we have no need to take them back, thus causing us to worry that day. If we are tempted to take the item back we are commanded to pray in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, to let our requests be made know to God, it doesn’t say that there is any time limit. That we can only come to Him once a day, no! Our Father knows our frailties and loves us. He never slumbers or sleeps, available 24/7, 365, praise Him!

Better yet, that promise goes on to, Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Not only will God eliminate worry He will replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding! How does that sound for a promise? All we have to do is come to God in prayer and thanksgiving. He is such a gracious Father. There is no way that we can comprehend His peace but to experience it is a blessing of being a child of the King.

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Once we’ve poured our requests to Him, He commands us not to worry, Matthew 6:34 “…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  As the promise gives us peace, the command keeps us in the present. As Matthew 6:34 says, tomorrow (and as for that the next day and the next have/ [mine]) has enough worry for itself. The promise helps us stay in the present taking our requests to the Lord. The command protects us from living outside of the promise, which is what I was doing. Lord forgive my foolishness!

Joy – A Fellow SoJourner!

God’s Promises – Isaiah 43:1-3

Today’s promise comes from Isaiah 43:1-3.

Don’t be afraid for I have saved you,  I have called you by name, and you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  When you cross rivers, you will not drown  When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.  This is because I, the LORD, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

What a promise!  We needn’t be afraid because we’ve been saved.  He knows us intimately by name and calls us His own.

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No matter what kind of trouble we go through, waters of our life or the rivers of our life or when we are walking through the fires of life, God is there and will not allow anything to hurt us.

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This is a hard concept to understand.  Don’t those circumstances in and of themselves cause us hurt?  Let me put it this way when your going through the fire of life God promises that you won’t be burnt and the flames won’t hurt you.  That doesn’t mean that your clothes might not get singed and you’ll reek of smoke.  But by contrast of what your going through and what God is doing for you even behind enemy lines is ultimately for your benefit.

He doesn’t promise that while going through the water and river that we won’t get wet but He does promise that we won’t drown.

We all face problems in our lives and some of those problems are a daily source of conflict for us.  But God promises that He is bigger than the conflict and His protection is available to every believer on a daily or hourly basis, whatever each individual needs.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God’s Greater than I

No big news here is it.  Or is it?  Are you like me finding yourself trying to do things on your own volition?  I’ve learned that when I do that I’m putting myself in the place of God with my pride and effectively saying that, “I’m great enough for this I don’t need You God.”  How foolish can I be?  There is nothing that isn’t something that God is intimately interested in.  He wants all of our lives and everything that is going on in our lives.  That’s how intimate He desires to be with us.

If you are married or have been you know how that spouse wants to know you in order to understand and know how best to help you with any of your quirks.  Well God is a gentleman and although He is God and knows already He won’t force Himself in where He hasn’t been invited.

When we fill ourself up with “I”, we lessen the room for God in our lives.  The room that He desires so much.

I found this photo on Facebook and it really inspired me.

It makes me think that possibly I should have titled this piece “God’s Greater than i”.  Using the “i” in referring to myself gives me the impression that i’m not so important and reminds me that someone else far greater than myself has my best interest at heart and He is the one that should be capitalized and given the prominence.

What does “He>i” really me?  To me, i must get out of God’s way in the plans He has for my life.  i must decrease as He increases in me.  In turning all the hidden places into His loving hands, i am humbling myself and decreasing and allowing God full reign in my life which is how it should be.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  –  2 Corinthians 12:9a

Although, this in context is regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh, I believe the statement from God to be true of the weaknesses that we may be fearful of letting  go and letting God take care of them.  Again a matter of pride.  Although it seems like fear and believe me I’d rather believe it was fear than an area of pride in my life but the thing behind the fear is pride.

Let me explain.  When we are fearful to turn our finances over to God or our children over to God or our spouse over to God or our job over to God or an addiction over to God, whatever it might be that we are fearful of, what is it that we are really saying?  I’m fearful because I can’t control these things and that scares me.  Now let’s look a little deeper into that fear logic says that, if we are fearful of something that is out of our control to turn it over to the one who is in control of everything would 1. Be the logical thing to do and 2. Would ease our spirits of the fear.  If these two things are true why don’t we do this?  Pride.  That hateful word.  We are not always logical beings and although it would be best for us to turn it over and let God have it, we hold on to it as if some how, sometime, some way, we will be able to fix it on our own.  Do you see the pride behind the fear now?  Even in our fearfulness we want to do it all on our own.

Perhaps you are riddled with guilt behind your fear that there is no way God could help you because you are so guilty.  Can I let you in on a secret?  You too have fallen victim to pride.  Who are you that what you have done is so bad that Christ cannot forgive you?  You must be someone special because Christ died and rose from the dead once and for all for the sins of all.

I think this says it all when it comes to pride and sin.

So here’s an idea, why don’t we stop the devil in his tracks and not allow him to trick us with this false pride anymore?  Why don’t we confess our sin of pride to the Lord and then ask Him what area of your life does He need entry in?  I’ve been doing this for a while and I can assure you He will let you know where He needs entrance.  Try and think of this as an exciting new adventure that you are taking with your lover for that is truly what you are doing with the lover of your soul.  I can attest that your relationship with the Lord will be a rich blessing and far more intimate than ever before.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!