Tag Archives: Fear

Reflections in a Mirror – How do you see you?

Have you ever seen that cute poster that shows a little cat sitting in front of a full length mirror and the reflection is that of a huge lion? The point that this image is conveying is that how you see yourself is of utmost importance. But is that really true? Isn’t that a bit self-centered and egotisical?

With all the focus on “self esteem” and “self worth” and the “look-at -me” social media lifestyle we live with today, I took issue with this mind set. I took issue because God doesn’t teach us to be so self-centered and ego-driven. His Word tells us to be humble and modest and to place others before us. But when we look around and see the drug abuse, eating disorders, violence in schools, hazing and peer pressure and all the pain and suffering caused by negative self-image, poor self-worth and the desire for acceptance, I had to rethink my position.

I looked into the Word of God and found somethings I’d like to share.

   Psalms 23:7 tells us that:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

   There are many examples in the Bible of those who had either a very low self esteem or a prideful sense of self and God dealt with both accordingly. In Judges chapter 6 we see the angle of the Lord address Gideon as a “Mighty man of Valor!” yet, Gideon reveals very clearly how he sees himself in his response;

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?

My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

  Gideon says that in all of Israel his family is the smallest, weakest and least powerful family and as if that wasn’t enough – he is the least of them! He just opened his mouth and declared himself to be one of the least powerful, important or capable people in the whole country!! Wow! talk about a poor self-image. But keep in mind that this is not how God sees him. Thankfully, this is not the end of Gideon’s story. He goes on, with the power of God, to fulfill his destiny as a mighty man of valor and saves Israel – see Judges 7

But lets look at how Gideon could say such a thing. Jesus gives us insight into where such things come from –

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Like 6:45

   So we see that Gideon said this about himself because that is what he really believed deep down inside himself. Regardless of what anyone else thought or said about him – he felt helpless and small. Thankfully God was able to turn his thinking around.

But lets look at an example of an over-inflated ego – King Saul

 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.  And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Sam 9:1-3

   Unlike Gideon, Saul was a handsome man who came from a powerful family and was taller than anyone else around. Add to that the fact that he was chosen to be King of Israel and you have a formula for pride, self-reliance and disobedience. 1 Samuel records the story of how Saul, ordered to kill the Amalekites and not leave alive or take anything. He did not obey. He let the men take the best of the livestock under the pretense of making a sacrifice to God with them. His pride and concern for public opinion among the men of Israel caused him to disobey God and that cost him the crown. He was rejected by God as king over Israel and later, a small, skinny boy would be chosen to take his place – David.

Young David is an example of a healthy self-image.

  With Saul rejected as King the Prophet Samuel is sent by God to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Jesse has seven of his sons stand before the prophet but God says no to each of them. Only after the young skinny son that Jesse overlooked was brought before Samuel did God command – Go, anoint this one! David began his journey as King of Israel. David, who even as a child had a good self image and knew how he stood with God. This is clearly seen in the way in which David stood up to Goliath even though the entire army shook with fear of that giant.

David declares that no one should be fearful about this man because he (little skinny boy David) will fight and defeat him! On the surface this might seem like a prideful statement but David was drawing on the confidence inside him because of his relationship with the One True God and past experiences.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:24-37

  David trusted in his own ability coupled with the power of God with him. Much like Daniel in the Lion’s den who trusted, come what may, in God’s Love to see him threw the situation ahead of them. Hopefully, you know how both these stories end. If not please look into it.

So, you see it’s all about a balance. You are not the lowest of the low no matter how you might feel and likewise, you are not he greatest one to walk the earth, even if you think you are!

Getting back to that cat looking at it’s reflection in the mirror.

He should see a great and mighty Lion in the mirror

as long as he also sees The Lord Jesus Christ beside him

otherwise it’s all and illusion!

Jesus said it best –

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

  Be blessed today as you go forth in the Power of the Holy Spirit to stand confidently in your place with Jesus by your side. Al

Further verses on this subject are listed here for our consideration.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Pr 16:18

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:6

Can I get a Witness?!

OK, show of hands, who cringes at the idea of going door-to-door for Jesus?

OK, now those of you who didn’t raise your hands don’t worry, the rest of us will pray for you.

   Seriously, When it comes to street evangelism I always feel uncomfortable – until I get out there. The idea of knocking on a strangers door or stopping someone in the street is challenging at best. When I first started going out with my church group I realized what it must be like to be one of those cold-callers that get hung up all the time. At best you get a door slammed in your face or ignored. At worst you get threatened, cursed at or duck a punch. But it’s worth it.

   Once, while walking from one house to another, a car parked on the street and a family stepped out of the car. I was talking to one of the people in my group while the family exited the vehicle. A young man stepped onto the sidewalk, not watching where he was going either, and we bumped into each other. We grabbed each other instinctual to catch ourselves from falling. If appearances count for anything this young man and I were as opposite as two people could be. The shock and surprise on his face quickly turned to anger as he looked at me in my “Jesus is Lord” T-shirt and my Bible in hand. Without thinking I put my hand on his shoulder and to this day can not tell you what I said to him. All I do remember is finally getting around to asking him if I could pray with him. He said yes and began to cry. We prayed and he accepted Jesus as Lord right there. His mother thanked me and I never saw any of them again.

   The point is that I bumped into that young man but I didn’t speak to him. God used me to touch him. I am certain that he had heard of Jesus many many times before that day. But I was blessed to be the one God used to bring him home. You see it isn’t about me, or you, or any of us. Paul addressed this when he found that there were those who claimed to be part of Paul’s group and others who claimed to belong to Apollos, causing prideful division in the Corinthian church.

For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers? For whenever someone says, “I’m with Paul,” and another, “I’m with Apollos, are you not unspiritual people? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.For we are God’s coworkers1 Cor 3:3-9 HCSb

   What a relief! I am not responsible for leading anyone to Christ. If they reject me, threaten me, ignore me, it doesn’t count against me. The pressure is off. Right?

Sort of. You see I am still called to go.

I am called to go because I have no idea if I will be planting a seed or watering a seed planted or harvesting that which others have labored for. It does help me to know that I may never see those who I witness to again. It also helps that they don’t know me. The anonymity is a safe place for me to speak from because it gives me room to be a fool for God so to speak. It also helps me not take the rejection personally. If they reject me they are actually rejecting Jesus and that is sad knowing what we know.

Regardless, I am called to go.

Called because Jesus said Go.

And if I go, in obedience and humility,

He will go with me and

if Jesus is with me anything is possible.

  Go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and see what happens.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

Side note – Just in case you feel I was being a bit boastful in this post I have to say that there are,  regrettably,  far too many times when I felt lead to tell someone about Jesus and held my tongue.

Be blessed, Al

Warning! Unstable conditions ahead!

Scared to Death on the Bridge

How do we react to instability in our lives? Do we frightfully hang on for dear life, as I did while crossing this rope bridge in Ireland, or do we rest easy knowing we are in the Fathers arms?

I never have been much for heights. Although I have been to the top of the Empire State building without a care and if needed I can walk most roofs but  you couldn’t get me on a roller coaster until recently.  I think the reason behind my fear of certain heights was control. If I felt like I was in control of the situation I wasn’t afraid no matter how high I was.

But we aren’t always in control of our environment or the conditions of the road ahead of us. What then? Fearfully clinging? Or resting easy? What would the Word of God encourage us to do? How would Jesus hope to see us react? I am reminded of a circumstance that Peter found himself in. Matthew records the event here.

While in a storm swept boat with the disciples Peter calls out to Jesus Who is walking on the water towards them. Peter asks Jesus to let him come to Jesus on the water and Jesus calls for him to come. Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus – UNTIL he takes his eyes off of Jesus and looks at the storm – THEN HE SINKS LIKE A ROCK! The disciples were fighting that storm for hours. Truly an unstable environment. Yet when Peter saw Jesus and kept his eyes on Him he overcame the circumstances around him and did the impossible – he walked on water. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink (vs. 30 TLB). But, remember, the high waves and rough seas were there before he stepped out onto the sea, they just weren’t the focus of his attention.

So, clearly we all need to remember that when the waves and storms and instabilities of life arise, we can rise above them if we focus on Jesus and not the circumstance. The following is a short list of encouraging words found in Gods Word for us all to hide in our hearts for a rainy day.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. Mark 11:22

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

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 14:1 and 27 NIV

  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love 1 John 4:18 NKJV

 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,that He may exalt you in due time, 

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6

 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Eph 3:17-21 KJV

 

My Friends please hold His words close to your hearts because the Word tells us that there will be a time of unprecedented instability in the future (maybe our future, maybe in some distant time) but we can stand the times of emotional, economic or social instability if we stand in HIM Whom first placed our feet on solid ground.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ Philippians 1:6 KJV

Rope bridgeCarrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 meters (66 ft) and is 30 meters (98 ft) above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2009 it had 247,000 visitors. The bridge is open all year round (subject to weather) and people may cross it for a fee.

When Anger turns to Anarchy

Fires are burning in Ferguson

Not just buildings or cars but the hearts and minds of the people there are on fire. Burning with anger, fear and resentment. When the expectations of large groups aren’t met then disappoint can lead to destruction.

But, does it have to be this way? Did the riots in Philadelphia bring about the expected change? Did the Los Angeles riots change anything? Did the unrest in Ferguson in August have a lasting impact?

The answer to all these questions is NO!

My comments here are not about the shooting. I have nothing to say about that other than any lose of life is tragic.  I pray for the Brown family even though I know that you never get over the lose of a child – never.  I am also praying for Officer Wilson because I know that regret is a form of torment that never goes away. There’s nothing that can undo the harm that has been done – ESPECIALLY  more harm.

The fact that people are angry and outraged about what they see as a great injustice doesn’t warrant further outrageous behavior. There are ways of demonstrating without destruction. Voices can be heard without screaming. Martin Luther King is but one example of those who chose to speak rather than yell. He will continue to be remembered while those who loot and set fires are forgotten.

History may well remember Ferguson in a different light than we see today but lets not let the riots overshadow what really should be heard – We MUST overcome!

WE MUST OVERCOME RACIAL DIFFERENCES

WE MUST OVERCOME ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES

WE MUST OVERCOME OUR ANGER AND FEAR

BECAUSE

ALL THIS ISN’T WORKING

BW Sunset

LET’S LET THE SUN COME UP ON A NEW DAY WHERE WE CAN SAY HOW MUCH WE ARE HURTING INSIDE WITHOUT HURTING OTHERS OUTSIDE

Please pray for the people of Ferguson and St. Louis, Mo and for all of us around the country to peacefully express our pain. Then, maybe, with God’s help – change will come – someday.

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

What Now?

All our nerves are on edge. We’re snapping and arguing and just a mess. I try to recall what the Master said last night at supper but the events that followed overshadow the memory. I close my eyes and see only His beaten body hanging on that cross. I remember His lifeless form as we took Him down and carried Him to the tomb. The ladies were all crying even as they prepared Him for burial. I feel like crying and screaming but dare not make a sound. Hiding here, with the home shut tight, for fear that they will come after us now that He is gone. Simon Peter is talking about going fishing but some others are leaving for Emmaus. There’s a sadness that fills the air and sinks deep into out hearts. We aren’t partaking in the Passover – it’s just too difficult to celebrate at such a time as this.

I thought it would be different. Just last week the crowds were cheering for Him as we entered the city. I recognized some of those same people yelling for Him to die at Pilates house. But why? Why did it have to happen like this? Someone said they heard Judas hung himself! He was my friend. Why did he betray Him? Why? Why did they take Him at night? They never do that. So many things just don’t make sense to me. Dear God, help me to understand. Help me to know what to do next.

Removed Memorials* NO JESUS NO PEACE  *

*KNOW JESUS KNOW PEACE *