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Overcoming Fear

How good is it to know that there are others out there trying to process the same kinds of things that you are?.

I was chatting with a friend the other day. She asked a question that I have considered many times over.

What was the question you ask?

“How in the world do people who do not know Christ personally, manage in their lives when everything comes unglued?”

The truth is; they don’t.

They get addicted to things like drugs, alcohol or work; and engage in all sorts of behaviors that dull, numb, or otherwise cover up their fear, and pain, and sorrow,

Our conversation put me in mind of a blog post that I made on October 3, 2011; about fear and how we face it without coming unglued.

I share it with you here.

Rocking Chairs and Tornadoes

Oct3

With all the news as of late about natural disasters, it is really difficult to

“Be not afraid.” or “Fear not.”

Some events in our lives may make us feel like we are in those disasters, even though physically, we may not be.

You know what I mean don’t you?

Are there things going on in your life that have the potential to strike sorrow and fear into you?

If we compared these disasters, what would we find they have in common?

I never gave this question much thought until I heard Nate Berkus recount his experience  of being swept away in a tsunami.                       

In the water with him were telephone poles, barbed wire, parts of trees and people’s homes …. and people.                                                   

All these things were swirling around him and beating his body, all the while he was fighting for his very life.

Is that how you feel right now?

Is the debris of your life beating you while you are struggling to keep your head above it all?

Are sorrow and fear and loss threatening to engulf you?

Do your circumstances feel like they are beating the life out of you?

   Consider this picture.

Your life is a tornado.

Debris is flying everywhere and the mayhem of it all is causing you mass confusion.

You are swirling around with this mess and there is no exit.

This is not too much of a stretch, if you are like many of the people you know.

The fact is, you may recognize some of those folks in the havoc, right along with you!

              Now push the pause button, and consider a different picture.

The tornado is still there.

The debris is still flying and the mayhem is still circling you.

HOWEVER

The difference is that YOU aren’t anywhere to be found in the mass confusion.

YOU are firmly planted in the middle of the eye of that storm.

YOU are seated in a rocking chair.

                                                 What does that mean?????

Firmly seated in a rocking chair, in the eye of the storm?

The peace of your Father God is planted deeply in your heart.

YOUR heart is full of the knowledge that He is aware and in total control.

To be sure, there still may be sorrow and loss, but YOU do not have to live with fear.

How do I know this?

First off, I’ve had my fair share of living in fear. 

Secondly, the Word of God plainly states that if you know Him, if you receive what His Son Jesus did for you on the cross, then you need not be afraid.

I believe the word of God to be true. 

Every word.

So when He says not to be afraid (found over 80 times) in the Bible,

I choose to obey.

Notice I said “choose”.  Being afraid is not a sin.  

What you do with it could be.

You get to make that choice.

The only thing you are to fear is God.

That is a different fear.

Not spooky, creepy fear, but a fear that is defined as being in awe of Him.

Here’s the ask.  For today. 

Use the following verses in your circumstances.  Today.

We can truly only do it for today.

Choose to let God be in control of your chaos.  Today.

Choose to sit in that rocking chair and relax while He takes on everything that would set your heart to fear.  Today.

This is not an easy task.  The world we live in caters to fear.  Its goal is to make us afraid.

Just look at the nightly news.  (No wait, maybe you shouldn’t)

At any rate, giving your fear to God will get easier with practice.

Note: Remember ~ Doctors practice.  Lawyers practice. Athletes practice.

Why do they do so?  To get better at what they do.

I encourage you to practice not being afraid.

Choose to sit and rest on your rocker, while God handles things.

Hebrews 13:6 (ESV) So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

John 14:27 (ESV) 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.

Matthew 10:31(ESV) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Isaiah 41:10  (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)  Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

This entry was posted on October 3, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged choicefearheartJesusmindNatural disasterrestthought lifeTornadoestruth. Bookmark the permalink.

Windows on the World

Sunday Stills; My Way ← In this post I tell how “My photos are not primarily OF windows. They are mostly FROM windows. My home office window, car windows, hotel windows, plane windows.

The windows I want to talk about today, are the windows of our hearts; the windows of our minds; and the windows of our perceptions.

It all started when I happened across a TED Talk – called “The Price of Shame” – by Monica Lewinsky – from March 20, 2015.

She spoke about humiliation, shame, cyber bullying, public shaming, and online harassment.

She quoted Brene’ Brown saying that “Shame cannot survive empathy.”

We have freedom of expression, but also responsibility of that freedom.

Might our harsh words cause the demise of another?

Let’s face it, myself, and many others I am quite sure, heard Monica’s story while it was going on, and thought what a horrible person she must be, as well as the one she was involved with.

Did we consider her with compassion? Did we think of her as young and naive? Did we consider that she may have been being taken advantage of by another? Did we think of her as Someone’s Daughter?

Maybe for a moment, but the mainstream media of the day made it very easy to characterize her as a floozy; or many other names that she goes over in her talk.

Her stand in her talk was that we need to communicate, consume, and click with compassion.

We must take back our own narrative, and help others currently in that position.

As a child, I was bullied a lot. Every day.

I somehow knew (not in my head and not until much later) on a visceral level, that I was being protected.

I simply cannot imagine how much more infinitely difficult it is during THIS time period.

What with social media and TV media and print media all screaming insults and vitriol all over the place for no reason, and hardly any basis in fact.

So I ask you now to consider your own “Windows on the World”. (Heart, mind, perceptions)

  • Are you communicating your thoughts with compassion?
  • Are you consuming your media with compassion?
  • Are you clicking with compassion? (Clicking usually = dollars)
  • Are you listening to EACH side, or only the one you like?

Along with the link to Monica’s story above, I’ve added a few more links.

Perhaps they can help you to begin your search for your OWN WAY to do things with more compassion.

American SPCC – American Society for the Positive Care of Children

From Bystander to Upstander (Stand up Agaisnt Bullies)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Scroll for Help for Specific people Groups

V22Kill – Veteran – First Responder – PTS – Suicide

We do not need to agree on everything; in fact, we can disagree completely with another’s world view, and still listen to them, and treat them with compassion.

If we use compassion, we can have some really good conversation, and who knows: maybe everybody can learn something.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

The Ability to Forgive

Photo found on Pinterest. https://bit.ly/2TbZoZt May be subject to copyright

Join me today for a guest post from someone I’ve known for a long time.

With his permission I copied his article word for word from his Facebook page.

I’ve added my own comments to the end.

Enjoy.

People come into our lives for a reason; a season; or a lifetime.

He’s that kind of friend.

PSALMS OF LIFE·MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2019·

In this article I’m going to share with you 5 of the most important things that I’ve personally discovered about the ability to forgive THAT WORKS!
(CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO OPEN THE ARTICLE)

1. We do NOT have the natural ability to forgive anyone…no matter how hard we try! In fact, the more we try, the more weary we become. That does NOT mean we are helpless victims of other people’s foolishness. Because what we do have is the God-given ability to choose…to choose to forgive. That opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do in and through you the same thing that He did through Jesus on the Cross when He said, “Father, forgive them…” Jesus did not do that in His own strength. He made the choice, in the same way that you and I make the choice. That brings us to point number 2:

2. The Holy Spirit has the power that it takes to cause forgiveness to take place. More than anyone, He knows the value and power of forgiveness. He also knows our weaknesses, and is more than willing to fill our weakness with God’s strength. But, equally, the Holy Spirit will not (and cannot) make the choice for us. That’s our part. Making the choice when everything within our pain is shouting, “For what they did, they don’t deserve to be forgiven!” And, that leads us to our third point:

3. The other person (or people) don’t deserve it! The Lord’s prayer is, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The person (or people) owe you a debt. Jesus prayed from the Cross, “Father forgive them…(why?)…because they don’t know what they are doing. If the devil knew what he was doing when Jesus was crucified, he would not have done it! Easily ninety-five percent of the time (or more) the person (or people) that inflicted pain upon you, did not really know what they were doing. We like to think they knew because it justifies our anger and bitterness. But, in truth, they are blind to themselves and their own actions. That doesn’t justify horrible behavior, but it sheds light on a human reality.

4. Forgiving isn’t the same as forgetting. We’ve probably all heard the saying, “To forgive is to forget.” If we can’t forget, it leads us to the conclusion that we must not have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is releasing a person from a debt they truly owe you. You make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to move in forgiveness in and through you. It begins as an act of faith that you may or may not feel for awhile, but if you continue to make the choice and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work only He can do, the feelings begin to catch up.

Why do you supposed Jesus told His disciples to forgive 70 time 7 (490 times in one day)? It’s because of what the power that not forgiving does to destroy us emotionally and physically. Choosing to forgive and releasing the Holy Spirit then to do His work in and through us is one of the main ways to enter the river of God’s love. This may sound very strange, but the choice to forgive is one of the most positive selfish things you can do for yourself.

5. Finally, forgiving DOESN’T mean that you automatically allow the person or people to return into your life as if nothing has happened. You can forgive and still be wise. There needs to be a time of proof where you see a change in their attitudes and actions before you fully embrace them. That is another area where the Holy Spirit will help you with wisdom if you will ask Him for the wisdom.

I truly hope this helps! Learning to walk in the love as well as the wisdom of forgiveness is one of the most critical things we need to learn!

If this was beneficial, please respond with a “Like”! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. If you have some wisdom that you’ve worked out in your own life, please comment. And “Share” this with someone you believe it may help!

Prayer: Father, In Jesus Name, I now make the choice to allow the Holy Spirit to work forgiveness because of what _____________ did/said to me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gary Ellis

1. Choices. I never realized I even had a choice until I was in my mid twenties. That was a life giving revelation. It meant I no longer had to eat it just because it was put on my plate by someone. I get to fill my own plate.

2. My not forgiving them was poisoning me, while they were walking around “free”.

3. Wrong doers do wrong. That’s what they do. We can expect no different from them. Many times they have literally no idea just how wrong they are. They have no chip for that.

4. Unforgivness harbors bitterness, and causes sorrow and grief. Psalm 31:10 says “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Note that it takes away our strength. 5. It is not wise to forgive, and then to return immediately, this is so true. Give yourself time, and time, and time. After that, you can make a wise choice due to the actions you see. During that time, you are not holding on to poison, but allowing yourself to regain your strength.

Thanks for being here, and please join me again next time!

Time to Dream

I was reading an article about the proven benefits of daydreaming.

It shares this fun little chart;

The Scientifically Proven Benefits of Daydreaming
https://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2012/the-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-daydreaming/

Like many, I was often in trouble with teachers in my youth, for wasting my time being a day dreamer.

  • From promoting creativity
  • To problem solving
  • To increasing your IQ
  • To lowering the blood pressure

Turns out day dreaming can be quite a good way to spend your time!

If you have visited this blog in the past, you will find that am quite fond of cloud watching.

It is my favorite way to “Day dream” if you will.

There are many ways to “use” that day dream time; or “Quietude” as I like to call it.

The article mentions ““good daydreaming,” as in, when the mind is exploring imagination or creativity. “Bad daydreaming,” like focusing on a negative comment”.

One is helpful, the other not.

I enjoy reading a bit of scripture, (good daydreaming) and then using that time to consider what I’ve read.

Example;

TLB (The Living Bible) In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins.

  • What does it say?
  • What does it mean?
    • How much does God love me?
    • How does this make me feel?
  • There may be more questions.
  • Or there may simply be a space of calm and quiet.

Sometimes absolute silence is in order.

Other times call for a little quiet music.

Music without words could be less distracting.

Sometimes staring out the window.

Sometimes a little video will help the process.

Join me if you will, for just a moment of quiet reflection,

a little daydreaming session.

The world we live in will not give us a quiet place to be.
Sometimes we must find that place for ourselves.
A place to rest our soul, our body and our spirit.

I hope you were able to enjoy a few minutes of “Quietude” with me.

Hope to see you again the next time around.

After the Lull

Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.

There has (seemingly) been a lull.

I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!

Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.

It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.

All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”

I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.

Enter this book .


I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)

I don’t ever remember reading it.

Until now.

Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.

How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?

Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.

To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.

The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.

In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”

My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.

Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.

The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!

If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.

It is so much easier to hide.

What is your identity made up with?

  • Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
  • Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
  • Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
  • Is your identity made up by your career?
  • Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
  • Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?

These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.

But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.

You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!

The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.

YOUR OWN perception of you!

And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.

Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.

They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.

In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;

  • Loving others even when they treat you poorly
  • Loving those who cannot love you back
  • Loving those who are difficult to love
  • Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.

We all fail from time to time.

But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.

If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.

His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.

What will that identity look entail?

  • RadiancePsalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Strength2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • WisdomProverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
  • Compassion Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Fruits of the Spirit;
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

I want to tell you one more thing.

The thing I tell you the most.

The most important thing.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

No accident.

No mistake.

Just …………………. Love.

Change Your Game

Around 2012, I was invited to a conference in Dallas that helped me to move along a little further on the path.

Still in the process of finding Personality and Persona, and still learning more and more about God and His character.

This conference was a bit like the conference in 2008, only on steroids.

At this conference, we were encouraged to not be happy with only changing who we thought we were in God’s eyes, but to be the ones who helped those around us to make the change for their own selves.

You know. Be the change. Be “Game Changers”.

Time for that upgrade?

We won’t have time here for three days worth of info.

I’ll just share one step.

It’s a big step, but a place to begin.

God wants us to learn to trust Him. He is consistently trying to teach us how to do that.

“There are two things God is doing. He is teaching us how to trust Him. It is really difficult to become Christ like when everything is going well. You do not learn the beauty of it when things are going well, because you are busy enjoying it and it is exactly the right thing to do. But when it is not going well, when it is hard, that is when God finds out things about us. That is when we learn to trust Him and when He learns to trust us. That is the second thing God is doing. He is bringing us to a place where he can trust us.” Graham Cooke

We have to know who God is for us; every single day, in the good times and the bad.

  • Who is God for me when things are going wrong?
  • Who is God for me when favor is being displayed?
  • Who is God for me when I am in need?
  • Who is God for me when I need more resources?
  • Who is God for me on any given day?
  • How does God see me?
  • How does He think about me?
  • How does He talk about me?

Answers to these questions come by experience with God.

From that experience comes the knowledge of who He is, and an encounter with Him that builds trust.

“What you think about God is the most important thought you’re ever going to have.

What you think about God is everything and you have to work it out.

If you do not know that vital stuff about God, you are always going to struggle when the heat is on.

It is what you know about God that keeps you, that makes you stand, that makes you get up, and that makes you walk.

Our true identity is made up of who we are on earth and how we are known in heaven.

You have an identity that heaven knows and understands.

You are known in heaven!”

Join me on Friday for the last installment about who you are.

Two Fine Questions

For quite a while, from 2008 to about 2012, I studied and studied a manuscript from a conference I had gone to in Washington D.C.

This study was about our true identity. It was written and taught by Graham Cooke .

Graham maintains that our identity is made up of two things; Who we are on earth, and how we are know in heaven.

Our PERSONALITY – made up of who we are on earth;

and our PERSONA – made up of how we are known in heaven.

When you understand who God made you to be, or how you are known in heaven, it changes your perception of your circumstances.

When you understand who God made you to be; you can look at things a different way during awful conditions.

“Why is this happening to me?” and “Why this? Why now? Why me?” are questions we would ask from our personality.

They cause us to be victims.

“What does this mean?”

and

“What shall I do?”

These are questions we would ask from our persona.

They help us to be victorious!

Those have been the two most helpful questions to me in times of trouble.

These questions have changed me from a victim, to a victor!

I get to CHOOSE! I can ask myself these two questions and then take action. 

These questions may seem over simplified, but knowing what the words say, and actually putting them to work in your life are two different issues.

The level of difficulty is often disproportionately boosted.

I worked on installing those thoughts and ideas into my heart and mind for more than four years.

I still have to break out the lesson once in a while for a re-cap.

How in the world can you change the way you think?

I did it by reading scripture over and over about just who God says I am and what He thinks of me.

Here are some important things that God wants us to know. I hope you find them helpful.

  • The most important thing that God says about me (and He says it about you to by the way) is this;

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance:
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

  • We are not mistakes. We are not accidents. No matter what we’ve been told.

 Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  •  He made us just how we are, and He gave us purpose.  All different, and gloriously unique!

2 Samuel 22:20 (ESV)

He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because He delights in me.

  • He delights in us and wants to rescue us from the chaos of this world!

Deuteronomy 32:10 “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

  • He loves us so much. He rescues us from our wasteland. We are the apple of His eye!

John 3:16-17 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life; For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

  • He loves us ALL the same.

If we are born again in Him, then we can always know and remember that He is there for us; even if we are not in Him, we can know that He wants us to be.

I know I’m going long here, but I’d like to share just one more thing with you today.

The words from this song by Morgan Harper Nichols, states my position on what He thinks of me (and you) very well.

It reminds me of how He cared for me, even when I was unaware of Him.

The Storyteller

On a Sunday evening I’m
looking back over all the years
and where I’ve been
Looking at old photographs
I’m remembering
you were right there
and you have been ever since

With every page that turns
I see your faithfulness

Oh the mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the story I’ll tell
You brought the pieces together
Made me this storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That’s the story I’ll tell

There were some nights that felt like
They would last forever
But you kept me breathing
You were with me right then
And all that you have done for me
I could never hold it in
So here’s to me telling this story
Over and over again

Oh the mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the…

Source: Musixmatch

Please join me again next time for part two.