Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Funny Thing About Fear...


The funny thing about fear, is that when you walk in it, it often creates the very thing you were afraid would happen.

 

For example:

Fear: you are afraid that the people you love will leave you

Fear’s Response: you either smother them and become clingy and needy or you act aloof and uncaring, thinking you are protecting your heart and playing hard to get.

Fear’s Result: Any healthy person, and most people in general will leave you if you behave this way.  Only a co-dependent will allow you to be clingy and smother them.  And only an insecure person will keep pursuing friendship with you if you are never available.

The truth: Some people will leave you.  Sometimes even if you do everything right and love them well and treat them well, people will still leave.  That’s the thing about people and freedom.  But it is still better to have at least loved your best and have no regrets, because some people will stay and you’ll have a beautiful relationship unmarred by fear and regret.

 

Now I want to say something, and I know I am hitting on a touchy subject, but I feel this is important.  I am not offended if you disagree, and I am willing to listen to comments. 

In the wake of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been voices shouting louder to make gun bans, and I understand why.  People are hurting – how could this happen to our precious children.  People are asking why – what can we do to stop this from happening again.  But I feel strongly that the gun restrictions proposed by citizens, while often with the intent of protecting, are misled responses to fear. 

Fear: If we keep allowing guns to be legal then more school shootings could take place.

Fear’s Response: We ban the sales of certain types of firearms, heavily tax ammo, and push for keeping campuses weapon free.

Fear’s Result: Unfortunately, criminals and mentally distraught persons are more likely to break the law, so they will find access to weapons and cause destruction.  However, now they know where the good guys are unarmed and can cause mass damage with no one able to stop them.

The truth: There are people who are not well and who are intent upon causing harm.  People who want to get a message out and want revenge will go to the places that will get the most attention.  This can happen again – but if there are people who value life, who have integrity, who care for their community, and have been taught the proper use of weapons have access to them or may conceal carry – they can fight back against this evil.  Disarming the population does not stop bad things from happening – it just keeps the good guys from being able to stop it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In Light of Today


“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of sound mind.” -2 Tim. 1:7

Many, including the president, have said this is a wake-up call.  Changes must be made.  But is it gun-control laws???  Is it better treatment for mental illness???  Is it higher security in schools???  Arguments will be made from all sides, but I think we need to wake up to the cry of ever increasing evil ravaging our homeland.

“Ever since the time of your ancestors you have despised my laws and failed to obey them.  Return to Me and I will return to you,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. – Malachi 3:7

God’s Word, His Way is the way of life, of hope, of prosperity even.  We have sat by too long and watched helplessly as our nation has turned away from the Truth and Righteousness that is in God’s Word…and what fruit has it bourne? – this lawlessness, evil, disgusting tragedy after tragedy…our precious children, innocent victims of this heinous crime.

God’s ways are good.  He says time and time again that if we will turn our hearts to Him and if we will turn from our evil ways that He will hear our cry and heal our land.  WAKE UP!!!!  Dear hearts, RISE UP!!!  Stand for the Truth that is in the Word of God, it endures, it is tested and proved to bring about health, life, healing, wholeness.  It is not legalism, it is not bondage, it is life in way that God created us to live it. 

 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Testing God

"Prosperity Preachers" or "Seed Faith" doctrine some call promotes the idea that you give to get.  A farmer plants a seed expecting a harvest...that's true, but I think they might have missed the point. 

We give, in obedience to what God actually asked us to do.  Not what you feel like, and definitely not what others think you should be doing.  Give in obedience to God, with thanksgiving for what He's given you, and TRUSTING that HE WILL PROVIDE ALL YOUR NEEDS.

I can testify to this because for the last two years God has asked us to give above our tithe to help our church build to reach the growing needs coming in to the House. 

(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term tithe – it is 10% of the “first fruits” or for us gross income that we give to our local church to meet the needs of the church and pastors that feed us as well as pouring out to the needs of the community – a “storehouse” so to speak.  For more information – check out Robert Morris’ book “The Blessed Life” – it will rock your world!) 

At the time Scott was working so much overtime he was only home one evening every third day, and we were barely making ends meet.  But we both felt that God asked us to match our tithe amount in a second offering.  Ouch.

Since that time, Scott has worked less overtime, we have literally had less income coming in, Scott has cut our grocery budget by more than 50%, and yet somehow we have had more money.  The grocery budget has gone further – we’ve eaten better and done more in these two years than the years before we were barely scraping by, and on less.  Scott and I have grown closer to God, closer to each other, and built good relationships with our kids.

A couple of weeks ago this was really tested. 
$Net Paycheck - $tithe - $additional offering - $mortgage payment = $10

$10 my friends…yikes! We have little mouths to feed.  We need diapers and wipes.  We need gas money for Scott to get to work!

In a moment of fear we only tithed 10% of our net paycheck.  But that night we were both convicted; we really felt that this was a test – did we really believe that God would provide for us if we obeyed Him? 

God even says that we can test Him in the tithe (Malachi 3:10), that if we obey Him in this that He will pour out on us.
Well…we did.  And literally, all that weekend things we have had listed for sale for months sold in two days – one right after another (we tithed on those too ;).  We were able to make a two hour trip away to visit family.  We made a meal for friends.  And we never even ate roman noodles – we actually had no food go to waste because we ate our leftovers, and they were good.  And we always had cash in our pockets and gas in our vehicles – lights on, heater on, etc.
No, we did not win the half a billion jackpot - although that seemed like really great timing, but God provided for us; He poured out on us, and not just financially, in relationship, in abundance of energy, in abundance of hope and joy, and in renewal of faith.

“Prosperity preachers” as they are called, will tell you that you must give a lot so that God can make you rich.  But sometimes I think they might have mixed up this scripture with their own desire for wealth.  I don’t see that scripturally. 

But that also doesn't mean that God wants us to be poor - He says that we will have an abundance for every good work and that the joy of the Lord is our strength and joy is a fruit of the spirit.  We are not called to a life of poverty. I know both in scripture and my own experience that when you obey what God tells you to do, that He will provide for your needs and give you back things of much more worth than just money in the bank.  He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine.  He is in love with us, and when we obey Him, He will make us whole, healed, and fill us with greater joy than we have ever known.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sometimes I can be a Real Jerk Face...

We all want friendships.  We pray for good friends, we pray for close friends, and we try to be a good friend to others.  But when it comes down to it, we so often are afraid of the intimacy, the vulnerability required to build a new friendship.

By we, I mean, me, of course, and I suspect that perhaps a few of you can relate.  But I realized that for me, when I realize that I have begun to care for someone, it sends almost like a panic through my veins.  Oh no, I am suddenly vulnerable to them...and what if I am too much or not enough, or what if they don't like me and they are only being polite.  Seriously, I am an adult woman - and my poor husband has to hear these concerns processed out loud. 

Recently I realized, that, even worse, in attempt to try to be casual, and not seem too excited (or lame) I sometimes inadvertently insult the person/people or try not to be as available to them.  Now realistically, if I'm them and this girl is insulting me and is aloof all the time - I'm not going to think she is very nice or dependable, so do I want to be friends with her? No.

The thing is that I like encouraging others, and those closest to me will tell you that they usually feel awesome around me because words of affirmation are my love language.  And I have to be careful to keep my priorities in order, because I have a tendency to drop everything when someone I care about needs help...I swoop, you know.  But that isn't always necessary.

Any way, but in fear I actually create a cycle where I push away the very people I care about because I'm afraid they won't like me, but they don't like me because I'm acting like a jerk face.  Ugh.

I just don't want to be used, you know?  You know!  Or as my sister and I like to say (thank you Tipper from "What Happens in Vegas") - "You know why!!!"

So I try to be cool, aloof, harsh, judgemental even, and you know what - it's ugly.  And it's even lamer than being really kind and considerate and getting walked over, because, let's call a spade a spade here - it's cowardice. 

But the truth is, when I trust that God loves me unconditionally, will never use me, will always uphold me in His mighty hand, and has got my back - then I'm free to just love others in a way that is truly loving, and let their response be their own. 

God does love us.  He loves you.  He'll never let you down.  And when you love others well, nomatter how they behave, you sow a seed of friendship that will reap a harvest more bountiful than you can imagine.

And fnally, I'll just go ahead and appologize to anyone I've kind of been a jerk-face to - I'm sorry I don't always know how to handle my insecurities, but God's working on me.  Please be patient.  There's a good heart in here (points to herself).  there's a good heart in there too (points to your heart).

Happy December 1 everyone!