buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Fear”

The Unexpected

Last week I wrote about the warning signs. How ironic as I was considering all the warnings that had occurred for my neighbor, I get one as well. This warning wasn’t in the form she received but from a warning in my own house. My carbon monoxide detector went off in the middle of my dinner one night. I first thought it was a low battery warning. I got the detector in hand, about to remove the battery when I read the fine print of warning messages. The fine print said that four beeps is a real alarm. I began to pay attention to the details. How many beeps am I really hearing? Now, I am truly alarmed! With a quick call to 911, I found myself in the middle of my front yard wondering what happened to my quiet night at home eating my evening meal. It was an unexpected interruption. I kept reminding myself that none of this is a surprise to God. I was interrupted by a warning that I could not control, but God could help me in this time of trouble.

When the firemen had accessed the situation, I found myself homeless for the night. I found the uncertainty of my immediate future but temporary homelessness. This is not to compare to my neighbor’s unexpected homelessness. I slept very little that night running scenarios of “what’s next?” in my head all night. The heating unit was replaced, but the future of “what’s next?” is still uncertain. I have deemed this year the year of change. (Of course, aren’t they all?) But this year will be different. I can’t keep going along the way I have been going. Circumstances will need to change. Sometimes I will have to make the effort to change them. I need to find a job. I need to find the place to do ministry. I need to find the opportunities that God has placed in front of me that I am just not seeing right now!

God brought the unexpected into my life that particular moment. I didn’t see it really coming. I knew the heating unit was very old, and I knew it would need replacing soon. I was hoping for a few more months use. So it was unexpected at this time, but not totally out of the realm of possibilities. I knew as soon as the alarm sounded I had run out of time. I don’t know the future. I just know the one who does hold the future in His hands. God isn’t surprised of our circumstances. I just have to remember when the unexpected happens, God has the expected outcome in hand. He knows what He wants accomplished in our unexpected interruptions.

God was in the details of the right time for the alarm to sound. I wasn’t in a deep sleep. I wasn’t alone in my neighborhood during the day. It was in the early evening when people were coming home from work. One of my neighbors “happened” upon the situation at the time I was contemplating where I needed to go for the night. It was kind of them to offer their extra bed. My friend had already priced a replacement unit for me. I already knew what needed to happen. It was the timing of it all that reminds me that God knows when to give us warnings and knows when the warning needs to be heeded. We have to pay attention to the details. There is a lesson in the unexpected. We just need the wisdom to understand what God is doing in the details of the unexpected.

Interruptions put us in a place of readiness to hear – looking to Him for guidance; realizing we can’t handle things on our own; accepting our own limitations in the middle of the crisis and realizing our God is in control of all circumstances. We can lean on Him when our strength fails us; when our world is turned upside down. When the unexpected comes, it’s time to pay close attention to the details. God has something in mind, but the circumstances might throw us into a temporary tailspin. But it shouldn’t send us into the mindset of great fear. It’s time to focus on our God who has the world in the palm of His hands. Nothing throws God into a tailspin – He’s got this.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Advertisements

Saturday

I am writing this on Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The day when nothing happened. The day between fear and faith. During my quiet time, I thought about the disciples locked in their houses living in fear. Jesus was gone. I am sure they didn’t understand what was taking place. They had yet to receive the Holy Spirit; they didn’t yet have the understanding so they were still clueless on this day. They didn’t have the whole story at that point, even though it was foretold in Scripture and even Jesus said it on numerous occasions – I will be raised to life on the third day. But in the midst of their grief and their fear, they didn’t remember all the teachings of Jesus. No one had written it down yet. Here they are shut up and worked up.

I can look at Scriptures and wonder how the disciples missed it, but I am too much like them. I live in those Saturday times between fear and faith. When fear overtakes my understanding of what Jesus has taught me. When my faith is still weak, and I can’t see a thing. I know – faith is not by sight. I understand it but in the midst of the circumstances, I just don’t seem to have that full faith that Sunday is coming. Jesus said it so I should believe it. The disciples ran away. Me too, at times. The disciples had to see for themselves in a few hours that Jesus wasn’t in that tomb; what He said is true. He is alive. He has risen. But on this Saturday, the darkness is still there.

I think on this particular Saturday morning, the skies are overcast and the rain has been hit or miss, I have the sense with anticipation of a new beginning even when it doesn’t look like it right now. I think of the promises of God that are yet to be fulfilled. Yesterday, I was reading Revelation 22. It is the hope of what is to come. Jesus said in Revelation 22, “I am coming back.” He said it three times in that chapter alone. It hasn’t happened yet. It’s still Saturday waiting on the promise to be fulfilled. Three times is significant. I have the hope of that coming. I have faith that will become sight one day. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime or not, but either way, I will see it one day!

On that day, Sunday will be glorious just as it was when the disciples laid eyes on their risen Savior. Can you imagine the joy they experienced when they saw Him for the first time? Can you imagine seeing the nail scarred hands? Can you imagine looking in His eyes and seeing the love that must have been evident? What a glorious day when we too will see those nail scarred hands! What a glorious day when we look into His eyes and see the love that is meant for all people but His focus is on each one of us. But on this Saturday, why wait until Sunday to believe in the promise? I think we should live in anticipation of it. We should live in faith and celebrate it now. His love endures forever – even now when the rain is falling, and the skies look bleak. His eyes are focused on us, His beloved. Fear nothing. God is good and keeps His promises. Yes, Jesus is coming back. Praise the Holy One of God, the One who died for all. And praise the One who defeated death for all who believe in Him!

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:16,33

The Warnings

A couple of weeks ago, I started reading a book called The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. I started one afternoon and couldn’t put the book down (or close the laptop as the case may be). I read it until I got through all the nine harbingers. The book concerns the 9/11 devastation and the aftermath. The story is written as fiction but reveals the facts of the 9/11 attacks. The book basically states America is under God’s judgment. God used the attacks on 9/11 as His warning to us before judgment comes.

Soon after the attacks, I remember thinking – whether this was revelation from the Holy Spirit, I don’t know  – I believed God’s hand was taken off of America temporarily; the hedge of protection was dropped briefly. I also remember hearing the news then Senator John Edwards gave a speech on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2004; he wanted to offer the country “hope” through the Scripture found in Isaiah 9:10. The Scripture is actually foretelling the destruction of Israel. He was not the only one though that used this same Scripture. The Speaker of the House used it as well the day after 9/11. According to the book, all the prophecies mentioned in the Scripture have come true for America. The Scripture was spoken over Israel in Isaiah’s time. According to the author, with the ones who spoke the Scripture connected America to the same judgment.

Was this God’s warning of coming judgment for America? I don’t know; time will tell. But this I do know, we have not heeded any warnings to correct our course. I stopped reading to go to bed after the nine harbingers. The next morning I began on the “second” warning. As I was reading I began to get a little anxious. The night before, I hadn’t been anxious because everything had already taken place. The more I was reading about the next warning, the more I realized there could be another major “shake” in our future. I stopped reading for lunch. I put aside any anxious thoughts. I sat down with my lunch and tuned into a sermon. The sermon was on fear. The sermon was on focus, faith and fear. Where we put our focus will either cause our faith to grow or our fear to grow. Fear says “what if” but faith says “even if.” Even if something bad happens, God has already said “He will never leave me or forsake me.” Where is my focus?

One thing I know for sure, my financial picture does not make me secure. God has been working on this concept for the last three years with me. When I was anxious about the future possibilities, I realized I was looking again at the concept of my financial security being shaken again. Do I sell everything and hide in a cave? Or do I face these uncertain times with faith that God will get me through it once again? Even if I lose everything, God is my security. He is my Deliverer. We might be in for another shake that will expose our true foundations; only God knows the future. But if judgment comes, I am secure in Him. I know where my security lies. My foundation is built on the Rock.

As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well-built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:47-49

Defining Moment

We all have defining moments in our lives when we have to give in to the fear or trust God in faith. I had one of those defining moments recently. For several days I wrestled with fear. I have been on the road to a healthy lifestyle for the last seven years. With God’s provision, I have recovered my health so that I am more fit and healthy today. I am able to go and do as never before. Even so much so, I have taken on the challenge of going on the mission field for a week in Honduras. It’s only through the grace and mercy of God that I am able to do these things.

But it comes with a challenge to my health issues. I surrendered to the fact I needed shots to do this mission trip. As I was in the nurse’s office listening to all the dos and don’ts, I had a bit of anxiety come over me. It has only grown in my mind since. I have been wrestling with the fear of losing my health once again. With God’s help, I have changed many things to bring about my health. It’s been a long seven years of change. But I feel so good right now that the thought of suffering again brings about the fear. I realize this is spiritual warfare going on. This fear only comes from Satan. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but power, love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

In my quiet time, two things were put before me. The first was from Philippians 2:12b-13: “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Through this passage, I found I need to trust God completely. I need to trust that He will work all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). If God allows something to happen to my health, then He will work it out for His glory. Charles Stanley commented on this passage in his devotional “we must realize whatever we experience is under the authority of a kind, loving Father. God never allows anything to touch us that He will not turn to our benefit and the good of His kingdom.” Satan is only allowed so much leeway. Satan has no authority but only that which God has granted him for a time.

The second thing that came into my focus was from Matthew 5:13-16. We are to be the salt and light for the glory of God. I can do nothing without Him. If He chooses for me to suffer a little while, then I need to be ready to suffer for His name with no complaints. Jesus suffered far more than I will ever have to endure. This is my defining moment to trust God completely in all things. I surrender Lord! I am your servant – let it be as you say. Amen.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

Pennies from Heaven

I was having a bad day. I had been writing all morning. I was struggling to get through writing about the worst days of my life. I was having fits of crying from emotionally draining memories. I listened to a sermon while I ate lunch. It was about worrying. I’m really not much on worrying. Sure I have concerns, but I can’t call them worries, can I? I listened to the sermon and the last point the preacher made was about uncertainties of the future – hmmm… maybe I do have a “worry” after all. He said to bring the whole truth to God, and He would give me peace which transcends all understanding. It really wasn’t about the uncertainty, but about the “fear of the unknown.”

The section of my life I was writing about was the death of my Mom. It was the hardest thing I have lived through in my “relatively” short life. I had to sit down after that sermon and discern what my real concern is about the uncertainty of my future. I am single. My whole life, my parents were my family. Yes, I have sisters but they have their own lives and families. Oh, I know I am a part of their families, but it’s not the same. When push comes to shove as the saying goes, they think of their families before they do me – as it should be. If I was married and had kids, I would be doing the same thing, but I don’t.

A year after my Mom died, my Dad got married again. Praise God, he found someone to live out the remaining years of his life. Once again, I am left in a bit of a predicament. God has shown me my real fear. I am afraid of being alone. I know I have family and friends, but I really am totally alone. This was my deepest, truest revelation I have had in quite some time. As I was in the midst of this struggle on this day, I decided to go for an afternoon walk. I was tired of thinking about these deep issues.

Once again, God opened up my heart to look down. I saw two pennies lying on the street as I walked along. If you remember from a post several months ago, God places pennies in my path to remind me “in God we trust.” I have only one who really is my source of strength and who I can rely upon. The future is uncertain and no one is guaranteed a long life. I could be alone whether I was married or single. I acknowledged God’s providence and continued on. My fear of the financial future came up as well. I don’t have money coming in, and I don’t have any prospects of the future. Again, a penny was placed before me. God will work it out. I have to trust Him with everything! Yes, I have anxious times ahead, but God is faithful in everything. He is in control!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Do Something

Have you asked God to confirm what you think you have heard? I started asking a few days ago to confirm what I believe God was saying to me. I listened to sermons from the different pastors I follow. I read my Bible as I do every day. I paid attention to the ones I was speaking to thinking He would confirm it through a friend. But nothing was confirmed through those means of communication. I wasn’t discouraged, but continued to ask that the message I heard is the right thing. I did hear two words during this time, and it was “stop procrastinating.” Ouch. Was I doing that? Yes, I was. I do that a lot. When I procrastinate, I am usually controlled by fear. Faith and fear do not coexist. You either have one or the other. The next day I started working on my next step. I put the fear into the right place – behind me and moved in the direction that I believed God was indicating.

I finally heard my confirmation last night. When I took a break from writing, I popped over to my email account, and I found an email from a daily devotion email blast. The title was Letting Our Light Shine. In it, I found my confirmation. As I was reading, the words jumped off the page. I knew then, God was saying “you’re on the right track, go for it and let me deal with the consequences.” This morning, I was going through my Anne Graham Lotz Bible Study, it was focused on Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11. The scripture reminded me that we have to do something first before the miracle happens. The stone had to be rolled away before Lazarus could be resurrected. We have to put our faith into action. God showed me first that I had to get busy doing what I believed to be right before He confirmed it was right. I can hear the word, but I have to believe it’s true. I have to do something to show my belief. Then God promises I will see His glory.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”John 11:40

Open Door

A couple of years ago I had a dream. I believe it was a vision from God. I mentioned it in my newsletter in May (Think Myself Free). This dream or vision was not clear. I remember only the open door and my need to close it, but it would not close. When I woke up, I was immediately filled with fear. I thought someone was in the room with me. And I prayed immediately that if I was in danger or demons were present for God to protect me. I was immediately filled with peace and went right back to sleep. I did not know how to interpret all that had transpired.

I have mentioned it to a few people, and they gave me different possibilities. At the time of this dream, I was in a middle of a transition to another path in life. One thought was the door represented the future, and I was trying to close off the future. I didn’t like what was on the other side. I was fearful of going through the door. One thought was the door represented people who needed to come in and out of my life. Another thought was that my old path was not yet done, and I wanted it to be done – representing me closing that door.

I believe God’s visions always reflect a spiritual issue. God doesn’t focus on the physical as much as He does on the spiritual. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. I believe I finally have the interpretation. The open door means I need to tell my story, going where He wants to send me and doing the thing He has placed in me. The fear comes from sharing my story. It’s something I thought I could take to my grave, but God has a different plan. His ways are not my ways.

The scripture in Habakkuk 2 I used last week, and a message from Craig Groeshel opened my eyes to the vision, and I believe it is true. It’s time to tell, and it’s time to write it down. So in May, I started my next book. It will tell of my journey, and how I got to where I am today. It’s scary to be this open, but I know God wants to use it to reach someone else that needs to hear. May it be as He says!

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:7-8

Post Navigation