Overcoming the fear that cuts down our blessings



Dealing with fear is common to all humanity, in one form or another. Some fear is healthy, warning us of danger. A healthy fear or respect is due something potentially dangerous  like fire.

  • Fear is a kind of bell, or gong, which rings the mind into quick life and avoidance upon the approach of danger. It is the soul’s signal for rallying.   Henry Ward Beecher

Fear of God is justified. Fear of man is not.  A good fear is a reverence toward God, and Him alone; it is awe inspired devotion, to who He is, and to what He does.  With gratitude and thanksgiving, we are drawn by His great love and our hearts are filled with desire to please Him. In His loving wisdom, the Lord knew that denial, of His will and way, would only bring loss and grief. God  provided a way, through Jesus and His Spirit, for us to avoid being outside of His will, His favor, and vulnerable to fear. The Holy Spirit, within us, beckons if we begin to move outside of His protection, and points the way back to restoration. His power is able to defeat that which alarms us.

  • Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God’s majesty. A.W. Pink
  • The fear of man strangles us, because we can never please everybody; but the fear of the Lord frees us, because it challenges us to live and serve for an audience of One. Paul Chappell
  • To win the war against fear, we must know the true God as He is revealed in the Bible. He works to give us lasting peace. He receives joy, not from condemning us but in rescuing us from the devil. Yes, the Lord will bring conviction to our hearts concerning sin, but it is so He can deliver us from sin’s power and consequences. In its place, the Lord works to establish healing, forgiveness and peace. Francis Frangipane

The opposite of healthy fear is irrational, worrying, faithless fear. This anxious fear leads us to focus too heavily on our circumstances and the dealings of the enemy, and to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness.  As it creeps into our lives, it robs us of freedom, health, peace and joy.  As surely as a sharpened ax or power saw can fell a tree, so this type of fear can cut down our blessings. Experiencing this robbing fear, your body reacts to its presence. A sickening chill running down your spine, a queasy, churning stomach, clammy or cold hands, headaches, a stiff neck or other muscle tension, weakness, confused thoughts, heart palpitations, panic attacks, shallow, rapid breathing, trouble sleeping, depression or dread….one or several of these reactions might be warning that fear has arrived.

  • Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable. Harry Emerson Fosdick

Fear can be real or imaginary.

  • Imagination frames events unknown, In wild, fantastic shapes of hideous ruin, And what it fears, creates.Hannah More

If  our confidence is in the goodness of God, His faithfulness and everlasting love,  and we rely on His Holy Spirit within us, Who leads us to appropriate the power of Jesus’ name and shed blood, fear will surrender to faith.

  • How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, In a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear. John Newton
  • God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst… will be quiet in the middle of alarm. F.B. Meyer
  • If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, “Just what I expected,” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.  Amy Carmichael
  • Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

To accept what the world, the enemy or self says, over God’s word, is to invite fear to enter your heart.

  • Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Hannah Whitall Smith

The door to fear is closed by detecting the first signs of anxiety and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring that hopeless despair into submission before God’s truths.  The Lord has said “Fear not” over and over because He has only good things planned for us and God’s heart is a heart of perfect love.

  • 1 John 4:18 (NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
  •  The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident. Max Lucado
  • Giving in to fear alters God’s best plan for your life. So use the power of God’s Word to do what He wants you to do…even if you have to do it afraid! The rewards are great. Joyce Meyer
  • Beloved, I say, let your fears go, lest they make you fainthearted. Stop inspiring fear in those around you and now take your stand in faith. God has been good and He will continue to manifest His goodness. Let us approach these days expecting to see the goodness of the Lord manifest. Let us be strong and of good courage, for the Lord will fight for us if we stand in faith. Francis Frangipane

The thievery of  anxious fear is defeated by meeting it head on, in the power of the Holy Spirit, never denying nor hiding it. Fear can not be medicated away.  Victory over fear comes through God, by trusting in Him, plain and simple.

  • Never turn your back on your fears. Woodrow Kroll
  • Are you facing fear today? Perhaps you are afraid of losing your job, of developing cancer or being left by your spouse. At times all of us experience fear. But don’t allow fear to keep you from being used by God. He has kept you thus far; trust Him for the rest of the way. Woodroll Kroll
  • Hebrews 10:35 (AMP) Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.
  • John 14:27 (AMP)  Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

I yearn for a greater understanding of our Father’s heart to fill our churches, and draw the lost to His salvation. Without a doubt, our world faces many occasions for fear to knock on our door. A reverent fear of God assures our hearts of His love and His Holy Power,  providing us with freedom from fear .  This blog is a montage of thoughts and quotes gathered together for emphasis, because one voice joined by others declares a message more clearly.

connecting, with love

Donna

 

Getting personal about my Father


Yep, this is my dad and me, circa 1956.  No doubt, I loved my Daddy, and still do. Even though I could dwell on the love and blessings I received from both of my parents,  for now,  I want to focus on Dad.  Mom is definitely another blog!  Dad was my problem solver, fixer of broken toys, and source of answers for all my questions. Believe you me, I had some very interesting and tough questions!  He never lied to me, or made me feel I had asked a silly question,  nor did he ever hedge around the truth. He was straight forward and unfazed by my questions.  He wasn’t always able to come up with a solution or a ready answer. I know, because of work and other commitments in life, it wasn’t humanly possible for him to have always been there,  but my memory testifies of his willingness and availability to help me every time I expressed a need, and after all, memories are like a library, with shelves for the realities of our past.

Not only was Dad my problem solver, he was, and still is, fun to be with. We have family videos of me running to jump into his arms, leaping in faith, knowing he would always catch me. Those videos also recorded Dad swinging me around and around in fast circles, my face full of assurance in the strength of his hold on me. He did this neat trick of mysteriously causing his wedding ring to disappear and then reappear in my ear. He was, and remains, a competitive card player, but with lots of humor. Whenever he faces the possibility of having a big loss during a card game, he is known to calmly declare to his opponent, “I got you just where I want you”.

He helped me through scores of homework assignments and those dreaded science fair projects with resourcefulness and enthusiasm. He taught me how to ride a bike (I remember seriously damaging an azalea bush in the process of learning to apply the bike’s brakes) and how to drive a car (fortunately I didn’t have to run into an azalea bush, or anything else, while learning about car brakes). My appreciation for reading books,  beautiful scenery and music came through his influence. I loved listening to him whistle a tune from time to time during the day, and still appreciate his happy whistling, to this day. He loved to dance with Mom.  He didn’t hesitate when it was time to sing. I will always associate Old Spice aftershave with a loving hug from my Dad.

The benefits I gained from being the daughter of this wonderful man are many. To name a few, by Dad’s example, I learned the importance of prayer, and matter of factually accepted the reality of conversation between God and His children.  Dad continues to have an active prayer life at the age of 86. He studied and believed God’s word, encouraging me to do the same. He made me feel safe, protected and well cared for. I have never doubted that he loves and accepts me, even if I make a mistake or am not perfect. Trust and love have been easy to experience, and to give. The security Dad enforced around us gave chase to fears.  I was taught to appreciate  values like respect, honor, responsibility, dignity, consideration and generosity. Dad’s loyalty and devotion to Mom, and us kids, taught me about stable, loving family life. Dad loved talking about God and I still enjoy frequent conversations with him about God’s goodness. Whatever he said, I believed, because he never attempted to mislead me.

Bottom line, I first believed and trusted my Dad, and then as the Holy Spirit led, was able to easily believe and trust my Heavenly Father. Because Dad is a human father, he isn’t perfect, and mistakes were made,  but he has accomplished, by the help of the Lord, the tasks assigned to him as a husband and father.

 Along with Dad, I have studied examples of other good fathers, and I have observed these common traits:
  •  blesses
  •  loves unconditionally
  •  instructs
  • respects
  •  guides and warns
  •  trains
  •  rebukes for corrections, but does not provoke to anger
  •  nourishes and supplies needs
  •  protects
  • encourages and enables
  • knows how to communicate with kindness, while being firm and consistent
  • examples right living
  • speaks with honestly and keeps promises
  • joyful and hopeful
  • spends time with family
  • wise

Whether you enjoyed a good father-child relationship, and reaped the benefits, or you missed out, for whatever varied reasons there are, the Great Equalizer, Jesus Christ, levels the playing field among us. In the Kingdom of God, which Jesus made available to all willing to receive it, we are offered the privilege of adoption into the family of God, the blessing of becoming beloved sons and daughters of the King of Kings. He shows no favoritism. His love is offered freely to all, but must be received by trusting Him.  He is worthy of trust because He is not a fickle God.  What He says He is, is Who He is. There is no deception in His heart. His Word says He is good, and it is so. Some of us may have jumped into the blessings of this divine adoption more readily than others because a good father-child experience caused us to hear the call of the Holy Spirit more clearly. However, we all have the opportunity to experience that same wonderful relationship with our Heavenly Father, and to know a Father’s love that always seeks our best interest.

He calls to all, but many avoid, or are intimidated and fearful of a relationship with a father figure because of past pain. News headlines decry the abuse done within the church, in schools and homes, as leadership has corrupted God given authority by walking in a maligned image of a father figure.  Some, because of  a damaged perception of God refuse to seek Him. When we receive this gift of adoption, by accepting the salvation and Holy Spirit of Jesus, all that is damaged or missing is restored.  God offers healing for crippled emotions caused by painful relationships.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

If you struggle with faith in an Invisible Father, seek His Word to discover the reality of Who He is, and the goodness of  His Heart. It is revealed from Genesis to Revelation in His love letter called the Bible.  Don’t rely on chopped up portions of scripture to guide your understanding and don’t settle for hearsay,  half truths, misrepresentations or distortions of God’s character. His complete Word and His unrestricted Holy Spirit will guide you to the Truth, and will dispel any confusion.

My Heavenly Father has proven Himself over and over, year after year, decade after decade, to be my Forever Faithful Father. Memories of past encounters, and new daily experiences with Him,  testify of His perfection.  Life worth living is when we fully accept His love, and then through His love, experience the freedom to love fully.

connecting, with love

Donna

Hidden Mountain of God’s Love in the Book of Job

What if you hear confused thoughts, in conversations about God’s heart and His character? What if, when tragedies and disasters occur, doubts about God’s goodness  and power are often voiced? What if prayer is offered without faith and trust that God is willing and able to answer? What if during your own struggles with faith, as troubles and pain invade your life, you discover dimensions of God’s love that affirm His faithfulness and goodness; that during these times of personally dark experiences, He begins to reveal His loving heart. Then, as you study His Word, you realize your experiences line up with what God revealed about Himself.  This is why I am willing to write this blog, even if it’s figuratively like eating a whale. I am totally aware that there are minds far more brilliant than mine, who are able to answers  these difficult questions,  with answers more adeptly written, and justified by scholarly endeavor.  But what if, knowing this, you press on, because, as the world  becomes more troubled and chaotic, your heart yearns to give assurance that God, most definitely is, a loving, merciful and faithful God. The Holy Spirit is able to teach, even the simple, of things that appears too difficult to fathom.  Therefore, by faith in my Teacher, the Holy Spirit, I take one bite at a time, of this whale sized truth, writing one word, then one sentence, and progressing to a paragraph, while what is whirling around within me takes form within this blog.

Many, including myself, have striven to understand what transpired between God and the enemy in the Book of Job. Just that Satan asked God for access to harm Job and it is seemingly granted, can cause us to have a confused understanding of our Father’s heart. We are tempted to lose faith that God is good and fearful of the “what ifs” in life. Unless our relationship with God is established on a correct assessment of His goodness, we will be subject to unrest of soul, distrust in our Creator, and unwilling to seek Him fully. Ultimately, it will cause us to be more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy because unbelief and disobedience will move us out of God’s protective umbrella.

Now it’s time to take a bite of this enormous truth.

In the Garden of Eden God’s perfect plan was created and established. He watched with delight as mankind, Adam and Eve, walked, in freedom from fear, harm, sin, sickness, and attacks from the enemy. They strolled together with Him in the cool of the evening, relating to God, uninhibited, and assured of His loving care and provision.

God desired, and continues to desire,  for humanity to voluntarily love Him, to willingly obey Him and joyously pursue Him.  We know, as humans, forced relationships are insincere, and never satisfying.  Thus, in His wisdom, God gave Adam and Eve a choice. When the enemy proposed his tempting options, they could choose to continue in that perfect plan of unity with God, free from defeat, a plan protected by their obedience and faith in Him. Or they could choose to receive the enemy’s erroneous  suggestions about God and walk away from that protection. We, collectively, with Adam and Eve as our representatives, chose the latter. I say, we, because Adam and Eve’s choice is the same choice we all have the potential to make.

With their sinful decision, to disbelieve what God had told them, humanity lost much.   Focusing on one of the losses, the world became vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. When Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, the history of our warfare with the enemy began. The Word of God states in 1 Peter 5:8.. the enemy roams like a lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Here’s a  list of a few of the enemy’s names:

  •  the accuser of the brethren, Revelation 12:10;
  • a murderer, liar, father of lies, John 8:44;
  • a tempter, Matthew 4:3;
  • a thief who kills, steals and destroys, John 10:9-10;
  •  the power of death and darkness, Hebrews 2:14 and Colossians 1:13.

When you look at this list, it is easy to see why our suffering and pain has been perpetuated. Job was at the mercy of the enemy because of the choice that Adam and Eve made. He was vulnerable to attacks,  as well as blinded by the inner sins of his heart, like self-righteousness, and pride in good works. It never was a question that God lacked love and concern. The end of the story proves God’s motives of love, when Job is more than fully restored.
As the enemy continued prowling to harm, God, knowing when the time was ripe, sent us a Redeemer Savior,  His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus walked on earth as man, He faced temptation from the enemy, which He overcame by the power of the Holy Spirit in Him. He offered His prayers and encouragement,  and a hope for restoration, for those like Peter that the enemy had targeted.  Luke 22:30-32 AMP…. Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain, but I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren. 

Throughout His time as Man on earth, at the cross and after His resurrection, Jesus succeeded where humanity had failed. Not only did Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, walk free from sin and self,  He resisted the enemy’s ploys to rob Him of  victories He desired for God’s glory, and for our behalf.  1 John 3:8 AMP…The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible)was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil has done. Colossians 1:13 – He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love .

When Jesus died, and rose again, He returned to heaven seated at the right hand of the Father. He gave, and still offers, those that are willing to receive it, His salvation. All that His salvation provides, including salvation from sin and self, would take many blogs. But concentrating on the victory He attained over the enemy, He won that battle because He believed and obeyed the Father, the opposite of what Adam and Eve did. After He had finished His work as Man on earth, He sent us this very same Holy Spirit, if we accept Him, to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit makes us able to conquer the enemy.  Accusations are not received by God for those who have received what the shed blood of Jesus gave.  Through His work in us, hearts are becoming willing to love and serve Him. This is still a voluntary love. It is something we can choose to receive or reject. Those who embrace the worth of that Life given in Love, now have the power to resist the enemy, to become more than conquerors. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory{making us conquerors} through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:57

God had a plan,  all along, to redeem and restore, freeing us from the claws of the enemy, sin and self, bringing us into His Kingdom.  Through all the storms of life, He is there ready to love us toward His perfect plan. When a rain cloud hovers over the mountains, it is hard to see the outline of the mountain slopes. In that same way, when the rain clouds of life hover near us, it is difficult to clearly see the Love of the Father. But His love is there, has always, and will always, be there.  Realizing this whale sized truth sets us free from fear about life, and even death.  He has done what was needed, to conquer the enemy, and given us the Holy Spirit to help us do the same. Now we have opportunity to continually put the enemy under our feet, and to experience His victorious kingdom life here on earth.

Isaiah 30:18 AMP

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Romans 8: 38-39 AMP

 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

connecting with love

Donna