FEAR

FEAR

On my walk yesterday I was listening to a message from Gary Keesee and in that message they briefly talked about fear.

As I was listening, the Holy Spirit dropped this into my spirit and I’ve been meditating on it ever since.

“Fear is the enemy’s form of faith.”

When I heard this, I asked for further explanation and of course it was given.

It’s often said that fear is the opposite of faith, which is true. But to better understand this and fight off fear, we have to understand fear is the enemy’s form of faith.

The enemy has a way of taking Godly things and twisting or perverting them just enough to capture a person who may not have their guard up, or in Biblical terms, have their armor of God on (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Fear is the opposite of faith. Worry is a form of fear. Thinking the worst of a situation is fear. Thinking negatively is a form of fear.

Fear is having faith that the “bad” thing will happen. This is the enemy’s form of faith.

Godly faith is KNOWING the Word and that all things work together for our good (for those who love the Lord -Romans 8:28).

The Word informs us “bad” things will happen to all of us but for those of us who love Him, He will turn that situation into something good. This is what we should always focus our faith on. Not in worry, not in the negative “what ifs”.

What if we started what if-ing positive outcomes? What if I am healed? What if that debt is paid off? What if that relationship is reconciled? Those kind of what if’s will lead us into Godly faith and KNOWING His promises.

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Never Forget

Today I looked at my son and realized one day he is going to ask me and his dad if we remember where we were on 9/11.

I realized one day I’m going to have to explain to him about the evil that exists in this world. I won’t be able to shield him from it forever as much as I would like to.

I’ll have to tell him I woke up that day like any other, took a shower and got dressed for work. I was living alone at the time and working my way through some personal issues that were consuming my mind that morning. I was 22 years old.

I had to be at work at 9am and was running a few minutes behind as usual. I got in my car, tape playing (I’m sure I’ll have to explain what a tape is to him), and headed to work. It was right at 9 o’clock and I noticed there were no other cars on the road. I thought maybe it was a holiday and I didn’t realize it. I kept driving along and things just seemed off.

I switched over to the radio and heard a very serious voice and I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. As I listened, I realized there had been an airplane crash but at the point I was listening, they weren’t really giving details, they were more in shock and at a loss for words. It was a strange few moments as I continued on to work because I didn’t understand why they were reporting like this on an airplane crash and then I heard the part about it being into the twin towers in New York.

I pulled in to work, sun shining, temperature comfortable, light breeze and puffy clouds in the sky. No noise. No traffic and no air noise. No planes.

I went in the front door of the building on Dayton Blvd into my dad’s upholstery shop and when he heard the door ding, he walked out of his office and gave me that look. He didn’t say a word but just looked at me.

I asked, “Am I hearing right? Was there a plane that crashed into one of the twin towers in New York?”

He said “Yes,” and turned on the TV in the front room. The news was on and reporting. We stood silently and watched trying to comprehend what was going on.

While we watched they reported a second plane. I said “This is no accident.”

Then a little while later the report about the pentagon.

I looked at my dad and said, “What do we do?”

His response surprised me. He said, “I don’t know,” and shook his head. He always had an answer. Always. I wasn’t scared until I heard him without one.

The day was solemn. We didn’t talk much, just listened to the news reports and worked at a little slower pace than normal. We didn’t have a single customer that day, not that we expected any. I’m sure, as many others, I spent the day wondering what all was going to happen. Are we at war here at home? Are we about to be? We waited for the media to tell us yes or no.

We left that day and my dad told me he loved me. I told him I loved him. He said if anything happened, head to the house.

I went home and stayed glued to the television. I watched the people on the screen terrified and I cried. I cried a lot. I prayed even though at that time I wasn’t at a place in my life where I prayed much at all.

I remembered being there not long before. This picture was taken earlier that year when I went for a weekend with my friend and her aunt. I wondered if I knew anyone who was in the buildings or those who were nearby. I cried for the families waiting to hear if their loved ones were okay. I couldn’t imagine that city, the way I remembered it, forever changed.

I thought of the ferry ride we took and seeing Ellis island off in the distance, the port through which many of us came to be American citizens generations before. The place where many became free to live their dream. The attack was truly an attack on freedom because it was meant to instill fear and those who live in fear do not live free.

The next few weeks were spent wondering if there would be other attacks and if we were really safe anywhere. Those weeks turned into months, now years.

Those who knew the world before 9/11 can say it’s different now, afterwards. Try taking a flight somewhere and we still see the residue of what 9/11 did to us as a country, as a world.

But after all that, I’ll be able to tell my son how people, for a while, set their differences aside and were a little more compassionate towards one another. For a while, love was shown between strangers by treating each other as we should. For a while, people realized how fleeting life truly is and acted accordingly, but, how quickly we forget.

We remember a date, the news reports, the images, but we can’t remember how to be compassionate. We are back in a place of arguing over our leaders instead of praying for them, we get more excited about games on television instead of checking on our neighbors, we resort to physical contact when someone cuts us off on the road instead of using mercy and grace that we are shown every day.

How quickly we forget. To my son, always be compassionate. Always err on the side of love.

Kingdom Business

SEEK what first above all else? The kingdom of God.

WHERE is the kingdom of God? Inside each of us.

WHAT is in the kingdom? Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33 KJV

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Luke 17:21 KJV

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14:17 KJV

God’s love

I first gave my life to Christ around the age of 11. That simply meant I chose to believe what the Word says about who God is and who Jesus is. Shortly after, I made the decision to be baptized, an outward declaration to the world of the decision I had made to follow after God.

Then as a teenager, probably starting around age 14, and into my 20’s, I fell far away from any kind of Godly life. That’s a story for a different time.

I was 28 when I rededicated my life to Christ and God. Those that know the story of the prodigal son just make it the story of the prodigal daughter and that was me. For those that don’t know the story, it simply means I was tired of living and doing things my way (because it brought nothing but misery) so I told God I was ready to try things His way again and that I needed His help.

I just turned 40 this past February so I’ve been growing in my faith for 12 years now. I would never want to go back to how I was living in that “middle” part of my life but it has only been in the past six months or so that I have had a revelation in my relationship with God that I didn’t even realize I struggled with all these years.

I’ve always believed and known that Jesus loves me. I’ve never doubted that. God on the other hand, I’ve doubted quite a bit.

God knows every detail of our lives and if you knew every detail of mine, you would see how hard it’s been for me to accept that God truly, relentlessly, constantly, loves me.

I don’t know the exact moment it hit me that I was not fully persuaded that God loves me but it’s been something I’ve been meditating on for quite some time now.

Over the years I would listen to messages or read my Bible on God’s love and God IS love and for some reason, without realizing I was doing it, I would always tell myself, “He may love everyone but not me. Not like that. Not constantly.”

I had somehow convinced myself that God was always kind of upset with me and if He was always kind of upset with me, He didn’t always love me.

This is how I was living my Christian faith. The entire time as I served at my church, as I tithed faithfully, as I prayed in the Spirit, as I talked to others about how God loved them…

I didn’t believe it for myself. I couldn’t accept that God would or could love me. I let past shame, self disappointment and doubt over shadow God’s written Word.

This past week, something clicked. I’ve been working on accepting God’s love for me and working to see Him as the Word describes Him and not what the world says about Him. Not letting MY past or MY actions determine who HE is.

I’ve had to immerse myself in completely opening up to God and letting Him love me. I believe this may be partially the reason he sent us a son who is now 15 months. I have gained a deeper understanding of my relationship with my heavenly Father through the relationship that is building with my son.

God looks at me and smiles and I see it now. He rejoices over me. He wants the best for me. He is on my side. He fights for me, not against me. He is the same God to me that He is for you. Let Him love you.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Avonlea

God speaks to me through dreams many times, always has. Probably because it’s the only time my mind is quiet enough to REALLY hear Him, ha.

I’ve had a few distinct dreams over the last year dealing with major life issues (mountains). God has shown me each time that I am the Victor, the winner, but only through Him, only by allowing Him to work through me. I won’t go into all the details but there have been spiritual struggles and dealing with things from my past that I thought I had dealt with when in fact I had just brushed (shoved) it all under the rug. So I have spent the last few years working on how I think. Reprogramming my brain according to His Word, if you will.

Last night, thinking about all of this, the first line of this poem came to me through mishearing some song lyrics. So I wrote it down. I found it funny at first because one of my favorite books/movies is Anne of Green Gables and the continuation of her story Anne of Avonlea. So unless you know those movies, this may not make much sense.

It’s written as a farewell to childhood/young adulthood/depression (the “bosom friend” in the poem) and embracing what it was instead of what I wish it had been. Letting go of the negative but holding on to all the dreams I had of what life should look like because it’s still possible.

Burn it down… God makes beauty from ashes when we relinquish the things that hold us back.

Maybe one day I’ll pick this poem apart and explain what each line means to me. It’s deeper than most would care to know.

GOD STILL HEALS

I don’t even know how to describe my Sunday. I’m laying in bed at 12:30 in the morning trying to process everything.

I’ve never had a day like today. There was heartbreaking news I received first thing this morning that broke my heart for a friend. Then an on time message at church in regards to some other things we are dealing with. A message that confirmed some of God’s promises for our life. Then more heartbreaking news after service. Then an evening service with a special guest minister who spoke something over me that I didn’t understand when he said it. I’ll get back to that in a minute. At the end of service I received healing that I’ve been believing God for, for a very long time. Then once home I found out my Aunt, who I just talked with a few weeks ago, passed on Friday.

The word spoken over me was from Psalm 30:5… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

When I heard the news of my aunt, I understood.

I promised God when I re-dedicated my life to Christ that I would always testify of His goodness. I don’t know what else to do right now except that. My aunt is no longer suffering and is healed and whole so I rejoice in that. As for the other heartbreaking news from today I can only trust and believe that God will bring something beautiful out of those situations more than He already has.

As for my healing, I watched my own left leg grow an inch and a half tonight. I was in the presence of God at the altar and a work was done there on a deeper level than I will go into here. But then, at the very end of service, I sat and watched a prophet of God pray for healing in my back as my heels rested in the palms of his hands.

You may have heard me mention before that around age 11 or 12, I had a mishap while cross country skiing where I got my skis crossed and fell hitting my tail bone directly on the spot where the skis were crossed. I truly thought I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move for at least 20 minutes and then forced myself to get up and walk, a very slow walk. I had other injuries after that including a bulged disc and some other issues over the years.

I’ve been to the chiropractor for years to get relief and preventative care. I haven’t been able to go these past few months because even with our new insurance, we haven’t had the money to cover our cost of the visits. I’ve been standing in faith that I’m healed even though in the natural I don’t remember a time I haven’t had some form of back pain going on. I don’t go by what I feel or see though, I go by what I know to be true in God’s Word and tonight that truth manifested.

As I sat back against the chair, straight as I could, when I put my feet in the palms of his hand, my left foot was about an inch and a half shorter. This was no surprise to me because I have not been able to stand flat on both feet without leaning to the right to balance myself out. So as he prayed… I will do my best to describe what I felt… It felt as if hands were wrapped around the bones from my lower back, in my hips, down my legs, to my feet, and pulled every which way to align everything as it should be. I even, not realizing it at first, pulled back against the adjusting and felt the pressure of it pulling me the other way. The work was in progress and there wasn’t anyway I could stop it if I wanted to because I was open to receiving my healing. I saw my left leg, with my own two eyes, grow (realign) an inch and a half. There were witnesses as well. There were others with back problems who were healed in the same way and I watched their legs reallign.

I knew when I stood up and walked, the healing was complete. When I walked across the sanctuary, I stood flat foot without having to lean to one side.

Then, on the way home, as I was talking with God and trying to process everything, I realized I could breath normally. God healed me of asthma tonight and I didn’t even know until I was driving home.

Two things: an obedient man is an instrument of God through which the Holy Spirit can operate. The healing comes from God, not the man, and we have to receive it. Second, the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy so after healing he may try to bring symptoms back to get you thinking you weren’t really healed. Tell the enemy to shove it and stand on God’s promise of healing.

I still don’t know how to describe my overall day. There’s much in the details (outside of my healing) I’m choosing not to share and half of it isn’t mine to share anyways.

Pray for me and my family. My Aunt meant a lot to me.

Regardless of this up and down day, God is still good and the same today as He was yesterday and I can depend on Him tomorrow as well.