Archives for posts with tag: fear

One of my favorite books growing up was “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” by Judy Bloom. I love the sentiment of the title. It’s a question that we have all asked God.

Today, we ask: Are you there God? It’s me, (insert your name). In our fallen world it’s easy to question God’s whereabouts. There are so many social and political issues that overwhelm the news. It’s easy to wonder if God cares about His World–If He cares about you. Why is God so seemingly quite?  Are you there God? It’s me! That seems to be the cry of a generation.

One of the Scriptures that God laid on my heart a few days ago was John 29:20. “…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Many of the daily occurrences in our fallen world serve to challenge our belief in God’s existence.  Sometimes, if we look through the lenses of our natural eyes, we might be inclined to question whether or not God cares about His people. We might even ask ourselves, “Why should God care about us? We are just mere men.” Fortunately, the Bible reminds us that God does care about His creation.  Psalms 8:4-6 says:

 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, (KJV).

God cares so much about the intimate details of our lives that He even knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Our finite knowledge cannot begin to explain the things of God. I don’t know why God sometimes appears silent when we need Him the most. I don’t really know whether He is, silent, that is. Maybe we miss His voice that sometimes comes in a whisper. The nature of these questions are too complex for me. However, I do know this. Gideon asked for a sign of God’s favor, and he got it. David asked for protection, and his enemies fled. The woman with the issue of blood needed health and was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ clothing. What do you need? Shout it from the rooftop. Scream His name! Petition His promises! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Are you there? It’s me!

Today’s Prayer: Lord, we come to you with hearts surrendered. Are you there? It’s me. Lord, hear our heart’s cry. Lord, show us your unrelenting love. Give us a sign like you did for Gideon. Today, we ask that you show us a sign of your awe and might. Lord, grant us protection as you did for David. Make our enemies our footstools. Heal our bodies like you did for the woman with the issue of blood. Lord, we thank you, and we bless you. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

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I am so grateful for those of you who have gone the distance with me on this challenge.  It truly has been a remarkable experience.  Even though we haven’t quite reached our 21-day mark, I have learned so much about God and myself in the process.  I’d like to share with you some of the things that I have learned.

  • When all is said and done, and everyone has left, the only one left standing is God.
    • “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverbs, 18:24, NIV).  God is the only one who will ever love us unconditionally.  He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, and our shortcomings, yet He chooses to love us anyway.  We can talk to Him about anything without fear of judgment.  He keeps our secrets.  He is trustworthy.  Most of all, He is the only one with the power to deliver us from our circumstances.
  • Don’t let other people disqualify you from the race that God has set forth for you.
    • Sometimes the people in our lives can’t see beyond our lives, ours pasts, our shortcomings and our aptitude to recognize our calling.  The truth is, it isn’t their place to validate God’s plan.  Oftentimes, people who bash others are acting out of their own insecurities.  More times than not, jealousy is at the root.  There are people in our lives who want to dictate how, when and if God should bless us.  Thankfully, our future is not their call.
    • Not everyone on our team is our fan.  Remember Jesus, the Son of God?  Even He faced skepticism about his calling from the very people around Him.  According to Jesus, “no prophet is accepted in his own hometown,” (Luke 4:24, NLT).
  • Be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). 
    • Our attempt to fill silence with useless chatter could be our biggest downfall.  If we would just listen to what people are saying, and not saying, we would know who people are long before they have the opportunity to show us.
  • Sometimes, relationships run their course.  
    • We are not God.  We cannot save everyone.  As difficult as it might be, we have to learn to step back and allow God to do His work in others as He did in us.  We should remember that everyone does not run life’s race at the same pace.  Our efforts to allow others to catch up with us could very well be the thing that is slowing us down.
  • Letting go is really just that. 
    • A few years ago, I took swimming lessons at the YMCA.  The very first thing that they taught us was how to float.  I was very fearful of the water.  My fear made learning VERY difficult.  Every time the instructor told us to release our bodies in the water, I couldn’t.  I always had to have one foot touching the bottom of the pool.  I think that is how many of us live our spiritual lives.  God tells us to cast ALL our burdens on Him, yet we have a Plan B.  We half-heartedly follow His instructions just in case He fails.  My friend, that’s not faith.  That’s fear.  Letting go means that both feet must come off the ground.
  • Trust your Holy Spirit. 
    • Some people call the voice in the back of our heads instinct, but I choose to call it the Holy Spirit.
  • Surround yourself with eagles.
    • The Bible says iron sharpens iron, Psalm 27:17.  The only way that you and I are ever going to maximize our full potential is by surrounding ourselves with likeminded people.

One of the signs that we are getting older is that we are no longer as cool as we think we are.  Nothing reminds us of that more that working with teenagers.

During the past few months, I have been volunteering with a group of youngster who remind me that my limited arsenal of “slang” words might no longer be cool.  With that said, I am going to resuscitate my 1990’s colloquial vernacular.  The title of today’s blog is, “I Am No Spiritual Punk.”  In the 90s, a punk was someone who would be considered a softie.  It was someone who shied away from conflict because of fear.  A punk could also be defined as a coward—someone who would be determined to be weaker  (spiritually, physically and/or mentally) than the average person.   Once someone was labeled a punk, they would most likely be subjected to conflict and possibly bullying.  Why do I say all of this?  As Christians, if we are not careful, the world could view us as “spiritual punks,” therefore, subjecting us to bullying and unnecessary conflict.

Let’s go off on a tangent.  Isn’t it easy to look out into the world and marvel at all the wonderful things that are happening to everyone else?  It is so easy to challenge God and ask, “Why not me?”  At first glance, the Christian life could be seen as a life riddled with failure and hardship.  Even many Christians have perpetuated the negative image of Christian life by inappropriate referencing Scriptures such as, “take up your cross daily, and follow me,” (Luke 9:23) along with many other Scriptures that when cited incorrectly and exclusively paint a hopeless Christian existence.  While Jesus did make it clear that the Christian life would be no bed of roses, the Bible also does depict a clear picture of hope, joy and prosperity.  Unfortunately, pastors who preach messages of hope such as the promise found in Proverbs 10:22 (The blessings of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it, NIV) are often stereotyped as prosperity pastors, and their messages are frequently erroneous titled as motivational speaking.

Where am I going with all of this?  My point is, the world, including some Christians, is waiting to see whether God is going to show up as the Bible promises He would and like many of us Christians are believing that He would.  Many are waiting to see whether Christians are going to “punk” out before the watching world in the face of disappointment.  In response to that, my question is this: Are we as Christians going to put up our “spiritual dukes” and show the world that despite our perceived setbacks and/or shortcomings, our God is greater?  Are we going to live a life that exemplifies that greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world?  The truth is, it is NOT our reputation that is on the line.  It’s God’s.  If everything that we do is supposed to give glory and honor to God, then when we cry out to Him in faithful obedience, He MUST show up.  A non-responsive God depicts a powerless, unfaithful, dishonoring, uncaring and dishonest God. However, as Christians, we have to believe that is not the case. We have to know that if God is not a man that He should not lie (Numbers 23:19), then we must also know that His very nature dictates that He MUST fulfill His promises.  Psalms 31:19 says, “Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world,” (NLT).  As Christians, we have to stop behaving as though our blessings are from man, because, they are not.  Oftentimes, we fear man more than we fear our Creator.  We, as Christians, have to get into a place in our Spirit where we know that our blessings and promotions come from God ALONE.  Man does not have the ability to fire us, hire us, promote us, increase us, or define us.  We have to get out of that “Spiritual Punk” mentality and embrace the fact that we are heirs of the throne of God.  As heirs, we are entitled to our Father’s blessing and we should know that what God has blessed, no man can curse!