worry

From Panic to Poison to Prayer

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Now that September is here, we’re all thinking about fall’s upcoming blessings.  For me, that refers not as much to Pumpkin Spice, but to the events and activities that this season will bring – and there are lots of them!

A few weeks ago when I looked at the calendar’s “red marks,” indicating service opportunities and personal responsibilities, I could feel the panic button in my heart getting slapped on! That’s not a good thing.

Continue reading “From Panic to Poison to Prayer”

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

Fear · Marriage · worry

Family Friday – Be All In!

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Years ago I remember walking along a path in which there was absolutely no light.  I had no cell phone flashlight in my pocket to aid my faltering steps.  Therer was no moonlight or glowing porch bulb that might remove the terror of my feet. I found myself grappling along, inch by inch, down a concrete stairway and sidewalk in which I made every step cautiously and with hesitation.  It was as though my toe would move forward and the rest of my body hesitated to follow, due to fear of what was ahead!

Fear can lead to lots of miserable things in our lives, but it can do the same in relationships.  Let’s think about what fear in marriage can do. If a wife is afraid that her marriage might not make it, it can keep that relationship from experiencing the freedom that a simple light would have given me that night on the dark path.  What might be the results in a marriage? Continue reading “Family Friday – Be All In!”

Freedom · Living in Bondage · Truth · worry

Getting Free From the Bondage of Lies

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For Mother’s Day this year my sweet husband bought me a floor lamp that caught my eye when we were visiting a Cracker Barrel on vacation.  It looks like a bird cage, and has the vintage vibe that I love.  What I didn’t know was that it was also going to be a useful tool to remind me of a truth I learned in Bible Study!

After having studied my lesson from Lies Women Believe, I looked at that bird cage in a different light (no pun intended!).  It brought back a reminder of a truth learned in Chapter one of the book.

Believing a lie that Satan puts in my mind is just like being bound up in a cage. Every lie is another rib, keeping me from being free and enjoying the life Christ died to give to me.  Just as Eve acted on the lie in the Garden of Eden and ate the fruit because she believed it would make her wise and like God, if I act on lies I believe, I too, will be held in bondage.

Christ said in John 8:32

Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

So how can we be free from the bondage of lies?

  1. Identify any areas in which we are living in bondage.  Some examples…
    1. Areas of emotional distress – Depression, anxiety, fear, or worry
    2. Bondage to physical sin – over-eating, not eating, over-exercising,
    3. Financial bondage
    4. Sexual sin
  2. Identify any lies you may be believing that are at the root of the bondage – Some examples might be…
    1. I’m too sinful for God to really love me.
    2. I’ll never be good enough for _____________.
    3. I’m too (fat, short, skinny, ugly, uneducated…) to be of any use to anyone.
    4. I could never do that thing that God wants me to do.
    5. My marriage will never get better.
    6. My family member will never be saved.
    7. I have the right to be happy and do what I want to do.
      The list could go on and on.  But you need to ask yourself,

      What keeps plaguing me?
      What do I keep wrestling with that crops up again and again?

  3. Replace the lies with the truth.  Find Scripture that refutes the lie.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

We all have a choice either to be free, due to the Truth of God’s Word, or to be held in bondage by believing and acting on Satan’s lies.

What lies are living in your heart?  What truth needs to counteract it?  

I would encourage you to memorize Philippians 4:8 if you don’t have it committed to memory yet!

Refresh yourself with Truth!

Denise

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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Prayer · worry

Take It To the Throne

 

phone notificationRecently I got a text message about a difficult issue concerning someone close to me.  Their situation was critical, and there was nothing any person could do to fix it.  I found myself so anxious and uptight. In tears, I expressed my concerns to my husband.  Right then he took me by the hands and stopped to pray.

Immediately, I felt the Lord’s peace come over my heart.

Gone were the anxious thoughts,

the worry

and the twisting of stomach and emotions.

With shame I asked the Lord to forgive me for not stopping myself from worrying and taking time to pray.

Why is it easier for us to go on with our fretting, rather than running to God’s Throne to find mercy and grace to help in our time of need?  Hebrews 4:16 I knew I was helpless to change the situation, yet I went about my tasks with my furrowed brow and fearful thoughts.

Even though the situation we prayed about wasn’t helped immediately, I was!  God’s peace flooded my heart as my husband took us to the Only place where help could be found!

I also knew I needed to help the sender of the text.  I called and said,

“I need to help you by taking your hand, too, and going to God’s Throne right now.  Can we pray together?”

If you’re anxious about ANYTHING today, can I remind you of what you probably already know?  You need to stop letting it weigh you down and simply go to God’s Throne in prayer and leave that burden with Him.  And if you know someone who is worried, or in a difficulty or a hopeless situation (your spouse, a friend, a child), do what my husband did for me and grab their hand and take them with you to the Throne of God.  What peace you will both find there!

Is there a burden you need to stop and pray about?  Is there someone who needs you to stop and pray with them?  

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