Trust Over Fear

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By: Katie Stallings

 

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27

As I was praying about what to write about, I sensed the Lord telling me to speak on “Trust over Fear.”   So when I sat down to listen and write, I immediately looked at a chalkboard I have in my family room with a definition of joy from Rick Warren.  

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” 

How often do we go through our days with fear, anger, anxiousness, bitterness and jealousy?  There are days and sometimes weeks that go by that I find myself struggling with one or more of these emotions.  I am fearful when I watch the news and see what is happening in the world today.  I am anxious when I think about my children’s future.  I can get bitter when I don’t feel like I am understood or appreciated by my husband or children.  I sometimes feel jealous when others have more or are doing greater things than me.  Isn’t that how the enemy wants us to live?  We live our daily lives focused on our emotions and thoughts, rather than on the Word of God and through the Holy Spirit.  Every day we have the choice to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh.  God clearly gives us instruction for our lives and He never tells us to live based on what the world is saying and doing or by how we feel.

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

With all that is happening in the world today or in our daily lives, we can confidently stand in peace and joy because we trust God who knows all the details of what is happening.  He remains in control, He causes all things to work out for good, He conquered death, He loves us and He gives us all we need through the Holy Spirit. 

As I finish out this year, I pray that I will slow down, focus on Him and walk in joy and peace every day.  As the Lord reminds us in scripture, we need to renew our minds daily and begin each day with prayer, thankfulness and trust. 

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Freedom

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 By: Tina Coble

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

2 Corinthians 3:17

            The Fourth of July is a day that we celebrate the freedom and independence of our country.  We celebrate with family and friend gatherings, barbecue, fireworks, parades etc.  Have you ever thought that maybe it would also be a pivotal time for us to reflect on the freedom we have as Christians?

            The dictionary definitions freedom as being released from captivity or slavery, or another definition says it is to be released from imprisonment. Don’t we often feel imprisoned within ourselves?  This can happen when we feel like we are trapped in our own sin. Do you feel beaten down by you past mistakes or even choked by your own desires that you know are wrong, but continue to make the same mistakes/sin anyway.  God knew that we would struggle as prisoners within ourselves, but He provided a way of escape, a path of freedom. The escape route is through Jesus Christ.  Freedom comes in giving the weight of sin or guilt that we are carrying within ourselves to Jesus Christ, laying it down at the foot of the cross where he bled and died for each mistake we would make.   Our freedom came at great cost; the cost of Jesus Christ’s very life.   His death  set us free.   Shouldn’t we walk in that freedom? 

            I know it grieves God deeply when we carry chains that enslave us every day.  It grieves him because He died on the cross for us to be set free. If for one minute you think you are unworthy of receiving this gift of freedom – stop!  In that you are saying what He did on the cross was not good enough for you. Will you walk in the freedom he died for? Give him all your shame, guilt, regret, depression, loneliness, sadness, sorrow. The list could go on and on of the things that weigh us down and hold us in bondage.  As you sit back on this day of freedom and give thanks for the freedom we are blessed to walk in within this great nation, this year I also encourage you to reflect on the freedom you walk in as a believer in Jesus Christ and celebrate that.  Allow Jesus to release you  from the chains that once kept you bound.  Live life with the freedom that is found through the Holy Spirit that dwells within you and Christ who died to set you free and remember it isn’t about us, it is all about Jesus – for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM!

Forgiveness

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             By: Prophetess Tanya Staton

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is forgiveness. Our heavenly Father has forgiven us of all our sins because of the shed blood of His son “Jesus”. It was very important to God that we were reconciled back to himself. He wanted to be at peace with his own creation. Yet we find it so hard to forgive ourselves of our past sins, our past failures and our past mistakes. We tend to be so much harder on ourselves then God is. We tend to continue to condemn ourselves even after God has already forgiven us. One of the greatest challenges we have is when we have to come  face to face with ourselves .  I have been in ministry for many years and I continue to meet people who struggle forgiving themselves of their mistakes and past sins. They continue to live in condemnation even after they have repented and been forgiven. I understand what it means to be your own worst enemy. I find that so many times we believe what everyone else has to say about us or about what we did. The words of our spouse, our children, our family, our friends and co-workers tend to carry more weight then the words of our heavenly Father. Many feel justified pointing the finger or reminding us of our failures and mistakes. Never letting us see past their condemnation. Sometimes the very people we go to church with can do more damage to us then the world.  Because in the church there is a lot of self righteousness found. The first to point the finger, the first to condemn, the first to not forgive, the first to turn their back on you when you need their love and mercy the most. I am not putting the body of Christ down at all. I am just speaking from experience. I have experienced the cruelty of the church and found the world to be more forgiving. When I was at my lowest it was not the church that reached out to me, it was sinners.. I think that many people in the church are so judgmental and self righteous because they have not learned to truly forgive themselves much less their brother or sister in Christ.  Have you ever noticed that God the Father NEVER throws up your past. He NEVER reminds you of your past sins, He NEVER puts you down or calls you names. We tend to listen to the many voices around us until we believe what they are saying is true. We know God has forgiven us, yet we still see ourselves as unworthy, a failure a disappointment to God.  When God forgave you of your sins through the precious blood of Jesus Christ He made you worthy, He made you righteous, He only sees you through the blood of Jesus reconciled back to himself. He has given you his Grace which is His unmerited favor. In ourself we can never be good enough. But through him we can come boldly into His throne room. We can call him “Abba Father”.  Why?  Because what Jesus did on the cross for you and for me was a complete work. You are not half way forgiven, you were completely forgiven. STOP! condemning yourself. STOP! seeing yourself through the eyes of people. STOP! blaming yourself. STOP! receiving the accusations of others as your own. STOP! looking behind and STOP! STOP! STOP! seeing yourself the way others see you and STOP! confessing the lies of the enemy over yourself. If God made you worthy enough to be forgiven and He is “All Powerful and All Knowing” then FORGIVE YOURSELF. Have you ever noticed God created you to face forward so you could move forward. Wouldn’t we all look silly if our head was turned around facing backwards.  God doesn’t want us looking behind, we are to forget yesterday and live in Him today. Let your walk with God be progressive not recessive. The Bible says ” We are the head and not the tail” STOP! have a tail mentality.  “We are the above and not beneath”. STOP seeing yourself as the under dog, or a failure. That is not what God says about you. “Repent” means to turn and change your way of thinking. It is time that we change the way we think about ourselves. There is only one opinion that counts and that is what God has to say about you. All other opinions hold no value. We are not called to please man, but to please God. It is time to see yourself as God sees you. It is time you say what God says about you. Sure we all want mans approval, but in the end the only approval that counts is the Approval of our Father.  Just as God gave us his greatest gift through His son Jesus. Let us give ourselves our own greatest gift. “Forgive Yourself” and start seeing yourself and people through the eyes of Jesus. If you have unforgiveness toward others then forgive them, just as your heavenly Father has forgiven you.

References:    Romans 3: 21-26
Romans 4: 19-25
Romans 8: 1-4
Deut: 28:13
II Corinthians 5:21