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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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My world spun off its axis when a precious one revealed the trauma buried in his past. Pushing hard against the faith I’d clung to throughout my own embattled childhood and youth, I wrestled with God. I laid my heart bare, unflinchingly honest in my anger and despair.

What kind of God allows children to be devoured by this world? Could I even trust Him? Even more than that–did I want to?

Typically Polly Anna-esque , I almost felt my heart grow cold and hard. Hope drained from my life like color from an old photograph and everywhere I looked I saw the potential for loss, pain, and suffering.

It could be that doubt has swallowed hope; even your faith seems as though it may be distinguished.#hoperestored#Christredeemsthepain#novictoryfortheenemey Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re in a situation that has raised similar questions in your own mind. It could be that doubt has swallowed hope and you’re just existing moment to moment; bitterness twisting your thoughts until even your faith seems as though it might be distinguished.

Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency?#havecourage#battleready Click To Tweet

This is the point at which you must make a decision. Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency by this corrupt world? Will you invite Christ to redeem your pain or allow the “thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy” to derail your faith?

For months I wavered between one choice and the other. I struggled, wept, and screamed in anger; alternately searching scripture for words of comfort and then refusing to attend church.

I decided I wouldn't allow the deceiver an easy victory.#Jesuswins#hopeinChrist Click To Tweet

Finally, I decided. I decided I wouldn’t allow the deceiver an easy victory.

Turning to the truth bound up in the pages of my Bible, I poured over its promises and was reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness. While this world hasn’t been set right yet, it will be. Jesus’ return is sure and His justice and mercy will prevail. And, even more, we have the eternal hope of heaven; a place free of tear and trials and overflowing with the laughter and celebration of the restored and redeemed.

He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.#weknowtheendofthestory#thesetroublesaremomentary#heknowstheplansforus Click To Tweet

If you are in the midst of a battle and flanked by disillusionment and doubt, can I encourage you to turn to Christ? He won’t condemn you for your doubt, but will gather you in His arms as your tears spill like prayers in His presence. He’s waiting already, pleading and praying on your behalf.

“Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph?” (Romans 8:34 TPB)

Oh, friend, trust that He has more for you than what you’re experiencing right now. Jesus never claimed our lives would be easy, but as we move page by page through the story of our lives He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is the terror that if our dark soul is discovered, we will never be enjoyed, nor desired, nor pursued by anyone. (Dan Allender)

Shame is that inner tormentor that whispers lies and accusations. It is the silent, insidious voice of self-contempt for one’s own need for love, relationship, and acceptance and is the seat of fear and rejection for the woman who bears its burden.

Introduced into my life at the intersection between my parent’s divorce, a stepfather, and a little girl’s desperate longing for love, I’ve been acquainted with shame since before my fifth birthday. I couldn’t have known that my new daddy’s affection and attention were the seeds he’d scattered in my life to engender trust in a lonely child’s heart. But once the abuse began, shame grew from those seeds–unloosing  self-loathing and self-disdain; always asking, What if I hadn’t? or What if I had?

Shame, though, doesn’t limit itself to only those who are abuse survivors. It invades the lives of women who were the first in their family to experience divorce.

Women who were bullied for their appearance or personality.

Women who experienced the pain of an absentee parent.

Women whose husbands indulge in pornography or flit from one affair to the next.

Women living with the trauma of a child’s death.

Do you, too, know the voice of illegitimate shame? Has its poison poured into the soil of your heart, assaulting you with cruel falsehoods?

You’re never enough.

You should have done something.

You shouldn’t have done anything.

You aren’t worth being loved. 

Some of us tuck shame behind our smiles; the great pretenders#nomoreshame#soulhealing#youareworthloving. Click To Tweet

Some of us tuck shame behind ours smiles; the great pretenders. Others of us hide behind success and performance, unhealthy relationships, food or alcohol consumption, or even closed hearts–certain we’re safer not being known at all.

Two thousand years ago, another woman lived with the shame of bloody discharge.

In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:43-48)

Imagine this women’s desperation. For twelve years she’d lived on the fringe of society as an outcast. The communities societal pollutant. Demoralized and destitute, the woman hid in the midst of the crowd–gathering courage.

Despite the possibility of ridicule or rejection, the woman pressed through her fear as trembling fingers feathered lightly against rough fabric. And in the moment she trusted the Healer, her shame was destroyed.

If shame is part of your struggle, God’s heart is for you to discover freedom from its lies that you, too, might “live well, live blessed.” But, how?

Let’s consider the example of the healed woman who tried to hide from Christ. She pushed beyond her pain, pressed into Jesus, and proclaimed the truth of her situation. These were the stepping-stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness. Relief and restoration.

These were the stepping stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness.Relief and restoration.#nomoreshame#speaktruth#soulhealing Click To Tweet

Oh, friend, this woman’s experience can be mine. Her experience can be yours!

Will you consider taking on a challenge? Starting today, I encourage you to stand up against shame by engaging in the following three activities until you begin to notice a heart change:

  • Push beyond your pain. Write an honest, raw letter or prayer to Jesus about the pain of your shame. What has shame told you? What words or actions have other people taken that have caused you to feel ashamed?
    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him.He will never forsake you. Click To Tweet

    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him. He will never forsake you.

  • Press into Jesus. Reach for the hem of his garment by seeking Him in scripture. Saturate your mind with the Word and replace words of shame with the Living Word that assures you of your identity and worth.
  • Proclaim the truth. Record God’s words of love and place them where you’ll frequently see them. Read them aloud, turn them into prayers, and claim them for yourself because God’s promises are for those who put their faith in Him. Consider inviting a friend, counselor or mentor into the places you need healing from shame. Or, message me and I’ll pray for you.

May you, too, “live well, live blessed.”

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kata-Kata Gaul (1).pngFour hundred fifty-eight; the number of Bible verses containing a version of the word “faith”. Scrolling down the list, I notice three action verbs reappear consistently. Walk. Serve. Obey.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Simple words, but not as simply lived. Sometimes the pressures of work and family life seem to squeeze out time for faithful living. We race from one event to the next, our children strapped in car seats during the shuffle between dance lessons, team events and church obligations. Bending our heads for an obligatory dinnertime prayer will need to suffice for  today’s time of quiet rest in His presence. Or, maybe for the week.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Our holy resumes gathers titles and accomplishments...but we lose we sight of the One we're serving.#seekfirst#loveGod#loveothers Click To Tweet

We feel compelled to join committees, causes, and councils. Our holy resume gathers titles and accomplishments, but how often do we lose sight of the One we’re serving in the midst of all the doing?

Instead of filling up on Christ, we moan about overcrowded schedules as our spiritual wells run as dry as the desert during a drought. All along, the life-giving Fountain waits to flow in us and through us; our bodies weary of frenzy and our souls aching for the refreshing nourishment He provides.

Instead of filling up on God...our spiritual wells run dry.#fountainoflife#noneedtothirst Click To Tweet

The Psalmist understood. He penned these words about his own experience.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

-Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

 

This world, this culture, this high-demand-you-can-do-it-all system will lead us into the wilderness places if we allow frenzied living. I’ve been there. Have you?

I don’t believe this is God’s best for us.

...when we settle into His heavenly company, He will bless our surrendered hearts.#faithfulliving#intentionalliving#lovingGod Click To Tweet

While we attempt to check off  today’s to-do list, the Father invites us to into His presence. And when we settle into His heavenly company,  He will equip us for our assignments and bless our surrendered hearts. In Him and through Him, our thirst will be quenched and our spirits renewed.

Today, may you and I walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeePurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojedaDance with Jesus

 

 

 

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you..png

Ask. Seek. Knock. These are the familiar words from scripture I’m reminded of as I read about the wise men from the East.

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2, MSG)

Carols romanticize their journey, but traversing hostile territory for months and even years left a band of mysterious travelers vulnerable to ill-meaning enemies and a hostile environment. Sand storms. Raiders. A limited food supply.

Still, men following after nothing more than a star and the certainty of conviction sought the infant king, Jesus.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Bold in their quest for the Promise of salvation, the men stirred up hatred within king Herod’s heart and fostered fear in the lives of those comfortable with the status-quo. After all, an infant king threatened the power and position of a man with a bent toward fits of rage and murder.

Neglecting their own safety, the foreigners pressed hard for answers.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Whether they arrived at the child’s home with an entourage of camels and servants in tow or were merely a couple of bedraggled, travel-worn seekers, the men must have paused at the threshold of the simple village home.

They knew. This moment would forever alter both their lives and their eternal destiny.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. (Matthew 2:11 NIV)

 

If Christ is our focus we can pursue him relentlessly-certain of a destination that ends with us...in His presence. Click To Tweet

Like wise men on a pilgrimage, we’ll wander into hostile territory. Face our own enemies of disease, distress, and difficulty. But, if Christ is our focus we can pursue him relentlessly–certain of a destination that ends with us in the glory of His presence as we offer our humble gifts of love and adoration.

Ask. Seek. Knock.

 

Thoughts to Ponder

  • What is your heart’s cry today? Is there something God longs to give you, but your pride, fear, or unbelief have kept you from asking for it?
  • Do you continue to seek Christ with the passion and devotion of the wise men or are you struggling to follow after faith? What action step can you take today to seek Him?
  • Do you raise your hand to knock at the door only to refuse yourself entrance because you believe you’re unworthy? Perhaps you turn away because of resentment, self-incrimination or shame. Christ stepped out of heaven and into a manger because He loves you–just as you are. Abandon your baggage at the threshold, Friend. Since He took it from you at the cross, you can leave it there.

 

Peace and grace,                                                                                                                            Tammy

 

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spiritual warfare

The faintest light penetrates an inky sky as I awaken to the sounds of my husband shuffling about the house. I hear the clink of the coffeepot as it meets the edge of his mug and know that it’s time to ready myself for the day ahead.

Leaning toward the nightstand, I fumble for my glasses and then flick on the table lamp. My first impulse is to slip my fingers around the cool metal of the laptop waiting expectantly on my desk. I’ve been preoccupied lately, filling the first few minutes of the morning checking various email accounts and posting on social media.

None of these activities are wrong, but the quiet pre-dawn moments are the rare, uninterrupted  times I used to share with the Lord. Now, I’ve fallen into the habit of settling for less. Of forgetting that each day comes with its challenges. Of ignoring the importance of preparing for spiritual battle because I know I exist between the realities of the seen and unseen.

The sunrise my be beautiful, the house may be quiet, but the enemy is always prepared to infiltrate, attack, or ambush.

“The devil is working against (us). He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Scanning Facebook instead of donning spiritual battle gear puts me at risk. Makes me vulnerable. And, worse, renders me useless as a woman living in her own strength rather than Christ’s.

If you’ve ever struggled to remain disciplined in prayer or Bible study, you understand.

But, there are souls walking around who need the hope we have. There are wounded hearts hemorrhaging for the love of Jesus. And, we are the ones called to serve as spiritual soldiers. With eternity hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder we’re told to put on the full armor of God.

I’m gearing up and strapping on, friend. Will you join me? Let’s get ready to stand our ground.

Action Step:                                                                                                                        Personalize the verses below as you pray them aloud by inserting your name in the blanks.

Finally, ______________, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you, __________,  can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For _____________’s struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, _______________,  put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

  • Pray simple prayers. The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). As a former journalist, I find this refreshing and reassuring, because I believe in short and simple. Jesus taught us that we do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, he knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already.
The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with a clear conscience. Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). I know that if I’m harboring ill feelings toward someone, I’m focused on myself—not God. So forgiveness shifts me from my single viewpoint to God’s bigger one. If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
...if I'm harboring ill feelings toward someone, I'm focused on myself-not God. Click To Tweet
  • Be persistent. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). The Father wants our hearts to bend to him—persistence in prayer makes that happen. No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him. Click To Tweet
  • Pray boldly. God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Last year I had a HUGE prayer need relating to the restoration of a relationship. Things looked bleak, and I had about resigned myself to a negative outcome. But then one day I saw a wooden sign that said “pray big.” So I bought that sign and kept approaching God boldly with my prayers. A couple months later in a series of the miraculous, the relationship was restored. Don’t pray small: pray big.Don't pray small_ pray big..png
Don't pray small: pray big. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with faith. When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, he said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. One of my life verses is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” We simply need to believe that God can move that mountain.
We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. Click To Tweet

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

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Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk and her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today (Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at local bookstores and online sources.

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMcHenryAuthor/

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Gods love.png

She is the elderly woman in the polyester suit sitting alone in the church pew week after week or the frazzled young mother in the grocery aisle juggling a wailing infant and impatient toddler. She might be the middle-aged divorcee’ who envies every couple in a restaurant with their heads bent close in intimate conversation. She could be the friend who looks as if her world is perfect. The one who hides the reality of her pain behind a ready smile or encouraging word—wishing someone would reach out, speak up, welcome in.

These are the unseen ones. The women who live in loneliness, believing they are unworthy of being loved. That no one cares. That they are friendless. Forgotten. Forsaken.

Are you, too, chained to loneliness? Are you convinced you are unnoticed and unseen? I understand. I lived in loneliness for years hoping my husband or attainment or education might relieve the cry of my heart.

See me. Choose me. Love me.

But, neither nuptials nor knowledge are meant to satisfy the longings of our soul. That role belongs to El Roi, the one who sees the need of his beloved daughters. To the Shepherd, the one who never leaves us nor forsakes us. To the Helper, who guides us into truth.

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Click To Tweet

Loneliness thrives when we nurture it with lies. But, God scripted His truth for us that we might receive it. Learn it. Live it. Friend, when we soak our hope-hungry hearts in His word we’re reminded of our position and His forever-faithfulness.

Today’s Challenge

If loneliness is your unwelcome side-kick, take action. Invite Jesus into your isolation. Pray. Listen. Combat the lies you’ve believed with the words of the One in whose power you’ve been raised. Then, allow your struggle in the now to motivate you toward investing in someone’s tomorrow? Just take one simple step–invite a neighbor for coffee, ring up an old friend, plan a date night with your husband. Ask the Helper to replace your false identity as the Unseen with a new capacity to see the needs of others.

Lie-I am unseen.

Truth-God sees and knows you.

Scripture-Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

With peace and love,

Tammy

(This post was first published at Faithfully Following Ministries, faithfullyfollowing.com)

 

 

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Faithful

The sleek feel of wood pressed against my knees as unintelligible words spilled haphazard and desperate from a shattered heart. Miniature puddles dotted the floor’s surface–a testimony of tears pock-marking shiny laminate.

I’d been wandering in the wilderness, but it seemed the entry and exit points were blocked. I was alone in the shadowy places with no hope of rescue.

I knew He was there. I knew He promised to be with me. I knew He’d shown up strong and powerful before. But my withering soul felt as dry as the high desert and the wasteland stretched wide in every direction–parched and lifeless– while I stumbled about calling out for God.

Have you been there?  Have you, too, trekked aimlessly through the badlands of Fear or Doubt? Wandered in the wilds of Trial or Tribulation? You might be in that place now, blaming your lack of faith for failing to feel God’s presence. Almost certain the Hope Giver has turned away from your prayers or grown weary of your petitions. Perhaps you've believed Shame's lies. The untruths that spin and swarm in your mind--growing ever louder and more incessant. You deserve this. You haven't done enough. Been enough. And you struggle to hear His voice above the… Click To Tweet

It feels frightening. Disheartening. Discouraging. Did you catch the keyword?

It feels frightening.

Sometimes the untruths swarm and spin in our minds like spiritual propaganda, obscuring the reality with incessant cat-calls. God has abandoned you. Jesus’ resurrection is a lie. You have no hope.

If you’re in the midst of the wilderness? If the lies seem greater than God? Living out your faith may need to be very intentional for a time. Feed on His promises and cry out to Him in your need even when you are wrung out. Gather truth in the same way a child on the beach gathers seashells. Remind yourself of His words and He will multiply them in your life.

And whether this difficult season ends tomorrow or the day we cross heaven’s threshold, one day we will echo Jesus’ words, “It is finished” and we’ll see that He walked with us each step of the way.

With love and peace,

Tammy

P.S. If I can pray for you as you walk through the wilderness, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

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My son’s pint-sized body huddled beneath the bed covers as if the thin cotton cover could shield him from any enemy. Since his father had deployed to Afghanistan, Seth’s fear had transformed into something destructive. An ever-growing-never-contained-despair rooted in the darkest anxiety.

The merest whisper of sound in the deep of the night trigged a near-panic response. Every stranger striding across the neighborhood’s suburban sidewalk? A possible adversary. My sweet boy was immersed in a world of imagined threats: kidnappings, fire, never-ending darkness.

Oh. My. Heart.

Despite his past experiences and regardless of my reassurances, Seth was convinced. Surely unknown, unseen enemies lurked beneath the child-sized bed along with half-assembled Lego sets and miniature race cars.

My words seemed not to penetrate. To reach the core of my child’s fear.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

The Israelites carried that same inconsolable, impenetrable fear through the desert thousands of years ago. Having been plucked from slavery and delivered safely through standing walls of water, an entire people stood overlooking the bounty and beauty of a land God had promised them.

At the Father’s instruction, twelve leading men were commissioned to explore the uncharted land of Canaan–to survey its cities,  peruse its people and weigh its wealth.

This land belonged to Israel in the same way that Israel belonged to the Father. It was gift-wrapped; held  in the open palm of the Father’s hand like a cluster of grapes hanging heavy in expectation of the harvest.

Trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t be afraid.

Ignoring the certainty of their circumstances, God’s children allowed fear to dictate their decisions.

Huddling behind logic, the Israelites discounted Yahweh’s words, “Canaan [is] the land I am giving to the Israelites.” Numbers 13:2

He must not understand the presence. The power. The prowess of these people.

Hiding behind half-truths, the Chosen focus on fear until it rises a behemoth–ever greater, sending tentacles of untruth snaking through every tribe and leaving His men and women in mass hysteria.

Begging to return to bondage. Bad-mouthing their rescuers. Blind to their belief.

I see my face in the crowd. I’ve been that woman. The one for whom the imagined giants of Crisis and Complication ascend larger than any of His promises. Despite the Father’s faithfulness, I allow fear to command my choices and master my mind.

But, I long to be the Caleb in the crowd. Don’t you?

In opposition to a near-rebellion, Caleb admonishes, “Let’s go and take up the land–now. We can do it.” (Numbers 13:30 MSG)

Caleb doesn’t hesitate. There is no quavering in his voice nor quaking of the knees. Caleb knows his God and, grabbing hold of holy confidence, girds himself to join God on the journey.

I want to be the woman exhorting and encouraging, “Trust Him. He’ll take care of us. Don’t be afraid.”

Friend, fear only maintains power when we give it permission. But, when we grab hold of holy confidence and rely on Him for strength, our giants are reduced to rubble and we can move forward into the land of promise. Click To Tweet

In His grace and peace,                                                      Tammy

Action Step: Step out of fear and into the promises God has for you today. Download and complete this printable and use it to prompt you to remember His faithfulness when your spiritual knees are knocking. Click to access this resource. Fearnot

february

 

Linking up at:

#porch stories,  https://www.crystalstorms.me/category/heart-encouragement/, and

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No purpose of yours can be thwarted. (1).png

It’s been a year of quiet and I’m reminded of the calm that hovers over the earth after the winds of a mid-summer hurricane. I heave a deep spirit-sigh, breathing out stored up soul poison; releasing fear and bitterness. God-directed anger and doubt. I inhale God’s truth scribed by man, but formed by the mind of I Am.

I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.

My heart responds in rhythmic worship. Thank you, Lord. I believe.

Yet, a few years ago the howling winds sent me reeling. Loosing me in dark storms of despair, hopelessness, and helplessness. I questioned the Maker. Why, how, and when cluttered my heart and left little room for praise.

One evening, overwhelmed by the struggle, I knelt in prayer and begged God for the slightest hope of restoration. In that moment, His presence grew thick around me like a blanket just pulled from the warmth of a dryer. Comforted, my weeping slowed and then stopped.

I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.

The words weren’t audible, but my spirit understood. He saw me.

In that moment, my faith was forever altered. I surrendered the pain. Surrendered the broken bits of my heart. Surrendered those I most loved into His care. Surrendered the woman I’d been for the one He was re-shaping to more clearly reflect His redemption, restoration, and reformation.

Opening arms wide to receive the fullness of grace, I cried out for more and waited expectantly. There were no sudden changes in the converging of difficult circumstances, great revelations of knowledge, or immediate answers to pray. But, God was working in the midst all along.

Through the challenge of it all, I thought often of Job–a man whose suffering is renowned. Everything Job ever esteemed or cared about was ripped from his life. Beloved children. Prosperity. Health. Until finally, Job sits in a pile of ashes, scraping boils from his flesh with sharp-edged pottery as his wife mocks his faith.

Job’s circumstances aren’t mine, but I do understand what it is to lose hope. To live with heartache and sadness. To question Him.

Why? When? How?

In the midst of those recent, painful years, I looked to Job for encouragement. While my faith danced on the edge of a thread, the man called ‘blameless’ turned from his overwhelming reality to humble submission and his relationship with the Father stretched larger than Job’s restored fortune.

Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1)

You, too, may be living Job moments. If so, I’m truly sorry for your hurt and struggle, Friend. My own experience has taught me that God is in the business of restoration.

Won’t you surrender your brokenness to Him today?

You may not know why. 

When may seem too long.

How may be unexpected.

But, our Who is greater than all of it and He is faithful to His children, true to His promises, and with you from beginning to end.

Spiritual Strategy to Help Navigate Through Job Moments

  1. Stop asking ‘why’, ‘when’, and ‘how’. You and I will likely never know the answers this side of heaven. This fallen world lends itself to heartache, but God is actively restoring now and will one day restore all.
  2. Turn to God when the enemy slings his fiery arrows your direction. Our emotions, doubts, and pain have a way of narrowing our perception and threatening that which we know to be true. Copy favorite Bible verses on notecards and hang them around your house where you’ll see them frequently (i.e. bathroom mirrors, refrigerator, etc.)
  3. Pray with expectation. Keep a journal of prayer requests and mark off those God has answered. This practice will remind us of His faithfulness.

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