Not a Spirit of Fear

Whatever you are fearing today, or in the future, take the Lord’s name and make it larger than the fear and elevate Him in praise above that fear.

You ever been afraid to do something?  It’s not shameful, nor is it uncommon.  We all have fears.  My personal major fear is trusting people and letting them get too close.  My mind starts to go on a whirlwind of activity.  Those are the times when I, as we all should, lay those fears before Him.

Psalm 34:3-4

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.  sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Fear is the worst thing in the world to have.  It can paralyze a person worse than any disease and can keep us from doing the things the Lord wants us to do.  And the enemy knows it.
The enemy will use our fear against us.  He will make small matters actually seem bigger than they actually are, have us jumping at shadows or thinking people that love us are actually trying to harm us.  Our greatest weapon against fear is the Lord.
Let’s do the break down for today’s verse using, guess what, God’s Word as our basis.
First off, when we are fearful, and it doesn’t matter what we are afraid of, we pray.  We pray for God to take that fear, to ease our hearts and our minds.  If praying alone doesn’t help, get a prayer partner, someone to pray with you.  For a long time, my big brother was my prayer partner and even though he’s moved, I still message him to join me in prayer.
Second, if we step away from today’s particular Scripture and over to 2 Timothy 1:7, it says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  Using myself as an example, when my fear of trusting people begins to overwhelm me and I pray, my mind settles down back to logic and objectivity.  I can tell you in the times where I haven’t done that, I’ve ended up hurting people I love with vile and poisonous words because of my fear.
Today’s Scripture verse mentions magnifying and exalting the Lord’s name with someone, as I said, a prayer partner.  David wrote this Psalm and the reason he mentions doing that is very simple.  Magnifying something means you make it larger and exalting means you are elevating something in praise or estimation.  Whatever you are fearing today, or in the future, take the Lord’s name and make it larger than the fear and elevate Him in praise above that fear.  Lay that fear down so you can have that spirit of power, love and most of all a sound mind.

A Particular Set of Skills

We all just have to trust in Him, bring our worries, concerns or requests to Him and do what He tells us to do.

Hello to all those who follow this blog.  Please forgive me for being neglectful the last two days.  To make amends, I will be doing a triple entry today to account for Friday, Saturday and get us up to date.  I hope you are blessed by at least one of the entries.

Starting from Friday, the reading came from Psalm 62.  This Psalm was written by King David during Absalom’s rebellion, which is covered in 2 Samuel 15-18.  During this time period, David had enemies all around him, but was waiting on the Lord to deliver him.

Psalm 62:9-10

9 Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor.  10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them.
I remember nine years ago, just after I graduated from St. John’s University with my degree in paralegal studies, essentially the pre-law program at SJU.  I became quite full of myself.  I was going to demand from my boss the pay I deserved, doing the duties I knew I had the skills for or I was going to walk.  My pay did not increase, nor my duties and so I found a new job…which I was subsequently released from around Thanksgiving of that same year.
Now let’s move to last year.  Similar situation, except this time I was in a completely different field, I was with the company for three and a half years without a pay increase for two out of the three.  In addition, I had been asked to work overtime on multiple occasions, travel between two offices and my duties were more suited to my skills.
Did I mention the most important thing?  By the time of the second paragraph, I had rededicated my life to the Lord, prayed and then waited on Him before I did anything.  I didn’t trust in my skill set, my resume, nor in anything I could do.  And by waiting on Him and trusting His leading, I am better off for it.
Today’s reading spoke to me about not counting on what I can do, my degree or people.  We all just have to trust in Him, bring our worries, concerns or requests to Him and do what He tells us to do.  Once you do that, don’t be surprised at what He does.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Of all the needs we, as Christians do have, the most important is faith in the Lord. With that little faith, He can use us to do great things.

You know there is a difference between wants and needs?  Wants are things that if you don’t have them, it’s not a big deal.  You’ll survive without them.  Needs are something very different.  We need food and shelter to survive.  We need to have some sort of monetary income to maintain them.  In some areas of the country/world, you need a vehicle of some sort to get around.  People get these two things confused a lot, but Christians need to remember, all we need is the Lord.

Psalm 37:16-17

16 A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked.  17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the Lord upholds the righteous.
Reading this Scripture, let’s pose a question.  Do you have more than what you need?  In other words, do you have things that are completely pointless for you to even own and you got them just for the sake of having them?
One of the things Christians should remember is to always assess what they truly need.  I’ll use myself as an example.  As anyone who has been reading this blog consistently knows, I have found an apartment that I actually like.  Okay, let me correct that, the Lord found me an apartment that meets the needs that I have, the biggest being a decent enough kitchen so I could cook really nice meals.  And right there is your difference between wants and needs in a nutshell.  I wanted to be able to cook nice meals and be able to host people in my home, but I what I needed was a good kitchen to be able to do that.  The Lord provided both.
The kitchen I will be moving to has more counter space and is laid out in such a way that I can move from one project to the next easily.  And it’s not a large kitchen.  It’s just the right size for my needs.
With the Lord, a little goes a long way.  There are so many examples in Scripture of the Lord using a little to do big things.  Gideon having 300 men and the Lord winning a battle for Him (Judges 7), David using a single small stone to defeat Goliath (1 Samuel 17), and probably most important of all, Jesus challenging the disciples to have the smallest amount of faith in Him and they’d be able to do great things (Matthew 17 and Luke 17).  There are other examples, but these most prominently display the fact that all you need is little and the Lord can do great things with that little.  Of all the needs we, as Christians do have, the most important is faith in the Lord.  With that little faith, He can use us to do great things.

This is the Lord’s Gym, not Jack Lalanne.

Being in the Word regularly, walking the walk of faith and being accountable are all part of God’s Workout program for the soul.

Do you like to workout?  I do.  This spring it seems my spirit is getting more of a workout than my body.  Every time I get into a steady workout routine, something comes up to interrupt it.  I just can’t seem to get into that flow.  With my study of the Word however, not so much.  I have been getting more of a spiritual workout in the last few months than I have in a while.  How about you?  What’s your spiritual workout been looking like?

Psalm 18:32-34

32 It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.  33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.  34 He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
So as you read here, God has the ultimate workout program, complete with cardio and strength training.  You’ll be as fast as the deer described and bend bronze bows.  But much like any workout program, it requires discipline.  Using a very basic workout program as our template, let’s look at how we, as Christians, can maximize the benefits.
First, any nutritionist or dietitian will tell you is eating habits.  You have to get those under control.  What’s good about this program is you get to eat all you want and not gain a pound.  You don’t just read the Word, you consume it, devour it and let it nourish your spiritual body.
Second, cardio training.  The apostle Paul often speaks of running a race with regard to the Christian walk.  There’s your cardio.  Walk the walk, run the race and you will understand what God wants from you faster and with more certainty.  Deer can run at high speeds through forested areas and never hit a tree or fall.  If you walk the walk God has set before you, you can be as sure-footed and as fast as that deer.
Finally, strength training.  If you are doing the above, you are not only improving your spiritual cardio, but your strength as well, but with any strength training you do, you need spotter or partner.  In this case, an accountability partner.  Someone older in the faith whom you can confide in and speak to with regard to questions or trials and tribulations you may be going through.  Someone to pray with you.  Their strength and knowledge will allow you to become stronger.
Now I know today’s entry sounded a lot like an infomercial and maybe even humorous, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  We need spiritual exercise in order to serve the Lord.  We are supposed love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength, as per Deuteronomy 6:5.  How can we do that if we aren’t exercising spiritually?  Being in the Word regularly, walking the walk of faith and being accountable are all part of God’s Workout program for the soul.

Not Your Task

When you pray and there is something you want to do, ask the Lord, are you the one who is supposed to be actually doing the task or are you there to make preparations for someone else to do the task.

If any of you is like me, you like making preparations before doing anything.  Whether it’s organizing yourself before doing work or simply making sure you have everything packed before taking a trip.  Do you realize that sometimes the Lord has you make preparations for someone else to complete a task?  That’s right.  Sometimes the Lord will have you gather materials and get things in order for someone else to take care of His business.

This was the case in Israel around the time of the building of the temple.  We read about it in 1 Chronicles 22.

1 Chronicles 22:6-10

Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the Lord God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

As you can read, this was at a point in Israel’s history where they were finally having peace.  David was well established on his throne and he had it in his head there was something he wanted to do.  However, God had not appointed the task for him, but for his son.  But David made sure Solomon had all the tools and materials necessary to complete the task.

Everyone has jobs in this world.  For some, the job is be the “doer” of the task.  For others, it’s to make the preparations for someone else.  Even John the Baptist knew he was there only to prepare the people for Christ’s coming and he accepted that task willingly and joyfully because it was a task God had given him.  So which on are you, the “doer” or the “preparer?”  Yes I used a word there that’s not an actual word, but it fits.  When you pray and there is something you want to do, ask the Lord, are you the one who is supposed to be actually doing the task or are you there to make preparations for someone else to do the task.  And when you are given the answer, don’t be angry or feel slighted, but take care of the part that you are responsible for with joy and put your very best in.  Remember, it may not be your task but it still deserves your best effort.