Posts tagged Fear
Believe God Is With You {DWITW 365}
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Are you dreading something or living in fear? Are you terrified of the future? Often times life’s circumstances bring us to places of great trepidation and uncertainty. Although we are not being pursued by a great nation such as Judah was in Isaiah 7 and 8, in some ways the spiritual warfare that we face is as real and foreboding. When we succumb to the enemy’s devices by meditating on and analyzing all the ins and outs of a situation, we are fighting against the Lord and His great grace over our lives. So often we, like Judah, listen to the report of our enemies and not what God is saying. We feel as though we are being conquered or terrorized by something or someone in our lives. We falter in our faith because we have our eyes on ourselves as the solution, rendering us unable to stand against the wiles of the enemy. God reminds us in Isaiah 7:9 that unless we stand on Him, we will not be able to stand at all:

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.”

How do we stand firm in our faith when we feel as though we are floundering? We grab hold of the Rock of our salvation! We anchor our hearts and minds on the One who condescended to our lowly estate in order that we may experience the power of His presence in our lives. We are ambassadors of Christ, made fit for royal service in our King’s great army. And yet, all too often we believe in the enemy’s strength more than in the power of our God - a God who moved heaven and earth to rescue us from darkness. God has ordained us and called us His own and we are to walk in newness of life. Many times that translates to laying down the old, worn path of worry, fear and anxiety and coming face to face with the living God, who by His mighty right arm has conquered all our foes! 1 Peter 2:9 confirms our position in His kingdom:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

There is a high call on our lives to proclaim the excellencies of Christ to a people who do not yet know Him. How can we do that if we are in bondage to fear and dread? There is no reason to be afraid or filled with dread of the future because Jesus is our great hope and He is victorious! He rescued us out of darkness! What are we doing running back to Egypt, walking those old paths of sin that we died to? We have believed the report of men over God. We are so prone to wander back to the old ruins of our life before Christ, where we believed that we were sovereign over our own lives.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
- Isaiah 7:14

Our culture spoon feeds us the demonic worldly ideology that we are to be independent and self sufficient. This ideology creates great barriers of unbelief that stand in the way of us viewing Christ as supreme in our lives. When we lose sight of God in our circumstances, we grow fearful and unbelief begins to propagate a whole host of lies in our minds. We are so quick to forget that God is with us. We must remind one another that we are not alone and we were never meant to do this alone but that God, in name and character, is with us. 

It was no coincidence that Isaiah was sent to prophesy to Judah immediately after he had seen the Lord (Isaiah 6). His assignment was to carry the true message that God IS with us to His people. They had believed the lie that their safety and security was dependent upon their own wits and strength, but God encouraged them with the hope of His condescension so that they would have faith and be able to stand in the face of great tribulation. Just the mention of His name, Immanuel, connotes a calming and quieting effect for God’s people. We have a peace that the world cannot offer, but we must continually remind one another that we are not alone. Jesus himself reminds us that we are not alone in John 14:25-29:

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” 

Jesus left the earth so that we could have access to Him 24/7! We must believe that He is with us and that knowledge will surely lead our hearts toward the path of peace. We must rejoice in the knowledge of this truth together, reminding one another daily so that our faith does not fail. It is essential to our daily lives that we walk in the mandate of Philippians 4:4-7 in order that our minds not be taken captive by the lie that we are on our own. We must believe that He is with us!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 4:4-7

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 Karen Savage wants to live in a world where Christ is Glorified. When she's not serving her family, you can find her serving others. Her favorite Scripture is John 15:7-8 ESV.

Days Like Grass {DWITW 365}
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Sleep has been an elusive companion as of late. My mind thrums with growing to-do lists and worries of if I am trying hard enough or accomplishing enough, fearful something will be forgotten over the course of the night. It turns out that amid the worry and fear, I have indeed forgotten much. I have forgotten who God is and, subsequently, who I am. It is in the midst of my forgetfulness that I have been both confronted and comforted by the words of David found in Psalm 103.

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

‭‭- Psalms‬ ‭103:8-13‬

In the face of God’s steadfast and unwavering love, I realized I have been longing for control rather than the peace of His presence and trying to rest in assurances I can hold in my hands rather than those I can hold in my heart. I am putting my fear and attention in the wrong place. I have foolishly been fixating on what-if’s rather than what is. What is, is the Lord. Though circumstances have changed, God has not. He is the same loving and fierce and gracious and holy Creator that He has always been and always will be.

In our readings for DWITW 365, Psalm 103 falls between the death of Saul and the anointing of David as king over all of Israel. David exhorts his soul to praise the Lord for His merciful forgiveness, His unrelenting love, and His ultimate kingship over all creation. In a time when David’s thoughts could have been consumed by the struggle around him or the prospect of resolution, he turns his focus to the everlasting — to the God that sustains him, to the God that made him, to the God that loves him.

God has declared a forever love for temporary people

In verses 15 and 16 David reminds us of our temporal nature, “as for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”  It is this innate transience of humanity juxtaposed to the eternal nature of God’s affection that coaxed my mind upward. God has declared a forever love for temporary people. God’s love for us has existed and will continue to exist beyond the limits of our lifetimes. 

My days are short and measured. They have a number to them, though I do not know what it may be. I can spend these days encumbered by anxious planning and preparation or I can fight to look beyond the ebb and flow of chaos. My surety lies not in where my feet fall but in where my mind and heart are planted. They need to be deeply rooted in the truth and love of God, in the place that cries out, “bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” (Psalm 103:1-2)

As we carry on into the week ahead, I pray that like David we would call to mind the benefits our God has been so gracious to extend, that His goodness would press us to praise, that His peace would quell our hidden fears, and that our hearts would be ignited by the remembrance of His steadfast love.

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Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:
“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV