Facing The Fog

There’s something eerie about driving down the back roads after midnight. Especially on those nights when the fog hovers low, blanketing the road ahead. This is an image used often in horror movies to evoke a specific aboding atmosphere. With your vision obscured, fear naturally emerges deep in the recesses of your mind.
When was the last time you were completely overcome by fear? I don’t mean you saw a snake, panicked and took off running. I’m talking about a moment when the world finally stopped moving, in bed hoping to sleep, yet hundreds of unanswered questions flood the mind. No answers in sight. Only one thing is certain. I’m so scared.

Many people to find themselves frozen in a fog of fear. It appears without warning clouding our mind and smothering our confidence. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and when fear grabs our focus it can be overwhelming. We remember past mistakes and fear repeating them. We are aware of our many flaws and worry we’re not good enough. What if we just flat out fail? 

What do you do when the face the fog? How do you overcome it? The answer to that question is both devastating and yet uplifting. As long as you are trying to answer the unanswerable questions of tomorrow, you will never overcome the fear. Too often we find ourselves looking within ourselves to clear the fog when the solution to fear comes from a shifting perspective that has nothing to do with you. We must upward lift our eyes and remember, we are not the source of our own strength.

Part of what makes the Christian life such an adventure is who we are in covenant with. We serve the King of kings, the God of all creation. We get to spend time every day in the presence of God! Try explaining that next time your friends are boasting of their big weekend exploits. “Oh, yea? I spent time with Creator of life, He spoke to me. No biggie.”

God created everything out of nothing and He is on our side! Why do we fear? He can certainly take our past and use it for our good. Our primary problem is that too often we make God in our own image, and we make Him far, far too small. Today, let us remind ourselves of WHO GOD IS!

Isaiah 40:12, 15, 22, 26, 28 (NLT)12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?

15 For all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.

22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Romans 8:31 (ESV) If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Psalm 56:11 (ESV) In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

God is so much bigger than our minds are capable of imagining, let along comprehend. Furthermore, we are the apex of His creation and His love for us is unfathomable. He is on our side. He is our strength. What have we to fear? 

Next time the fog threatens to tear you away from the threshold of opportunity, put away the questions and remember how BIG God truly is. You might be facing the fog today, but have enough trust to let His light guide you. You may only be able to see a few feet in front of you, but God sees it all and He will not lead you astray. Be bold, move forward with confidence and unwavering trust in our mighty God!

Mind Game

Have you ever felt distracted? You’re supposed to be focused on something of great importance, yet your mind is wandering, drifting away with your head in the clouds rather than on the task at hand. The great challenge of every Christian is the battle to bring our minds into full the submission of Jesus.

This is so great a struggle because we have a natural way of thinking, before Christ we all were thinking, living, functional humans, but now we are called to live differently. Actions and attitudes that were natural before Jesus are now being revealed by His Spirit as sinful and He is calling us to repent and change.

Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

A good test of how you are doing spiritually is examining where your mind tends to naturally drift to. Do you naturally think about the Kingdom of God? Your prayer list? People who have needs that God could help you meet? Do you think about worshipping Jesus and growing closer to Him?

Most of the time our mind doesn’t naturally drift to those things, but rather the issues of our daily life and many times our mind would quicker drift to sinful things than holy things. The bad news is that thinking on sinful things inevitably leads to death, but the good news is we don’t have to allow our mind to stay that way. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can take every thought into captivity and renew our mind to think on Godly things! (2 Corinthians 10:5, Romans 12:2)

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NKJV)Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

I believe God is calling this generation back to holiness. In a world that is becoming increasingly comfortable with sin, God is searching for those willing to put to death all forms of sinful activity and truly pursue Him whole heartedly. Praise God that the as surely as He calls us, He is faithful to provide us with the power and resources to fulfill that call!

John 6:35 (NLT) Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus is our supply! When we abide in Him and seek our nourishment from Him we will have all we need to be satisfied. We will have all we need to stand on the truth of His word and proclaim the gospel in our community. We will have the power to turn our minds over to His Spirit, rather than be dominated by sinful thoughts.

Romans 8:12-14 (NLT) Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

I love the part that says we have no obligation to do what our sinful nature urges us to do. The enemy wants to lie and make you believe that you are forever a slave to your own desires, but through the power of God you have the power to fully put to death that sinful nature inside of you. You can be free from that addiction, from that attitude, from those words that slip out.

Whatever struggle you find yourself dealing with, know that you can be free. Don’t just allow your mind to drift to whatever comes natural. Turn every thought over to the Lord today and bring them into submission to the lordship Jesus.

Don’t Play With Fire!

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Have you ever been told not to play with fire? What did you do? If you’re like me, I bet you played with it anyway! Who hasn’t melted that plastic spoon over the candle during a Banquet. Fire is fun! Fire is awesome. Fire is also incredibly dangerous and can be a source of great destruction. Are you afraid of fire? Probably not, but most of us eventually come to a place of respecting the fire and treat it with careful consideration.

It is interesting to me that scripture refers to God as a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:20 (NKJV) For our God is a consuming fire.

Leviticus 9:24 (NLT) Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.

I share this scripture because it so beautifully depicts God as an all consuming fire. I love how the people were filled with joy, yet they also fell down on their faces in reverence to God.

This is to me, a picture of what the fear of the Lord should look like. The fear of the Lord, is something that has often baffled me. Because obviously, God is love! The Bible even tells us that we shouldn’t have a Spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). So I never fully understood scriptures telling us we should have a fear of the Lord.

Psalm 111:10 (NLT) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

Psalm 33:8 (NLT) Let the whole world fear the Lordand let everyone stand in awe of him.

Surely it doesn’t mean that we should be trembling with fear of our loving God? Or maybe it does Matthew tells us we should fear the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell! (Matthew 10:28). That’s pretty terrifying.

It is when I put it in the context of fire that it makes sense to me. We shouldn’t walk around terrified of God, but like the fire we should treat God and His presence with great care.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

This is why I believe that it is the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom. Like fire we know that God is not something to be played around with. We accept His free gift of salvation, but now we must turn from our sins. We must approach His presence with awe and reverence. We should seek to live in such a way that honors Him completely.

Today is a great time to ask yourself if you’ve lived your life with a healthy fear of the Lord. Are you seeking to live in a way that truly honors him? Not just in avoiding sin, but in the attitudes you have and the way you speak to people?

Maybe throughout this post you’ve realized you don’t fear the Lord in the proper way. Don’t be discouraged, simply ask God to help you develop a renewed fear of the Lord and remember….

Don’t play with fire.

The Battle Between…

Recently I’ve realized my faith isn’t as strong as I thought it was. That statement isn’t an easy one to make. We have perceptions of who we are and occasionally we have difficult moments where we truly see through our own web of self deception and see reality. Too often we only see our intentions and overlook our lack of action.

That’s the key right there, because to have faith is to know without doubt that what you believe will come to pass. When we are pursuing God’s will for our lives, we should live boldly with no doubt that our plans will succeed, because God is on our side. If you have this kind of faith then ACTION will be the natural byproduct. It’s easy to act on what we know, it’s hard to act on what we doubt.
GettyImages-489748108_master.0.jpgI will sit in a chair with confidence, because I know it will hold me up, but if you ask me to walk across a bridge made of  glass, forget it! I will be filled with fear and as a byproduct be filled with inaction. Frozen.

Frozen is where I have found myself on more than one occasion. I fully believe God’s ability to accomplish what He has put in my heart and in my life, yet many times when it comes down to it, I am filled with doubt.

Things don’t always work out the way we expect, these are the moments that test the genuineness of our faith. It is the trying times, when circumstances seem to tear apart our dreams that we will either stand firm on the promises of God or give way to fear.

In the latter half of Mark 5 we see such a moment develop. Jarius, a leader in the local synagogue came to Jesus full of faith that Jesus could heal his dying daughter. I am sure he was in a hurry and was frustrated by the great crowds following Jesus. As a father, worried over his dying daughter he must have been feeling very anxious when the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus and he stopped to interrogate the crowd.

The woman confessed that it was her who had touched Him and Jesus told her, in verse 34 “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” Jesus knew she had faith because of the corresponding action, she fought her way through the thick throngs of people and was just barely able to touch the bottom of His robe.

Jarius must have felt encouraged, again seeing Jesus has the power to heal, and full of faith that Jesus would do the same for his daughter.

Then everything changed.

Mark 5:35-36  (NLT) While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.  But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

We know how the story ends. Jesus goes to the little girl and performs a great miracle, but what if Jarius had listened to his companions? What if he had set his sights completely upon his physical reality instead of having faith in a spiritual reality? It would have been easy to listen to this news and completely despair, but Jesus intervened.

There will be times we have to choose to look past our fears, look past our doubts and look to Jesus, trusting in Him completely. David understood this.

Psalm 38:13-15  (NLT) Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All day long they plan their treachery. But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak. I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O LordYou must answer for me, O Lord my God.

I want to encourage you today, don’t listen to the negative voices that would have you believe your dreams are dead. Be like David and choose not to hear them and definitely don’t respond. Instead wait on the Lord.

Continue to have faith that He will make a way.