Tag Archives: fear

The Captain’s Face

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of mine. Ray was an oil man who had literally gone from struggling to pay the bills to millionaire overnight. In the 80’s it happened to a number of guys, but Ray was a Christian and a friend, so we talked about our faith, God’s provision and his blessings often.

After his new fortune Ray bought a boat he had always wanted, it was a 38′ sailboat. He had it delivered to Grand lake in eastern Oklahoma. It’s a large lake and a great place to sail.

There was a day one spring when we both had some time and Ray asked me to go sailing with him. I was thrilled to join him. I had never sailed before and looked forward to the experience. We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone. We had a great time and a wonderful visit.

Then it happened.

Suddenly, and really without warning, a storm came up. It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 3-4 foot waves, black clouds moving overhead. Quickly the lake cleared of other boats. Within minutes we were in a storm I can imagine the disciples experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus and declared, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?” I think I understood the fear they experienced.

Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was intense. I WAS AFRAID!

But then I turned around and looked at Ray as he steered the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING!

I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t he see what I saw? Didn’t he know this was bad? In my amazement I yelled through the storm, “How can you smile in this storm? Don’t you see the wind and the waves?” I heard the disciples in my own voice as I said, “Don’t you care that we might drown?”

Ray smiled back and said, “You don’t understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride.”

Suddenly, my fear subsided. I had looked at the captain’s face. He knew things about our boat that I didn’t. He knew we were fine.

Within a few moments my fear turned to calm. Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride. Nothing had changed….the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves still washed over the deck, but something was different….I had seen the captain’s face.

The Christian life is much like this little adventure of mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our finances, our health. This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect it. Fears overwhelm us. Death feels close. Panic is in our voices…..but then, with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that he is smiling! How can he smile in this storm? Doesn’t he know we are about to go down? And he replies, “You don’t understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for you. We are fine. I’ll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride.” It’s funny how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into an exciting adventure. A look at the captain’s face makes all the difference! …

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Sunrise or sunset?

Is it sunset or sunrise? Is the day beginning or ending? Is light coming or will it be darkness? What lies ahead?
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This was a topic of discussion in C.S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce. Both in heaven and in hell it was twilight. In both places the residents anticipated the dawn, but it’s clear from the story that in one place dawn is coming and in the other eternal darkness.
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For some the dusk between morning and night has them confused. The events of life have kept them in these dimly lit hours so long that they don’t know if it’s dawn on the way or dark. For some the approach of the dawn looks like the approach of darkness. It’s hard for them to anticipate daylight when they have been in the gloom of dusk for so long.
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This morning I met with one of our guys who is really discouraged. He’s anticipating the night when in fact the day is about to dawn, but he can’t see it. He only sees his sun setting when all around the birds are singing as the day arrives. When we go through difficult experiences of life it seems that darkness is what awaits us. We lose vision, lose hope, lose our bearing of what God is doing. The dusk, our problems, anticipate either night or dawn and we don’t know which awaits us, but there is this promise of the morning approaching as the author of scripture writes,
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2 Peter 1:19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
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It’s not the dark ahead, but morning. When you are discouraged, depressed, anticipating your dusk to soon turn to dark realize that God has promised morning for us. Light is coming, not fading away. Hope is rising, not disappearing. Life isn’t over, it’s just beginning. The dawn is on the way. The morning star will soon be here and darkness will disappear forever.
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I did my best this morning to encourage my friend and give him hope for the day ahead. I fear his dusk lingers. He is awaiting the night and not hoping for day, but listen carefully…the birds are chirping. The Son of righteousness is soon to come. Morning nears.

In A Valley

I love catching shapes in clouds & the mountains are always beautiful

I’m in a valley. It’s true. Have been for about a month now AND I love it! I do! I’m working in beautiful Salem Virginia. Mountains are everywhere I look. The ride to and from each week has been gorgeous with the color of the leaves changing to burnt orange and bright reds. Megan even asked me when I started working there, what it was like. My reply was, “I’m in a valley,” to which she responded ohhhhhh, niiiiice! I had to smile because I knew that I’ve been wondering about life’s valleys.

Being in this majestic valley has got me thinking lately about “life’s valleys.”

We all go through the valley in life, there is no escaping it. It’s a matter of when. My question to myself has been why don’t I “look up” at the wonderful surroundings when I’m in life’s valley, just as I’m doing while working here in the valley of Virginia? I know that I’m surrounded by a million little things that make life glorious and I also know the valleys are going to happen. So what is the disconnect?

Could it be that I’m so focused on the issues that I forget to look up and enjoy what is around me? Or maybe the discouragement during that time has put a huge cloud over me and I can’t see the beauty that is all about me? Could it be that discontentment wastes my energy and I have no strength to focus on making it through the valley? Why have I never thought of looking up before?

We all have so many blessings in our life that should carry us from one valley to the next but when we are in those valleys – we tend to forget them, so our stay there seems much longer than necessary.

The valleys of life are hard. I’ve been in many of them and do not enjoy them during that time. I’m always thankful for friends I can come to for help, but like many – I sometimes choose not to ask, for fear of being a “burden”.

I faced another closed door a few weeks back. My heart ached with great pain, discouragement and no music was there. Until I poured out my heart in the following words that day, I sat in silence. No singing, no happiness and fighting back the tears from yet one more closed door.

The Closed Door

Sometimes the hurt is too much to bare
Even though you say I can, I feel I can’t share

The Load is heavy, the road is long
The heart is weary and has lost its song

I know there’s hope that never ends
But for now it seems my life won’t mend

I just want to be held, I’m tired and weak
I’ll simply rest in silence, as I can’t even speak

You are strong, I’m not. I can’t even try
I can’t stop the tears from falling from my eyes

This is me, this is all – there is nothing more
Such is my life – as I stand, facing the closed door.

Will I remember this in my next valley? Yes. Will it make a difference? I honestly don’t know. Will I struggle along alone? I hope not. I hope that I will have the courage to ask for help that day, but it takes courage for that, and I’m far from courageous.

What do you think? Why do we not look up when we are in life’s valley? Why do we struggle alone – without asking for help? We have great friendships and tons of resources, yet we choose to limp along through the valley – alone.

Tell me, what is the disconnect?

{{HUGS}} yall


Marie is the founder/President of Spreading Joy Corporation, a Non Profit that is dedicated to reminding others of the simple joy of giving. To find out more about making a difference for others without breaking the bank, more encouraging articles and more about her book Spreading Joy Daily please visit her site at http://www.spreading-joy.org

Do Not Fear

do not fearDo you know how many times in God tells us to ‘fear not’, ‘do not fear’ or ‘do not be afraid’? I don’t either.

It has been said that there are 365 ‘fear not’s in the Bible, one for everyday of the year. Others have searched and found only 100. Whatever, the number, it is a powerful promise from God…even if it appeared only once, it still stands as an AWESOME comfort for us.

Here are some of my favorite ‘do not fear’ and ‘do not be afraid’ verses from Genesis to Revelation:

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ” – Genesis 15:1

And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” – Genesis 26:24

So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. – Genesis 46:3

And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” – Exodus 20:20

Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ – Deuteronomy 1:21

And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” – Joshua 10:25

Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” – Judges 6:23

And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. – Ruth 3:11

Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. – 1 Samuel 12:20

So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” – 2 Samuel 9:7

So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” – 2 Kings 6:16

And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. – 1 Chronicles 28:20

In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:4

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? – Psalm 118:6

Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:4

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13

Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’” – Isaiah 44:8

Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. – Isaiah 54:4

“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, And do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, And your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid. – Jeremiah 46:27

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. – Daniel 10:12

Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler. – Jeremiah 51:46

‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ – Haggai 2:5

So again in these days I am determined to do good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear. – Zechariah 8:15

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 1:20

Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. – Matthew 10:26

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:31

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. – Matthew 28:5

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. – Luke 1:13

But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. – Luke 1:3

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. – Luke 2:10

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. – Luke 12:4

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12:32

Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” – John 12:15

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:14

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. – Revelation 1:17

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. – Revelation 2:10

Extreme Grace

I am thrilled to know and experience the grace of God.  It’s absolutely life changing once you know what God has done for us.

One of the great tragedies of the church in our day is the fear so many have of grace.  They fear what might happen if people really knew they were completely forgiven, loved and part of heaven even now.  That security, for some, is just too good to be true. There must be a trick up God’s sleeve somewhere.  He can’t really mean that we already have everything and can never lose it.  There must be something we have to do, some work, some duty that will let us make our relationship and eternity sure, but there isn’t….it’s absolutely and totally free, available by faith alone and will last forever!
But grace is even more extreme than you think it is.  It’s outrageous and foolish from man’s viewpoint.  In his love God provided for all of mankind a free gift of forgiveness, redemption, salvation, security, eternity with him, and peace now…if they would simply accept his gift by faith.
You have to know I haven’t gotten to the extreme part yet.  Here it is, are you ready?  God has made it possible for us to be his sons, his daughters!  Imagine, a son of God.  That is so crazy I can’t even understand what that

looks like! But there’s more….he’s also given each of his children HIS Spirit to dwell in them, lead them, help them, and be with them….are you ready….forever.  When the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, takes up residence in us he promises to never leave.  We are men and women indwelt by the God who made us for all eternity!
More?  Ok, here we go…there is nothing you can do, good or bad…ever, to lose what he has given you.  You cannot lose his gifts to you if you have received them.  They are yours by faith alone and eternally yours….you can never be lost.  An eternal, indwelt by the Spirit of God, child of God.  More? We are destined to live with God and be part of his eternal kingdom.  Priests and Kings he calls us.  Children of God he describes us.  The names and provisions would fill pages, more than I have room to speak of here, but his grace extended to us is extreme at the far end of the scale.
The work of God in grace could fill volumes!  It’s not just a “saving grace”, although it is that, it’s an extreme grace that completely changes everything about our lives here and our eternity ahead.
But sadly many have made this wonderful grace a small thing.  They fear what believers might do if they knew.  The tragedy is that if they knew they would fall more deeply in love with God and lean in closer to know him better.  Let’s talk about this extreme grace to those we know and celebrate the amazing love of God in his provision for us. It is a wonderfully glorious magnificent extreme grace!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) – Chris Tomlin

God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with ‘surviving’ and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life. – Charles Stanley

 

Never Alone

My heart is amazed at just how big this world is and how technology can keep us in touch with those who have moved away from us.  But sometimes, my heart is even more amazed at just how alone we can feel even though people are close to us physically as well as through technology. 

We often feel alone when:

  • The pain in the night is unbearable
  • The silence is deafening
  • Friends should rejoice with us but are envious
  • Family squabbles become bitter feuds
  • The darkness engulfs us
  • The well deserved promotion is shot down by assumptions
  • No one understands
  • Everyone says they understand but act as if they could care less
  • We’ve tried a million times but continue to feel like a failure
  • We’ve asked for forgiveness but there is no hope of receiving it
  • Good news is overshadowed by great hurt

You’ve probably been there and felt as if your prayers were going no further than the ceiling.  Let me remind you that not only does your Heavenly Father hear those cries, they matter to Him.  He hears you and cares about what your heart is feeling.

The time you feel completely alone is when you typically withdraw and close your heart off to the world.  Worse than that, you close your Bible and think; I don’t even know what to pray, so why bother and you let isolation MOVE YOU from your Father’s side.

God never moves from us.  We move from Him.  But, even when we stray, move or completely ignore Him…we are never alone.

What verses do you wrap yourself in when you feel completely alone?

Please leave them below and encourage those that are feeling completely alone.

 

I Know You’re There

2 Chronicles 13:12
And, behold, God himself is with us 

2 Chronicles 32:8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.

 

 

You’re Not alone

 

 

Deut 31:6  Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

God With Us

 

 

Lamentations 3:24-25 

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

 

Giants

 

Guys are huge! Huge! Especially if you are a little girl, you look up and see a mighty man towering over you, your heart trembles a little. Men are giants in the eyes of children

I remember as a little, tiny girl being afraid of those towering giants in my life. There were only two giant men that I took to early on without fear and they were my Father and Grandfather.

While I understand that not every man is full of care, compassion and concern for the women and children in his world and those that are quietly observing, (make no mistake, they are observing and retaining what they observe) I also understand that there are men that want to be a force for good in this world.

I applaud you and want to encourage you to continue to be a Giant!

Here are some ways we can all be Giants, but Men, please…. Continue to stand up and be HUGE!

Giant of Compassion – Men in particular usually have a hard time comfortably displaying their emotions and showing compassion isn’t always the easiest. I know that kindness is there, filling your heart…let it flow freely.

Giant of Love – Continue to love and allow yourself to be loved – even when love hurts.

Giant of Giving – Giving of what you have doesn’t always come naturally, but we can condition our hearts to be a giant in this area. Don’t focus on what you are giving, or to whom. Just give what you can and show others that there is nothing like it.

Giant of Laughter – With the weight of the responsibilities that you bare, sometimes it is just good to sit back and do fun things. Laugh daily and share freely.

Giant of Family – YOU head up the family, you are responsible, you direct, guide and shelter. Be there, be part of what goes on, share your heart with those in your family freely. Be authentic and in doing so, you will raise up giants of your own.

Giant of a Husband – Men if you are married, the best thing you can do is to continue to date and spoil your wife. Find out, if you’ve forgotten, what little things she adores and spoil her with them. Yes, we ladies need to do the same thing, but we gals are creatures of response and she will react. But, honestly…don’t do this just to “get” something in return….do this because you are a giant and are willing to do it because it is the right thing to do.

Giant of a Friend – Men, go and do some men stuff. Encourage each other and have fun. Take time to be a friend.

Giant of an Example – There are little eyes watching you and you won’t even realize it. You will cause someone, somewhere to remember something that you did…something you considered insignificant and yet, in that moment it was larger than life to the onlooker. You are always inspiring someone and being an influence. The question is, are you inspiring great things or are you inspiring a lackadaisical attitude?

Giant of Wisdom – You have experiences that no one else around you has. You can share what you’ve learned and those around you that are truly wise will learn from you. Share freely.

 

Lastly guys, remember, you are completely loved and adored by someone.

YOU ARE a giant in their eyes. Treasure that, protect that and use it.

Gals – you can be a giant to! I hope you will be.

Your turn! How can we be giants to those little eyes that are watching everything we say and do? Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard here.

 

Dear Dad, you are already a HERO, just because you are a dad… be the best influence you can be without guilt

Dear Dad, I know you are busy with work &providing for the family, but provide memories too

Dear Dad, I know we are all special BUT never, ever forget that you are loved & adored

Dear Dad, even when I think I know it ALL, YOU still be the parent. I’m too young to make big decisions.

Dear Dad, laughter is the best medicine, but never forget tears are healing

Dear Dad, Even though guys are macho, we still need to hear “i love you”

Dear Dad, I know you want to give me the best of everything, but make me be responsible for what you give me

Dear Dad, we love big squishy bear hugs

Dear Dad, help me to own my mistakes, don’t enable me or excuse my actions

Dear Dad, I love you

 

 

Visit Marie at SpreadingJoy.

Fear

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.

Fears in the night are unfriendly visitors. They wake you, trouble you and will not let you rest. Fear of what might be, fear of what you think is happening…..fear for fears sake is as good as a cup of strong coffee to wake you up in the middle of the night, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good.

We are in a time when everything is being shaken to the very core. Jobs, culture, finances and all we have trusted in is being shaken. It’s as if the great earthquake has already begun to rumble and the very tremors we feel cause us to be afraid.

After only a couple hours of sleep tonight I awoke with thoughts of great fear bouncing around in my head. I know fear comes when we feel a sense that we cannot control the things that are happening around us, but truthfully we never could….we only thought we could. Now, realities become clear that we cannot control the world around us and so fear invades even our rest.

Being a pastor does not make me exempt from these fears. All humans struggle with them…the fears that could fill a page if I listed them are all resolved by what we do about them….and so I go to Psalms to read the directions for the indigestion of fear.

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.

What I hate to admit, but is true, is that when fears invade my mind I’m not trusting God. And so, I must come back to what I know….God loves me, he’s fully in charge of all that goes on in my life, he’s working for my good, my world is not spinning out of control, but is fully in the hands of my Father. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in YOU, dear Father. There is no other place to run, no other place to hide, no safer place to be.

So when you awake with fears racing through your mind affecting even your heart rate, go to this short Psalm and realign your trust….come back to the one who will calm your fears and care for you. Whatever is causing your fears can easily be taken care of by our wonderful, loving Father. Trust in him……now…..back to sleep….

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Living In The Moment

Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Mat 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. -THE MESSAGE.

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a “present tense life.” There are two great enemies of a walk with God that try to keep us from walking with God in the “now.” One is “the fantasy of what could have been,” and the other is “the fear of what might be.” Let me address each one of these for a moment.

1. The fantasy of what could have been- We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It’s rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the “fantasy of what could have been.” We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities- “If only I had married the other person,” or “If only I had finished college,” or “If only I hadn’t made that horrible mistake” then life would be….. And our thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of “if only.” Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it’s sin plain and simple. The truth is that there is no “if only I had.” There is only what is. Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the “now” harder because our fantasy solutions would have completely eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today. So, here is the first sin we often fall into. When you are tempted to visit the land of “if only I had…” make the decision not to go. It’s a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

2. The fear of what might be- The other problem I see many struggle with is “the fear of what might be.” They are experts at worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. Jesus clearly said, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.

We each have to live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now. Here they are quickly for your consideration- a walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

As you go through your day living your life and find the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment and ask the Lord, “Lord, where are we right now? What are we working on? Why am I tempted to leave this present tense walk with you?” That quick prayer and awareness of the temptation to thoughts of the impossible will make your present tense life an exciting place to be and will quiet those fantasies and calm those fears. Have a great day.

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.

My Hope Is In The LORD!

At Your Feet…   

As a Child of the King, we don’t have to face fears, failures and an uncertain future alone.  Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with the day to day living that we forget to look to our All Knowing, Always Caring Heavenly Father.  When we come to sit at HIS feet and simply adore Him, may I ask that we place some things at His feet and leave them there.
We can leave these things at the feet of our Lord and KNOW that “it’s” going to be okay.
  • Fear, finances, failure, an uncertain future, despair.
  • Our Children, parents, lost loved ones, and those closest to us that have yet to trust in Christ
  • Dreams, desires, hopes, employment (or lack thereof) health and other issues
The Bible asks us: Is anything too hard for the Lord?  Genesis 18:14  Jeremiah 32:27  Jeremiah 32:17
Come praise the hurt away.

 

My hope is in YOU Lord.  

We dream big dreams, and hope that God will bless.  We reach rock bottom and hope that God will carry us the rest of the way.  We HOPE in the Lord…the One that hung the moon and sun in place, the One that created all that we know simply by speaking.
Where is your hope?
There are 53 verses on Hope in God available at Biblegateway.com.

 

Lord, I’m amazed by you!

Everyday God is amazing.  Everyday HIS mercies are renewed. Every single day I have to say, Lord…I’m amazed by YOU.

It All Matters

To Him…It All Matters

 

Dear Lord Jesus
As big as my problems are
As big as my fears are
As big as my doubts are

Help me to remember that YOU are bigger

 

As big as my dreams are
As big as my needs are
As big as my desires are

Help me to be reminded every day that you are bigger

 

Help me to be reminded every day that you know what I need
Help me to be reminded every day that you want us to live abundantly
Help me to be reminded every day that you are in control

Help me to be reminded every day that you see every tear…and they matter

 

You see my fearful heart and it matters
You know when I’m discouraged and it matters
Help me to keep trusting you when I don’t understand

Help me to keep following you when I can’t see where the next step is going to take me

 

Help me to remember just how great YOU are, just how mighty you are and just how much you LOVE me

Don’t let me forget these things; keep them close to my heart, so when the fear pops in and the tears flow I know instantly that YOU have me.

You’ve got me and you are going to keep me….. and it all matters to you.

In Jesus name Amen

 

This was originally published in Tell It On the Mountain Online Magazine. Click the name of the magazine to see it and other amazing articles.  Thanks @DeMacb for allowing me to submit to your Magazine


Rest

Heb 4:1 God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. 2 For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. 3 For only we who believe can enter his rest.

There is a rest for this weary race of man. There is a rest from the unceasing quest for peace, for calm, for a feeling of being good with God. Most religions of the world offer a never ending treadmill of works to attain heaven with no assurance of ever having done enough. These are brutal faiths. Faiths based on our works, our efforts to be good enough, to push all the right buttons, to look just right so our eternity will be a good one. These are religions that offer no rest.

But there is one faith, only one, that offers a place of rest. It’s a rest from the works of man to please God. In this faith, and this one alone, there is a place of rest….a rest based on the works of someone else. It comes only to those who put their faith in the works of another, Jesus Christ, to have done all that’s asked of God for us to be accepted. It brings those who believe to a place of rest where all self-efforts are done. Finally, for those who trust rest is available. Finally all efforts are finished, there’s nothing more for us to do, it’s all been done.

Imagine all of mankind standing on one side of the grand canyon with God on the other. Our quest is to reach God and with our best efforts we jump to bridge the chasm. The fate of all who do this in their own strength is inevitable and is found at the bottom of the canyon. But imagine that spanning this grand chasm is a moving bridge. All you have to do is step on it and it will carry you to the other side. Most around you would say it’s too easy, you have to do something, you can’t please God without doing something! And yet, this bridge is the only way to the other side.

While all around you men and women are trying to jump the chasm and falling to their death you can simply take a step of faith and, like the moving walkways in the airports and malls, you find yourself being moved to the other side…effortlessly! It’s a result based on a step of faith and a rest in the God’s only provision to bridge the chasm. “It can’t be that easy!” some would say. “You’re just not trying hard enough.” others declare. And they’re right. It’s a rest, a rest in the work done by another to accomplish something none of us can do on our own.

Why do so many refuse to take the bridge (faith in Jesus Christ) and choose to try to jump the chasm on their own? For some reason many think their salvation depends on their own works, but the chasm is much too wide for us to bridge by our own works, in our own strength. We need help!

As the author of Hebrews writes, “only those who believe can enter his rest.” Are you resting in him or trying to work your way to God? Only one will bring you to your desired destination.

Only one choice will give you rest from the quest for God’s acceptance.

All others find their end at the bottom of the chasm.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

He Never Lets Go

Do you remember the thrill of being spun around by your dad? Do you remember how exciting it was? Never a worry about him letting go. He’s your dad, he would never do that. The thought never crossed our minds. We simply enjoyed the thrill and excitement of the ride.

How have we lost that thrill of life with God? How have we imagined that he would ever let go of us? Where did we get the idea that we can’t trust him? When did the thrill of living a life with God disappear for you? I think, for most I talk to the thrill of a life lived with God is a distant memory if they ever knew that excitement at all. How do we lose that excitement of living in relationship with the God who made us?

For me the thrill and excitement of walking with God, of knowing he has me in his hands, is often a distant memory. I’ve lost it in the mundane, in the necessary things of life. But with the loss of that excitement another emotion rises for many…we wonder if God will let go of us. Can we trust him to “hold on?” Am I safe?

If fear of a fall is part of life then you can’t enjoy the ride…..you simply don’t trust the hands that hold you. When fear and lack of trust replaces the excitement of a relationship with God then you’ve lost all joy of knowing God and living life with him. We must recapture trust and then can enjoy the thrill of the adventure once more.

Here’s what Jesus said, knowing how destructive our fears can be, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” Jesus knows we forget the fun of the relationship and easily fear the one who holds our hands. He wants us to know, “I will never let go! Enjoy the ride. I’ve got you! I love you too much to let go of you. Relax!”

Once we recapture that trust then fun begins again, we relax knowing that God loves us, promises to hold onto us and wants us to enjoy this life and walk with him. If, like me, you easily lose the thrill and excitement of a life lived with God and entertain fears of the fall then go to the Father, recapture that trust, revisit his love for you and realize that whatever you go through he will never let you go. Enjoy the ride!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Living A Present-Tense Life

Mat 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Mat 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. -THE MESSAGE.

 

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a “present tense life.” There are two great enemies of a walk with God that try to keep us from walking with God in the “now.” One is “the fantasy of what could have been,” and the other is “the fear of what might be.” Let me address each one of these for a moment.

 

1. The fantasy of what could have been- We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It’s rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the “fantasy of what could have been.” We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities- “If only I had married the other person,” or “If only I had finished college,” or “If only I hadn’t made that horrible mistake” then life would be….. And our thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of “if only.” Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it’s sin plain and simple. The truth is that there is no “if only I had.” There is only what is. Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the “now” harder because our fantasy solutions would have completely eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today. So, here is the first sin we often fall into. When you are tempted to visit the land of “if only I had…” make the decision not to go. It’s a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

 

2. The fear of what might be- The other problem I see many struggle with is “the fear of what might be.” They are experts at worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. Jesus clearly said, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.
We each have to live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now. Here they are quickly for your consideration- a walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

 

As you go through your day living your life and find the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment and ask the Lord, “Lord, where are we right now? What are we working on? Why am I tempted to leave this present tense walk with you?” That quick prayer and awareness of the temptation to thoughts of the impossible will make your present tense life an exciting place to be and will quiet those fantasies and calm those fears. Have a great day.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Choices

Choices. We make them every day. The results of those choices affect the course of our lives and all the choices ahead. Once we make a choice we can no longer make the other choice. Our course is set. Now a multitude of other choices on the other path are no longer ours. Now we must take the path of our choice with all that follows. We find new decisions to make, but the choice of the other path is no longer ours.
Often, as I talk with people at their crossroads struggling with the choice of which way to go I find they are already regretting the choice they plan to make. They know their choice is the wrong one and the path will not end well, but they don’t want to take the other path. What they don’t realize is that one choice eliminates the choices the other path might offer. Suddenly, once they start walking down one road the choices possible on the other road are gone.
I watch as they struggle at the crossroads, struggle with the decisions they face. Often they tell me they want what lies down both paths, but only one choice can be made. What none of us know is what other choices might be ours if we choose the right path. (Of course this last statement implies that one choice is right and the other wrong.) There are a hundred choices down each path, but none are known to us until we choose one and start the adventure.
It strikes me that the struggle at the crossroads is the choice of my way or God’s way. That is the core decision at each crossroad we face, isn’t it? At each point of decision I must decide to submit my will to God’s way or choose my own way and hope for the best. It’s a choice that should be obvious and simple, but it’s really not. We live with fantasy and fear dominating our minds and thoughts. The fantasy of what could have been and the fear of what might be cause us to doubt that God’s way will be for our good so we choose our own path, our own way.
This morning I faced those crossroads with another friend. I watched as he languished over his choices. As best I could I told him what lay down each road. I watched as he turned this way, then that. From years of standing at the crossroads with others I already know he has chosen the wrong path, but I know too that I can’t force anyone to submit to God’s will in their lives. That’s a decision of the heart. Once they trust God with the results the decision of course is easy. Until that submission of heart and will is given to God the battle rages on.
As you face your own crossroads pray this simple prayer, “Lord, I want your way, your will in my life and not my own. Show me which way to go.” In that simple prayer you have made the most important choice anyone will ever make when they come to the crossroads.
There are a number of verses in the Bible that deal with this very idea, but let me simply offer this one as I finish my thoughts, Proverbs 14:12-13 “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.” THE MESSAGE
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Suicide Bombers

You read about them daily in the news. They cause fear and devastation when they strike. Their tactics change lives forever, including their own. They are called suicide bombers.

It’s a recent term to describe a growing trend…people willing to destroy themselves to hurt others. Their beliefs are so strong that they are willing to give their own lives for their cause. They are called suicide bombers.

All around me are people I call by the same name. They are people who would never see themselves in this way, but they are…like the suicide bomber….willing to destroy themselves in their attempt to hurt and destroy their marriage, their mate and others. I call them suicide bombers.

They would tell me “I just want to be happy” and so they justify the decisions they make. In the process they destroy their home, their family and unknown to them they destroy themselves. I call them suicide bombers.

They look normal enough to those around them. They don’t have bombs strapped to their waist, but they are on a mission to destroy and they do. What they don’t realize is they will be part of the destruction that results. I call them suicide bombers.

In their attempt to control, cause fear, change their situation, rule another person they actually destroy their own life.

I got a call this morning about a suicide bomber in our midst. The story I heard would be funny if it weren’t so sad. In a rage a wife made a horrible choice and drove her car over her husband’s motorcycle….THREE TIMES! I call her a suicide bomber.

In her anger and rage at her husband, she destroyed her marriage, his motorcycle, and her own life as well. She may not realize it yet, but the one that was hurt the most was her.

She wouldn’t trust God to work, she wouldn’t wait for his timing, so she dealt with thisherself! Whatever her thoughts or motives she blew up her own life and destroyed everything around her.

How different is this from those with the real bombs around their waist? Their goal is to hurt, destroy and cause fear at the price of their own life.

The result? Chaos, destruction, hurt, death of marriages, homes demolished, lives in shambles. Who would be willing to do such things?

There is a certain insanity that comes with being a suicide bomber….whether you use explosives or your car, a car bomb or a divorce attorney, bullets or an affair the results are the same, lives are destroyed, homes are demolished, families blown up, lives forever changed. Most of all yours.

Suicide bombers don’t always need explosives to accomplish their task. Sometimes it’s as simple as sin having its way in a life. Always, in every case, destruction will follow. And the one hurt the worst? The suicide bomber himself.

Romans 6:21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Permission to Speak Freely

 

The permission to speak freely by Anne Jackson is an awesome book that talks about how we let our fears stop us from speaking freely about anything.  Freely speaking on our thoughts and fears about church, relationships, addictions, depression, family etc.  Her single statement “Fear Won” caught my heart.  Fear wins out so often over so many things in so many of our lives.  This book reminds us that we may never be completely free of fear, but that we can live a courageous life, speaking freely about the issues we have faced or are facing.

 

Many people struggle with depression and seasons of depression, wondering why they still fight it or are fearful of what others will think about them taking antidepressants etc.  She sums it up nicely when talking about seasons of depression saying  “feelings of insecurity and worthlessness is a chain I may never be able to break.”

 

She generously gives the gift of courage by stepping out and speaking out about her addictions, abuse and fear of talking freely about them.   She says “something in us begins to come alive in us when we see people overcome fear.” We draw courage from others who, regardless of fear, stand up and speak up.

 

Sometimes our fears of living our dreams keep up from even taking the first step.  Anne puts it this way “Their hearts are fighting for their dreams, yet fear claws away at their spirits, telling them their dreams are impossible.”   Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than a single twinge of fear to hold us back.

 

This book is very uplifting and encouraging.  Whether you are fighting seasons of depression, feelings of worthlessness, or anything else that grips your heart in fear, Permission to Speak Freely is sure to encourage you and maybe you’ll find the gift of going 2nd is something you can give to others by sharing your story.

One of my favorite quotes by Anne:

I had now seen the redemption and freedom that occurs when the darkness is forced into the light, disguised as awkwardly spoken words

 

The audio book is read by Anne Jackson, the author.  I feel that we could actually feel more of what she was feeling as she recounts some of what was going through her mind and heart while she was retelling her story.  Very well done.

 

I’d like to thank Christian Audio for the complimentary copy of this book through their Reviewers’ program.  Follow Christian Audio on Twitter here. Check their site each month for a free audio book download.  Good stuff there!

{{HUGS}} yall

@spreadingJOY

Don’t you care?

Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Continue reading Don’t you care?

Finding my way

It’s often hard for me to see God’s work in my life. I’m living moment by moment and I can’t see what he is doing in my moments. The light that shows me what God is doing sometimes comes much later. Most of the time I only get a glimpse, a stream of light through the clouds, a smile from heaven as it were. Finding my way is the challenge of life. How to navigate the road ahead when I only see a little bit in front of me.

I remember, years ago, while driving late at night in my 1937 Plymouth Road King that I accidentally hit the light switch and turned off the lights. What a panic! Going down the road in pitch blackness at 60 miles per hour. I quickly fumbled for the lights and the fear that overwhelmed me from the experience took hours to wane. It’s that feeling we often live with…the feeling of living in the dark. How to find the way? How to know what God is doing. It’s often a matter of trust when we see nothing at all.

Finding my way….I’m still working on it. But what I know is that God has promised to lead me, to help me, just as a guide would lead a blind man, holding my hand and leading me around the things I can’t even see. Paul wrote these words in Philippians, “My God will supply all your needs in Christ Jesus…” My greatest need is a guide to show me the way. I’m so glad he is that tender hand leading me along…even when I can’t see the way to go.