Mother’s hands are used by God to nurture us until we reach His heavenly embrace… and a mother’s prayers are her most effective weapon.
I’m am thinking of a couple of moms that I want to remember today for different reasons. One is a young Mom who I came to know last Spring through an event at our church. Her prayer request during an alone time together was to have another baby; she already had a young son but had lost other babies by miscarriage. This Mother’s Day, a year later, she has another beautiful boy to love, nurture, and enjoy. This young woman’s heart cry and faith are inspiring, I enjoy seeing how she delights in her gifts from God. (Be inspired by reading Hannah’s story I Samuel 1 and 2:1-26.)
The second Mom that I want to commend, is someone whose son I’ve interacted with regularly. He’s a considerate…
Being lost is an awful feeling. I recall after being deposited in Romania to continue working on our adoption, several weeks had passed and I was wanting to venture out on my own to attend an English-speaking church. I did not have a car and I wanted to try and get around alone on the bus system there. I needed to take a bus from the small town where I was staying to the larger city of Suceava nearby. I had not yet developed my language skills enough to function well, but decided to go for it anyway.
It was so nice to attend the Wednesday evening worship service and meet other English-speaking people. After the service, I found my way back to the center of town. I knew the bus number that would take me back to Ițcani where I was staying with our soon-to-be-adopted children and their cousins. The problem was I got on the bus in one location and wasn’t quite sure where to get off because of the route it took back. I was told that some of the buses that head to the Gara (train station) quit for the night and I did not want to walk alone, in the dark all the way from the train station! When I figured I was close enough to my destination and saw that most of the people were getting off near the viaduct, I got off and followed the crowd. As they confidently began to disburse in different directions I began to fear becoming vulnerable, uncertain of which way to go, yet did not want to stop and appear lost. Thankfully, I recognized a storefront that I had been in the week before with cousin Angela and I was able to confidently walk down the street that led to their home.
I shared that story to say the crowd can feel safe for a while but eventually, you have to know for yourself where you’re headed. Without a true inner compass to guide you, there will be times of vulnerability and fear. Our world is only growing more troubled and confused as scripture says it would (2 Timothy 3:1-17) before Christ returns for His Bride-the Church. This is no time to live in confusion or fear. One thing is sure: if we have the confidence that God IS our Father, and the Holy Spirit is living within, we can trust Him to help us in our time of need. I urge you today if you do not yet know God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son (I John 5:20) in a personal way then seek Him while you can. You’ll want to find a church that adheres to scripture, with a shepherd that does not fear others to help you on your journey. Finding a pastor and leaders that can disciple you and that you can get to know in a personal way is so important.
Id’ like to have you think about your inner-compass, and ask yourself if it is sure, trustworthy, and set to True North. We had an elderly outdoorsman friend who knew all about true north vs. magnetic north. My son used to love to go treking around the Adirondack Mountains with Mr. Fred. Andre would come home having learned so much about hiking, hunting, and woodsmanship. As we trek through our agitated world, we must learn and determine for ourselves what is Truth (True North), as God our Creator explains it, versus what is relative truth (magnetic North) the way humankind interprets it. They are very different, much more than the 12-degree difference that travelers adjusting their compass for declination must do. We live in a post-Christian society that knows little anymore about the God who created us, and the need to adjust our thinking to His Word in order to rightly find our destination. walking only a few degrees off true north causes major deviation as time passes. Failure to navigate without God’s help is causing so much confusion and division in our world, and in our families.
Unless we align our heart with God’s and center ourselves in the Truth of His Word daily, we will find ourselves in compromised situations wondering what to believe or do. People end up way off course by multiplying the untruth that human wisdom alone provides. The Potter (Isaiah 64:8) who molded and made us is well able to guide us through the maze of these tumultuous days. He is the One who instructs us with the Truth about us, our world, and our condition.
Our society has never been so convoluted in its division. Yes, the Civil War (1861-1865) was the fruit of a major division in our country over the issue of slavery. But today we have so many issues that are not clean-cut, discernable and based upon clear criteria, such as the slave trade was. We’ve fallen into a pit of darkness concerning every possible topic one could discuss. There is no longer a sensible view of what is right or wrong. People are so confused over the simplest of matters, such as God creating people male and female (Genesis 1:27). When such an obvious biological fact becomes debatable, we have completely lost our way. Agendas abound… I do not want to be led astray by people feeding me lies, partial truth, or man-made “facts”. I want the whole truth that God offers to us in His Word.
WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?
I do not watch TV. I decided long ago that for me it wasted valuable time that I needed to invest elsewhere. If I were going to be able to think critically, I would need good source information beginning with the Bible. Next, I add to that a variety of reliable sources to learn from. I think it is wise to educate ourselves on what’s going on in the world, but if you allow the news media to interpret these events you will be misled by their viewpoint. Because of our fallen nature, all people lie to some degree, whether with intent or not: God alone is True and knows all. Human beings can only offer what they see from their limited view and particular bias. Without the lens of Scripture to help us interpret Truth from falsehood, we are left to hopelessly navigate through lies. You must decide whether your brain will be washed by the world’s thinking or by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Even with God’s Word to guide us, we are often wrong in our views. This is why humility is so important and a highly regarded ingredient in scripture. Prayer with humility is crucial in finding our way.
WHY All THE FIGHTING?
So why is there such major divisions among us today? All people have agendas, and we are naturally (I Corinthians 2:14) governed by our sinful lusts: greed, power, fame, and self. With the transformation that Christ stepping into the center of our lives brings, we gain the opportunity to renounce these lusts by God’s grace, and live another way (Colossians 3:9). We come to know that God holds our future in His Hands (Hebrews 13:5) and we are taught to give rather than hoard things for ourselves and dominate others. We are also encouraged to speak up for the oppressed and for righteous causes (Micah 6:8). While many good people attempt to do this, the heart’s true motivation is eventually seen. Motives and desires are heart issues and our actions reveal what we believe. The clash of thinking, values and all-out war concerning ideas in the public square is because of opposing worldviews; mans vs. Gods and how we apply scripture to our lives.
WHERE IS YOUR COMPASS TAKING YOU?
We can find peace and assurance as we set our sights and resting place with God as our dwelling place, both here and in eternity. I desire to follow the inner compass God has placed within my soul. I am serving God by doing His will as He daily reveals it to me. When we fix our compass upon the scripture and are nurtured daily, feeding upon God’s abundance, we find ourselves secure under His care. But this is not the case for those who follow their own way; they call it following your heart or doing your own thing. We are told in the Bible that this will lead to destruction and worse yet, Hell (a place created for the devil and his demons, not mankind) in the end (Revelation 21:8). The decision you make today, will determine your destination, your outcome… what will it be?
Psalm 1 is my favorite, it pretty much sums up the 2 divergent groups and where they land. Think about it and decide: Am I lost… following the crowd of this world? Or, are you found in a secure, flourishing place near God’s stream of living water. He offers you abundant life, will you take it? (See John 10:10).
Psalm 1 says: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Fear is a snare. The only way to overcome the fear of any person (husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, or child) is to trust in the Lord and fear (reverence) Him.
Fear is used by the enemy of our soul to keep us from moving forward into an abundant life in Christ. God has provided everything we need to live fully for Him in this world (II Peter 1:3-4.) The Holy Spirit living within us is greater than the spirit in this world (I John 4:4). As we learn to yield everything to God’s Spirit, we become free from the bondage of fear and the enemy’s influence upon our lives.“ For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15 (AMP)
As God’s adopted children, knowing our position in the Kingdom of God, gives us the confidence we need to overcome fear. Remember who your Father is — Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of heaven and earth! Romans, Chapter 8 declares that as obedient children in God’s family we can be free from condemnation and live as His own adopted children, available to freely serve our Father as He created us to. Fear is a major hindrance that binds us from this freedom. Fear comes to us through three main areas: 1) The world—by the fear of man, 2) Our flesh—through condemnation, and 3) Satan—lying spirits and deception.
The World-by the fear of man
”The fear of man brings a snare, but whomever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.” Proverbs 29:25 (AMP)
Hunters lay snares to catch animals… I found this pic of a fearful rabbit as I researched snare hunting a bit. (Oh, it is heart wrenching to see the pictures… and I am not a hunter.) The Bible tells us the fear of man is a snare and the outcome of living this way is also heart wrenching! Some of my biggest failures in life have been because I feared a person rather than God! My husband, my children, an employer, any authority figure became “my god”. When God delivered me of that, those around me were set free to be accountable before God for their actions and I was set free to worship Him fully!
We are told by Jesus Himself not to fear man. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “ Hebrews 13:6 (KJV)”So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Matthew 10:28 (KJV)
Fear carries with it doubt and unbelief. Our fear of failure, or how we are viewed by others, reveals our human nature that is governed by human pride. Human fear, when rooted in pride, will bring defeat. This fear of man reveals whether we are truly trusting (believing) in Christ as our source or in our own abilities. Healthy fear equals reverence toward God our Maker. The fear of man brings us into bondage and a snare.
Our Flesh—fear through condemnation
The secret to freedom living is to align yourself with Jesus in all you do! Not only does this produce a rewarding, fulfilling life, but it protects us from sin and condemnation. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Conviction of sin is a precious gift from God. It is the Holy Spirit attempting to lead us into Truth and freedom. Conversely, condemnation comes when we refuse to respond to conviction and continue to walk in sin. We, in essence, are conflicted because we are willfully acting against Truth presented to us by the Spirit of God.
Internal conflict drives people to act in ways that harm themselves and others. A person becomes disillusioned with themselves and attempts to cover this conflict in a variety of ways. The Holy Spirit continues to convict by His love, yet if we continue to indulge in sin, we will continue to experience condemnation, guilt and discouragement. Yet, all the while freedom awaits us! Jesus said to the woman who had been condemned of adultery, “…Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11). We come out from under condemnation and receive the freedom Christ offers when we choose to turn and “sin no more.”
I John 3:20-21 (AMP) says, “Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him]. And, beloved, if our consciences (our hearts) do not accuse us [if they do not make us feel guilty and condemn us], we have confidence (complete assurance and boldness) before God.”
So, we must discern the source of condemnation. God already knows it, but we need to see if it is because we are going against the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or if we are facing an external spiritual attack upon us. Knowing God’s Word helps us in assessing this. Conviction is good; it comes because of God’s love and desire for fellowship with us. When we respond rightly to the Holy Spirit we sense grace, assurance and His love, which in turns gives us boldness.
God’s Word tells us that as His Children, our position is purchased and kept because of Christ. Our thoughts as to who we are needs to be placed upon the Cross of Christ and what He did for us to make us worthy! He is the One who took our sin so that we can come unto the Father. Our soul was redeemed by His precious blood—nothing else.
In order to live victoriously over sin, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and comfort us. Our greatest need is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, fully surrendered to His leadership, and find true joy and usefulness in God’s Kingdom. We then become Adopted and Fearless!
Satan—fear from lying spirits and deception
If we are obeying what we know, and walking in open fellowship with God, yet sense condemnation, we can discern that it is coming from the enemy to defeat us and pull us out of the place of victory. Satan uses this as a tool to keep us away from God–falsely! The Father of Lies, tries to tell us that we are not worthy of God’s love and care. He can build upon that through deception and can use other people in a variety of ways. People who continue to live under condemnation, develop a guilty soul and the shame pulls them into bondage. The focus then becomes their shame and guilt, and fear grows. Depression usually accompanies this. Freedom and change seem impossible in their situation. Deception has done its work.
The work of Satan and lying spirits is to tempt and deceive us. He attempted this with Jesus Himself (Luke 4:1-13). Concerning fear, spiritual warfare is a battle between truth and lies. And the battle rages strongly within our minds. Satan is the Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). In order to win the battle, our position as adopted and fearless children is crucial to overcoming the wiles of the enemy! You can be safe and protected. But as a good soldier (I Timothy 2:1-5) you need to be willing, trained in and obedient to the “Manual”, God’s Word. Our weapons and our true enemy is outlined in Ephesians 6:10-19 and II Corinthians 10:3-5. Satan and the fallen angels desire to bind you with fear and aloneness in your battle. He wants to make you an orphan, rejected and discouraged. But God desires to adopt you, to make you His own, fearless and useful in His Kingdom. He desires that you know the purpose for which He created you, and the destiny He planned for you.
Remember, God’s objective is to fill your life with Himself, use you in His Kingdom and for His glory which results in great joy and fulfillment. The objective of God in filling us with the Holy Spirit is to enable us to love as He loves, to walk without fear in this world, and be a witness for Jesus Christ. This lack of fear and abundance of love will allow you to walk as a victor, not a victim, causing you to overcome in every circumstance you face. II Timothy 1: 7-8 (AMP) “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible].” Amen.