Fear · trust · worry

Worry, Worry, Worry

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There are some mornings that I am up doing my usual routine and there’s a gentle nagging inside. It isn’t always recognizable, but it causes me to be uneasy, even grouchy – not a pretty thing by any means!

When my girls were small we listened to LOTS of Patch the Pirate music. There was one song called, The Worry Warthog. The chorus says,

“Yes I’m a worry warthog, I worry every day. I worry, worry, all my time away. And if you want to look like me just fear and fret and snort, and very soon you’ll wake up with a great big worry wart!”

This described me recently. I’m not sure what it was that was nagging at me, but I got my coffee and headed with my Bible to my quiet place. I was currently doing a Bible study on having a peaceful heart (no coincidence!).

The Bible study book had me read passages about times when Jesus was in a stormy time like ~

  • the death of Lazarus
  • the betrayal of Judas
  • praying in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
  • His arrest leading to His death on the cross.

As I read these passages it was brought to my attention that Jesus had been sorrowful, in tears, and in agony of spirit. None of these responses to His storms were sinful. The author reminded its readers that it’s okay to feel troubled about situations we’re in. However, if that troubled feeling is worry that is a sin.

How do we know if it’s worry that we’re experiencing and not one of the other emotions previously mentioned? She made it very clear –

“Disciplined thought moves in a straight line through a tangle of difficulties to possible solutions. Worry is a swirling tornado of thoughts centered on a fear. They repeat themselves over and over, making you dizzy but accomplishing nothing else. When fretful thoughts begin to sound familiar, that’s worry.”

When I read that, suddenly the Holy Spirit put His finger on that uneasiness in my heart – it was worry. My husband and I had been discussing something the day before that had my heart fretful and worrisome. One of the passages I studied that morning was Matthew 6:24-33 reminding me of God’s great care for His creation. What peace this brought to my heart. Yes, I can trust God to care for our needs; He is faithful. When I don’t believe this truth I John 5:10 says that I am actually calling God a liar! I asked the Lord to forgive me for worrying about this and gave it to Him that morning. I will believe and not doubt.

Gone was the irritating uneasiness and it was replaced by His sweet peace.

Is there something in your life today that has your thoughts twirling like a tornado – doing only damage? God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and He will provide for you whatever it is you’re in need of today – strength, wisdom, provisions, faith, grace. It’s readily available in vast supply!

If you’re wondering if my grouchiness left too – it sure it did. You can’t be a grouch when you’re back in fellowship with the Lord!

Give your “tornado thoughts” to the Lord, believe His Word, and enjoy the peace that will take its place!

Denise

trials · trust

A Trial More Than I Can Bear

 

More than I can bear

Do you ever think that God sends a trial your way because you are weak and He wants to make you strong? People often repeat the quote,

God will never give me more than I can bear,

but that’s not true! He gives us situations that are more than we can handle so we’ll depend on His strength instead of our own! Let me tell you how He revealed that to me just recently. Continue reading “A Trial More Than I Can Bear”

Motherhood · trust · Uncategorized · worry

Don’t Connive – Confide

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Years ago I remember hearing a story of a couple who knew God was calling them to a foreign mission field.  They were excited to obey, until the wife heard that there were poisonous snakes there that could strike a blow and kill a person with one venomous bite.  Her (understandable) fear for her children’s safety from such dangers caused her to set her proverbial foot down and refuse to go abroad.  She reasoned that they could give and share the Gospel right here at home where there were far less dangers! The sad ending of the story is that one of the poisonous snakes that inhabit the US found its way to their driveway one day after, and bit one of their children.

I have no absolutes that the story is legit, but would that wife’s actions come to our own mothers’ hearts?  Yes.  As women we could reason lots of things for the safety of our children, ourselves, our home or situation.
But when does our human reasoning become a lack of trust in a sovereign God?
When we step up with a plan that goes against what God has said.

Fear + My plan Image result for not equal sign  Obedience

Just last week I read a great example of this in Genesis 12.  Let me summarize:

God had sent Abraham and Sarah on the journey to the Promise Land.  When they got to Egypt, Abraham became fearful of losing his life for the sake of his beautiful wife.  Soooo, he came up with a plan!  He told Sarah to lie and tell the Pharaoh that she is his sister.  Sarah complied and Pharaoh took her into his palace.  Not longer after, God sent plagues to Pharaoh because of this lie Abraham was living.  When the Pharaoh approached Abraham, he scolded him for lying to him and told him to take Sarah and hit the road (go their way!).

Um, excuse me, consider what Abraham was afraid of (losing his life because of Sarah).

Did it happen?

No.

When Pharaoh learned that she was married to him, he told them to GO!

Like I shared yesterday, when we worry about things instead of praying about them, we ruin a good day!  That’s exactly what Abraham did.  But he also took things a step further by coming up with his plan to fix the problem!  The missionary story I shared at the beginning of this post was the same example.

Now, let’s stop and ask ourselves:

  • Are we being disobedient to clear commands God has given in His Word because of a fear we have?
    Are we showing a lack of trust in a loving, merciful God by our actions?
  • Are we keeping ourselves or anyone else from obeying God due to our fears?

 

Abraham reminds me that all of us can easily fall into the trap of conniving instead of confiding.

Let me share a recent example of  this from my own life.  The flu is pretty rampant in our part of the country right now and it’s showing itself present in our church.  I have 14-month old grandsons who attend our nursery every Sunday.  When I learned that church members were dealing with the flu, my heart jumped into my throat and I immediately thought about sending a text to our daughter to consider keeping the boys home from Sunday services.  But immediately after, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart –

Can you not trust me to take care of them?  Even a sickness, if they got it, would not be overlooked by My care.  Trust me.

Yes, the flu was evident at my church on Sunday, and my grandsons were there, but instead of fretting and jumping into action, I prayed to a God Who is in that nursery and is aware of their needs.  I can trust Him.

So can you, my friend.

We need to lay our plans down, and then fall down…down on our knees and confide in our merciful, loving God Who wants what is good for us and for our families.

Are you at work trying to take care of everyone and everything, or are you trusting an omnipotent, omniscient God for everything that touches your life?

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Prayer · trust · worry

How To Ruin the Trip of a Lifetime or a Day At Home

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This time last year I was on a 15-day trip to Israel!  This was my second time to have the privilege of going, so I knew what was in store…well, sort of.

Our first trip to the Holy Land was great for the most part.  It did involve rain…lots of it and some pretty cold weather, oh and also a night in a room with little heat.  I loved being there, and was so thankful for the opportunity to see where my Savior lived and ministered and died for me.  However, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to make the trip again.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling.
  • The weather was nasty at times.
  • It’s an expensive trip.
  • Been there, done that.

Then my husband got the wonderful idea to take some of our church people over as a group.  I hated for him to go “alone,” so, I knew “his” trip back meant “our” trip back. I prayed about whether or not to go along the second time. Then all my reasons for not going again began to be crossed off the list.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling. We were traveling with a bunch of our dear friends! Even the flight would be fun!
  • The weather was nasty at times. The weather prediction was pretty fabulous!
  • It’s an expensive trip. My husband’s trip was paid because he was the leader of the group. The Lord provided my expenses as we saved.
  • Been there, done that. A second trip would bring new, greater understandings.

Spite all those answers, I worried.  I worried about the safety of the flight.  I worried we might not come home.  I worried about traveling home on Inauguration day and protesters…on and on my anxious thoughts went. Finally one day the Lord convicted me of this sin of worry.  I was not trusting Him.  I confessed and asked others to whom I had spilled my fretting to forgive me.  I was now ready to travel!

We prayed much, packed our suitcases to bulging, and headed to Israel!  That trip was one of the best experiences of my life!  It was FULL of blessings – beautiful weather, floating in the Dead Sea, luxurious hotels, a perfect boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and getting to do it all with my husband, son-in-law and dear friends.  My prayer partners/friends and I prayed on the Sea of Galilee, in the Mount of Olives, at the Garden Tomb and the Road to Emmaus.  We laughed.  We cried.  We read God’s Word and marked up our Bibles.  We sang. We ate falafel. We shopped.  We snapped hundreds of pictures and we came home with our hearts so full we thought they would burst.

But that trip was nearly ruined.

How?

Simply by my worry.

 

Those worries could’ve cause me to ditch it all and stay home and miss those blessings!  Thank the Lord I didn’t carry it to that extreme.  But even continued fretting would’ve kept me from enjoying every minute while I was there.

I’m grateful for the turning point before we left when I let it go.  It kept me from ruining it all.

None of my fears happened.

None of them!

Have you ever worried about something so much that it changed your plans, or you took the matter into your own hands instead of making it a matter of serious prayer? Have you ever worried so much that it overcame your thoughts during the day and into the night?  It might have been a relatively minor situation, but it plagued you.

Little worries can turn into big mistakes when we take over.

Little worries can ruin big plans.

Little worries can rob us of today’s giant blessings.

But this will only happen if we allow it!

The Lord commands us instead ~

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Reign in your worries and pray about them, giving every detail to the Lord Who is in control of every inch, every second, every detail of it!  Pray rather than letting worry ruin the trip of a lifetime or a simple day at home!

What worry is taking over your thoughts?  What imaginations are running wild in your heart? Will you allow it to ruin the blessing of a lifetime or even this day?  It’s your choice.

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Christian Life · trials · trust

Lean In

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Is there anything more precious than having a sweet baby lean against you?  And if you get the blessing of rocking them to sleep, you know when they’ve drifted off because they become as limp as a forgotten houseplant and they lean all their weight on you.

Recently I’ve heard several people use the term, “Lean in” when referring to trusting in the Lord during a hard time.

I love that!

It conjures up in my mind the picture of that little baby leaning in so hard that they rest completely on the one holding them.  Isn’t that exactly what we need to do with our dear Savior?

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying today, but can I encourage you to lean in with all your heart, your emotion, your baggage, and burdens?  Lean in until you feel your weight being transferred to Him.  Allow the Lord to carry you and your struggles today, and then enjoy the rest that will follow!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him (lean on Him), and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5,6

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trust

Dealing With Sudden Fear

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In light of the recent horrific shootings in Las Vegas, I’d like to re-post something I wrote a couple years ago.  I’ve seen normally “chatty” bloggers and You Tube channel hosts at a loss of words as a result of this tragedy.  These are frightening days, aren’t they?  How should we deal with this kind of news?  I believe God’s Word answers that question in Proverbs 3.  Read on and be encouraged to trust God in these troubling days!

The phone rings and it’s the doctor’s office, calling to give the results of the lab work that was recently done.

Sudden Fear.

Your teenage daughter has a painful look in her eyes.  She has seemed distant and removed from you and the Lord in recent weeks.  She asks to speak with you.

Sudden fear.

Your boss sends an email telling you he’d like to speak with you at your earliest convenience.

Sudden fear.

You pick up the newspaper and read the headlines about yet another shooting where innocent people lost their lives at the hand of a crazed gunman.

Sudden fear.

There are hundreds of scenarios in which we could find ourselves filled with sudden fear – that terror that falls over us quickly due to some event in which we have no control.  You’ve been there, I’m sure.  We all have.  We weren’t really prepared for the news or the event. Maybe we didn’t handle those situations so well in the past.

But for those future moments, we can prepare ahead of time, simply by hiding a secret piece of ammunition on our person – it’s the Word of God.  Open up your heart and tuck this truth away:

 Be not afraid of sudden fear,
neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
 For the Lord shall be thy confidence,
and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Proverbs 3:25, 26

At that moment when the sudden terror wants to grab your heart, your emotions and your will, pull out the Truth that can enable you to handle this difficulty wisely and calmly.

  1. The Lord will be your confidence – Pray. You don’t know what to do, but He does!  He will show you the next step to take that will lead you to victory, rather than defeat. Turn to Him immediately and ask for His intervention and guidance.
  2. He’ll keep your foot – Rest.  He’ll not let you slip!  Remind yourself that the Lord will keep you safe and secure.  “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”   Anything that He allows to touch your life has come through His sovereign hands first.  You are still in His grip.

The best way to deal with anything is to be prepared.  The Lord has given us everything we need to keep us from sudden fear – the Truth of His presence and the help of His hand!  Don’t be afraid!

What sudden fear has you quaking?  Pray and rest in these Truths today!

Lovingly,

Christian growth · Christian Life · trust

This Trial Is Killing Me!

Not long ago I had the blessing of a lovely summer afternoon in the swimming pool. I grabbed a pool noodle, sat on top of it and floated and drifted a couple of hours away. Had I worn a device to track my exercise, it would have only marked my steps into the water. There was little effort or difficulty in my afternoon. It was leisure that I loved, though it had little bodily profit!

A day later I saw a You Tube video of a woman showing how to make the pool a place of exercise. With the guidance of a coach, she did several kinds of swimming strokes, making long, difficult laps the length of the pool. She kicked, bobbed, and pushed her way through a regime that literally took her breath away. She did everything the coach was telling her to do. At one point she said to him, “You’re killing me!” It was hard work but it was truly profitable to her!

The contrast of those two pool adventures reminds me of how life is for the believer. There are times when we float along, enjoying the refreshment of God’s grace, yet we aren’t stretched or changed by those careless hours. It’s in the time of trial when we find ourselves kicking, bobbing and pushing; clinging to God’s instruction and listening to His voice that change really comes. When the bodily movements are not resisting the Lord and what He wants to do, it will truly benefit our Christian life!

Proverbs 12:28 says,

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

God knows that we need seasons of difficulty to strengthen our prayer muscles. Our heart muscles of faith in His Word may need to be greater. The very breathing in of our knowledge of His character may require stretching, so He brings resistance and difficulty. We may cry out, “You’re killing me!” because we’re tired. We want the straining and hardship to be over. We would rather be floating on a raft, gazing up at the clear sky, than being splashed in the face of our own weakness. But when we call out to the one in charge, our sovereign God, who loves us and wants us to grow and change, He comforts. He marks out a pathway of life – deep, strong, eternal life that is far better than the weak one we would choose if we might.

If you’re in the midst of the hard laps of trial right now, look beyond the poolside and see the change that will result if you listen to the One who is guiding you. He’ll know when it’s time to allow you to float again. And when you see your reflection shining back at you in the water, you can be sure that it will look so much more like Christ!

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