Fear’s Threats and God’s Voice

Fear’s Threats and God’s Voice

She is physically and emotionally tired. She knows you don’t give us a spirit of fear, Lord, but fear is something she often experiences. She feels like a slave, a person being tortured in her own body. Reasoning, where did you go? Mind, why have you forsaken me? Body, why have you rejected me? What remains is a woman bruised and beaten, oppressed by fear. Let her live! She hates this feeling and wants this madness that always is her to end. She takes a breath, but not for too long …

Oh Darling, don’t get too comfortable with peace because you remember what I’ve told you about peace. Peace is nothing but an illusion, a dirty trick for the gut-wrenching tragedy that is to come. Don’t worry, I have you safe wrapped in a warm blanket of anxiety. Let me properly introduce myself … my name is Fear. We first met many years ago when you were a wee little girl. You were easy to get to know but I was still cautious. People don’t often take to me kindly, they think I’m a little aggressive and come on too strong, so I’ve learned to take it slow (I wouldn’t want you running away from me, now would I?). As you grew into a young woman, you often couldn’t stop thinking about me and visiting me. I must have made quite an impression on you. Oh, but don’t be embarrassed, most people are the same … they just can’t get enough of me. I became your addiction. You love me, you desire me, you need me. I’ve always been here for you too, haven’t I? I have never left or forsaken you. You can always come running and I’ll always have open arms for you. You’re too far in it with me now, aren’t you? Well, Honey, I got you years ago. I tricked you into believing I was safe and you actually believed it, you believed and trusted me. Me!? ha Years of our subtle dating and WHAM a devastating tragedy and I knew I had you good. It was cute how you called out to God and let Him comfort you during that time. You tried, you really did but you just couldn’t forget me, could you? I warned you, most people can’t get enough of me. You began to crave me again and all it took was a little hint of doubt … “what if”. Honey, you are too easy. A devastating tragedy, how much easier could it get to make you doubt the goodness of God? I stole your logic and reasoning, don’t you see? You are mine, Love, and I’m not letting you go. It’s cute how you try but when will you learn that you are mine? We are too intertwined. You can’t escape me unless …

“YOU’RE MINE!”, he calls out. A disruption from the torment. She recognizes this voice but has little familiarity with it. He reminds her, have I not told you I bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3)? Have I not also told you – you will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; you will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations (Isaiah 61:4)? Child, you are mine and you are living in a ruined city named Fear. You don’t belong there. You are out of place because I’ve come to give you life and give it to the full (John 10:10b). Fear has gripped you for far too long and fear wants you to believe there is no way out but there is and it’s through me (John 10:10). You don’t feel that is true right now, but you will. I just need you to hear me more so I can teach you a new way. I need you to start taking your thoughts captive and calling them for what they are, fear, (2 Corinthians 10:5) and then trust me to see you through. Did the bleeding woman not get full healing from just a touch of my robe (Mark 5)? Child, then trust me to heal your mind. My robe is my word and my Holy Spirit living in you (Mark 1:7) and you have it, come touch. Freedom from fear does not come by fixating on more fear or trying to solve fears problems. Rather, freedom from fear comes from me. I need you to lean into me. Don’t fall into the trap that you can do anything to fix this … you are in a bit of a mess that is entangled with fear. I want you to sit and let me untangle you and I will lead you out to freedom. All I want you to do is breathe, rest and “touch my robe”(Matthew 11:28). Remember, my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). You have confused my truth with fear and have forgotten that I do not give the spirit of fear (1 Timothy 1:7). Fear will silence if you are willing to do different and leave this ruined city. I love you, Child. You are mine and you most definitely are not alone. I’ve already walked this journey before you and I’ll also walk behind you (Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalm 59:10). You are protected by me, even in the pain of walking out of the ruined city. There are no measures I wouldn’t take to protect you, my sweet Child. My nail scarred hands are proof that I’ve already gone the distance for YOU and I would do it again (John 15:13). I desire you to know just how deep my love is for you, Child. Come, touch my robe, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

Micah 7:8

5 Songs to Put on Replay (in times of fear)

5 Songs to Put on Replay (in times of fear)

Sometimes, we just need to put some music on replay and let others speak (sing) life for us, especially on hard days. These are a few of my favorites that light a fire under me to keep going, keep living with some godly audacity.

 

Even When it Hurts by Hillsing

Touch the Sky by Hillsong

Confession by Alanna Story

Victor’s Crown by Travis Cottrell 

Take Me to the King by Travis Cottrell 

Deflated Joy

Deflated Joy

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Through it all, I find myself seeking, sometimes desperately, to find and fill up on joy. I’m not talking about joy in the trivial sense like feeling happy or excited. I’m talking about joy that runs straight to the core, runs through my veins and bleeds out of me. Joy that can’t be robbed or taken because it’s just who I am. Joy that Psalm 27 describes,

“For in the day of trouble

    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted

    above the enemies who surround me;

at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

    I will sing and make music to the Lord.”

Psalm 27: 5-6 (NIV)

I am in desperate need for this joy, but sometimes life is devastating and my joy feels deflated. The reality  that life isn’t just hard but can be excruciating painful, makes me feel like joy isn’t even possible to have or experience. The truth is, if we are Christians, our joy never is robbed or taken from us. In fact, it’s not only ours but our right to have and we see scripture point to that over and over again. Often times, if you are like me, we mistake joy for happiness and try to fill up on the trivial things of life. The truth is, God never promised an easy, carefree life. In fact, he assures us of the opposite (John 16:33) but he says we can take heart and that is defined as “to seize with authority or legal right”!

Ladies, we have authority and the right to have joy, to take heart even in trials. Today, let’s fill up on the truth of The Word, Jesus, so we can take back our joy because it is your right and you have authority, because of Jesus, to do just that! In doing so,  we will get to live life with some joyful audacity!

Your Prescription: Scripture

Dose: 10-30 x/day

Hebrews 12:2 “…for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Psalm 27:5-6 “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tend and set me high upon a rock … at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”

Psalm 4:6-8 “Many, the Lord, are asking ‘Who will bring us prosperity? Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy … in peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 21:5-7 “…you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”

Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Psalm 30:4-5 “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Do you have another verse that means a lot to you? Be sure to stop over and let me know! I just may need to hear it too.

In this together,

Maria

 

Article Originally Posted on Life Up Your Day

What Does it Mean to Rest in God

What Does it Mean to Rest in God

What if resting in God isn’t an escape from pain but a posture we take through the pain?
When mom and dad died I had this supernatural fight in me to stay faithful to God and grounded in His truth (in spite of what my eyes were seeing). Girl, I put on that full armor of God and I went to battle every single stinkin’ day (Ephesians 6). I fought hard and I fought well by God’s grace. While many were questioning God, I had laser focus on what was eternally important. The fight got long, excruciating and exhausting but I saw God’s grace all over the place reminding me, “I’m still here” and that’s why I could take another step. I guess you could say my fight was to see Him and not the reality that was in front of me, which screamed “hopeless”.

 

Time went on and I got to move out of this constant place of war and into a place of rest but I don’t know what to do with it. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever known how to rest in God. I feel like a baby whose mom switches from milk to actual food for the first time and I’m saying to God, “what on earth am I supposed to do with this?! Why do I want to change what I’ve been doing, especially since it’s been of help to me? I’m scared to rest in You. What if you allow more pain? I’ve rested before and look what happened? Why are you calling me to rest when all I know is to fight?” As I kick and scream He gently reminds me that my fight morphed into fear and anxiety and my trust in him has turned into doubt of His goodness for me. I’ve been a proclaiming Christian for a long time but have I ever really known what it means to rest in God? If I’m not resting in Him, am I really trusting Him? There is a broken belief about Him, and I don’t know where the break happened. Naturally, in true Maria form of wanting to take control, I try to find the break so I can go back and fix but I can’t. Plus, every time I do attempt to fix the break, fear wells up and you can find me crying (quite literally) and screaming NO! Here’s the deal, our broken beliefs about who God is can NOT be fixed by us and must be fixed by Him. In my failed attempts to fix what is broken, I’ve exchanged his gift of rest for fear and worry and I need a Savior. Sometimes, I’m such a mess there is nothing I can do but keep the posture of calling out, confessing, repenting and asking “please Lord, not again…not another tragedy. Please don’t teach me about your goodness like that again.” I wait and I trust that He is faithful and able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine being that someday, I will know what it means to rest in Him as I stay faithful. I can’t do this one on my own, I can’t save myself from my unbelief but He can and I trust He will.

 

Lord, help us not to return your good gifts of grace in exchange for anxiety, fear, and worry of the unknown. You are a good God and I ask that you show me just how good you are. Help me know what it means to receive your good gifts yet to still hold loosely to this world.
His Word covers our “what ifs…”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Colossians 3:2,3 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him …”

 

Learning to rest in Him & lean into His goodness,

Maria

Telling the Truth

“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.” 

Zechariah 8:16 (NIV) 

Main Truth: God calls his people to be truth tellers.

I’m simple minded. I’m not a crafty mom by any stretch of the word. I like easy, simple and low effort when it comes to spending time in God’s Word with my kids. You can dress this devotional up dress or down what matters is the meat, God’s Word. Even more beautiful…you don’t have to be put together, have a tidy life or be the world’s best mom to tell your kids the truth of God’s Word. God’s Word (alone) is what saves lives. As moms, it’s easy to get distracted by what this mom or that mom is doing and compare, complain and grumble. Here’s the deal, though, all of that is a distraction, distraction from just telling our kids about what is really important…God’s true word (Hebrews 4:12). Please don’t let this be a distraction but an encouragement that training your kids and telling them about God doesn’t have to be anything more than it is … we can just loosen our lips and tell them what God’s Word says. He is the one who changes hearts, we just need to tell them about the Truth (Ezekiel 36:26).

 

Here is how we spent our devotional time, on being a Truth Teller, as a family:

 

  1. Open in prayer: I let each pray. If you kids are young (like mine) I use this as a time to teach them how to pray. I don’t know about you, but sometimes we forget that they don’t know what they are doing until they are taught and this is the perfect time to teach and train them how to pray.
  2. Read the main truth: I don’t spend a lot of time dancing around this part. I tell my kids what I want them to know and that’s that God calls his people to be truth tellers.
  3. Open to the verse: I back up the main truth with God’s word by openning my bible to the verse, allowing them to see the verse in the Bible for themselves. The purpose is to teach them (at a young age) to look with their own eyes and read the truth.
  4. Sing: my kids love music so I incorporate song by making a song out of our main truth. We sing it about three times or as long as they will tolerate. 🙂
  5. Craft: we made our popsickle stick lips to reiterate the main truth.
  6. Repeat and Role Play: *see video below 🙂
  7. Pray: we closed our time in prayer specifically asking God to help us remember to be truth tellers
  8. Apply: we began applying our main truth into our day and even carried our lips around as a reminder

 

Moms, I have loved this craft for the visual reminder alone. Recently, one of my kids was having a hard time being truthful and all I had to do was hold up the lips s. Isn’t that just like us, though? Sometimes we get so caught up in living life our way that we forget truth until someone, who loves us, holds it up and says, “remember”.

 

“Train up a child int he way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” 

Proverbs 22:6

Video