Tuesday, February 23, 2021

“But we are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish; we are among those who have faith and experience true life!” Hebrews 10:39 (The Passion Translation)

There are a lot of things that cause fear to rise up inside of me, often much more so than I have been aware of. Fear has been choking the life right out of me for, causing me to shrink back from living boldly and faithfully. Fear has created a state of existing in neutrality – safe but numbing, colourless, without purpose, and with no resemblance to the full, free and abundant life Jesus promises.

Give fear the upper hand and the final say and you lose the life you are meant to live. Fear is not happy with a bit of your life; it wants all of it. It holds true to the old saying, “Give an inch…”  

There is a rock-solid antidote to fear, though, a way to take back your life. The first step is to recognize the ways in which fear dictates to you. This will be a process that may take a long time, but you can take back the ground that is your life inch by inch as each layer of fear’s control is exposed.

The second step is to give truth the final say. Don’t let fear chase you any longer, but turn around and face it. Name the exposed fear, out loud if you have to, and challenge it by holding it up to the light of truth as God reveals it in Scripture. And then replace it with the truth. One way I have done this is by writing out the truth on a slip of paper, and then I go on a long walk during which I read it out loud over and over; I pray it back to God, I remind him that this is what HE has said (really I'm reminding myself, because he is not the one who has forgotten!); I put my name in it. I don’t stop until the fear is gone and truth and sanity reigns in my heart and mind.

Today is a new day to look fear in its ugly face and say to it, “No more!” It’s another chance to step into your life and own it! It’s a day to put your trust into the character, purposes, promises and power of the One who has called you into life. 

Father, forgive us for allowing fear to rule over us when the most oft repeated command in your Word is to “Fear not!” 365 times, it’s been said! Fear is sneaky, though, and often we’re not even aware we’re being ruled by it. Help us to recognize when we are, and help us to live boldly, beautifully, and abundantly for you. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray. Amen

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What God starts, he will finish!

I don’t know where this day finds you, what the circumstances are to which you woke up this morning, or to what degree you are experiencing the crushing weight of life's sorrows. I don’t know the hopes which you have held close to your heart, the dreams you have cherished, or the goals you have worked toward with all your heart, that all seem a distant pipe dream at this time. But I do have some idea of how it feels.

Oswald Chambers says this: “If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled.”

Friends, God is not dictated to or limited by our circumstances; he sees the grief and pain we feel but, in his sovereignty over all of life and creation, he has allowed our lives to fall into the lines in which they exist in this present moment. But (and God has many great ‘buts’!), our circumstances do not hinder, even for a moment, the good work that he has begun in our lives; they do not hinder our God-given purposes. In fact, the very circumstances we woke up to this morning will be used for your good, and mine, too, as we continue to love him and turn our hearts to him.

So what is the good work that God has begun in you and me?  

It is the work of salvation. When we surrendered our lives to him we became new creations, as the apostle Paul says. We are different than we were before we knew him, and now we are filled with the desire to know him, to have his character, and to be found pleasing to him in our internal and external lives. But this work is not done. Every day we continue in this renewing process of being formed in the image of Christ. The final consummation of this work in which we will be made perfect and wholly complete will happen when we enter fully into Christ’s presence.

This good work of God is happening right now, wherever and however you are. He is purifying you, as Mr Chambers says, pruning away what is dead, but every hope and dream that is of God will remain; you will see the fulfilment of it.

Stay steady, dear friends, and trust that God knows and sees every detail. Trust also the good work he is doing in you through them.