Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yeshua

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress my God, in whom I trust." - Psalm 91:1-2
To dwell is to abide in, to find rest in, to depend upon. A dwelling is also a place. A place where we can find rest in a world that is not our own. It can be a place where we retreat to when weary or afraid. After all, we are strangers and aliens in a foreign land. Have you felt like one lately? That this world just isn't what it's supposed to be? If you have then this promise is for you. If you dwell in Him; you will find rest. He will be your refuge and your stronghold. He will be your strong tower and mighty deliver. To dwell in and on the promises of the One who is called "Faithful and True." He will restore your strength. He will equip you for your divine calling.
If you make the most high your dwelling-even the LORD, who is my refuge-no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:9
To dwell in and on the promises of God. To abide in and trust in His truths. To find rest in a place that is our temporary dwelling. To rest in moments of chaos and confusion.
To trust is to know for certain that my Lord will not tarry forever and will come back to get me when the curtain closes this side of eternity. To trust completely in things not seen.
Jesus came the first time to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John:1:14. The same God that spoke creation into being limited Himself to a single cell in the womb of a woman. He came down from His heavenly throne to live in our world under the same limitations that you and I live in. He suffered death, so that by the grace of God, he might taste death for everyone.
Paul tells us in Hebrews, "that it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of our salvation perfect through suffering. " Hebrews 2:9,11.
Fitting for God to make US perfect through HIS suffering. Our salvation through His suffering. Our salvation when we trust in his provision and sacrifice.
Lord, may I never take your suffering for granted. You died once and for all for the sins of all those who call on your name. Your name is a strong and mighty tower. Your name is a dwelling. Yeshua.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Abundantly Pardons

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways", declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:6-9
The verses above are often misquoted and in their misquotation the real meaning and passionate call to salvation is often missed. We use these verses to explain away the things we don't understand about life and God when in reality these verses are about the limitless love of God to a dying and desolate soul. I know it's not popular to use the words dying and desolate to describe the condition of the human soul without God but I can honestly say that during my college years there were moments I would have referred to myself this way. I believed the lie that there was no way the Lord could forgive me and while embracing this lie I covered up my sin and shame by living my life the way I saw fit with no regard to God. Depression has a way of bringing you to your knees and I am thankful that the Lord brought me to the end of myself.
Oftentimes, when we sin we turn away from God. For a long time, I did my best to silence Him because to admit there is a God I must also admit that I was not god. I didn't know what the Bible said but I did know that within myself I wasn't following some higher moral code. I sought answers everywhere but not from the One who was calling me unto Himself. I wish that I would have known these verses then. I would have come sooner, if that is possible.
We see from the verses above that salvation is for everyone who comes. That God desires to ABUNDANTLY pardon sin. Our sins. He calls us to seek Him, to call upon Him, and to forsake our sinful ways and thoughts. In doing all these things He abundantly pardons. Our minds can't comprehend nor can our human intellect understand a holy infinite God who loves us and desires to pardon everyone who comes to Him, believing that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6. According to the verses above, there is no room for penance or working for our salvation for only God pardons sin and He does so through faith in His son, Jesus. God doesn't pardon sin reluctantly but abundantly.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And They Withdrew

In the post, Just Curious, I mentioned that the people were following Jesus to get their physical needs met. They were following Him out of their desire for a political Messiah that would make no demands of them, but of whom they could make their requests. Today, I want to address the discourse Jesus had with the crowd the following day. Remember the day before, He fed 5,000 men, not including women and children, John MacArthur makes mention that this would bring the total number of people close to 20,000.
The verses we are going to discuss today grieves me because we see from these verses the fickleness of the crowd. The selfishness and spiritual blindness of those who were curious about Him and therefore followed Him out of their sinful shallowness.
It again begs me to ask the question, "Am I following Jesus for all the benefits and none of the cost"? And the question, "What is it about my human nature that wants to cut and run when I don't understand some of the teachings of Jesus?" It isn't as if He is asking for my opinion. I can accept Him or reject Him but I can not confirm Him into the image of who I think He should be. We see that most of the crowd chose the latter, they rejected Him because they followed Him out of their selfish ambitions and the cost of following Him proved to be too great.
Let's continue on with the discourse between Jesus and the crowd mentioned in the post, Just Curious, So they said to Him, "What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He, being Moses, gave them bread out of heaven to eat." Let me break into the discourse and mention, the day before, these same people were supernaturally fed fish and loaves of bread. They were now asking Jesus for yet another sign to prove His deity. Jesus then said to them, " Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven, and gives life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread." Jesus said to them, " I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and will not thirst But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe." Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." They were saying, "is not this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? 'How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven'?" John 6:30-36,41-42
Merely a man they thought, a man blessed by the power of God but not God Himself. This is why they didn't understand and they grumbled just as their forefathers grumbled in the wilderness. The saddest words, "and yet you do not believe". I know you are thinking, "but wait, they asked for this bread that Jesus was referring" and yet we see here that Jesus knew their motive for wanting this physical bread and He knew of their unbelief. Later in the discourse He states, "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever' and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." John 6:51. This declaration incensed the crowd, they started arguing with one another and asking,"How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" John 6:52
This was His final teaching for many of His disciples, for we read in verses 66-68, "As a result of this teaching many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, " You do not want to go away also, do you?" This is where Simon Peter declares, " Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believe and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."
Sweet sister, may I implore you to listen to the heartbreaking words of Jesus, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
When death takes a love one too early. When those you love start to turn away from the truth. When your marriage is falling apart. When your singleness has caused you to question God's precepts. When Jesus gets too big for your box. When your finite mind can't comprehend an infinite God. May you hear His sweet and tender voice ask you, "You don't want to go away also, do you?" May our response be like Simon Peter's "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Curious

"Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent." - John 6:26-29

To be honest with you, this verse haunts me. When I was a new believer it was hard for me to study the words of Jesus because it was so contradictory to what my mind had created Him to be. My mind created a loving, pacifist, who catered to the needs of all people. He spoke of things like getting along and loving your enemy, turning your cheek and pursuing a life a peace. I imagined Him to be a pushover that I could somehow pacify with my good deeds. You see when I began my walk with the Lord, I wanted all the benefits with none of the cost. I had the attitude of, "what have you done for me lately." I asked Him to come into my heart so that I could go to Heaven, just in case He really was the one He claimed to be. I did this while continuing to worship the god of self.
"Why do I reveal this to you?" I reveal this to you because we see in this passage that the people of Jesus' day were doing the same thing. They heard about the miracles He was performing and they pursued Him out of their curiosity (John 6:2). There was no doubt that He was the Son of God for He healed the sick and fed 5,000 men, this number does not include the women and children who were in attendance and fed. John 6:14, tells us that the people saw the sign which He had performed and believed Him to be the Prophet that they could make King and deliver them from the oppressive arm of Rome. This chapter goes on to tell us that the people believed they could take Him by force and declare Him king. Because they intended to take Him by force Jesus withdrew from the crowd. The people got in their boats and followed Him to Capernaum. Which leads us to the verse above, John 6: 26-29."Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore, they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent."
They sought Him but not because they believed Him to be who He claimed to be but because He was meeting their physical needs. I also believe that they sought Him because they wanted to be entertained by His many miracles. They wanted an earthly political "messiah". They were looking for the King of Kings in His first coming not a suffering Servant.
Also notice, they referred to Jesus as the Prophet...merely a man blessed by the power of God but not God Himself. This reminds me of the discourse between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah , or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, " You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus responds, "Blessed are you Simon Peter because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 16:13-17.
So often, we allow the culture to define for us, who God is. We look to the culture to determine what we believe to be true about God. In essence, we look to the world and not the word.
We trust in things we can see and understand rather than the things we can't see and our minds can't comprehend. We get caught up in the current of culture and swept away. I think it is fitting that Jesus asked His disciples first, "Who do the people say that I am?" and not "Who do you say that I am"? I think He did this, knowing, more often than not, the culture defines for us our beliefs. I also believe He did this to commend Simon Peter for not conforming to the ideas of the culture. And to explain that unless God reveals to us the truth, we will confirm to the ideas of this world.
Let me ask an uncomfortable question, "Are you following Jesus for all of the benefits and none of the cost? Following Him only when it is convenient or meets some emotional/physical need?" or "Are you following Him in full assurance that He is who He claims to be, the Son of the living God, who was and is and is to come?"
Please understand, this post, is not written to condemn you. I merely ask these questions because it has been questions like these that have brought me to a place of repentance and reconciliation.

As always, please overlook ALL the grammatical errors. A lot of times, I am writing with three kids coming in and out and numerous interruptions. I will not have time to re-read before posting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attacked

This weekend our youngest little girl got attacked by our 5 month old puppy.
Gracyn was running towards the swing set when Logan ran up to her and knocked her down with her front paws. When she fell down Logan got on top of her, pinned her down and started biting her all over the face, head and ear. Hollen ran to help Gracyn but wasn't strong enough to pull the dog off. She ran to alert her daddy of the attack all the while crying out on behalf of her little sister. It was her brave act that brought help to Gracyn as Gracyn could not cry out on her own behalf.
When my husband heard the screams he came running down the stairs screaming at the dog to get off. To no avail, Logan looked at him with blood all over her mouth and then back down at Gracyn and continued to attack. When my husband finally got to Gracyn he pulled Logan off of her but again Logan lunged to try to get back to the attack. He finally had to kicked her so that he had enough time to grab Gracyn and get her out of harms way.
He was distraught over the condition of his little girl. He held her close and whispered tenderly in her ear, "Everything is going to be ok. Logan will never hurt you again". All he heard from Gracyn was little whimpers. He rushed her to the ER.

This scene has played over and over again in my mind this week. I awake to the scene in the morning and at night it is this very scene I fall asleep to. I find myself asking the questions, "How could our puppy do such an evil thing?" And the question, "How and why would she go after the weakest member in our family to attack and cause harm?" She was our dog. Gracyn loved her and was so gentle to her and Logan turned on her and became a vicious animal. It is by pondering these questions that I have come to see this event as somewhat symbolic.
This tragic event has taught me three things. First, the enemy's desire to attack us in our weakness and his desire to attack the weakest member of our family with the intent to cause harm.
Secondly, it symbolizes the importance for believers to "cry out" on behalf of fellow believers suffering spiritual attack.
Thirdly, it has given me a clear picture of our Father's love toward His children.

What causes me the most torment is the fact that Gracyn was the only member in our family that Logan could dominate. She was the only one not strong enough to fight her off and she is the one that Logan went after. Logan went after her because of her weakness. She was targeted because she didn't have the physical strength to fight off the attack. What a lesson for us as parents as we should be crying out on behalf of our children and the younger generations. Our children and new believers are the most susceptible to the enemy's attack.
We also must be aware of our own weakness, we need to be praying for an awareness of the ways in which the enemy might be trying to knock us down. Some of us might need to ask some pretty important questions, "What lies am I believing?", "What sin am I holding onto?", "What are some of the things that I have allowed to infiltrate my thinking?", "What am I watching?", "Who am I listening to"? These questions will help us identify in what ways we might be vulnerable to the enemy's deception.
Secondly, when Hollen didn't have the strength to fight off the attack she cried out on behalf of her sister who had no power to cry out on her own behalf due to the viciousness of the attack. How often do we try and rescue fellow believers suffering from attack when we ourselves do not have the strength nor the power to intervene. It is at these moments that we must "cry out" on behalf of our siblings in Christ. We must run toward the throne room of prayer and scream for help, alerting our Father of the direness of the situation. If Hollen, didn't cry out and instead continued to try and intervene in her own strength, she probably would have also been attacked. It would have also taken longer for my husband to intervene. Those moments would have done incredible damage to Gracyn's eye.
Thirdly, it symbolizes our Father's love for us and His power to intervene and rescue. When my husband heard Hollen screaming for help, He RAN! He took immediate action. He didn't only run but he ran with the intention of rescue. He had the strength and the power to protect and deliver. He not only rescued her but he comforted her and spoke tenderly to her. He was distraught over the condition of His child. He didn't let her go and went to great lengths to protect her. It is the picture of our Father and His desire to intervene in our personal attacks when we cry out for His help. He desires for us to see Him in this intimate way. I can only pray that this will be my view of Him from now on.
Gracyn is doing great and is on the mend. We are so thankful for the many prayers lifted up on her behalf. It could have been so much worse. We are thankful that the attack didn't last one moment longer than what the Lord had ordained. We are thankful that the attack didn't happen a month from now when Logan would have been bigger. We are thankful for the Lord's miraculous healing that has taken place. We are thankful for our wonderful community of believers who have come to our help and offered their love and support. We love you all very much!

Picture above of Gracyn was taken Saturday morning before the attack.

Please excuse all the grammatical errors. I sped through this post and will not have time to re-read it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Idol of Comfort

Because my comfort would prefer for me to be numb and avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become. C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser
We live in a culture that pursues the idol of comfort. Comfort at the expense of conformation. Conformation to the only one worth conforming to, Jesus.
We would rather conform to the world than conform to the image of our Savior.
"Why is this?" I believe that conforming to Jesus will ultimately cost us our comfort. Comfort that we pursue and believe is right around the corner if only we had the right circumstances, children, house, husband, job, church, relationships, money, security, accomplishments. But even when we get the things that we have trusted in to bring us comfort we are left hollow, empty and confused.
We conform to the world and the ideas of this world so we can feel comfortable in the world, when in reality, the Lord has told us not to conform any longer to the things of this world but to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.
Let me unpack this verse for a moment. We are not to conform to the world because we are to be transformed to be more like Christ. How do we become more like Christ?We become more like Christ by the renewing of our minds in the Word of God. It is by the Word of God we are able to discern what the Lord's will is for our lives. His will takes us out of our comfort zone and ultimately transforms us to be good, acceptable and perfect. When we are in the Word of God our spiritual eyes and ears will be opened and His glorious light will shine into the dark recesses of our heart and reveal within us the things He desires to change. This dear one will bring discomfort. We, as children of God, will have to slay the idol of comfort and press through with full assurance that He who began a good work within you will see it through to completion. Confessing the sin that resides in the dark recesses of our heart and allowing the God of all comfort to comfort us so that we too can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received.
It is the idol of comfort that threatens the process of transformation. It is when we pursue the idol of comfort at the expense of God's transforming work we become threatened by the feeling of being uncomfortable. Instead of being comforted, by the God of all comfort, we retreat and run to avoid the cleansing process that must take place. This cleansing process is also known as repentance. We would rather feel nothing at all than to feel the pain, loss and necessary change which comes from living a life of Godly sorrow and repentance.
If in fact, we allow ourselves to feel and our eyes to be open to the spiritual condition of this country, it just might propel us to do something about it. It will bring an inconvenience to our comfort. It will bring an overwhelming desire and a sense of urgency to reach out to a dying, desolate and lost world. It will make us uncomfortable in this world and the sin that is prevalent. It will cause something within us to stir and will bring us to our knees in prayer for a vision for our life and desperately wanting Him to use us for whatever His purpose. It will bring us to a place where we long to see Him, eagerly anticipating His return, for our eyes will be fixed on things above and not on earthly things. We will become more aware of the eternal and less aware of the temporal.
Are you pursing comfort at any cost? Are you bowing down to the idol of comfort at the expense of God's transforming work within you? Are you comfortable or comforted?

Because my comfort would prefer for me to be numb and avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become. C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Darkest Hour of Night

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Life has gotten busy and in the midst of the busyness I have lost my footing and focus. I have allowed everyday life to soak up my creativity and steal away precious moments with my God. Life has gotten louder and in the brief moments of silence my fears have screamed at me.
I have been honest with you in previous posts that I struggle with fear. A fear of things that I can not see. I have also mentioned in the post, Fear of Things Unseen, that fear is a form of worship, for what I fear will be what I will eventually bow down to. If it is a fear of the spirit world, I will give the enemy power over my life that is not due him. And if I'm fearing all the evil in the world than I am in fact denying that, He who lives in me is greater than he who is in the world and I am worshiping and giving power to the enemy of the Living God.
If it is fear of pain, which I also struggle with, then I will keep myself from situations that will result in me feeling uncomfortable or pain. I will build up a wall around my heart to keep from feeling anything at all. I am praying about writing more about this in the weeks to come in a post entitled, Tearing Down the Walls.
I want to share with you what I have been wrestling with so that you can be encouraged to stand firm on the promises of God in the midst of all that we see taking place within our country and in the world. I personally feel a sense of urgency and a call to repentance for our Salvation is about to break forth like the dawn but just as the darkest hour of night is right before dawn, I feel like our darkest hour is yet to come. We need to be praying for strength to endure the darkest hour of night and praying that we will not fear man but will fear God. Praying that our house will not be broken into during this dark hour of night and that when the thief comes we will be found faithful and sensible. For Jesus' words in Matthew 24:42-46 are to the expecting and the unsuspecting servants, "Therefore, be on the alert for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes."
What is the coming of Christ compared to? The coming of Christ is compared to as a thief that comes in the night. A thief that comes to the expecting and the unsuspecting. A thief that comes in the darkest hour of night when mockers are mocking and following after their own lusts. 2 Peter 3:3. An hour when the faithful are working and watching for His glorious appearing.
Who is the faithful servant? The faithful servant, according to Jesus, is the servant who is watching, waiting and working. A servant whom is feeding the household of God, the church with spiritual food and nourishment. The servant who goes into the dark places and allows the Lord's brilliant light of Salvation to break forth like the dawn to people who are walking in darkness. We must have a heart to bring the light of the world into the dark places of humanity and not be ashamed of the gospel and of Him who opens eyes that are blind and ears so that they can hear. It is only in the name of Jesus that the light breaks forth like the dawn. It is during the darkest hour of night that our light shines the brightest. It is the light of Christ that exposes sin for the sake of freedom and brings people out of the darkness and into His glorious light.
I'm watching, waiting and working.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Slipping Stones

My feet start to slip coming down the mountain. From the pinnacle of God's grace and presence, I now find myself starting to slip toward the ravine of self-pity. I loose my footing and slip off the path.
On the way down, I grab for a boulder, named self-sufficiency, but my grip isn't strong enough to hold my weight. I try to hold on tighter but eventually I let go, my arms aching from the pressure of my own weight.
I try desperately to get back on the path but lose my footing and continue to tumble. I grab for the next boulder on my way down, a boulder named guilt. This boulder holds my weight for a moment but eventually gives way and crushes me. I can't get up. I lay on the path for a moment before getting up only to slip again. A tiny pebble named distraction causes me stumble. My feet slide out from underneath me and I slide into a boulder named anger, I knock it and it tumbles down the other side of the mountain. This massive boulder crushes the fellow sojourners behind me. I desperately try to regain my footing and slow down the descent. I see one more bolder on the path before I slip over the edge into the ravine. This bolder is named sorrow. I grab for it and hold on. I know I don't have long.
I see a man in the distance. He sees me in my distress and runs towards me. As He gets closer I notice the blood on His hands and on His feet. I notice the sorrow on His face. He is a strong man so I let go of the boulder and fall into His arms. He asks me, "are you thirsty, my child"? I reply, "terribly thirsty". He gives me some water and carries me down the mountain. I hold onto Him tightly and beg Him not to let me go. He assures me of this and I rest. I relax in the arms of this man who is strong enough to carry me down the mountain. A man that willingly bore my sins and carried the burden of my iniquities. A man by the name of Jesus.
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:3-7

Picture taken by me in Joyce Kilmer National Park

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Gate

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
A little background, Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath. The blind man was brought before the Pharisees and teachers of the law for questioning. The Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest where no work is to be done. The Pharisees threw the blind man out of the synagogue for telling the truth that Jesus did in fact heal him on the Sabbath and that he was indeed blind from birth. After being thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus found him and asked him, "do you believe in the Son of Man?", to which he replied, "Lord, I believe".
Some of the Pharisees' followed him out of the synagogue, in doing so they ran into, Jesus who was outside waiting to confront their hypocrisy, He states, "For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." John 9:39. The religious leaders responded,"What? Are we blind too?" Jesus answered,"If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."
He goes on to say in John 10. "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangers voice." "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All whoever came before me were thieves and robbers ,but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd . The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. John 10:1-14
You see Jesus' audience was the religious leaders of his day and some of his followers. He was clearly stating who He was by claiming that He was the gate for the sheep. Jesus also states that he is the good shepherd. Jesus' sheep listen to his voice and follow him. They recognize false teaching, in fact they flee from it!
Let's jump back to the Old Testament to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel lived during the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon. He was deported from Judah and taken captive to Babylon. All the Jews were living in captivity during the time of Ezekiel's prophecies. Ezekiel was written around 571 BC. 500 years before the birth of Christ.
You see, Ezekiel, claimed that there would be a shepherd who would care for his flock unlike the religious leaders of his day and the days leading up to Christ. The Pharisees' would have known what Christ was claiming by stating that he was the shepherd of the sheep. They would have realized that He was claiming to be the Messiah. They would have studied this very prophecy we are about to read. They probably knew the prophecy by heart but they refused to accept the testimony.
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherd's take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I WILL RESCUE my FLOCK from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. For I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. He goes on to say, I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. Ezekiel 34:1-11, 16
Are we still refusing to accept the testimony of who Jesus is and why he came? Ezekiel's prophecy was about the the coming Messiah the true shepherd who would come and take care of the people. Jesus tells us plainly in His word that He is the only way and that He is the great shepherd of the sheep referred to in Ezekiel.
He shows us His heart in these verses. His desire to care for us. His desire to look for us and to heal us. His desire to hide us in the cleft of the rock to shelter us from the storm. We have a compassionate, Great Shepherd, who yearns to care for us. Jesus is still searching for His sheep. He is still tending His flock. He still comes after those who have wandered off. How are you going to respond to him today? In Hebrews Paul tells us, that "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
One Shepherd, One Flock, One King, All Nations!
"Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to LIFE, and only a few find it."
Jesus' words in Matthew 7: 13-14

Monday, August 24, 2009

Barren, Dying and Desolate

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11
A sun-scorched land is the way the Lord describes Israel during Isaiah's lifetime. A land that was barren, dying and desolate.
I got to thinking about the term, a sun-scorched land, as it applies to my personal life. When my life fails to bring any real life sustaining water to those around me, it becomes a land that soaks the life out of others.
My life becomes a sun-scorched land when my anger gets in the way of nurturing my girls. When the pressures of keeping up with those around me becomes my priority. When I expect my husband to meet all my emotional needs. When I start chasing after the temporal instead of the eternal. When I fill my time with the pleasures of this world. When my life is about others sacrificing for me instead of me sacrificing for others. When I start to think that this life is all about me. It is at these times that my life becomes a sun-scorched land. A land were the word doesn't overflow from the recesses of my heart. A land that will die if not watered.
Reflection can lead to repentance and change. Reflection puts my life into perspective. It forces my focus to shift from me and unto Him. What is my desire? My desire is to be a woman who walks the road of redemption and doesn't turn around to chase after the former things. A woman that remembers the road she used to frequent and treasures the Lord's redeeming grace. A woman who longs to be comforted by her Savior when the past lures her to turn aside grace and wallow in self pity. A woman who isn't tempted to turn down the road of regret. A woman who walks to bring glory to the Lord alone. A woman who sacrifices her desires and walks the road of bringing life sustaining water to those the Lord puts in her path.
"The Lord will guide me always when I loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free. When I share my food with the hungry. When I cloth the naked and do not turn away my flesh and blood. Then my light will break forth like the dawn and my healing will quickly appear; then my righteousness will go before me and the glory of the LORD will be my rear guard. "If I do away with the yoke of oppression with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if I spend myself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then my light will rise in the darkness, and my night will be like the noonday. The LORD will guide me always; he will satisfy my needs in this sun-scorched land." Isaiah 58:6,8,11

Picture above taken in my garden

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Water Bearers in a Sun Scorched Land

The one thing that stands out to me when studying the life of Jesus is the fact that people loved to be around Him. His disciples left everything to follow Him. Crowds gathered to hear him speak. The truth He spoke gave them hope and life.
In the Gospel of Luke it is documented that the Pharisees and teachers of the law complained to the disciples that Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors.
Jesus' response to this complaint,"It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31,32
What we see from the Gospels is that the religious leaders of Jesus' day hated Him because he confronted their hypocrisy. He cared for the the hopeless and healed the sick. He proclaimed freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. He released the oppressed and brought hope to the hopeless. In fact earlier in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus when speaking at the synagogue in Nazareth quoted Isaiah 61:1 to the people of His hometown. "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD." Luke 4:18,19
We too have this calling. We are called to go to those who are sick and hurting. We are called to bring the good news to the poor. I think often times we get so caught up in church that we neglect our calling to go out into the world and meet the needs of the hurting. To serve and bring hope to the hopeless. To go into this hurting world and be the hands and feet of Christ. You see Christ went to them. He healed them, He had compassion on them. People who were hurting followed Him because He cared enough to go. He cared enough to come down to reveal to us the Truth and most importantly to die and be raised again as our final atoning sacrifice. He not only healed them physically but He made them alive spiritually. He addressed their heart issues and spoke truth into the moments of their greatest desperation.
I want to take a moment to address the Samaritan woman at the well because it is the perfect illustration when observing how Jesus spoke the truth in love. Her story is documented in John 4.
Jesus was waiting for the samaritan woman at the well and when she came He offered her living water. After offering her the living water He goes on to say, "but first go and bring back your husband." Jesus knowing that she didn't have a husband asked her to bring him back to the well knowing that this confrontation would expose her sin and depravity and reveal to her His divinity.
He also takes a moment to reveal to her the heart of the Father, "for such a time is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in sprit and truth." Jesus goes on to reveal His Divinity as Messiah in verse 26 by stating plainly that He is the Messiah to the one whom He just exposed. His words penetrated the dark depths of her pain shining His glorious light into the dark places of shame and sin marking her as a chosen recipiant of His undeserved grace. "I who speak to you am He."John 4:23,24,26.
You see, Jesus wanted to expose her pain not because he wanted to hurt her but because he wanted to free her from it. Exposing her sin and desperation in hopes to free her from her bondage and to reveal to her His divinity. Jesus knowing that to receive "living water" we must repent to be set free from the bondage of sin. Let's look at the conversation with this in mind. SW: "I have no husband". JC: "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true." John 4:17,18 Can you feel the long pause... You see, Jesus got right to the heart of the issue. He states plainly the sin but not to make her feel guilty. After all, He was there waiting for her. He exposes the sin out of His desire to heal her pain and set her free from her past.
He pursued her. It was out of His great compassion that He exposed her sin and shame.
He does the same for us, He waits for us. He brings us to moments where we see our pain and our sin for the sole purpose of exposing the lies we have believed. He does this to give us the opportunity to repent and to be set free.
Who is the Lord calling you to minister to today? Is there someone in your life that is embracing a lifestyle that leads to destruction? Could it be that He wants you to love this person and to see them through His eyes.
To speak the truth in love and release the chains of bondage and destruction. Behind every addiction is an enemy that seeks to destroy. An enemy who loves death. Are we willing to expose the lies and reveal to those God puts in our path the truth. The only truth that is powerful enough to set them free. The truth of salvation. The truth of real life sustaining living water. Jesus is powerful enough to break the chains of bondage. He is powerful enough to shine light into the darkest places of humanity. Are we willing to risk rejection and our personal comfort to bring the saving knowledge of Jesus to those He puts in our path? Our time here is short. What we do with the time He has given us is eternal.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yeshua

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress my God, in whom I trust." - Psalm 91:1-2

To dwell is to abide in, to find rest in, to depend upon. A dwelling is also a place. A place where we can find rest in a world that is not our own. It can be a place where we retreat to when weary or afraid. After all, we are strangers and aliens in a foreign land.
Have you felt like one lately? That this world just isn't what it's supposed to be? If you have then this promise is for you. If you dwell in Him; you will find rest. He will be your refuge and your stronghold. He will be your strong tower and mighty deliver. To dwell in and on the promises of the One who is called "Faithful and True." He will restore your strength. He will equip you for your divine calling.
Verse 9, If you make the most high your dwelling-even the LORD, who is my refuge-no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
To dwell in and on the promises of God. To abide in and trust in His truths. To find rest in a place that is our temporary dwelling. To rest in moments of chaos and confusion.
To trust is to know for certain that my Lord will not tarry forever and will come back to get me when the curtain closes this side of eternity. To trust completely in things not seen.
Jesus came the first time to dwell among us to reveal to us the truth. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John:1:14. He came down from His heavenly throne to live in our world under the same limitations that you and I live in. He suffered death, so that by the grace of God, he might taste death for everyone. 
Paul tells us in Hebrews, "that it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of our salvation perfect through suffering. " Hebrews 2:9,11.
Fitting for God to make US perfect through HIS suffering. Our salvation through His suffering. Our salvation when we trust in his provision and sacrifice. 
Lord, may I never take your suffering for granted. You died once and for all for the sins of all those who call on your name. Your name is a strong and mighty tower. Your name is a dwelling. Yeshua.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sudden Fear?

More insight on the Greek word, tarasso as it relates to John 14:1. Let's take one more look at John 14:1, Do not let your hearts be troubled (tarasso). Trust in God, trust also in Me. 

I want to give you a little context into this verse. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about not fearing their eternal destination. He is telling them that He will come back for them and take them to be with Him where He is. He is telling them not to fear the unseen. Not to fear death. They are to trust in His promises and to remember His lineage.  

Again, tarasso, is the Greek word for trouble, which means to agitate, to cause one inward commotion; to take away one’s calmness of mind. It goes on to use words like to disquiet, to strike with fear and dread; to suggest scruples and doubts.

What we learn from this verse is that Fear is a heart issue. You and I both know that it is much easier for us to change our behavior than it is for us to change our heart. Heart issues are something we cannot combat on our own. We must have the help of the Holy Spirit. And yet when we look at the word for trouble in the Greek, the word Tarasso, it implies that Jesus is also referring to the mind.  Notice, Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled. He didn’t say do not let your minds be troubled. He said our hearts not our minds. Jesus didn't make the mistake of using the Greek word tarasso when speaking to his disciples. So why did He use a word that seems to appeal to the mind? I believe He did this because Jesus knows that to deal with the mind we must look at the heart. He knows that our heart is the wellspring of life.

Are you experiencing sudden fear today? Are you experiencing doubts and confusion. Are you agitated? Is there something that is causing you to become disquiet? 

Are you listening to the lies of the world and not the truth of God's word? Ask God to reveal to you what He desires to change within your heart. Ask Him to shine His light of truth into the dark recesses of your heart. His Truth has the power to set you free. Fear is an indication of a deeper heart issue a heart issue that God desires to deal with and set you free from. 

Trust in Him and do not allow your heart to be troubled. It is an act of the will to stand firm on the promises of God even when you are facing the strong winds of oppression. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

The picture above was taken in the Nanahala National Forest

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mount Up

"Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God'? 
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. 
His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength  to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." - Isaiah 40:27-31

How often do we think God is not for us when life throws us a curve ball that He doesn't notice us in the midst of our pain and suffering. Notice the beginning of this verse, "Why do you say, O Jacob and assert, O Israel, My way is hidden from the LORD and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God." 

I have to admit, I used to think that God was a God of vengeance. That a certain sin from my past wasn't completely paid for on the cross. I thought that because of this particular sin from my past that God was going to pay me back and take something from me as some form of retribution. This lie eventually reached it's pinnacle when it turned into full blown depression.  Thinking that my depression was some form of punishment because of my past sin I began to think that my desperation and depression escaped the notice of my God. I believed that my depression was a form of punishment from God. That I deserved to feel this way because of what I did. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that all the vengeance that I believed that I deserved because of  MY sin was placed on HIS Son. Yes, my SIN, that horrible SIN that I committed did deserve retribution. It did deserve vengeance but CHRIST took it on my behalf. He took the consequence of death on His behalf. It was through wrestling through the depression that He revealed to me His character and His intimacy in the moment of my weakness. Here is what I learned back then and what I am continuing to learn.

God's  sovereign hand orchestrates circumstances to conform me into the image of His Son. 

God allows circumstances to shine a light on the wrong thinking and sin within me that He desires to change".

You see, God allows us to experience tough times and trials to reveal to us the sickness of sin that resides below the surface. This sin resides in our heart and when pressed due to our circumstances allows things within us to be revealed. 

Why revealed? Because He wants to change us, to conform us, to free us, from the bondage of sin. He desires to reveal things within us because He loves us too much to leave us in our current condition. 

He also allows our circumstances to reveal our wrong thinking about Him. According to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, What we believe about God is the most important thing about us. A lot of times our circumstances reveal to us what we really believe about Him. It is only when life throws us a curve ball that what we truly believe about Him will be revealed.

God also allows trails and sufferings so that He can reveal Himself  MIGTHY and more than able to meet every need in the midst of the storm. He allows us to experience intimacy and power in the midst of the fiery furnace. He is All Powerful, All Knowing, From Everlasting and to Everlasting. I know this and have experienced His intimacy and at times long for it no matter what it takes. If it takes depression,  so be it.

Did you notice the wording in Isaiah 40:31, yet those who WAIT on the LORD. To wait is not always easy. We want Him to fix our problems to take away the pain to change our circumstances and yet He tells us to WAIT. It is only through waiting on Him that we can be made more like Him. It is a transforming work that takes place while we are waiting and so often we want to rush the process.

Mount UP! Only when we view our momentary struggles in light of ETERNITY will we be able to mount up. It is only when we get past our present temporal perspective and view our suffering from an eternal perspective will we gain a renewed strength to finish the race marked out for us. 

This life is but a breath, a vapor, a mist; in light of eternity. When we mount up and look at our life as just a fleeting mist then our struggles become less about us and more about Him and His conforming work within us. Oftentimes, it is the struggle that forces our focus off of ourselves and onto Him. It forces us to look up and view our struggles from an eternal perspective and our life as He would view it from His Heavenly throne. He is sovereign over all of eternity. He knew my first day from my last day. He is in complete control of all things and in Him all things are held together.

The picture above was taken by me while riding in a boat near the Nanahala National Forest. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mighty Warrior

Do not let your hearts be troubled trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1

We as women are so in tune with our feelings and emotions that at times we fall into the trap of believing that our feelings and emotions are truth. How we feel about something becomes our reality. We rely so much on how we “feel” about a situation that our feelings often override God’s truths. 

For instance, when we say things like, "that just doesn’t “feel” right to me", "I don’t “feel” like God loves me", "I don’t “feel” like I love my husband anymore", "I’m “feeling” a little off today", "I “feel” like I’m about to lose it!”  We are allowing how we feel at that particular moment to define our actions and our reality. It is at these moments that we must remember that God's truths override our feelings.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  The Greek word for trouble in this verse is the word Tarasso, which means to agitate, to cause one inward commotion; to take away one’s calmness of mind. It goes on to use words like to disquiet, to strike with fear and dread; to suggest scruples and doubts.

When I read this definition I picture someone who is restless, who doubts, someone who is unfocused. Henceforth, the word Tarasso distracts us from God’s truths and causes our minds to be filled with lies and confusion. I will talk more about this tomorrow. But first, I want to address Gideon because I think we can learn a powerful lesson from observing his life. 

When we are feeling fearful but acting in faith, are we fearful or full of faith? 

I know you are thinking "whaT?!"  Where are you going with this, Liz?

Let me explain, Gideon "felt" fearful but acted in faith. He didn't bow down to his feelings of fear instead he asked God for a sign and he trusted Him with the outcome. He surrendered his fear to a mighty God.  He obeyed God. He didn't allow his "feelings of fear" to override God's truths. He might have been feeling fear during those times of battle but he didn't allow his fear to keep him from what God had called him to do. 

So let me ask again, was Gideon fearful or full of faith?

 Oftentimes, we allow how we are feeling to describe who we are. We feel guilty for "feeling" fearful even when we are acting in faith. Can I tell you Dear One, that often times when we act in faith despite how we feel we are trusting God. I believe it's much more honoring to Him when we trust Him despite how we feel.

"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." 

Picture above is of Gracyn at Rosemary Beach.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Life of Focus?


I struggle to live a life of focus. I allow anxiety and worry to penetrate my life and distract me from living a life of purpose. I become distracted and consumed with every day worries that I allow the little things of this world to distract me from walking the path the Lord has prepared for me. 

If you can relate to these then I pray this blog finds you and encourages you. It is my prayer that through my struggles I can encourage you to press on toward the goal and a life of freedom and focus. 

The picture above was taken by me in Italy. I thought it captured perfectly what it means to have a long term vision for your life. Notice that the focus of the picture is on a far away house. For me, it captures living life with an eternal perspective. Keeping my mind focused on eternal things. Things that will make an eternal difference.  

In Michael Youssef’s book, Discover the Power of One, He states that Worry comes from a German word that means to strangle. He goes on to say that worry is a form of fear. It is a fear that things are not going to turn out as you expect. It is a fear that you are going to be hurt or rejected in the future or that something shameful from your past is going to come to light. It is a fear that God is not going to come through for you to protect you, provide for you or nurture you as you desperately long for him to do. Discover the Power of One.

Dr. Youssef goes on to give us these statistics. 40% of what we worry about never happens, 30% is in the past and we can’t change it. 12% worry needlessly about their health, 10% petty anxieties and 8% light worries. Discover the Power of One

Simply put, Worry strangles our faith and yields us powerless to make any real eternal difference. We miss out on so many amazing blessings and opportunities when we spend all our energy worrying about the future.
 
Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 7:25-27

Now let’s jump down to verse 32-34; For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We see Jesus telling us not to worry about what we will eat or the clothes we will wear. Not to worry about the simple provisions of life and yet in our western material culture that is not our worry is it? And yet we are stilled worried. We aren’t worried about getting our basic survival needs met. We are worried about other things. Things like, will my child make the traveling team? Will I get invited to that party or why didn’t I get invited to that party? Or what should I wear to that party? If I could only lose 10 pounds I would look amazing in that dress? What if my kids don’t get into that school? My head has hurt for a couple of days, do I have a brain tumor? These are the things that infiltrate our mind and distract us. Now let me say here that I am stating the worries that can enter into my mind. I know all too way what it means to be distracted. So I'm speaking for myself in this matter but if these thoughts penetrate my mind I think it is safe to assume that I'm not the only one who struggles with distraction.

What would our lives look like if we lived a life of focus? 

Jesus, tells us to live one day at a time. Focus on today! Do not worry about tomorrow. Do not worry about the things you have no control over. I believe when we live a focused life we will be able to live our life with an eternal perspective. We will not be bogged down with the worries of the world and distracted by earthly things. I believe he is challenging us to live life with an eternal perspective; our minds focused entirely on eternal things. 

You know what my greatest fear is? It is that I will miss out on what God has created me to do because I am so focus and distracted on temporal things, things that in light of eternity are insignificant. 

When I focus on heavenly things and live my life with an eternal perspective my life takes on a whole new level of excitement and adventure. The worries of the day no longer matter. A life of focus.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fear of Things Unseen

I can't sleep. I know for most of you bloggers 11:30 isn't late. But, yours truly, is an early bird. I'm usually fast asleep by 10:30 so because of my unexpected insomnia I have finally decided to get up and blog whatever it is the Lord wishes for me to write. I will let you in on these thoughts running through my mind as I am and was desperately trying to fall asleep. The thought that keeps running through my mind is Fear is a form of worship. 
As most of you know, I struggle with fear. I don't struggle so much with fear of the things that I can see but rather fear of the things I can't see. 
For the longest time I had a hard time explaining why I was afraid. I would repeat over and over again to well meaning friends, "Yes, I know I have an alarm.' Yes, I know I can call my closest friends at midnight or later.' 'Yes, I know how improbable it is for someone to break into my house the one night my husband is away." But that is not what I'm afraid of, I'm afraid of the things I can't see. This admission has always surprised them and it has always been hard for me to admit. 
As a child,  I was afraid of monsters, ghosts and evil. I hated sleeping alone in my room. Most nights I would crawl into my parents room right after they fell asleep. I would sleep on the floor with no pillow and one blanket. I was desperate not to be left alone to fight the battle of fear, fear of that which I could not see but somehow knew existed.
Why do I tell you this? It is because it wasn't until the Lord reprimanded me that I was able to overcome my fear. Well, I did sleep at my parent's house last night due to being afraid but at least I was able to repent of my sin and ask for a fresh perspective.
So what was the Lord's reprimand? Fear of Satan and of evil is in essence a form of worship. When you fear evil you are in fact worshiping it. Fear the LORD your God and serve Him only. Fear is a form of worship. 
For instance, if I fear rejection I am worshiping man. If I fear pain, I am worshiping self. If I fear losing the things that I own, I am worship that which my hands have made. If I fear war or rumors of wars, I'm worshiping man.
And if I'm fearing all the evil in the world than I am in fact denying that, He who lives in me is greater than he who is in the world and I am worshiping and giving power to the enemy of the Living God. Power that is not due him. 
Notice the wording in these verses.
You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. Deuteronomy 6:13. 
Notice in the verse the key word only. Why does God tell us to fear Him only? I believe He tells us this because He knows that what we fear is what we will bow down to. Ultimately, fear will determine our actions. Fear will hold us hostage and keep us from doing what God has called us to do. 
Fear sets itself up against faith and renders us useless to the kingdom of God. In a later post, I want to address Gideon because He felt fear but acted in faith. There is a big difference between feeling fearful and reacting out of fear.
For thus the LORD spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, " You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. "It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And he shall be your dread. "Then He shall become your sanctuary." Isaiah 8:12-14
I could spend an entire entry on this one verse but for now, I will let this powerful verse speak for itself.
He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear. Psalm 112:7
The fear of the Lord keeps all my other fears in check.