No Fear Here

Isaiah 41: 10

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

How many times do we need to have God say to us, “Do not fear?” Probably at least once a day. So here is today’s dose. Our Father wants us to know that He is on the job. He is paying attention to us and we should not fear. He isn’t begging us not to be afraid, though. This really appears as a command. And now that I look at the situation from His perspective, it is a bit insulting, isn’t it, that He is our God, our Father and yet we are running around in high anxiety and fear. Our God is Yahweh, He that is and ever will be. Why should we be afraid?

Father goes on to assure us that He is with us. We don’t have to anxiously look around us. We can go with confidence knowing that He is with us always, that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is strength for us so that we need not try to be strong in ourselves. In fact, Paul taught us that in our weakness is strength (2 Corinthians 12: 10). 

How do we convince ourselves that our Father is with us; that He will strengthen us and uphold us? I really believe we learn it through the most frightening mechanism of all; letting go. We have to let God be God. We have to relinquish a bit of the control to Him. I like to say that we have to let go of the reins because that paints a picture for me that I can relate to. I really think that for most of us we have to take God out for a test drive. We trust Him with something small and see that all works well when we put situations in His hands and then the next time we are able to trust Him with something a bit larger. The other situation is that get to the point that we are so exhausted that we have nothing left but to trust God. And then, Eureka! It works.

I really wish one person could experience this for everyone and then that we could all just believe that person, subsequently taking this verse as truth on its face. If we could only believe that God and Isaiah actually knew what they were saying. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. So, instead of asking you to believe me or to believe this verse, I am asking you to give it a try. Take it around the block, kick the tires and see for yourself. God is worthy of our trust. He will uphold you, guard you and protect you. He is your shield and your refuge. Invest a bit of your trust in Him and let Him show you that you have no need in being anxious ever again. Think about it, to never fear again. Now that is a good way to live.

Speaker of the House

Matthew 10: 19 – 20

Do not be anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak, for it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Wow, just wow! Our Father will speak through us. I really, really need that. Honestly, though, this scripture has been highlighted in my Bible for a long time. As a practicing attorney I relied on it often, not only in the court room but in mediation and in negotiations. I always drew strength from this promise from Jesus and it certainly does not hurt that these are some of the red letter words even though the entire Bible is Jesus speaking. Now that I am a full time minister I feel even more awed by the potential of the words that come out of my mouth. I need, more than ever, to have Father God speaking through me rather than me speaking out of my knowledge.

Whatever you do you can hold this same promise over your words. If you are a parent, you probably need this word even more than I because that is such a big job. Every word we say can be a release of the Holy Spirit within us if we will give the Father that much leeway in our lives. And don’t you love that you do not need to be anxious over what you will say? How many times have you been in a situation where you were nervous about what you would say? Think about interviews alone. 

One of the things I used to do was rehearse what I thought I would say in a given situation. I would play the scenario over and over in my head. I am learning now to just say a prayer about it and then let it go. I cannot tell you the number of times that Dad has spoken through His Spirit within me to give people the right words at the right time. Sometimes, many times, it doesn’t even feel like God is doing what Jesus promised but at the end people will tell me that it was what they needed to hear. He is so good and so faithful. It has happened enough now that I can usually relax and expect Him to say the words that need saying. 

No matter who you are or what you do in a day, I know there are times when you too need God’s help in speaking to a situation. No matter how small the matter may seem to us, God is ready to help us with the right words. Jesus promised it so I have chosen to believe it and act on it. Therein lies the secret and it works. Give Him your mouth and He will do good things with it.

He Cares For You

1 Peter 5: 6 – 7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

We spend a lot of time and attention on verse seven which tells us to cast our anxiety on the Lord, the King James Version says to cast our care. We devote little time and attention, though, to verse six. In that these two verses comprise one sentence it would likely behoove us to read them together on occasion so as to perceive the light which each phrase shines upon the other.

When we read the two verses together it would seem that Peter is revealing that there is a relationship between our humbling ourselves to the master and promotion as well as the cure for anxiety. He who gives his care to the Lord is wise. I wonder, though, if some of us have trouble casting that care over to the Lord because we have failed to recognize Him as Lord over our lives in the deepest part of our being. We have all said those surrender prayers and of course we mean them when we utter them but it is in the trenches of life that quality decisions are truly made. A quality decision is one from which there is no retreat. It is not wishy-washy but rather strong and determined and I find that they empower a person to walk the path elected. They do not, however, come easily. Sooner or later, though, if we are to live the lives that we have longed for we are going to have to make the big decisions. Life can be wonderful and beautiful but it is not free. We must lay aside those things which keep us in the low life and one of the largest burdens that is preventing us from rising to the heights God has determined for us is our own ego. In our heart of hearts have we really relinquished our lives to our Lord as master? Do your hackles arise just thinking of someone being your master? Don’t feel alone if you answer that question honestly and find that submitting yourself completely to another’s lordship is difficult. It is how we have been indoctrinated but we must understand that the training which has elevated ourselves in our eyes is not of God and is not going to promote us. In the beginning it appears to be effective but there is story upon story of people who have risen to a certain level of success only to find ultimate failure.  

Success truly does come from surrender. Honestly, how can we fully cast our care upon the Lord, allowing Him to carry away the anxiety if we have not released ourselves into Him? There is a huge element of trust in this surrender and if we do not fully trust God then we will be unable to give Him our burdens. Therefore, humbling ourselves to the Lord our God is an essential element of casting our care upon Him. We will be unable to do the one if we have not first done the former.

Now, here is the crux of the matter. We may find it difficult if not impossible to completely surrender ourselves to our Lord and Father without first receiving healing. Those things in our past which have made it hard for us to trust people must be healed. Growing in our relationship with our God is a process and it is all interconnected. One cannot just choose the prosperity portion of a relationship with God without it affecting other parts of their lives. Prosperity, healing, well-being, blessing and all the rest are part of a package deal that comes along with a life with God. This is not a la carte ordering. We give God our lives and He gives us a grand, abundant life. He carries our heavy burdens and supplies our needs and wants above and beyond all that we can think of or believe for. 

We have longed for a good life, we greatly desire God to take away our troubles but we must put ourselves fully in His hands. He will not, cannot, usurp your control and will. As long as you are Lord of your life, then He will have to sit in the backseat while you drive. Keep surrendering your heart to the Lord. Every time you find an unsurrendered relationship, give it to the Lord. Each time you find a strong-hold in your life, give it to God. This is a process. We don’t renew our minds just once, but rather we are in a constant state of renewal. That is good news. Let your life go and with it the anxiety. Live free, give your life more fully to God today.

Blessed Peace

Psalm 94: 19

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, thy consolations delight my soul.

Have you ever had one of those days when your thoughts are anxious and wearisome? Sure, everyone has. In my Bible the word multiply has a footnote beside it which reveals that the writer of this Psalm is intending to convey to us that many are his anxious thoughts. Worry can eat you up. It is a very unpleasant companion. When anxious thoughts are multiplying within you even your physiology reacts. Really, this is the cause of many sicknesses. I know I used to tense my muscles in response to that stress so that my back, neck and shoulders were a mess. But the psalmist teaches us that we do not have to live with and tolerate anxiety and worry. We have a father who can dispel that anxiety and replace it with joy and delight. Is that hard to imagine? Think of one of your worse days. Do you remember how intense the worry and stress were? See yourself in your mind’s eye. Can you see the stress in your face and reflected in your body? Now change that image. See an angel of the Lord enter the room and watch your countenance change. Watch as all of your worry dissipates and you are left with the precious peace of Jesus. What does your face look like now? Has your body relaxed?

This is the way you are meant to live. When Jesus was about to leave earth he told his followers that he was going to leave his peace here. He gave us his own peace. We, much more than the psalmist, have every reason to live in peace and comfort. God’s consolations are with us at all times in the person of Jesus Christ. Even in the old days, though, before Jesus came, God consoled His people. He was the great comforter and He has not changed. Now you have God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit to comfort and console you so that you never have to live with another anxious thought the rest of your life. Grab hold of this truth and do not let it escape you. Keep it before your eyes and in the midst of your heart because as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow there will be another opportunity for you to entertain anxious thoughts. When they come just speak right out loud to the Father of Glory and tell Him that you are giving all your anxiety and care to Him and you receive in its place the peace of Jesus. Really, God’s shoulders are a lot broader than yours and mine. He can handle our tense and worrisome situations. Rest in the peace of Jesus. Claim it and make it your own.