Tag Archives: Fear

Week 52: Facing the Future

It’s here.

Four more days.

It’s finally here.

And…

 I. Can’t. Wait.

We gathered together last night to discuss our hopes, fears, anxieties, and all things considering our first pre-launch service for The Vine this coming Sunday…March 11. Prayers that chaos would be at ease (it will exist) and that we would have an expanse of peace covering us were lifted up; prayers that the hearts of those in St. Louis Park and the surrounding area would be opened and that they would come if God would allow it; prayers that no matter the number that day that His Spirit would still be present…and that it would move…were spoken.

Personally, I’m excited. Two years ago, Pastor Rick asked me if I would join them in planting a church in Minneapolis. This was long before the church had a name; long before any vision had been put in place; long before any specifics had been given. I was at a point in my life where I was ready to move on. I felt that I had nearly outgrown my role at church and I not only physically wanted more, I spiritually wanted more.

When I graduated from college, moved to Sioux Falls and landed a job I wasn’t sure I would like, I had decided that I would give Him three years there. My roots had been planted in Brookings, so not planting many in Sioux Falls was easy. I had just hit my two year mark when Rick placed that question on the table. The decision was easy. I knew that I would be leaving…I was just waiting for God to open a door (or that window) to let in a little fresh air.

And there it was.

The fresh air…streaming down from Minneapolis…and I didn’t even need to fret over where God would place me next when it came to His body of believers. He had given me a church home. He had given me a new purpose. Not only am I “just the keyboard player,” I am so much more. He’s provided a place on the leadership team (which is scary because it comes with more expectations) and with hospitality, encouragement and mercy being the top three gifts He’s given me, I’m sure He’ll put them to good use, but until we’ve been blessed with those who can handle what I’m not gifted with, I’ll be wearing multiple hats.

I’m okay with that.

It will be uncomfortable. It will be nerve-racking. It will be challenging.

I expect to grow immensely as I’m challenged in all aspects of my life the foreseable future.

The God we serve is such a good God. His will is perfect. His timing is perfect. I believe that He will do something magnificent in the Uptown area of Minneapolis and I can’t wait to see what that is…even if it occurs outside the parameters of my lifetime.

The following scriptures have given me so much peace the last two weeks – know that He is good.

Peace I leave with you; peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:25-26

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you are called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Snare of Fear

The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.  – Proverbs 29:25 NASB

There are many reasons we might be afraid: wars and threats of war…concerns about terrorism, crime, or disease…problems with a job or boss…conflicts in our marriage and family…pressures in our finances…or simply fear of what other people might say or do.

Over and over, the Bible tells us not to be afraid. It also reminds us that fear of other people “brings a snare.” What does it mean to be ensnared by fear of people?

James Strong says the Hebrew word here means “a noose (for catching animals)…or a hook (for the nose).” In other words, fear of what others say or do literally can capture us and pull us further and further from our destination, as if we’re caught by a noose. This fear can distract us, trap us, and control us.

What is the answer? The Bible simply says the way to be “exalted” is to trust in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord means refusing to give in to worry or fear, no matter what circumstances come our way and no matter what others say or do.

Trusting God is our greatest defense and protection. And our greatest weapon is not resorting to revenge or anger, but resting in Him and letting Him defend and protect us.

In your life, does any person or situation cause fear in your heart and mind? Right now, commit it to the Lord. Turn everything over to Him—the people, the problems, the fears.

Place your trust in Him today. Don’t be snared by fear, but commit your needs to Him. Sow Seeds into His Kingdom with the resources He has given you, and make Him the Rock on whom you depend.

Little to Fear

Have you ever had a time–maybe even now–where things seem to be closing in on you and you don’t know what to do? You question why you of all people should have to deal with such a thing? After everything you’ve been through, you ask, “When will it all end?”

As difficult as it is going to sound, I’d ask you to just step back and believe that you are going to get through it. Whether it is a threat of something due to not having enough money or losing a job while you have debt or struggling with temptations…whatever it is, just pause and give it all to the Lord. Tell him that you’re believing this isn’t for you and that you will rise above it by trusting that God has bigger and better plans for you and that he intends to prosper you rather than harm you just like it is revealed in Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Don’t let the deceit of Satan the liar get the best of you. All sorts of calamity may appear to be raining down upon your head or your house, but do not fear. Stuff is always going to happen around you, but you have been given faith in order to have hope and know that there is always a positive outcome in the works of the Lord.

Reflect today on the words of Proverbs 26:2 this time from The Message translation:

You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

Believe the curse is undeserved because God would not cause you harm! Treat it as if you were being descended upon by a tiny little sparrow. Obviously, the much-smaller sparrow would not intend you to be its target so you would not be concerned. In Christ, you are bigger than anything any devil would throw at you. It’s time to take a stand and profess in the name of Christ that you are not going to give in to the lies and fear and the stress of this world. Trust in God and he will see you through anything. Even though the sky is dark and the clouds look ominous, you may see the light of day before you see any rain.

Courtesy of http://www.daveingland.com

Afraid to Fall

No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces/ Proverbs 24:16 NLT

I’ve always admired people who aren’t afraid to fail. You know the ones who don’t even consider defeat when they blow it; people who see a personal setback as just another goal to conquer.

I’m not always so courageous. In fact, I can be really hard on myself when I fail, and it doesn’t even have to be a biggie. I’m constantly replaying my mistakes over and over, reminding myself of how badly I’ve disappointed someone, or how impatient I was with my dad, or how harsh I was with my siblings, or all sorts of ways that I fell short that day.

But the greatest defeat comes when I allow a mistake, a bad decision, sin, or a broken relationship to convince me that I might as well give up. Perhaps you have also allowed failure to knock you down, tie you up with the ropes of regret and hold you hostage like I have.

My verse for today, Proverbs 24:16, has helped me release the regret, guilt, fear and shame that have weighed me down and held me back. Take a minute to read it now and notice how it says the righteous will fall. That is right. Even those of us who have received the gift of Christ’s righteousness and redemption will fall down. But we were never intended to stay down.

Instead of giving up Jesus empowers us to get up again.

In getting up, we can apologize and ask for forgiveness. In getting up, we can choose to try again with our kids, in our jobs, in our ministries, in our marriages, and in all of our mistakes. Because we trust that although we fall, God will help us up. Listen to His promise in Psalm 37:23-24 and as you read it insert your name in the blanks: “The steps of ____________ are established by the Lord, and He delights in ____________ way. When ____________ falls, __________ will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds ________ hand.” (NASB)

When we get up again failure can actually help us become the confident women God created us to be because it makes us stronger and better — when we go to God for help. Failure can stretch us to do more than we think we can and push us to try other methods of doing things when one way doesn’t work.

Yes, failure can be hurtful but it can also be beneficial. Failure produces wisdom when we ask for it and maturity when we learn from it.

The Word of God doesn’t say you will never fall, but it does say you will never lose – as long as you get back up. In order to become all that God created you to be, you are going to have to do things you have never done before. And when trying new things, you will fall down from time to time – just as you did the first time you learned to ride your bike. But that’s okay as long as you get back up, try again, and learn from your mistakes.

The truth is, following Jesus is not about avoiding failures and being perfect. It’s about accepting our weaknesses and becoming more dependent on God’s perfect love and power at work in us. So the next time you fail to be the woman He calls you to be, or the woman you expect yourself to be, ask God to remind you of this truth.

We will sometimes fail to be who we want to be but we will get closer to who we are meant to be every time we fall and then choose to take God’s hand so we can get up again!

Don’t be afraid to fall; only be afraid to have never tried.

Fear the Lord

The next thirty-one days, I’ll be pouring over the words of Solomon in Proverbs. No, I won’t be ripping apart the entire chapter since, as is with all of God’s Word, it would take more than one entry to really dig in. J However, I do encourage you to read through the entire chapter on your time. I also challenge you to memorize a proverb each day and meditate on it throughout the day.

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

I used to wonder what it meant to fear the Lord. When I thought of fear, I thought of scary movies and monsters under the bed. Usually, some evil force would terrorize the hero in those movies and I used to think that those monsters would reach out and grab me if I wasn’t quick enough. It didn’t make sense to fear God if He was good.

Now I see that the fear comes from knowing God is all powerful, all knowing and yes, He’s all good. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. It is by His mercy I am on earth in the first place.

It’s too easy for me to forget that in a world where modern conveniences make me comfortable and science attempts to explain everything away. I may think I have an answer for everything and a way to take care of myself in any situation.

I need to remember God controls my life. By His will, he placed me at this time and place in the world. Just that fact is enough to make me fear Him and be thankful for what He’s done for me.

Where are you in regards to wisdom? Do you have a teachable heart? When other Christians (whether they are more mature or whether they are just peers) confront you about an issue in your life, is your first response a prideful, stubborn one, or do you genuinely want to be sharpened by others so you can gain wisdom on how to live a godly life? Do you seek out more mature believers to gain their wisdom, or do you just depend on yourself? Do you constantly read the Bible to gain God’s wisdom, or are you lethargic in your pursuit of the Lord? Are you serious about gaining every little bit of wisdom you can gain from God and other strong believers? Solomon was, and God blessed him for it.

Later in Proverbs 1, God gives a warning to those who do not fear the Lord or seek His wisdom: “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:28-33)

I don’t know about you, but I want to choose to live in safety, without fear of harm! Let’s spend time this month really gaining all the wisdom we can from the book of Proverbs!

Proverbs 1

A Manual for Living
These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Start with God
Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,
don’t go along with them.
If they say—”Let’s go out and raise some hell.
Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean
and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.
We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!
With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;
don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,
hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank
with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—
they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.

Lady Wisdom
Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
At the busiest corner she calls out:
Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.
Since you laugh at my counsel
and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
an answer.
No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.
Because you hated Knowledge
and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.