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Fear of Rejection

29 Jan

According to Robert McGee’s book, The Search for Significance, the fear of rejection limits the intimacy of our relationships.  He says that “Turning to others for what only God can provide is a direct results of our acceptance of Satan’s lie:

Self worth = Performance + Others’ Opinions

I was thinking about this in relationship to our roles as parents.  Could the equation be rewritten thusly:

My self-worth = Performance of my Children + Others’ Opinions (of me and my parenting)

People who believe this, and I believe that we all do sometimes, forget about the free will.  I remind others–and myself–that God was the perfect “parent,” if you will, to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  Yet we all know what became of that.  Are you living in Satan’s lie today?

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.  Col. 1:21-22

Advent-urous

23 Dec

I was looking up the word adventurous in my favorite dictionary (Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language) and it’s related to the word advent which means “to come to.”  Jesus came to earth for us.  I love this poem I found this morning about the Advent of Christ:

Light looked down and beheld Darkness.

“Thither will I go,” said Light.

Peace looked down and beheld War.

“Thither will I go,” said Peace.

Love looked down and beheld Hatred.

“Thither will I go,” said Love.

So came Light and shone.

So came Peace and gave rest.

So came Love and brought life.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. ~ L. Houseman

One of the definitions of adventure is “an enterprise of hazard; a bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events.”  The best adventure we can have is to whole-heartedly follow Jesus.  It’s advent-urous because we don’t know what’s ahead,  but thankfully HE DOES.

The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth. John 1:14 HCSB

Fear

28 Nov

“But he’s a master of that art.  It’s his whole life.  I doubt if he himself has any idea what it’s like to be so paralyzed by fear that you feel small and insignificant.  But he knows just how to arouse that fear and spread it, in people’s homes and their beds, in their heads and their hearts.  His men spread fear abroad like the Black Death, they push it under doors and through mailboxes, they paint it on walls and stable doors until it infects everything around it of it’s own accord, silent and stinking like a plague.” ~ Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

We must remember the source of our fears.  It is the enemy who spreads fear and doubt among us.  Last night I was teaching a women’s Bible study at church.  I’m doing a year-long series on family.  Last night the theme was, The Family is a Refuge.  The text I used was Matthew 25:34 – 40, when we serve others–even when we don’t see results–we are serving Christ.  I used the examples given (clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the prisoners, feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, and taking in strangers) in both their straightforward and metaphorical senses.  For example, a prisoner can be in the county jail or can be a prisoner to anger, pride, drugs, etc.

What I saw on the faces of the women I taught last night was fear and discouragement.  They had little hope that situations in their families would change.  They did not seem encouraged that even when we don’t see results we are ministering to Jesus.  Their fear is in control.  However,

He has given us the privilege,

74 since we have been rescued

from our enemies’ clutches,

to serve Him without fear

75 in holiness and righteousness

in His presence all our days.  Luke 1: 73b – 75

A Dangerous Game: Hope

4 Sep

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."

I read a lot of fiction for children and young adults in my constant quest to match students to books.  I read Moon Over Manifest the other day, a book about the redemption of a town filled with con men, bootleggers, supposed fortune tellers, and a lot of immigrants.  I loved it.  Then this section caught my eye:

Then, from the shadows on the porch, she spoke to me, beckoning from her darkness to mine.

“It was a dangerous game we played.”

I opened the gate.  “What?  Faking a town quarantine?”

“No, what we did in addition to that.”

I sat on the top step, my back against the porch rail.  “What could be more dangerous than a fake quarantine and a town-sponsored bootlegging operation?”

“Hope . . .”

I realize that I think of hope just that way:  a very dangerous game.  But hope is a gift from God and it’s wrong to protect my heart from hoping just because I’m afraid of what we’ll happen if my hopes are dashed again.  I realize, though, that hoping in the Lord and His provision is what strengthens us.  Dare to hope.

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon.  Psalm 31:24

What if What We Hope for Doesn’t Happen?

25 Aug

Romans 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out [This is written in the perfect passive tense – we don’t have to do anything to make the love flow] in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

What if what we hope for doesn’t happen?  If we are focused inward on the circumstance our heart will become sick.  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick (grieve)” (Prov 13:12).  But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts”.  So if we focus upward our heart is healed with His love.  Remember in Romans, how the heroes of the faith often did not see their hopes fulfilled until after their deaths!

Becoming Hopeful

23 Aug

Romans 5:4  And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith andtried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Experience/endurance:  The word rendered experience (dokimhn) means trial, testing, or that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine. It also means approbation, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process. The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his faith, and prove that it is genuine.

  • The experience mentioned is the experience of knowing how to get along with another imperfect person, which makes it possible to have a continuing relationship with this person(s).  Another side of this experience is knowing how to handle a crisis.  Knowing that this crisis did not take God by surprise.  This experience leads us to:

Hope:  expectation of good, hope in the Christian sense joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation, on hope, in hope, having hope, the author of hope, or he who is its foundation.

It is easy to lose hope in a situation that has been going on for many years.  We’ll look at losing hope in the next post.