The Word Frees Us from Fear

fear-clipart-No-FearSome of us keep company with fear.  We are used to it and filter our decisions and behaviors through it.  Many times we are not even aware of what we are doing.  At some level we are actually comfortable with fear.

But fear is not from God.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   (2 Timothy 1:7)  As followers of Christ, as we read the Bible, faith rises up within us and fear is replaced by faith.

It’s a good idea to do a “fear check” now and then.  We can ask God where there is fear in our lives, and ask Him to help us get rid of it.  He has been faithful to do this for me many times.  It’s also important to listen to those around us who know us.  Their comments can reveal something we haven’t seen in ourselves before, like being afraid about something.  And then we can pray together to help us get free from that fear.

“Fear not, for I am with you;  Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”   (Isaiah 41:10)  This scripture has meant so much to me over the years.  As I’ve spoken it over my life and prayed it over others, I’ve seen God take us from a place of fear to a place of faith.   Let’s look at each line.  “Fear not, for I am with you” — The Lord commands us to  fear not because He, the great I Am, is with us.  The Creator of all life Who has all wisdom and knowledge is with us.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us. (Deut. 31:6)  He is with us through any difficulty and has the solution.  “Be not dismayed, for I am your God” — God commands us not to be dismayed.  It is so easy to fall into discouragement, frustration, wanting so badly for things to be different… However, when we look to the Lord and trust in His ways and solutions to problems, we can have peace, that peace that surpasses all understanding. (Phil. 4:7)  Dismay does not have a hold then.  “I will strengthen you” — The Source of all strength will give us all the strength we need to triumph in our circumstances.  As a friend told me recently, we are stronger than we think we are.  We just need to ask Him, and He will give us the strength we need to overcome.  “Yes, I will help you” — When we stop trying to do it all on our own, when we stop spinning our wheels in a familiar rut, and count on God’s help, things shift for the better.  We can get out of that rut!  We don’t know how or when God will take care of the problem, but we know He is on it when we simply ask.  Oh, how God loves to partner with us in dealing with everything in our lives!  “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” — The God of the universe promises to  hold us in His mighty hand.  He has a secure hold.  He won’t let go.  He’s got us.  Always.

As Christ followers, we are on a journey of replacing fears with faith.  Since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17), how important it is to be immersed in the Word, believe God at His word,  and see what He will do!

 

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Love Heals Broken Relationships

the-broken-heartHow do we still love someone who has wronged us or mistreated us or who did awful things to us?  And how do we forgive someone like that?  Maybe we can forgive part way –maybe we see some things we did wrong, too — but how do we possibly forgive everything?

The answer to all of the above is Jesus.  We don’t know how to love without Jesus’ love in our hearts.  We can’t fully forgive without Jesus’ love in our hearts.  And, yes, we can love like Jesus loves us and forgive like Jesus forgives us who believe in Him.  Glory to God!

The good news is that our broken relationships can be healed and restored and be even better than before because of God’s love in us.

These are Jesus’ words:  ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”  (Matthew 22:37-39)

The first step is receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives.  If you haven’t already, simply pray right now and ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you.

When you have Jesus in your heart, as you pray, He will give you what you need to love and forgive unconditionally, as He does.  He will show you how to love your neighbor ( meaning anyone in your life) as yourself.  He gives you the grace.  He gives you the love and the ability to forgive no matter what happened in your relationship.

Does it only take one prayer?  With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26b), but with this, not from my experience.  It takes many prayers and acts of love and forgiveness to heal broken relationships.

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ ”  (1 Peter 4:8)  Instead of staying angry, bitter, and thinking thoughts of revenge (all of which hurt you), ask God to touch your heart to love and forgive.  Ask God to touch the other person’s heart to do the same.  Call out to God for healing in the relationship.  Call out to God for a miracle!  He can do it!  “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh.  Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

Fervent love?  Yes, ask God for fervent, extravagant love for the other person.  As God enables us to love like that,  love overtakes us and we can forgive completely.  It’s like a tsunami wave of love covers us and washes away the unforgiveness.  What’s left is a clean slate to go on in love and unity with the other person.

What if the other person doesn’t love and forgive like I do?  All you can do is do your part to love and forgive.  And pray for the other to do the same.  It is his or her responsibility to follow God and His ways.

Considering cutting off the relationship for good?  If you’re being abused, you definitely need to leave and get help.  In other relationships, though, it’s important to remember that God never gives up on us.  He has loved us with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)  What is God asking you to do?

It often takes time for relationships to be restored.  It is important to continue on in faith trusting God to help and heal.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fountain of Living Water in Us

IMG_1362[1]When you’re frustrated, angry, anxious, or weary, what do you do?  When the problems facing you are overwhelming, do you turn to Jesus?

He is the only one who can solve all problems as well as relieve you when you are troubled.  Of course, it’s good to talk to those who love you, and they can help you through trying times, but no one can help you like Jesus.  For those of us who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, He is “a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)  We can say, like the psalmist wrote in Ps. 18: 1-3: “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;  My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;  My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I will call upon the LORD who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Do you call upon the Lord?  Do you know Jesus?  In John 4, the Samaritan woman had heard about the Messiah, the Christ, but she didn’t know Him until she encountered Him.  As they talked, Jesus Christ revealed Himself to her.

In verses 7-14, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, and He asked her for a drink.  The passage goes on with Jesus saying to her, “10… If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘ Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock? 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The scripture goes on to say that not only did the Samaritan woman accept Jesus as the Messiah, but others in her community were saved, too, because she shared the good news.

How about you?  If you haven’t yet encountered Jesus, all you need to do is pray and ask Him to be saved.  It’s at that point that you enter into relationship with Him, the Son of God.  Salvation is not about knowing about Jesus or going to church, but salvation is about knowing Jesus, entering into a relationship with Him, the Son of God.

Once we’re saved, it’s a new life!  We have the Holy Spirit in us Who lives in all believers, and He is the “fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (verse 14)  We get to live the abundant life here on this earth with the Holy Spirit in us as well as know we are guaranteed life everlasting with God.

It’s a wonderful thing to think about a fountain of water springing up in us.  It is ever flowing.  There is an inexhaustible supply.  The Holy Spirit in us is our Comforter, our Encourager, and the One Who liberally gives wisdom and counsel.  He is joy and peace springing up in us when we could get caught up in our difficult circumstances.  He is the One Who completely understands us and loves us anyway with the Father’s perfect love.

When we are troubled and maybe see no solution to our problems, we can spend time in the Word of God and hear God’s word to us.  It is a living Word applicable to us individually in our own situation.  The wellspring of water in us refreshes us, strengthens us, and gives us what we need as we spend time with the Lord.  Hallelujah!

 

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The Importance of Prayer

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There is much to learn about prayer from Jesus.  Throughout the gospels we see that He spent time in prayer with His Father.  He would get off alone and pray.   He prayed with His disciples.  He knew the importance of prayer, for he lived a life of intimacy with His Father in heaven.

Simply put, prayer is conversation with the Lord.  We talk to Him and we listen to what He has to tell us.  It is key to enjoying a close relationship with the Lord.

How about you?  Do you get off alone to pray?  Do you pray with others?  Are you close to Jesus?

Just as Jesus depended on His Father while He walked the earth, we, too, are to depend on Him throughout our lives.  Jesus wants us to depend on Him.  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)  He wants us to come to Him, pour out our hearts to Him, and rest in His provision.  He wants us to rest in His peace that surpasses all understanding.  He wants us to trust in Him to take care of it all.

Don’t we too often try to take care of things on our own?  (And then we find it doesn’t work out so well.)  Instead we are to turn to the Lord.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)  No matter what you’ve done or haven’t done, God always loves you with “avalanche-size” love, and is ready 24/7 to help you with the very best help.  After all, He alone is God!

With our busy schedules, time alone with God in prayer can go by the wayside.  It is sometimes so easy to neglect to do that which is so important.  If we don’t get off alone and pray, we are weakened.  “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2) If we don’t get off alone and pray, we lack wisdom and insight from the Lord in how to solve our problems.  If we don’t get off alone and pray, we are not as close to the Lord.  Just like with people, if we aren’t in contact with them, we aren’t close to them.

As written in Matthew 14, Jesus had quite a day.  His cousin and the one whose purpose was to announce His coming to earth, John the Baptist, was beheaded.  When Jesus heard the news, He went to a deserted place by Himself.  When the people heard it, they followed Him.  Jesus, in His great compassion for them, healed their sick.  Then He fed them all with the 5 loaves and 2 fish that He miraculously multiplied. After Jesus sent away His disciples and the multitudes, “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”  (verse 23)  Where did Jesus get His help from?  Who did He pour out His heart to?  Where did He go to get refueled and refreshed?  He went to His Father in prayer.

So are we to do.  We have access to our heavenly Father, too!  God hears our every prayer, He hears our every cry, and He is right there for us.  He alone has the best answers, and He loves us with a love that never fails.  We can always trust in Him.  Got a problem?  It’s time to pray!

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