Fear. It can paralyze us, keep us from going places that we really need to be going. Let me paint a picture for you by what I mean. I used to walk. I would put on my MP3 headset and set out for a glorious time of morning sunshine, exercise and Philips, Craig & Deans wonderful music. I would walk the neighborhood, spend about 30 minutes, I’d wave at familiar neighbors, high step over tricycles and admire the sweet aroma of a few flower gardens.
THEN one day the neighbors pit bull (BIG ugly beast) met me at the end of my lane just before striding onto the sidewalk. His broad shoulders, head down loudly declared I really shouldnt be crossing ‘his‘ line. His slow steps towards me proceeded to walk me back up the lane to my house, backwards. I knew NOT to turn and run, he would only see it as a chance to chase. Of course being of GREAT imagination, I briefly saw Breaking Headline News, “Local Woman Mauled by Unidentified Monster.”
When I got to my gate, I slowly reached back and opened it and slipped into the yard. THAT is when the beast saw he was loosing me and charged the gate. I had my pepper spray in my hand the whole time, that is when I chose to use it. Dead on, target reached. All those years of ‘silly string’ usage came in handy. However, it made him so MAD, he charged again, I SPRAYED again. He became bored with this game and finally pranced away, as I limped away emotionally from the fear and trembling. Following that incident, it took a couple of months to get the nerve to head out walking, I had such a fear and was confident I would run into the beasty around the corner again.
When I did muster up the nerve and got to the end of the lane, beasty stick in hand and pepper spray ready, Mr Pitbull was nowhere to be seen. Wahoo! Perhaps the ugly beast will never reappear. But my fear can not hold me back. Walk I did, again there was sunshine, familiar friends and lovely fragrant flowers.
There WILL be beasts around many corners. Ugly things that cause us fear and trembling. Wisdom will lead us to take precautions. But we can not allow them to keep us captive from setting out. When we do encounter them and retreat, then choose to stay put and rationalize we are ‘safe’ HERE, we may never find out later that the beasts are NO LONGER there. Much of the time the thing we fear is headline news broadcasting in our head, not necessarily awaiting us down the lane.
Nearly 75+ times we are admonished in the Bible to “Fear not…” or “Do not be afraid.” Yet it is a common default for us all. This fear causing us to lose hope, our courage and confidence. It weakens us and throws us into disorder and possibly a bit of chaos. It can birth dread and even impair our judgement. The ‘technical’ definition ‘Intellectual anticipation of evil evoking an emotion.’ Yup, beasty around the corner.
I LOVE the following words behind the “Fear not…” statements “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die … the Lord your God Himself will fight for you… for the Lord your God goes with you… for the battle is not yours, but God’s… for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.” Just to mention a few.
Peter wrote to encourage Christians, “Cast all your anxiety/cares on Him because He cares for you.” (emphasis mine) – 1 Peter 5:7 These ‘cares’ are things that consume our thoughts, cause us to be drawn in a different direction, basically what is it that takes your eyes OFF of Jesus and disrupts our peace.
Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—PEACE of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or AFRAID. – Jn 14:27 (emphasis mine)
Do you have a beast (or two) causing you to stay put, your hope and courage weakened? Please don’t allow it to paralyze you, get out there again.
Let’s pray: “Jesus show us YOUR power, folding us in Your love, clear our thoughts, allow discipline and discretion to guide us, so the beasts of our minds would NOT rule over us. In the power & authority of Your name, Amen.”
Stepping out against fear is freedom. No more beasty around the corner.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
Did you know there are 12 (TWELVE !) documented types of storms? I found these while doing my research for this devotional teaching and quite frankly, amazed at the list. Each carry similar qualities, yet hold very unique elements.
The list consists of ice, blizzard, snow, fire, dust, gale, wind, squall, (breathe) thunder, cyclone, hail and tornado. Phew, it tires me just to type them out and consider their effects on us. One thing is sure regarding a storm … ‘we’ are not in control. All we can do is head for shelter and hang on!
I take us to Mark chapter 4. In this story Jesus gathers the disciples and tells them “Let us go over to the other side.” (v. 35) Simple statement, so in the boat they go on the Sea of Galilee. Seemingly a normal journey across, yet a storm comes up, not just a bit of rain, or a slight gust of wind, but the narrative says, a ‘furious squall.’ High winds full of turbulent power, with brutal waves fierce enough to cause the boat to rock with such force, the disciples were … terrified. A storm. recognize the reaction to the elements swirling around you? Insecurity. Fear. Panic.
May we stop and consider who was in this boat. Of the disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John were all fishermen, seasoned men of the sea. These men knew how to handle a boat. Nevertheless, they too were afraid. One might say (namely me) ‘even the pros get tossed to and fro.’ There is sad comfort in that, no one is exempt from the storms. No matter how well educated, wealthy, pretty, even prepared, there WILL be moments the elements rise and we have a response.
Imagine if you will, how LOUD this storm was, the wind howling, the piercing squeal in your ears. Feel also the tossing of the boat, those of us prone to sea sickness, well… we won’t go there! In this, Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat. He wasn’t concerned of the danger out on the water, He could simply walk home (smile). The disciples cry out to Him, awake Him. HERE is my favorite part, 3 often over looked words, yet so stinkingly powerful. “He got up.” Jesus stood up. Nothing like Jesus going to His feet. Sure, some would say, ‘don’t get so dramatic.’ Have they read … Psalms 68:1 “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered…” It can be a scary thing to have God Almighty come to His feet. The seriousness of it. Jesus could have just waved His hand from where He laid, and with a yawn, hush the wind. But He didn’t, He got up! It says, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be Still!” Folks, THIS is good stuff!
I want, NEED Jesus to arise in my boat, in the midst of MY storm. How about YOU? Are you too found in a storm of great proportions? Whether it be a storm of frigid cold, drowning seas, agitating dust, so thick we are temporarily blinded. How about heat so hot, it has it’s own atmospheric climate. Oh, let God arise! Speak Lord Jesus (harshly if needed) to the elements around us!
May we please remember Jesus’ opening words to the disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” The other side. He would not have pointed to the other side if they were meant to DIE in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the journey. “US” … we are never meant to be in the storm alone. Jesus, in the boat, in the storm WITH them, to the other side.
I must add … most folks think the Bible is full of lists of ‘no-nos’, and plenty of ‘thou shalts’. I on the other hand, find it so extremely humorous at times. One example is where God chooses to place certain events.
Immediately following the sea session, they come ashore in the region of Gerasenes. Undoubtedly, a few of those in the boat would have LOVED to kiss the ground, HOWEVER… just after their lives are threaten with violent winds, raging waters what do they NOW encounter? A demoniac man! “Really? Give me a break!” My imagination speaks loud as I can hear one of the disciples cry out!
How humorous! God takes them from one faith needing, trust Me, depend on Me to defend you moment … to … the demonic. AND the dude is naked! Ok, now I am laughing with divine doubling over.
Note to self: as I find the storm around me beginning to calm, cover my eyes and seek another location down the shore to drop anchor! (Just kidding) This storm … THIS aint nothing! This journey is continual. “New level, new devil.” DO NOT hang up your Jesus life preserver just yet!
He got up. Let God arise!
In Him, DeDe (‘Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)
Inspired Fountain website: https://inspiredfountainpen.wordpress.com/
I LOVE Gideon’s response, “But Sir…how can I save Israel … my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:13,15) We all have had “But Sir” moments, haven’t we? Moments when God asks something of us, moments when we need to do or be something that is beyond us. We feel weak, and insignificant. Oh, God’s response is SO valuable and the TRUE foundation of success. The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
Gideon goes on to lead a small army to victory in unconventional ways … blowing trumpets, breaking pots and holding huge Bic lighters, (and who said the Bible is boring!) I believe God wants us all to have Gideon experiences. Turning our ‘But Sir, I am weak … and the least… how can I…?’ to victory, believing His word to us, ‘I will be with you, and you will…’
What is God asking of us today? What name like ‘mighty warrior’ is He giving, that totally blows us away, perhaps … courageous missionary, passionate teacher, gentle leader, faithful friend, and prayer warrior, even loving mom. He may even call us to unconventional ways, yet how exciting to see how it all unfolds.
Join with me, as we turn our ‘but Sir’ into ‘I will be with you and you will…‘ Such a recipe for victory!
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD …”)