3 Considerations to Conquering FEAR

Tomorrow is the fourth of July. It is the day we celebrate the independence of the United States of America. When I think of the freedom I think of the men and women fighting for this country. I think of Jesus dying on the cross for our freedom in him.

I feel like freedom is something we say we have and yet a lot of us are held captive in our fears…

Last week at church we discussed fear, and this is something we all deal with. We are responsible for making the choice between using fear to our advantage or letting it over take us.

Here are some things we should consider.

1.Fear is Satan’s way of taking over your life.

He will do whatever it takes to get you to disobey God. He doesn’t want you to be successful. He doesn’t want you to have a joyful and happy life. Just think, if Satan is coming at you hard that must mean God has something HUGE in store for you.

“The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and live it to the fullest.” John 10:10

2. The greater the fear/risk, the greater reward.

Think for a moment of a time when you were so fearful, or had to take a big risk for something. How was the outcome? Was it better than you would have expected? I can think of many times I was fearful and even a bit frustrated and wanted to give up, but when I decided to press in and conquer without a doubt I was so glad I did and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

3. God is on your side. You have nothing to fear.

God is bigger than any of our problems, fears, or concerns. If there is a fear you have give it over to him and he will take care of it for you. I am releasing a fear of rejection. I am in the coaching field and I “sell” my services to others. I have a fear that people will not want what I have to offer. There are times I hear no, but the times I hear a yes I am over the moon and so glad I asked one more person, because the reward was much bigger than the risk!

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

These are the words God gave me during worship of lifegroup last week:

I have a plan. I know the next steps. I know what is out in front of you but you have to trust me. Let go of your fear of rejection and step into the risk of the unknown. There will be greater reward when you do the things that are hard and that take risk. What is ahead will not be easy but you are always up for adventure. Look at the next days of your life as adventure. The time you spend with me will radiate out and be a part of your daily life and be in every aspect.

Do the thing that scares you the most!

The Master Artist is Weaving a Beautiful Work

A friend and I were talking the other day about how we can always look back and see how God was working, but when we are in the midst of things we rarely see the tapestry he is weaving from our life events. And then, we started telling the stories until we were laughing at God’s creativity.

Connecting the dots is God’s specialty. He truly does want to work all things together for our good.

How many times have you looked back on a series of events and noticed that what you thought were random connections was actually a calculated step by step route to the end result? I do this often, and I am always amazed.

Try it sometime – start tracing a recent outcome backwards – you will see the finger of God drawing the lines between all the connections for as far as you can see. For example, this week I have the privilege of being the live backstage announcer for a very big conference here in California called The California Women’s Conference. I am overwhelmed to see my name on the speaker’s page for such a big event, because I know the likelihood of an opportunity like this coming to me is so very small. But I also know that none of this happened by chance.

When I trace backwards from this week’s event, it looks something like this:

Exciting 2 days and lots of work being the live announcer for the biggest conference for women business owners in California << Signed contract to be announcer for CWC  << Email sent just a month ago, with my proposal to be the announcer << Again, God told me to send an email to Michelle about this <<Let several months go by, decided I shouldn’t do it << pitched Michelle Patterson my offer to be the announcer, she immediately said yes << felt God whisper to me “tell her you will be the announcer for this conference ” << attended several events for Women Network << volunteered to be on Advisory Board for the conference << introduced to Michelle Patterson (CEO of Women Network) by friend Kristi << Kristi invited me to local Chamber of Commerce events << joined my Chamber of Commerce at the suggestion of new friend Kristi << met a new friend named Kristi at a market party for my Nerium business << became a Nerium brand partner and began attending events to learn more << researched this new idea of starting a business with Nerium << a friend suggested I’d like some of the products he is using & the company he is with << saw something from a new friend on Facebook that made me want to know more << joined a group called Dreamers and Builders & made new friends << answered a call to adventure by an author I follow and admire << Etc. Etc.

Honestly, I can go even further back in this sequence to why I joined Facebook in the first place, and on and on. My huge opportunity to be the announcer at such a big event was not randomly generated. It was woven by God through connections I’ve made in the past several years. In the midst of that was his voice prompting me when to take action. In the future I will look back at other events and be able to trace them back to this very week and the people I will meet as a result of attending and announcing for this conference.

NONE of it is random, although it ALWAYS seems that way at the time. When I look at the hand of God and what He is bringing into my life, I can do this exercise over and over again – always with the same outcome: the realization that GOD IS WORKING ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR MY GOOD.

It’s an exercise in remembering the faithfulness of God.

Even when all the events in a sequence are not happy ones. Yes, even then. Perhaps especially then.

Even when we interrupt the artists hands and try to do it ourselves. Yes, even then. When we are ready to give the tools back to Him, God gently corrects our messy mistakes, although he doesn’t cover them up. They become part of the fabric of our lives. He weaves his colorful threads in between those places to make it beautiful again.

Take some time this week to draft a list of connected events & people you’ve met and I’m sure you’ll be overcome with the same awe and wonder.

It’s a beautiful, beautiful tapestry He is weaving of your life. I hope you will be able to step back from time to time and see it coming together.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)

I Have Fought the Good Fight…

There’s something about celebrating the life of one who’s gone to heaven before us that makes us evaluate EVERYTHING. Am I right?

I find myself mulling over the questions: Will I be missed? Will people cry? Will my life be worth celebrating? Will my legacy live on? What is my legacy, anyway?

Our family suffered a loss last week when our cousin Steve went home to heaven. It wasn’t unexpected, Steve had suffered the ravaging effects of Muscular Dystrophy for nearly 40 years. But oh, the hole that is left by his passing.

I was fortunate to travel to Oregon to be with family at this time, and witness the great outpouring of love for my cousin. The family had beautiful tributes to share, but it was the comments made by his ham radio buddies that really got to me.

After being diagnosed at age 13, Steve immersed himself in the ham radio world. Before the internet was even a glimmer, he had acquaintances around the world. Ever friendly, ever helpful, Steve became a bright light in the community, even going on to win awards for his skills too numerous to count. He shared recipes for his favorite foods and “traveled” the world by talking with friends and strangers on his radio, and looking at photos on his computer. He was noted for being the first ham radio operator to make contact with the Space Shuttle, among so many other accomplishments.

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 - August 4, 2016

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 – August 4, 2016

This was a man who hadn’t left the house for probably more than a decade, and now I’m hearing story after story of how he had helped design landscaping, a radio tower, and even a kitchen or two. In the midst of his own pain and what appeared to outsiders to be isolation, Steve pushed past the limits of his diagnosis and used technology to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. He lived the life he was given to the fullest he was able.

As I sat there listening to his friend’s tearful tribute, I was in awe of this man and felt very sorry I hadn’t made a point to spend more time with him each time I came to town. Obviously this is my loss.

Which brings me back to the task at hand… taking inventory of my life.

If I had a diagnosis rendering me housebound, would I proceed to make such a difference in the lives of others that they would pack the house for my memorial service? My thought right now is that I would waste an awful lot of time feeling sorry for myself and searching for a way out of my predicament.

Steve never did that. He knew where he was going, and he knew where his strength for each day came from. He didn’t complain about his lot in life, he made the most of it.

I believe God gives us glimpses like this to snap us out of our own complacency. We all can remember those who have risen above their circumstances with such a force of character it’s impossible to ignore. And impossible to avoid. Take a moment to think back on that person you know, and use their inspiration to go and change your world… and just maybe that world will say they are better for having known you.

Live the life you are given to the fullest you are able.

Thanks for the reminder, Steve. Tell everyone hi for us and keep that heavenly party jammin’ until we get there!

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)

 

 

Tiny Nuisance

Last week there was an alarming situation with a huge tree at my Dad’s house!  

The wind was blowing, and there was a loud creaking sound coming from this tree that was over 100 feet tall! My brother was mowing the yard near it and heard this sound, and noticed the trunk twisting and buckling. He could actually see some daylight through it! NOT GOOD! 

Our tree dude rushed over to take a look.  

It needed to come down immediately before it came down on it’s own on top of a car, or even part of the house! 

How in the world did this mighty tree become so frail? It didn’t look that way at a glance. It looked strong and had a full canopy of fresh new spring leaves. What could take down this giant?  

Ants.

black ant isolated on white background, Carpenter ant

 

Black ants over a period of years of tunneling and growing a colony. Little stinking black ants. 

One ant one day, years ago, found a cool little spot to get in by the roots. He brought his friends and they thought this would be a fabulous home! And so the colony grew. One ant poses no threat, but anything in large numbers surely does! The whole root system was rotting on one side, and about three feet of the inside of the bottom of the tree was completely hollowed out. That tree had been conquered from the inside out!

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See the two tiny black ants on the stump?

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Of course, this makes one think about the little things that we let into our minds, our hearts, our lives. The little things that on their own are relatively insignificant, but that left to multiply and colonize, can become huge destructive forces that can eat us alive from the inside!  

One little seed of doubt left to fester. One little negative comment that you allow to sink in. Negative things you say to yourself inside your head about being ineffective, insignificant, or ineffective. One tiny bit of false doctrine that you entertain and open yourself to, that over time grows further from Truth.  

It is like Paul said in the letter to the Galatians. A little yeast indeed works its way through the whole batch of dough!  

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.” Galatians 5: 7-10 

What tiny thing are you allowing to harbor itself inside you and fester? Seek it out, sequester it and SQUELCH it before it eats you from the inside like that mighty tree!

Walking in Freedom part 2

About a month ago in March, I went on a mission trip to Mexico with my church. We went into Tijuana to work with our church plant and share the great news about Jesus and the new church.

I had no idea what to expect on this trip.

No one did.

God moved in ways I couldn’t even come up with!

I feel there are multiple steps to be able to walk in freedom. The first one I mentioned in my blog “Walking in Freedom,” which to summarize is to allow Jesus to enter the place of shame or guilt or anger or whatever it may be and picture him there with you. I did this for a certain area of my life and recently Satan tried to bring me back to that place again, but I pictured Jesus grabbing my hand and walking me out of the situation. It was freeing.

The other part to freedom, I feel, is surrendering all that you are to God and letting him come into every crack and filling it. I experienced this for the first time when I told God out loud “I SURRENDER EVERYTHING TO YOU!” And then I experienced so much joy that I began to laugh and rock back and forth uncontrollably. It was incredible and very freeing.

My friend Brea has been deaf in her left ear her entire life of 25 years. She has been praying for God to heal her because she believes he can. In Mexico, God said, “Now is your time.” Brea went up to the pastor during worship and told him her story. He began praying for her and I felt I needed to go up and pray for her too. Me, the pastor and other girl named Rachel were laying hands on her and praying for her. The power of God was so mighty and powerful that she was bent over as the pastor was laying hands on her ear. He told her she had something inside of her that was holding her back so he prayed healing and freedom over that area of her life. She fell on her knees and we continued to pray for her. Rachel was praying over Brea in her left ear, and Brea told her to pray again. Brea began to scream and exclaim, “I CAN HEAR! I CAN HEAR!” And we all jumped up, started cheering and crying and praising and giving glory to God!

 

God healed her!

 

She said before she heard Rachel pray in her ear, she heard God say to her, “You are my child.”

That is walking in freedom. Free from the bondage.

God wants to free you from bondage. He wants you to walk in the freedom he has given us.

“And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:17-18

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(Me and Brea in Mexico)

Freedom in Death

I was thinking about my last post on freedom and God was reminding me that the only way we have freedom is through death; the death of his son Jesus. Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

You may be thinking; why would a father send his son to die for so many unworthy people? God loves his son, Jesus, but told him he was to die for ordinary people like you and me. Why would he do something like that?

FREEDOM.

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God knew a sacrifice needed to be made because the devil had a grip on us. We deserve to die and go to hell, but Jesus died in our place so that we would have the choice to experience freedom.

But why would God do this?

Because we are his children. We were created in the image of God. God sacrificed his son in order for the rest of his children to experience freedom.

“So God created mankind in his own image; in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

But freedom doesn’t only come through the death of Jesus, but through the RESURRECTION! Jesus is ALIVE!

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

He conquered death for us and came out victoriously over the evil one. Through victory comes freedom. This freedom is in Jesus and because of Jesus. This freedom is not something that is forced upon us. It is a gift. We can make the decision to receive this freedom or not.

If a friend gives you a gift, do you reject it?

I don’t. I love gifts! Who doesn’t?

Why would we treat this gift of freedom any differently? And yet we do. We think we can live this life on our own, but the devil is still out there. He is still after God’s children. It is our choice to make the decision to stand in the freedom given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” 2 Cor 3:17

Now let’s celebrate FREEDOM not only this weekend but for the rest of our lives here on this earth!

 

Happy Easter!

He has risen!

Walking in Freedom

I just got back from a weekend in Mexico with my church. We turned off our phones and the outside world in order to be fully engaged with the people around us and with Jesus. When you become fully present with Jesus, the supernatural happens.

We would start our day with one on one time with Jesus. Sitting in the quiet of his presence and creating a space for him to speak and for us to listen. In this space your relationship with him grows. He wants to spend one on one time with you just like you would a friend.

We then would head to the church where we would have corporate worship praising and singing songs to our Lord and Savior. One of the pastors would speak what God had placed on their heart and it always ended with a response to God.

One of the responses was thinking of a time that left us in a place of shame, guilt, discomfort, anger, whatever it may be and going back to that time in our life and picturing Jesus there with you. It’s powerful! Try it. You will begin to feel freedom. Chains will start to break off because you have allowed yourself to go back to that time of hurt and pain, but you also allowed Jesus to show you where he was during that time. He was with you.

He wants to heal you from that place of hurt. Whatever it may be he wants you to walk in freedom with him, but he is not going to force you. He is waiting.

Jesus has already set us free by dying in our place on the cross. Now is our time to fully walk in the freedom he has given to us. We don’t deserve it but he gave it to us anyway because that is how much we are loved by the Father in heaven.

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Romans 6:6-8

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

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(I have so many amazing stories from this weekend but I feel this is what God wanted me to share with you first. Wait until the end of the month and I will share more!)

S T U F F

It is an interesting thing to have portions of your life on display in your driveway to be pawed through and scrutinized by strangers.

Yep. I had a yard sale a couple Saturday’s ago.

I worked for weeks going through boxes and bags. Attic. Garage. Storage. Weighing in on whether it was “worth” keeping this or that, or whether someone else may have a use for it.

Some “things” I came across would be worthless to anyone but me, and even I wondered why I was still holding on to them after years, even decades of my life.

I am sentimental to a fault. Everything has some sort of memory attached to it. Every paper. Every trinket. Every THING.

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I was speaking to a friend the other day about the craziness of putting your “sentimental” treasures on display for strangers. About how one person would be totally amused with and amazed by some trinket that meant very little to me, and how another would turn their nose up at something that was hard for me to let go, or try to haggle me down on the price.

She said her Pastor just spoke on “STUFF” last Sunday. He used this acronym:

Silly

Things

U

Fight

For

Well, what truth!

This reminded me that I not only hold on to actual “things” that I don’t need, but that I also hold onto “stuff” that doesn’t really matter in life. In all this, I am a work in progress.

After all, when Jesus called His disciples, they dropped EVERYTHING and followed Him with just the shoes on their feet and the clothes on their backs. HE was everything they needed. They left behind their jobs, their family and friends, and everything they had known for life, immediately.

Matthew 4:18-22 NIV
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. 

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 

Can you imagine that kind of commitment? I am finding it quite a challenge to LET GO. Of my past failures. Of both painful and pleasant memories that I dwell too much upon. Of others’ mistakes and failures. Of my SILLY THINGS U FIGHT FOR.

Are you holding on to some STUFF that you need to let go of? It sure opens the way for more freedom when you can learn to JUST LET GO.

Walking in FREEDOM

So much talk about Freedom lately. Some of it hotly debated to the point of exhaustion. I’m not talking about freedom of this or that, so I’ll not get into that today. I’m talking about true personal over the top joyful FREEDOM. The kind that oozes from your pores. The kind that makes people want to be near you.

How can a prison inmate experience true freedom?

How can persecuted Christians around the world live in the freedom and joy when they know their very lives might be taken from them at any moment?

“They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

This type of freedom is indeed a mystery for those of us who carry so many offenses and past abuse and pain around that we don’t allow ourselves to experience the true freedom Jesus paid for on the cross. We know it’s there, but it’s not so easy to actually live in that freedom. Jesus has set us free, but we don’t live like it.

Before we can talk about freedom, we need to talk about bondage. Before we can talk about bondage, we need to know what that bondage is.

Let me just plant some food for thought for you to ponder over the next few days…

True freedom only comes from knowing what your bondage is… if Satan is going to keep you from your purpose, what’s he going to use? Here’s a hint: when looking for things that bind you, start by looking at the things that you LIKE. The things that distract you. Then move on to the nitty gritty life-sucking events like chronic illness and circumstances. ALL of these things can bind your hands and feet and keep you from walking into your purpose.

Ask God to reveal to you those things that keep you in bondage. He will do it.

Then, apply the Blood of the Lamb and KNOW you have been set free! This is what Jesus gave his life for! The ability to walk in your purpose and calling, to change lives, to set the captives free!

The part about setting others free is a sticky one for some, for it involves telling your story. Do it. Tell your story. There is someone who needs to hear it.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony; (Revelation 12:11)

When I was a kid, we used to have testimony services where people would stand up and share what God was doing in their lives. I was just a little girl, but oh how I loved those times. I’d hear over and over again about the faithfulness of God to his people.

At my church recently, the pastor took time at the end of service for testimonies, so that we might “overcome by the blood of the lamb and the power of our testimonies.” He asked people to share by saying “God has set me free from ____________” or “God is setting me free from ______________.” Here’s what we heard:

God has/is setting me free from: suicide – porn – anxiety – depression – stressful job – self reliance – fear – shame of abortion – loving money – drugs – violence – abuse – cancer – my ideals – pursuit of perfection – fear – need to be in control – self doubt – fear of lack of finances – feeling responsible for being raped – debt – obesity & overeating – loneliness – lack of trust – abusive past – PTSD – hatred of myself – substance abuse – bipolar disorder – rage & hatred

As each person stood up to take the microphone, something began to happen. The Holy Spirit was inhabiting those testimonies with great power! People were moved to tears. Hope was restored to those who were experiencing the same bondage. God used the stories of the broken and began a miracle in the hearts of hundreds of people by bringing them HOPE.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, jill111

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, jill111

Want freedom? The kind that makes you ooze with joy? Get to that place by dealing with the accuser and then exposing his lies. You don’t have to speak it to a crowd of people, but share your story with someone. God is in the business of deliverance. Your deliverance may have been delayed, but it has not been denied.

May our chains all be broken, in the name of Jesus. There is power in the Name of Jesus.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Today we remember the many heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country. Who have left their families and friends behind for the sake of our freedom.

We remember and we thank them for their service, dedication, and loyalty to our country.

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But I want us to also remember the ultimate sacrifice given on the world’s behalf; God giving his son over to death in order for the world to be free. We are free in Jesus’ name, by the blood that was shed.

Jesus was beaten, bruised, ridiculed, tormented, and put to death for you. You didn’t do anything to deserve the freedom in Jesus you have, but God gave it to us because of the unconditional love he has for his children, all the children of the world.

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You know what it feels like to live in a free country, but do you know what it feels like to be free in Christ?

He forgives us for our wrong doing. He wipes us white as snow. He loves us unconditionally.

Let’s not only remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom in America, let’s remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our freedom in him.

GOD Bless America