Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘fear’

Let’s Look Like Jesus: Holy Fear

This series of articles, “Let’s Look Like Jesus” complement the perpetual prayer list for Christian Character.

Holy Fear is actually the antidote to the horrible fear immobilizing so many in the world today.  Fear is a common part of our world; in fact, sometimes it seems fear makes the world go round.

Proverbs 28:14 challenges us though:  ‘happy is the man who is never without fear.’ The words stop me as all of the foolish fears of life eddy through my mind: the fear of aging and infirmity, the fear of disappointing or offending others, the fear of failing, and the fear of shame. The list is endless of those things that we can fear. Yet, those are the fears of evil which destroy life.   Dr. Caroline Leaf explains the deadly impact of fear-based thinking in this brief video:

 

Clearly the wise writer of Proverbs spoke of fears which lead to blessing and life.  There is a reverent fear…an awe…which protects from evil and leads to life.   There are earthly things which inspire a reverent fear. Electricity is one. We often take its power for granted but unleashed electricity is indeed a fearsome, deadly force. The wind is another. At times it is a gentle, refreshing breeze and others a destructive force beyond the control of our best efforts.

The only fear, though, that leads to happiness is awe of our eternal Creator. As a Christian, holy fear is that aspect of our character which flattens us before our mighty God. It is the reverent awe of lying prostrate before the King of Kings which transforms a child of God. It is an attribute of great value in the character of a child of God.

With reverence and fear as an integral trait, we will not only read the Word of God, we will seek to see it become alive in our relationships with others. We will take His Word not only as our standard but as the reality in which we long to live. Our choices will never become completely perfect…our humanity is not eliminated as the character of Christ controls us more fully.  Less of us and more of Him is a life-time process.

Fear of God, though, will lead us to trust in His design, to obedience to His ways. His blessings will overflow into the details of our days. Our lives, and the impact of our lives, will reap eternal rewards with a heart that is humbly reverent. Rejoice today in trusting submission to the Creator…in laying before Him every worry and care knowing that He can and will bring good!

Be a Hero Like Terri

Bible stories are not stories; they are history.  Every day we live, we write more history.  Stories of courage from Scripture are necessary for us to know…but sharing the stories of the faithful through the years has merit as well.  There are heroes of faith all around us.  One of my prayers with this little series is that you will share your stories–or the stories that inspire you!  Today, though, I want to point you to a blog I stumbled across.

Diary of a Quadriplegic

I have not met this lady, and she doesn’t know I am writing this column.  I suspect she is a hero to many more than me.  Her name is Terri Nida.  She tells her story with raw realness that never fails to humble me, challenge me–and encourage me.  Do go read it…my summary doesn’t convey the power of her story.

The short version is this:  in the midst of a ‘perfect life,’ she found herself in a pit of despair.  Longing to reconnect with the God she knew but had become distanced from, she fasted and prayed.   Just days before suffering a paralyzing injury, she wrote this on her Facebook Page:

Some life circumstances are not meant to be understood; the call is just to keep moving forward one step at a time. That’s called faith.

Terri Nida is a hero for me because she answered that call with faith in a sovereign, good God.  She continues to answer that call and share her journey with humble, hurting honesty.

“…Little did I know I was getting ready to take a journey with God that would teach me how to claw out of that well, inch by inch. When I woke up in the ICU a few days later, I suddenly had a desperate need for support from friends and family and a relationship with God. Thus I began my journey of physical, spiritual, and emotional healing….”

“Since I became a quadriplegic, I’ve kept the belief that God has a greater purpose in this than what I can see. I believe this with all my heart! And yet maneuvering through each individual day and through an odyssey of emotions as I face increased medical problems and visits to the hospital ICU, it’s been hard for me not to think of each day as a negative event. “

Courage is not the absence of fear and pain.  In fact, the absence of those things testifies to nothing really.  Praising God in the good times is not a sacrifice of praise.  Terri’s blog inspires me because she shares the treasures she has mined in darkness for those who have not trod the depths she has been called to.  She holds fast to confidence in God…and in His purpose for life…for every life.

Scripture tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  Go listen to Terri’s words because she has had to try the Word of God–and she finds it faithful.  A hero is one who lives the Word in a way that others can hear.  Heroes deliver hope and life through their lives.  The world needs more heroes.  Let Terri help you become a hero like her…one who knows the truth of Romans 8:35-38 because she lives it.

 

Faith Delivers. Fear Kills.

We know the story.  A dozen spies were sent into the Promised Land to check out what God had promised to give the Israelites.  Five-sixths (almost 85%) of the spies choked…they couldn’t believe the promise.  We are called to be different!

The majority chose fear over faith and brought a negative report back to the people.  Anything not of faith is fear–and fear kills.  Humanity is created for faith…designed for belief in the Creator who conquers all. 

Fear is irrational.  Listen to the spies:  “The land devours its inhabitants….the inhabitants are giants.”  What?!  If the land devours, how would the inhabitants be giant? The people couldn’t hear the inconsistencies because fear deafens. 

Today, the majority choose fear as well.  We need more leaders of courage, more heroes who choose faith.  Let’s look at what God had to say about one of the heroes from the ‘spy story.’

But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.  Numbers 14:24

Faith is the vehicle that delivers the promises of God.

Caleb had a ‘different spirit’ — a faithful, fervent spirit that brought results.  As Christians, we need to be different. We need the courage that refuses to fear.  We need the courage that embraces challenges as opportunities for God to produce miracles.  We need the courage to go after the promises God makes, the blessings He offers.

Caleb was 40 when he went into the Promised Land.  The fearful spirit that the other spies allowed to overtake them infected the rest of the nation.  That led to forty years of desert wandering–and never entering the Promised Land for all but Caleb and Joshua.  But listen to Caleb 45 years later:

I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.  Joshua 14:11,12

Caleb experienced the faithfulness of God and knew the battles belonged to Him.  Even at 85, he was ready to take the land with the ‘giants.’  He knew the goodness of God and trusted that the results would be what was best.

A WORD ABOUT FACING GIANTS

There are two words I found for giant in these passages.  There are scholarly depths beyond my ability to plumb, but there is an exciting glimpse I feel I can share.  One of the words for the giants who dwelled in Caleb’s chosen land were called rapha.  That intrigued me because Jehovah Rapha is The LORD our Healer.  As I searched, I found the words are related–and the giant has an attribute of ‘invigorating.’ And the word, when used as healing speaks of restoration to the intended purpose.

So for my readers who are facing a giant in their life:  Be like Caleb.  Choose faith and watch God take that giant down.  Trust in His purposes of restoration and life-giving, and claim the promises of God.  Let that giant invigorate the faith of yourself and others.  Giants slain with faith are a source of freedom and life!

Heroes Giving Courage

Courage, like character, is caught through contact.  It  is learned through leadership that models, encourages and expects it from others.  Heroes matter.  We live in a world increasingly falling to fear.  As Christians, that ought not be.  Perfect love casts out all fear.  When we live in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is nothing to fear, except as FDR once said, “fear itself.” Fearing fear is not an option for us as Christians.

Fear wreaks havoc in our lives; God created us to live with faith in Him, not fear of the future.  Fear actually creates damage in our brains…in our bodies. There are legitimate things to fear…but we are not to fear the fear!  We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us!  We are to live in victorious faith that delivers health.

Sharing the testimonies of victory in Christ is one way to glorify God and encourage one another.

What testimonies encourage you?  What is YOUR testimony that needs to be told?

Christ, of course, is the greatest hero of all time.  Even He looked up to another.  Christ never did anything outside of the will of the Father.  Following the Father’s will takes a lot of courage.  It called Christ to leave the perfect paradise of heaven to be born in a barn–and be rejected by the very people He came to rescue.  Heroes don’t do things for applause–they do them because it is who they are.

Too many of our earthly heroes perform for praise; how sad for them.  The praise of people is unstable.  Popularity waxes and wanes…and eventually death deafens the praise anyway.  Performers are not heroes who help us live better.  We need more than that.

Examples of courage abound…in and out of the realm of Christianity.  Every person is made in the image of God…and that image is glorious.   Many who never profess Christ as their hero live with character and courage.  As Christians, we owe every courageous person a debt of gratitude because their example is of great value to those of us seeking to live for Christ.  Cowards cannot do the work of the King.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing stories of the victories of faith…stories to inspire courage.  I invite you to share yours as well.  You can share in writing, or we can set up a time for an interview.  Let’s work together to give glory to God by giving the good reports that we need as we walk through this world!

 

 

 

Spending time in the presence of God

The presence of God transforms!  Do you drink it in or wonder where it is?  Is the presence of God a moment-by-moment awareness for you—or an illusionary concept?  Would you be surprised to know His presence is not always in a Church…or that the Living Word can be void of vitality?  In Acts 17, Paul spoke to those who worshiped without life:

“…so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us. For we live, move, and exist because of him, as some of your own poets have said: ‘For we are his children, too.’” (verses 27 and 28)

It is not the heartbeat of God to have lifeless worship.  He longs for you to enjoy His presence because He wants to enjoy yours.  Are you weary of life?  If you are, spend time with LIFE and enjoy the abundance.  Without His presence, life drains the strongest. That is right and good, for God never intended that we would live this life on our own!

His Word and the Church are tools the Spirit uses to help us know what God is like…so that we can recognize His

Toni Verdú Carbó The Passage of Time

Toni Verdú Carbó
The Passage of Time

presence.  Like those in Athens, though, sometimes we mistake the tools for the Truth.  Time in the Word and time with believers are necessities in the life of a Christian…but they are not Life itself.

The echo of hearts crying, “Is this all there is?” beats at the doors of heaven.  “There is so much more!” calls the Father.  “Come, walk in the light.” And to those of us who walk in His light, the great commission still stands:  “Go, make disciples.”   Our grand purpose in life is to live in the Light of the love of the Father and help others do the same.  He longs for us to bring his light to a world covered in shadows so others may know He lives!

Those shadows conceal treasures…treasures of darkness only children of the Light can unearth.  Without the Light, the shadows terrify.  The shadows cause those in the dark to trip and fall prey to the lies of the enemy.  Jesus, the Light of the World, reveals the snares and the beauties shrouded in darkness.  When we spend time in the light, we absorb light and can be a lamp for others.  We are called to be servants!  Let’s take light into the shadows, light that exposes the pits, expels the evil and unearths precious gems!

What shadows will you illuminate today?  Can we stand with you in prayer?

 

If you struggle to enter the presence of God, some thoughts and tips can be found here.

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