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Archive for January, 2011

Release from Fear

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

Early in our marriage, my husband and I moved into a rental house out in the country.  There was a house on the other side of the road about 1/8 of a mile west of us, and another on our side of the road about a mile west of us.  Behind a couple of fields there was a home as well, but all of these houses—though inhabited—could not see our house nor could we see theirs from inside our home.  I had never lived in the country before this that I could remember, and had never been so completely separated from other human contact.

My first big adjustment was loneliness.  And I was working on that when my husband had his first evening meeting (without me), leaving me alone out there in the dark.  And it was really, REALLY dark out there!  I don’t remember ever actually meeting fear face to face before this time, and I dealt with it by trying to keep my mind occupied, and plenty of lights on in the house.

Then the day came when the news said that a whole family had been murdered in their mobile home not too many miles from where we lived by an escaped convict.  And I was suddenly a mess.  I mean a real mess!

I’m sure Rick suspected some fear, but I think I was fairly successful in hiding for quite a few months the extent of my terror.  But each time he left, it got worse until one night I had to go to the bathroom and I turned all the lights out and crawled to the bathroom on my stomach to avoid low windows.  As I sat in the bathroom crying, I knew I had to get help.

After crawling back to the front room, I began to pray in earnest.  I had prayed before—but I had been praying for God’s protection from that escaped prisoner or any other foe.  That night I began to pray for God to take the fear away from me.  And do you know what?  He did it!  He so totally removed fear from me, that people sometimes think I am almost careless.

One passage that has been very real for me is Psalm 91:3-8 which reads:  “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”

That incident was over 35 years ago, and still I know His perfect peace!  He has promised He will never leave me nor forsake me and I expect to remain fearless until I meet Him face to face!  And oh!  What perfect joy that will be!

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Praising

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;

it is fitting for the upright to praise him.

Praise the Lord with the harp;

make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully, and shout for joy.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;

he is faithful in all he does.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Pslam 33:1-5)

 

God loves our praise.  He wants it because He knows that when we praise Him, we are giving credit where credit is due.  And there is always plenty for which to praise Him.  Even in bad times we can praise Him that He cares and is watching and will see us through.  And in good times, well, how can we NOT praise Him?

Praise and rejoice, my friends, until your heart bursts with His goodness, for He alone is deserving of our praise and He alone is worthy of glory.  Praise His glorious name!

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This morning in my quiet time I continued my reading in Psalm.  One verse in particular stood out to me and I am eager to share it with others.  It is found in Psalm 32, verse 6.  In the NIV (my personal favorite version) it reads:  “Therefore let everyone pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”

Let everyone pray to you while you may be found…this makes me realize the importance of establishing a close relationship with our heavenly Father, and not just waiting until we have no other resource but Him.  When we are holding His hand on a daily basis, walking with Him and conversing with Him constantly, our trust will be strong and secure and we won’t have to suffer as those that have no hand to hold.  His peace will be part of our lives and our lifestyle!

Early in our marriage, my dear husband taught me how to make God’s Word part of my life; how to hear God speak to me through His word and how to learn from its teaching.  It’s the best gift he could have ever given me.  To what he showed me, I personally added journaling alongside it, to have a frame of reference and a way to look back through the years and see the things God has taught me and from whence I have come.  This verse makes me see the result of our practice—in a nutshell!

When I think of other friends (earthly friends) I have to realize that they, like me, are fallible.  There are times when their own needs must (of course) come before mine.  Times also when they don’t really see my very heart and understand what I cannot put into words.  But my loving Father and Friend knows my heart even better than I do myself.  He is constant.  He is true.  He is tender and gentle, but yet He is strong.  There is no one in the world that loves me like He does.  And when the mighty waters rise…well, I am secure in Him and I have no worries at all!

My God is SO good!!!

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In his message this past Sunday our pastor used an example from one of his officers when he was in the military.  The phrase used was intended to let them know they must be alert and keep watch.  The phrase was simply:  “Lean forward in the Foxhole.”  This is a very pertinent command for each of us as we live our daily lives, for if we snooze—even briefly—the enemy of our souls will somehow catch us unaware.  (You snooze, you lose!)

The scripture passage from Sunday’s message that has been working through my head and heart this week is in the book of Mark, chapter 13, verses 32-37.  I’ve read this passage several times this week with renewed emphasis on staying alert.  In the NIV (my personal preferred version) it reads:

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guardBe alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away:  He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone:  ‘Watch!’”

Do you notice how many times we are told to watch, or be on guard or to be alert?  The emphasis, I believe, is not to cause fear, but readiness (and obedience).  We must ‘lean forward in the foxhole’ and live our lives in readiness:  readiness to serve, to answer, and yes, to meet our maker, because we do not know the day or hour and it is imperative that we are ready!

And do you know what the result of readiness actually is?  It’s not fear, but peace!  We will have no need to fear when we know we are living in obedience.  And with peace, comes joy!  And it doesn’t get any better than that!  God is SO amazing and good!

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Pleasing God

My friend, DeeDee gave me an Amy Carmichael devotional book a little while ago and I am really enjoying sharing in Amy’s thoughts and her walk with God.  What an amazing woman she was!  Anyway, the book has a short meditation for each day of the year (that was taken from her journals), and I have been ending my quiet time with the Lord each day by reading her little thought for that day.  What a fun little journey it has been so far!

Today, part of her meditation is this:  (and I quote…)

“Have you noticed that if you go to sleep with the thought of Him whom your soul loveth, you waken—at least often it is so—with some little word from Him, a verse from His Book, or a hymn, or just a simple word that tells you nothing new, but somehow helps.

“’The only thing that matters is to please Me’—that was the word that woke me a few days ago, and it has not gone away.  When the thought of the things that I cannot do comes and tries to trouble me, this little simple word comes at once.  The other things seem to matter.  I often think they do matter.  But they are as though they did not matter in comparison with pleasing our Lord Jesus.”  (end quote)

I’ve been pondering this thought today and finally decided to share it with you all.  It has really, really helped me put my life, my activities, my worries, my cares into perspective.  It’s just so true.  Nothing does matter but that I love and please my Lord.  And then there’s the gift part of this, because if I focus my life on pleasing Him, I will find more joy than I could have ever found when striving for it!  Now, isn’t that just like our God?!

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