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Fear of Dependence

8 Apr

How can we NOT depend on the God who made all THIS? (View from point where I fell off the horse.)

We just had the most wonderful week vacationing with our son, Steve, his wife, Hannah, and their girls (and our grandgirls), Shaye and Kayden.  For all of us, the highlight was horseback riding up the largest active volcano in the Andes Mountains, referred to in these parts as Mama Tungurahua.  We saw orchids hanging by the side of the path, a Dragonblood Tree, whose sap looks like blood and is an incredible healing agent, a naturally carbonated spring, and more marvels than I can list.

My horse did not like going downhill, mud, or puddles.  We were headed downhill toward the barn when he kicked back in a little tantrum to let me know he was not enjoying going downhill. I went flying, landed on my shoulder, and three hospitals later we found one with an x-ray machine that determined that my clavicle was broken.  Once I was admitted to a 4th hospital that did surgery, I realized how I was rubbed the wrong way by having to depend on others for EVERYTHING.  Although Mike so sweetly cared for me, my independent spirit kept rebelling, responding internally with an often inappropriate “I can do it by myself.”  I’m so grateful for all the care he gave and is giving me; I could even laugh when he zipped my stomach in the zipper of my jeans, but I am uncomfortable with dependence.

The question is, am I the same way with God?  Am I uncomfortable depending on Him?  Do I want to do it myself?  This week, I’m asking God to show me how much my independent spirit interferes with an intimate relationship where I receive all He has for me.  How is your level of comfort with dependence?

But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him]. John 3:21

Love, not Fear

26 Mar

Enter into God's love

“And so it was that my fear turned to rage, which I carried around with me like a large and heavy parcel that could not be set down.  It kept me from merriment when jests were told.  It kept me from curiosity when I heard a man describe to my father how blood from one dog had been put into the veins of another.  Because of it I could not feel humility when I heard sermons preached at church, nor patience when the nightmare woke Toby three times in one night.” ~ from A True and Faithful Narrative  by Katherine Sturtevant

I was thinking about this statement about fear–the typical example for a parent is when you can’t find your child, maybe you got separated in the mall, and a gazillion scenarios stream through your mind–pedophiles, kidnappings, your child in traffic. . . you know.  This is a sharp, immediate terror.

That feeling of relief when you are reunited is often followed by anger, isn’t it?  “Why did you wander off?” we roar, “I told you to stay with me!”  Fear can keep us from so many things.  What about the sodden fear we sometimes live with for years–fear that someone we love will never come to Christ or be freed of addictions.  What can we do when fear begins to affect our lives?  We need to learn to step into God’s love which drives our fear away.  Make a conscious effort to step into the awareness of God’s accepting love for you today.  You are Beloved.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Conflicts Without, Fears Within

25 Feb

In 2nd Corinthians 7:5,  the conflicts without and the fears within refer to the difficulty of spreading the gospel in Macedonia.  In the following verse Paul is comforted by God who used Titus’s arrival and the news Titus brought of how beautifully the Corinthians had responded to Paul’s first letter to comfort him.

That made me think of the many ways that God uses to encourage us, because we are often in situations with conflict without and fears within.  I would dare to say fairly often.  The word for comfort, parakaleo, is written in the present active participle–it’s something that is continually being done by God.  It means to call to one’s side, to call to, to summon, to strengthen, and to comfort.  God is doing all that right now!  Allow God to parakaleo you today.

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. 2 Cor. 7:5-7

The Shadow of Death

19 Feb

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4  Amp.

I love what the Treasury of David has to say about fearing no evil:  ” The worst evils of life are those which do not exist except in our imagination.  If we had no troubles but real troubles, we should not have a tenth part of our present sorrows.  We feel a thousand deaths in fearing one, but the psalmist was cured of the disease of fearing. ”

How true.

It makes me think of when my mom was close to her last breath, and  I said to her, “Jesus is waiting to say, ‘Welcome, good and faithful servant.”  Dad has his arms open for a hug.  Grandma is jumping up and down in excitement, and we’ll all be there in a little while.”  The shadow of death is a valley; it’s a passageway; it’s our path to a better place.

God is in the Waiting

25 Jan

God IS in the waiting.

Not until then did he seek comfort and counself from his wife, who had always been his solace at such times; throwing himself down beside her on the wagon seat, he told her the story of his late discoveries, the absence of the king, the death of his kinsman. For a second the woman’s heart quailed before the fresh difficulties, but she forgot self at the look in her husband’s face. Her quiet reply, “We will wait, for God is in the waiting.” ~ The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric. P. Kelly

Mike has taught me so much about waiting!  I’m the kind of person that wants to make things happen.  I want to fix things.  Many, many times in fearful moments, Mike has spoken to me as the wise wife spoke in the quote above.  Wait, dear.  Let’s see what God will do.

LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. Psalm 48:15

Fear of Change

14 Jan

My great-grandparents close to arriving in New Mexico after crossing the Rocky Mountains in their covered wagon. Don't know where they came up with a photographer!

Why is it that some of us fear change so much and others of us celebrate change?  I just got off the phone with my brother a few minutes ago and he mentioned that it seems like he’s good in one thing for about 5 – 7 years.  I told him about a paper that I’d done about our family when I took a counseling course while working on my Christian Education degree.  The assignment was to go back through your family tree looking for tendencies–everything from health tendencies to emotional and spiritual tendencies.  One of the main things I discovered is that on both sides we’re a family on the move.  Since we came over from England in the 1600s and from Norway in the late 1800s, we’ve been moving.  Not one younger generation has lived in the same place as its parents.  Usually the parents haven’t even stayed in the same place.

Enjoying change in the way I’ve discussed is a natural tendency in me, not supernatural.  It’s certainly nothing to take credit about.  However, going into the unknown like Abraham did, by faith, is another story.

By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.  Hebrew 11:8-10

By faith in these verses means belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same.  That goes beyond the natural enjoyment of change, to faith that God will lead us exactly where He wants us to go if we keep our eyes on Him.  We have recently experienced that peace and that faith that comes from knowing that He is guiding you after a period of not being sure.  Recently I accepted a position at a school in Guatemala that was a good provision and a country we were attracted to for ministry, but both of us felt terrible after accepting the job.  We turned it down two days later and since then have experienced such a rest about our uncertain plans due to a renewed confidence that He is guiding.

Fear of . . . Not Getting What We Want

3 Jan

How many of you have had the “Christian Marriage Fight”?  You know, the one where the husband says, “You need to submit to me.”  And where the wife says, “You need to love me sacrificially–the way Christ loves the church.  Or at least as much as you love your own body.”  Mike and I had one the first night we were married.  **Drumroll**  I know you’re waiting to hear something momentous.  **More drumroll** OK.  It was about pyjamas.  And that’s all you need to know about that.

I always talk to young couples about this useless matrimonial infighting, but today I found a name for the husband and wife roles in this battle.  One is “self-serving conformity” and the other was “self-serving assertiveness.”  You see, when it comes down to it we both just wanted to please self.  And we used “Biblical” ammunition to try and get it.  Now, that’s kind of disgusting.

What’s the motive here?  Love, grace, mercy, glorifying God?  Nope.  Selfishness–pure and simple.  Now, a couple of people who’ve commented on my posts about self seem to think I’m promoting some sort of works righteousness or self-improvement program.  Actually, what I’m learning and passing on is that we need to learn to be sensitive to the sin of selfishness, ask forgiveness (because we can’t live an other-centered life without God’s provision), and receive the forgiveness and grace that he has for us.  What do you think?

Photo from http://goo.gl/xI38Q