A Steady Heart in Bad News

WORD Art_Ps 112_7Our hearts can be steady and firm in times of trouble and bad news. Psalm 112:1 tells us we can have firm and steadfast hearts because we fear the Lord and take delight in His Word.  His Word and His Spirit encourage our hearts, renew our minds, realign our thinking and enable us to rest secure in the One who is in control of all things.  Instead of fixating on the problem we can fix our eyes on Jesus. He is near.  We do not need to fear, only trust Him because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, the One who was, who is and who is to come! Steadfast! Trustworthy! He will never leave or forsake us.

Fear Not…I AM

WORD Art_Isa 41_10Jehovah — I AM

God reveals himself as Yahweh/Jehovah —LORD.  It is the name by which He has been know from the creation of the world and it is His forever name. It is the proper name of God.  Yahweh/Jehovah translates “He who is”. When He says, I AM who I AM in Scripture, it means “He who is” and He subsists in a manner superior to all other beings!  He is the self-existent, all-sufficient One. He is the One who was, who IS and who will be. His name Yahweh/Jehovah, LORD, is often compounded with another word to describe the character of the Lord in greater detail.  For example, Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD who provides, in Genesis 22:14 or in Exodus 17:15, Jehovah-Nissi, the LORD is my banner.

One of my favorites is the contracted form of His name, Jehovah/Yahweh, which is JAH and means He IS!  (Note: In the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation, they print JAH whenever this contracted form of the Lord God appears.  It is found particularly in the Psalms).  So often I need that.  I need to know that He IS in this moment.  That He IS sovereign.  That He IS all-powerful.  That He IS unfailing love and so much more. There is great comfort for me in knowing God IS present in my every moment. I have nothing to fear! He will strengthen me.  He will uphold me.

Therefore, HE is to be the object and focus of my worship, because He alone is worthy.  And when I focus on the greatness of the great I AM, my preoccupation with self diminishes.  And the amazing thing is, instead of feeling alone, empty, discouraged and fearful, I end up being filled with the power of His presence.  I experience His joy, peace, love, acceptance and comfort in my life, and my heart and soul just SOAR!  I experience this because HE is!  He is present in this moment.

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The Fear of Losing Control

Do you feel fearful, anxious, stressed or panicked when you’re not in control or when things in life seem out of control?  Are you stressed or irritable when you don’t know the plan, the details and the outcome?  You may be dealing with a fear of losing control.  How does this fear often manifest itself in our lives?

  • Overprotective parenting
  • Demanding spirit
  • Completing, taking over or redoing tasks done by others
  • Obsessing over details
  • Inability to delegate
  • Wanting it done “my way”
  • Always want to be the one to drive?

For those of us who want to be in control, those situations where we find ourselves vulnerable and helpless can be terrifying. —Elyse Fitzpatrick

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(Photo Credit: funnyand.com)

In this series, we are considering how our choice in the “Gap Moment” can affect how we deal with fear:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl

As a reminder from last week, when we react instead of respond we allow our emotions and perception of the situation to have full reign and control.  This often leaves us frantic, panicked, stressed, anxious and worried.  But when we respond, in that “gap moment” we have the opportunity to turn to Jesus. We have the opportunity to stop the worry/fear cycle. We have the opportunity to rehearse who God is and what He has done.  We have the opportunity to renew our minds in the Truth of God’s Word. Responding is about placing our trust in God instead of giving full vent to our fears and imaginings.

This week we are looking at Jonah’s Gap Moments and how he handles the fear of losing control. Jonah has three Gap Moments.  Does he RESPOND or REACT?…continue reading

Fearful or Fearless?

fearless word in letterpress type

Would you describe yourself as fearful or fearless?

Fear Defined (Merriam-Webster)

  •  to be afraid of (something or someone)
  •  to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
  •  to be afraid and worried

“Fear is a felt reaction to a perceived danger.” —Elyse Fitzpatrick …continue reading

Fear: Do You Tend to React or Respond?

fear word in wood type

Fear…

: to be afraid of (something or someone)

: to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)

: to be afraid and worried

Fear… it’s not always something that consumes me. Sometimes it’s just a nagging thought. Many times it’s related to my children and trying to figure things out for them (even though they are all grown adults now). I noticed it recently because I found myself worrying about a situation and then seeking to work up a plan in my head on how to “fix the situation”. I was turning it over and over, looking at every angle, playing out various scenarios, running through the “what ifs” and “if onlys”. I know! I know! If you’ve been following my blog or been in one of my Bible studies, I’ve taught on this and shared truth from God’s Word on how to handle these situations. But the reality is, I still fall prey to worry in my life. I have to remind myself of what God has taught me in the past. I have to continually renew my mind in His Word and seek to live it out by His strength and power every single day!

…be transformed by the renewing of your mind… —Romans 12:2

This worry is rooted in fear. And that fear is really exposing an area of my heart and life where I don’t fully trust and believe God —an area where instead of fully relying upon Him, I’m trying to control the situation. This realization caused me to step back…to pause. …continue reading

Making Time to Invest!

Time to Invest

Today was the first day of school for many in our city.  I know many of you have begun your new school year as well.  My little ones have all flown the nest but I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts on starting your school year right.  Many times it’s hard to find a place in our busy family schedules for family devotions or time in the Word together.  But it’s so vitally important!  Not that I want to add one.more.thing to your “to do” list this fall, but this is the perfect time to begin a habit of getting into God’s Word with your children.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that our family used during our kids’ growing-up years.  Don’t make it complicated.  Don’t feel pressured.  Perhaps you can incorporate it as part of your morning routine with breakfast.  Or perhaps in the evening after dinner.  The point is to be intentional.  If you will commit to this discipline as a family, God will provide a way.

So here are three of my favorites:…continue reading

What’s Up on Get Real This Fall?

Well it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything.  I needed a little down time after the Summer SOAK series.  I really enjoyed spending the summer focusing on the attributes of God…basking in His presence and renewing my mind with the facts of WHO He is!  But I also expended a great deal of energy writing each day.  So I needed some time to reflect, process all I had learned, and to renew my body, soul and spirit.  Here’s what’s been happening in our family the last few weeks:

My youngest son, who is entering his senior year at North Greenville University, has spent his summer working with World Changers as part of their summer staff.  He was home for two weeks in May and then headed to Philadelphia, PA for the summer.  He’s been home for a week now and heads back to school next week.  So it’s been nice to spend some time with him and hearing about his summer experiences.

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We’ve also had a chance to visit with our baby granddaughters, Emma and Evelyn.  Both our daughter and son-in-law and our son and daughter-in-law had their “firsts” earlier this year.  We got a double dose of grandparenthood within one week!  It’s been awesome.  They both just turned six months old and we jump at any and every chance we get to see them.  They don’t live in our city, but both are a couple of hours away… in opposite directions.

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Up next… this Fall I’ll be sharing a series of devotional studies on the topic of FEAR!  Stay tuned for more info later this week.  Until then, I’d love to hear from you…what are the fears that consume, paralyze or plague you the most? 

How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! —Psalm 128:1 (HCSB)

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Day 49: A to Z Praise


Summer Soak Up

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! —Psalm 150:6

SOAK:

Today I’d like you to try an A to Z of praise.  Debbie Taylor Williams in her book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, shares an exercise of A to Z praise.  It’s a wonderful way to rehearse who God is and what He has done by listing an attribute for each letter of the alphabet and then pray those back to the Lord in praise.  It’s a great devotional exercise to do for family devotions or with a small group.  Just grab a sheet of paper and list the letter of the alphabet, A-Z, and then list an attribute, characteristic, or name of God for each one.…continue reading