Choose: Fear or Faith

Posts that detail the choices we make between acting in Faith and acting in Fear. Each leads us down a different path but they originate from the same place, the moment you’re standing in when you make the choice between Fear and Faith.
These posts will provide scriptures that will enable you to consistently identify the moment of choice and aid you in your decision in that moment. These scriptures will be provided, as often as possible, in a decorative printable format so that you can print them and have them in front of you throughout the year, keeping you focused on the love of Jesus for YOU that covers a multitude of sins and redeems even the worst of sinners. Me.

A Dream Fulfilled & a Fear Faced

Yesterday was a BIG day for our family. It was State Fair day. 

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One of the first years we watched the State Fair derby our friend Roger Murdick was running and ended up with another car on top of his. They separated them and finished the heat. And I told Sean then, “you’re never running here!” Then in the feature someones car caught on fire. Not a little wimpy fire under the hood, happens all the time. No. This was a fire ball that completely engulfed the car, driver included. And in complete and total seriousness I told Sean, “you are NEVER driving here!” And until yesterday he hasn’t. He’s always wanted to, but for various reasons hasn’t. When trying to make his decision to run I said absolutely nothing. I refused to comment. A big part of my ministry is encouraging people to go for their dreams. How could I let MY trauma-based fear stop the man I love from doing what I encourage others to do. If I did that it would make me a liar, not to mention I would be miserable knowing I was the reason He didn’t go for his dream. 
So on State Fair day I had to push that fear as far back as I could possibly push it. I had to put my faith and words into action and actually TRUST GOD to keep my Beloved husband safe in the palm of His hand.
During Sunday morning praise and worship I actually, in fear, visualized Sean dying and God reminded me that He HAS resurrected people from the dead before and that He can do it again. There are some commentaries that say that Abraham believed that this was God’s plan when He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. 
Now, did I REALLY believe that Sean was going to die in the derby? No. That’s what Fear wanted me to believe. Do I believe that God wanted me to face this fear all along? YES, in order to get rid of it once and for all! Do I believe that it’s please God and infuriates the Devil if Sean lives out his dream and drives out into that arena in front of hundreds of people with forgiveness written all over his car? Yes!

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Do I think Satan is ticked that two people accepted the written word of God into their lives while we were there?

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You betcha I do!

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Every single one of those people in those stands SAW how forgiveness through Christ works.

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No matter how hard they beat Him and cursed Him, He forgave them. No matter how hard we fight Him and run from Him He forgives us. Over and over and over and over again until WE give in. My friends, Christ wins every time. Give in to Him. He loves you, He forgives you and HE accepts you, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

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P.S. Sean did NOT die! Although I will admit to crying a little while it was going. I am NEVER like that at derbies. Usually I’m out there shouting for him to hit them harder. Last year he had his fuel pump break in the seat behind him spilling gasoline all over the back of his car. They called the fire truck over and were spraying it out and the announcer was saying that his car was on fire. Even in that moment I was concerned but I wasn’t afraid. The State Fair derby was altogether different. I was terrified with an unnatural fear that was unnecessary. But as I stood there with fear-filled tears crawling down my face, I remembered something God taught me about emotions – feel them! Feel them and don’t hide them. Don’t push them back and deny their existence and role in your life. So that’s what I did. I stood there and basked in that twitching anxious feeling of fear and terror that was forcing my hands to shake and my legs to wobble. I stood there and focused on the feeling, the sensation of this fear that had held me prisoner for years and I found myself… enjoying it! It was strange and yet exhilarating! And just like that, it was gone! It’s power over me had ceased, and just as quickly as that I was back to yelling at him to go for it! I was back to myself in 15 seconds flat.
Yes, it was a very BIG day! 

Categories: 7x70, Choose: Fear or Faith | 4 Comments

Regaining the Things We Risk


Genesis 43:1-46:27

“But if I must lose all my children, so be it.” Genesis 43:14

When I read that phrase this morning I read it with foreknowledge of what was about to happen to Jacob. I read it knowing that he would not only regain the children he was risking to Egypt, he would also regain the son he lost many years before and had been mourning since. Yet at the time that Jacob spoke those words, all he could see was the risk. He had already “buried” one son, his favorite son. And now he was risking all the rest of them in the hopes that they *might* come back with enough grain to keep them alive for a little while longer.

The situation reminded me of Abraham standing on the top of the mountain, knife in upheld hand poised to kill his only promised son. He was risking it all to trust God and to obey Him. And because of his obedience he, and his ancestors including Jacob and all his sons, gained so much more in the process.

Two Saturdays ago God called me to trust Him and exercise my backbone a bit. It involved a pretty big risk to our finances, but I knew that obedience (and a stronger backbone) would be worth whatever risk God was calling me to take. The next day during worship at church He spoke to my heart. He knew that I was concerned about the money I was giving up by being obedient to Him and in that moment of surrender and praise He said, “I will DOUBLE the money you would have gotten because you obeyed Me.”

Sometimes there are seasons in our lives where Jesus calls us to simply trust Him. It’s not usually very easy and it’s rarely an enjoyable experience, but it ALWAYS pays off big time in the end. Abraham not only got his son back, he gained an even larger inheritance for him in the process of trusting God and obeying His command. Jacob not only got the eleven sons he sent to Egypt, he got Joseph back from the supposed grave and they lived in a land of plenty and wanted for nothing during the worst famine in years. Jesus surrendered His own life in obedience to the Father and ended up with not only His own life, but all of ours in the process!

My friend, your obedience is heavily rewarded in the kingdom of Heaven! Often times the very thing God is calling you to risk is the very thing you will regain in the end, and much more besides. Isaac asked Abraham as they were climbing the mountain, “Father, where is the sacrificial lamb?” And Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb.” There are times in our lives when God calls us to ram our heads into a brick wall. When those times come we’ve just got to run with all our might expecting a hole to appear when we get there.

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

If He is Perfect, then We Don’t Have to Be


Luke 2:39-5:26

This blizzard has reminded me that I am not the perfect mom I strive so hard to be. Locked in my house for four days with no hope of escape turns even the most sane person into raving lunatic. But you pair that with a house in desperate need of a deep cleaning, two kids bored out of their gourds and two parents trying to deal with them, it equals the perfect environment for an imperfect storm.

Meet Mom, she’s home alone most days because that’s where she works; on her computer in her office. Dad is at work during the day, with hands and head busy fixing things. And two kids who are at school all day with plenty of people to learn with and talk to. Now shove those four people together in an itty bitty house for four days in a snow storm and you’ve got yourself one great reality show. It’s Mom that goes crazy first because, you see, she’s used to being home alone, doing her writing in peace and quiet with no interruptions. But now she can’t. Suddenly she can’t think because someone is constantly saying her name asking for something. So while the snow outside hasn’t stopped her from going to work, it has managed to stop her from getting work done. So, abandoning all hope of getting writing done she then resorts to Plan B. Work on cleaning the house in desperate need of cleaning. But alas, this too is a lost cause. As many of you have discovered, a family at home makes a MESS, while a family not at home leaves the house clean. So while some cleaning gets done, it doesn’t stay that way for long. This equals one frustrated Mom at the end of day 1. But day 2 dawns and mom is determined to have a good day. She prays:

“Come Holy Spirit, fill me with your fire so that I can be more like you. Lord, open my eyes to see You, my ears to hear You, and my mind to know You more. Lord, open my heart to receive Your heart for me today. Lord, open my mouth to speak Your truth with wisdom and authority, boldness and clarity. Open my hands to give generously, receive humbly and to let go of the things I don’t need to be holding onto. Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire. I want to know You more. Help me Jesus, I trust You.” (A printable version of this prayer can be found here.)

She approaches the day with hope. She has decided to abandon her mile long to do list for today and just be still, watch movies, pop popcorn, and just be with the family. And things go really well until the kids go to bed and she logs onto Facebook to see someone tearing apart the fun things she did with her kids in the snow today, saying they were dangerous. So now mom is being unproductive, AND she’s endangering her children by feeding them snow cream. This equals mom going to bed, sad faced and unable to sleep because she’s trying to figure out if she really DID endanger her children by feeding them fresh snow.

Day 3 dawns and mom’s tired, frustrated and ready for everyone to get out of her space. It’s high time we return to normal, but the extreme temperatures say, “No, you must stay in these extreme conditions until we say otherwise.” It’s been two days of Mom coming face to face with her imperfections and inabilities and she’s ready to call it quits on the whole experiment. In come Facebook to save/ruin the day with someone else commenting about getting ALL of her laundry done. You go perfect mom!

So not to be outmatched our mom goes at that laundry with a vengeance, she starts by folding and putting away the three baskets of laundry that have been sitting at the end of her bed for a week. Yup, a whole week. As she’s hanging shirts in the closet she starts thinking about, of all things, her wedding day. (I think it was that wedding photo board she had just been looking at on Pinterest.) She’d spent more time and money on her appearance that day than any before or since. And she began thinking of that look on her husband’s face when he first saw her walk down the aisle. Then the question rang through her brain like a gong, “Has he ever looked at you like that since that day?” Maybe he had, probably he had, but not that she could remember. Sigh… Now she’s unproductive, dangerous to her children, and ugly! Yup, this was the BEST WEEK EVER!

Locking the door to her room she picks up the phone that’s been playing music while she put away laundry, Franchesca Battastelli sings Mary’s song as Mom crys, “Be born in me… while we waited for your promise you waited for my arms… Be born in me… the only thing my heart can offer you is a vacancy… be born in me…”

And Mom remembers, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

Day 4 dawns, school is of course canceled again and unproductive, dangerous, ugly Mom opens her Bible looking for comfort. Her daily reading just happens to be from Luke 2. As she opens her Bible and prays she remembers the last three days. She looks down and reads about Mary, the holy mother and thinks, “I wonder if Mary walked around always dressed perfectly with her hair in the latest style. I bet she never even wore a sweatshirt and ponytail. And if she did, I bet she ROCKED it and everyone loved her. And Jesus, He was perfect, I bet He NEVER got on Mary’s nerves.”

And you know what, God is good to our Mom. What is the very next scripture she comes to? “Now His parents (Mary and Joseph) went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover. And when He was 12 years old, they went up according to custom.”

“Yup. They were the perfect parents obeying the Law.” She thought, then read on.

“And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing Him to be in the group they went a DAY’S JOURNEY, but then they began to search for Him among their relatives and acquaintences, and when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. After THREE DAYS they found Him in the temple,”

“OK, now I don’t feel so bad!” Mom thought, “I’m only not getting everything done, feeding my kids snow and gained a few pounds, Mary lost the Christ child for THREE DAYS!”

Even Mary wasn’t the perfect mom, she screwed things up too. But you know what, she’s the imperfect woman God CHOSE to raise His son. (Luke 1:30) And just like Mary, you too are the imperfect woman God chose to raise your children and marry your husband. No one expects you to do all the things you expect of yourself, even God. And if God isn’t expecting you to raise perfect children by being the perfect mom, then why are you expecting that from yourself?

We hold ourselves to impossible standards and use social media to judge our blooper reel against everyone else’s highlight reel; finding ourselves lacking in every way. The only stand that we should be judging ourselves by is the word of God. And you know what it has to say about your imperfections mom?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 “such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers (or moms) of a new covenant, not of the letter (or to do list) but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Luke | Leave a comment

If He is the Bridegroom, then We are His Bride


Luke 1:1-2:38

“Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30

As a woman I think it’s next to impossible not to found at least some of our identity in our outward appearance. It’s drilled into us from birth. We get dressed up and accessorized and then (and usually only then) we hear, “Oh! You look so pretty!” On our wedding day we spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars on a dress, and make-up, a hair dresser and spa treatments to look our very best for that special day. All so that when our groom sees us for the first time we can take his breath away with our beauty. But then within hours, the mascara has run, our lipstick has rubbed off, the fancy hair has fallen down and the dress gets taken off – probably to never be worn again. I don’t know about you all, but my husband has never seen me look that good before or since that day.

My point is this, that beauty is fleeting and that’s not the kind of husband Jesus is. The day you marry Jesus is the day you look the worst. You’ve been drug through the mud, and beaten to a pulp by the Enemy. And yet to Jesus, you are beautiful because you’re His bride. In the Hebrew culture when a young man came to a girl’s house to ask for her hand in marriage, the engagement ceremony involved a cup of wine. The couple was asked questions of their intentions toward each other, their commitment to one another, and then they each would drink from the same cup of wine symbolizing their union and how they would drink from the same cup of life together as husband and wife.

At the Last Supper Jesus held up the cup of wine and said, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28) Essentially Jesus was asking them all (including us) to marry Him. To be united to Him in a way that is characterized by a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond that is more special and intimate than any other relationship in your life. When you enter into the bonds of marriage with your spouse you are giving your entire self to them. And they are giving themselves to you.

This is the kind of relationship that Jesus desires with you. Yes He wants all of you, but beyond that, He is giving you all of Him too!

In John 15 Jesus walks His disciples through a vineyard and says to them, “I am the vine and you are the branches”. Explaining to them how this marriage thing works. He is the source of all their needs. As the vine He brings to them and provides for them the water and nutrients that they need. (Much like a shepherd tends to his flock.)

In 1 Corinthians 11 we find the verses about Christ being the head of man and man being the head of woman. Many people take this verse to mean that woman is to always be subject to man as he is a greater authority over her. Some men use this verse as an excuse to abuse their wives or to hold power over them in a demeaning way. What they fail to realize is the true meaning of this word, “head”. In the original Greek this word is used to describe something as in the headwaters of a river. It is where the river finds its source, beginning and direction.

This is what Jesus is to be for us Yes, an authority figure. But not in a sense of a king to his subjects. At the last supper Jesus didn’t sit back and demand that His Disciples wash His feet, He washed theirs! That was the servant’s job. There was even a moment when Jesus came to Peter to wash his feet and Peter refused to let Him. Only to have Jesus explain to him that “if you don’t let Me wash your feet, then you can have no part in Me.”

Jesus is the wellspring, the headwaters of the river of Life. He is our husband, our source. Like the headwaters of a river drive the river in the direction it is to go. So we too find our direction from Him. We find our purpose and our identity in Him. He is the vine and we are the branches.

What you look like doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines what you will look like. What you do doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines what you do. Where you’ve gone doesn’t define who you are. Who you are defines where you’re going.

You are someone God chose. He chose YOU to be His bride, His Beloved, the recipient of His eternal love and grace. He died to save you, He lives to take care of you and He does so because you’re beautiful to Him. Jesus is so in love with YOU, not your outward beauty or even the things you do in His name, He is in love with the YOU inside that no one else ever gets to see. He is in love with YOU. Now if only you could love her too. You know, she must be pretty special if God loves her enough to die for her.

“Do not be afraid (insert your name here), for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30

 

Ezekiel 3:9 (HCSB) “I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Don’t be afraid of them or discouraged by the look on their faces, even though they are a rebellious house.”

1 John 4:18 (HCSB) “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.”

Matthew 8:26 (HCSB) “But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.”

Jeremiah 39:17 (HCSB) “But I will rescue you on that day” – this is the LORD’S declaration – “and you will not be handed over to the men you fear.”

Matthew 9:2 (HCSB) “Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”

Isaiah 54:14-17 (HCSB) “And you will be established on a foundation of righteousness. You will be far from oppression, you will certainly not be afraid; you will be far from terror, it will certainly not come near you. If anyone attacks you, it is not from Me; whoever attacks you will fall before you. Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to cause havoc. No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.’ This is the LORD’S declaration.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Luke | Leave a comment

If God is the Creator, then We are His Creation

Leviticus 22:17-25:22

“I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:22

There are times in life when WE are our own worst enemy. And more often than not it’s all in our head. We sell ourselves short because we fail to believe in the amazing woman God created inside each and every one of us.

Did you know that God Himself created YOU? Yup, He sure did. He knit you together in your mother’s womb so you are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. In Genesis 2:7 we read that “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” While our bodies may have been formed from the dust of the earth, our spirit, the thing that make you YOU, it’s the breath of God. YOU are the breath of GOD!

It’s the Truth, you are His creation. And when you say (or think) negative things about yourself you’re saying them about something God made. Think about that for a minute. If I say, “I can’t do ________.” Then I’m putting a limit on something GOD Almighty made. How do I know what I can and can’t do through God’s power? How do I know God didn’t make me with the ability to do ________? I am made in His image and His Spirit lives in me and gives me power who am I to say that He is not able and willing to do something through me?

God has stirred you about something specific and that stirring won’t go away until you move accordingly. It may be hard but it’ll be GOOD. Right now the voice of God is telling you, “You can do it!”, and the voice of Fear is telling you, “I can’t do that!” Which voice are you going to choose to believe?

You are God’s creation, only God can say what you can and can’t do.

“Lord, I believe that You are my creator and that when you created me you planted within me special gifts, talents and abilities that are unique to me. LORD, please make me more aware of these gifts, talents and abilities and how I may hone them more effectively so that I may then work in them more fully. I want to use them for Your glory LORD, please show me how I can do that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Ephesians 2:10 “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

1 John 2:27 “The anointing that you received from Him abides in you,”

1 John 4:16 “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Genesis 1:26-28 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them.”

Psalm 139 “O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from You Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You. For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your words; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You.

Oh that You would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against You with malicious intent; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the LORD; ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 2 Comments

Unshakable Foundations Make Fear Flee


Leviticus 19:1-22:16

“you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18

The word says to love your neighbor as yourself. But how can you love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself? And furthermore, how can you love yourself if you don’t know who you are? And if you don’t know who you are how can you ever feel secure if the foundation you’re building your identity on is a shakable one. For example;

I find my identity in my job as a teacher. I know this because I make statements like, “I am a teacher”. However, suddenly the school I work for let’s go of several teachers and I’m one of them. For reasons I can’t explain or understand I can’t find another teaching job and I’m forced to work at a restaurant as a waitress. Now my “I am” statement is forced to change from “I am a teacher” to “I am a waitress.”

The foundation of my identity has changed, changing me and my view of myself in the process. This kind of instability creates a Fear inside me that is very difficult to battle, because it often goes unrecognized.

An unstable foundation is what Satan uses against us in order to push our Fear button and cause us to run in the opposite direction from where God wants us. In order to fulfill the command to love thy neighbor, we must 1st love ourselves. But first we’ve got to establish an unshakable foundation on which to build our identity. In order to do this we must first understand who God is. He is an unshakable, unchangeable foundation and our source. The next step is to build ourselves upon Him with materials that can withstand the test of fire. So that when the storms of life hit we do not fall flat like a house built on sand. With our identity firmly founded in Christ, it is possible to have no fear of drought or storm. Because no matter how many shingles blow off our roof, or how much of our hair turns silver, our foundation will never change. The thing that makes me, me, will always be the same.

Luke 12:32 (HCSB) “Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.”

Matthew 9:22 (HCSB) “But Jesus turned to her and saw her. ‘Have courage, daughter,’ He said, ‘Your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was made well from that moment.”

Revelation 1:17&18 (HCSB) “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Mark 10:49 (HCSB) “Have courage! Get up; He’s calling for you.”

Daniel 10:19 (HCSB) “Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!”

Luke 1:28 & 30 “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! … Do not be afraid, (insert YOUR name here), for you have found favor with God.”

Mark 5:36 (HCSB) “Do not be afraid. Only Believe.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Leviticus | 1 Comment

Today is the Day of His Cleansing


Leviticus 13:18-15:15

“the day of his cleansing” Leviticus 14:2



At midnight last night the clock ticked, the ball dropped and in one second everything changed. In that moment right before it happened, with glasses held high, I turned and glanced from the TV screen to my husband’s eyes. And with a squeeze of the hand and a sparkle in his eye we rang in the New Year together. Hand in hand, heart in heart we crossed over into a new season of life together.

I’m not exactly sure what it is, but there is something magical about that moment when the clock ticks and the calendar flips, or maybe it’s just that look that’s always in my husband’s eye. This look of excitement mixed with the very real fear that is in my heart in that moment.

It’s a fear of the unknown future facing us. Faceless foes just waiting to try and trip us up and make us fall. And yet there we stand, hand in hand, heart in heart ready to face them together. A few minutes after midnight I logged onto Facebook to say Happy new Year to everyone there. Scrolling through my News Feed I came across several posts form friends talking about the woes of 2013. It was a hard year for many. Some lost babies, some lost husbands, and others lost family members. Yet no one went through any of it alone. No matter how lonely it may have felt at the time, we were never alone. And we won’t be in 2014 either.

We didn’t step over the line in the calendar square alone, Jesus jumped into it with us. He comes down and walks with us. We are never alone. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He is ALWAYS there when we need Him. Always there to hold and squeeze our hand at just the right moment to let us know that no matter what happens, no matter what we do to try and make Him leave, He won’t; because He loves us way too much to do that. He is Love and Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:13 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 2:27 “the anointing that you received from Him abides in you,”

1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Psalm 31:24 (HCSB) “Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.”

Luke 8:50 (HCSB) “When Jesus heard it, He answered him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Only believe, and she will be made well.”

Matthew 17:7 (HCSB) “Then Jesus came up, touched them, and said, ‘Get up; don’t be afraid.'”

1 Chronicles 28:20 (HCSB) “Then David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my god, is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you…”

Jeremiah 17:8 (HCSB) “He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.”

Ezra 7:28 (HCSB) “So I took courage because I was strengthened by Yahweh my God.”

Nehemiah 4:14 (HCSB) “After I made an inspection, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord, and fight for your countrymen, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Leviticus, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 4 Comments

You are Not Common


Leviticus 9:1-13:17

I would be amiss today if I didn’t call out the irony of today’s Word of the Day. Today is New Year’s Eve. And tonight at midnight thousands of people will be starting a diet. And as God would have it, we read Leviticus chapter 11 today, the list of things you can and can not eat as a Jew. That just makes me laugh, God’s timing is impeccable. And thank You Jesus for Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9-33 deeming all animals clean to eat! Because I sure do love pig! (Mmmmm….. bacon….)

In Peter’s vision he saw a sheet lowered down to the earth. On that sheet was every kind of animal, reptile and bird. Then God said to him: “Rise Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter, being a good Jew said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And God said, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This whole scene played out before him three times! Do you think God was trying to drive home His point?

Immediately after receiving this vision Gentile men show up to see Peter and ask him to come with them. And Peter, being a good Christian, went with them and visited the Gentile home of their friend and spoke to the Gentile crowd that was gathered there. He said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.”

Back in the Word of the Day, Leviticus chapter 9, we find the details of the process of Aaron’s first offering to the LORD.

“This is the thing that the LORD commanded you to do that the glory of the LORD may appear to you… Draw near to the altar…” (verses 6&7)

Aaron had just been consecrated (we talked about that yesterday) and now because of his consecration he is allowed and able to obey the command of the LORD to draw near to the altar. And isn’t that the command to us all?

“Draw near to Me, My Beloved, for I desire fellowship with you!”

And yet all too often Fear keeps us at arm’s length from Him. Fear of our unclean unworthiness keeps us from racing into the loving open arms of the Father. And yet all too often, like the Prodigal son slinking back home stinking of pig, we convince ourselves that our Father could accept us better as his servant rather than his son, because we no longer deserve the status of son, because of what we’ve done. Yet while we are still far off, who is it that comes running? It’s the Father who runs, races, rushes to greet us with open arms, a coat of honor and shoes for our feet. Servants didn’t wear shoes, only family wore shoes. But that isn’t all, there is a ring for our finger too. The fingers that had just been feeding the pig’s food were now encircled with a band of forgiveness and fellowship that spoke of family and cleanliness.

At the end of Leviticus chapter 9 we finish the story of sacrifice accepted. “Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to the people.”

How?

“And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

Now compare that with the story of Peter’s Gentiles & the Prodigal Son. In Acts 10 we see how God feels about these formerly “unclean” Gentiles: “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.” (verse 44-46)

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell.

While the son was still far off, the Father RAN.

God is so desperate for you. Do you realize that? He desires time with you.

Just you.

YES YOU!

Don’t you dare call yourself common or allow anyone else to either! God Almighty through the blood of His holy son Jesus has declared you CLEAN,

CONSECRATED,

HOLY,

SET APART,

SPECIAL,

BEAUTIFUL.

And who do you think you are to disagree with Him?

Romans 8:15 (HCSB) “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!”

Lamentations 3:57 (HCSB) “You come near when I call on You; You say: ‘Do not be afraid.'”

Jeremiah 1:8 (HCSB) “Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the LORD’s declaration.”

Isaiah 44:2 (HCSB) “This is the word of the LORD your Maker who formed you from the womb; He will help you: Do not fear.”

Isaiah 44:8 (HCSB) “Do not be startled or afraid. Have I not told you and declared it long ago? You are my witnesses! Is there any God but Me? There is not other Rock; I do not know any.”

Isaiah 51:7 (HCSB) “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My instruction; do not fear disgrace by men, and do not be shattered by their taunts.”

Deuteronomy 3:22 (HCSB) “Don’t be afraid of them, for the LORD your God fights for you.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Leviticus, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Me Consecrated?


Leviticus 5:14-8:36

“Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.” Leviticus 8:10

In chapter 8 of today’s Word of the Day we read about the consecration of Aaron and his sons. The ritual used to initiate them into the priesthood so that they could offer up sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. In verses 10, 11 & 12 we find the words “consecrated them”. And I found it curious that it was ALWAYS connected with oil. Why?

The ceremony that we read about today was their initiation into a position of great honor. These men were the ones accepting the people’s gifts on God’s behalf. They were the ones who got to go into the Holy of Holies and tend to the sacred things that no one else ever got to even see, let alone touch. To be a priest of the LORD was a very big deal. And it all started with a little bit of oil.

The oil is what sealed the deal for them. It wasn’t the special clothes they got to wear that set them apart from the crowd, the ceremonial bath didn’t consecrate them either, it was the oil.

Throughout the Bible oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and His anointing, healing, and empowering ability covering an individual in order to help them achieve whatever task the LORD had given that individual to accomplish. This story is no different. God had ordained these men to be His ministers, His chosen representatives here on earth.

In Hebrew the word “consecrate” used in this passage finds it’s roots in the Hebrew word “kodesh” which mean holy, set apart, sacred. This very same word is in the name of the Holy Spirit, “Ruach Ha Kodesh”. And in English the word consecrate is used of the Eucharist in changing the wine into Jesus’ blood and the bread into His body. This word fascinates me in it’s depth of meaning. That while it means, in both Hebrew and English, that the object or person that is consecrated has been set apart, there is also a connotation of that object, once being set apart, becoming different from the way it began. Not necessarily in outward appearance as much as in an inward way that is understood but not seen.

Once consecrated, it becomes special.

In John’s gospel, chapter seventeen verses twelve through nineteen we hear Jesus praying:

“While I was with them (the Disciples), I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word,”

My precious ones, that’s you!

While Jesus was with the Disciples, He guarded them from the Enemy and “not one of them was lost”. It is written that “no one will snatch [you] out of [Jesus’] hand. [The] Father, who has given [you to Jesus], is greater than all and no one is able to snatch [you] out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29)

The words that Jesus spoke, those words of love and complete forgiveness of sins, His words are meant to bring you peace and to fulfill your joy.

And then Jesus says something amazing. “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.” We are in the world because the world needs us. However, while in the world we ARE under the protection of our Father who is in Heaven, whose name is hallowed. That very same name we are given through Christ. The name that calls us Children of God, adopted as sons and daughters through His blood on the cross. Jesus consecrated Himself so that we too may be consecrated as well. And what is it that consecrates us? The TRUTH.

The truth is that we are the Beloved Children of God. Jesus paid the price to adopt each and every one of us as His very own brother or sister and all we need do is accept that gift. It’s ours to have and to hold from this day forward and even after death we shall not part.

Jesus loves you my friend. More than you could ever know. And THAT is the God’s honest Truth. It’s a Truth that keeps you safe from Evil and away from the harms of the world. It’s a Truth that heals and helps and fills us with tremendous joy because it is GREAT NEWS!

1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of god; and so we are.”

Isaiah 43:1 (HCSB) “Now this is what the LORD says – the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel – ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.'”

John 12:15 (HCSB) “Fear no more, Daughter Zion. Look, your King is coming.”

Proverbs 29:25 (HCSB) “The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected.”

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Leviticus | Leave a comment

Sacrifice of Peace


Leviticus 1:1-5:13

“If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering if he offers an animal from the heard, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD. And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar.” Leviticus 3:1-2

OK, I’ve got a confession to make; Leviticus is not one of my favorite books in the Bible. I’ll admit, it’s a pretty hard one for me to get through. So I can’t say that I was that thrilled this morning when I picked up my Bible and turned to Leviticus. But that didn’t last long. One after another the scriptures were leaping off the pages at me, screaming of sacrifice and peace, offering and forgiveness.

While these very words spoke of ritual and regulation to the Jews, They tell us about what has already been done. These were so much more than a list of things to do for the Jews, they were a lifestyle. And yet to us, it’s a list of things that Jesus has done, for us.

Over and over in the Word of the Day today it repeated the phrase, “male without blemish” – Jesus. The One who knew no sin that became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

If you haven’t read today’s Word of the Day I encourage you to take the time to read it, realizing that every single requirement laid out in these pages has been performed and fulfilled by the hands of God on your behalf; in order that you might have peace, and a life filled with the abundant presence of God Almighty through His Holy Spirit.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” Hebrews 10:17-18

“I will lie down and sleep in peace for You alone, O LORD make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“the LORD said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.'” Judges 6:23

“O man, greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” Daniel 10:19

“On the evening of that day, the 1st day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.'” John 20:19

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Jesus Loves YOU, Leviticus | Leave a comment

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