A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Worry and Fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Worry and Fear. Show all posts

September 9, 2023

The Politics of Fear ... Believe That The Giants Can Be Defeated!

I don't have to tell you that the political and spiritual forces in this realm have aligned to spread fear among the people of this nation. It is apparent that our rule of law is deteriorating, and our political foundation is faltering. People throughout the nation are questioning the path we are on -- parents are concerned about the education their children are receiving; doctors are having to make serious decisions about how they practice medicine; the average citizen is seeing their bank accounts diminish at an alarming rate; and those who live along our borders feel like they have been abandoned by those who profess to have their best interests at heart.

And the primary stimulus driving all these concerns is FEAR. But this should not surprise us. Fear is one of the primary spiritual weapons that the Enemy uses to control the destiny of mankind. We only have to look back at the Biblical story of Joshua and Caleb, who were part of the contingent of 12 spies sent into the Promised Land to determine if it could be conquered. But ten of the spies came back and reported that they were defeated before they ever began. They were filled with fear and let that fear completely vanquish them. But it was Caleb who said, "But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God". 

That is what we're seeing today. Those who are unhappy with the direction in which our nation is moving (whether you believe God has a hand in it, or not) are instilling their fears in the general population. And I know that many of these fears are justified -- I get it! But, you see, Caleb was free from fear, and he used his trust in God to try to help the people of Israel overcome their fears. And those of us who are like Caleb, and surrender to the will of God, have something to say to people who are afraid. Our surrender to God is the only answer to the problem of fear. 

I know that won't be the answer for far too many people, and it will be difficult to minister and serve others who do not have the same faith we do in God. And it is also a disservice to all people to pretend that there are no difficulties; we cannot and should not persuade others to escape reality. BUT, we can listen to their fears, remain calm, report the facts, and look for ways to encourage them. After all, Caleb did not pretend that the giants did not exist. But he was different from most of the men who returned from the Promised Land spreading their fear. He tried to report the good things, too.

I know this may sound too simplistic or optimistic. And I know people have greatly suffered in recent years as we get closer to Jesus's return. I personally learned of the deaths of a couple that Mark and I were close to since we met and married over 30 years ago. We had not been able to get in touch with them; Christmas cards were returned, and the phone number went unanswered until it finally was disconnected. We had tried to make the trip to see them because we knew something was wrong, but the last communication we had with them was that they didn't want to see anyone. You see, they were living in fear, isolating themselves in their home, overcome with anxiety and foreboding about what they saw happening in the world. I am so sad [and mad] that they died alone, and that the devil was able to distract them with what he put before their eyes. 

I could stay focused on that tragedy, and let it consume me, and begin to sow seeds of doubt in the speculation of my own future. But like Caleb, I choose to look for the good things that have happened on the revelation of this heart-rending news. I reconnected to the niece of my friend [who was a roommate in a house we shared in our younger years], and also re-established a connection with someone who had worked with me and this couple. We all agreed that we had tried to help them, but they listened to the whispers of fear promoted by the devil. And we decided to join together to remember happier times and to express our gratitude for having them in our lives. And we have vowed to remain connected. That is the good that we choose to embrace.

But this couple, and the entire nation, would have been well-served to remember Caleb's words. He said, "We are well able". This does not mean that he had confidence only in himself. Nor did he put undue emphasis on the military strength of Israel, either. No. He was emphasizing where their power really came from. It came from firm confidence in God’s power. I think it's time to ask ourselves, "Do we believe only in the power of men"? If we do, they are proving that they will fail us. Then when trouble comes [and it will ... Jesus said it will], then the spirits of doubt and unbelief join forces with the spirits of fear, anger, bitterness, and depression to keep us from seeing any possibility of God's goodness. Have we forgotten that we are well able?!?

We are able to overcome any obstacle and work together for the good of ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. We have incredible resources to help the next generation(s) reach new heights. But we must teach them a robust work ethic and the fearlessness to seek out and take advantage of the opportunities put before them. Are you a college graduate searching for a job, or been laid off work and need to feed your family? The Mike Rowe Works Foundation is giving away $1 million in scholarships for those who are interested in attending trade schools or apprenticeship programs. The opportunities are there! But we must also give them a sound and solid moral foundation by which to live their lives; fundamentals by which they will thrive and please God, as they seek to serve others. 

I cannot deny that there is a disparity in how the economy of our nation is functioning today compared to the recent past; people are less confident in their economic future. And the civil unrest and disrespect towards our fellow man is now on full display. Yes, there is the uncertainty of the corruption/hostility within our government, the overwhelming numbers of people crossing our borders, and the raging fires and devastating hurricanes -- and it all translates to both anxiety and confusion about the future. In Biblical terms, people are becoming overwhelmed with fear of the future, just as the Israelites did when they wanted to turn back from entering the Promised Land.

But we must adopt the lessons of Caleb and Joshua; we must cling to a strong faith that God has a plan for us if we will obey Him. If God has promised it, He will see it fulfilled. But we must do our part. We must remain righteous, seek His will rather than our own, and lean on His strength to defeat the giants before us. And, I'm not going to mislead you -- we are facing some huge giants. And I am aware that it rains on the just and the unjust. But I will not surrender to the sins and disobedience of others, and I will rely on my Lord to provide a Land of Goshen from which I can prosper and carry out my assignment for His Kingdom. It is important that we recognize that the spirit of Fear dealt a severe blow to the progress of the Israelites over 3500 years ago. Their growth and progress was stunted, and fear was to blame. Nothing has changed over the centuries. We must not allow fear to take root in our land and diminish the blessings and potential for our future generations. Stay the course ... trust in the Lord ... and know in your spirit that our giants can be defeated!

Numbers 13:30    But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."

June 14, 2023

My Testimony: "Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me"!

If you're of a certain age, you might remember that comedy hour of country songs and humor, called HeeHaw. The title of today's blog comes from one of their theme songs sung by residents of Kornfield Kounty, lamenting the sad state of their lives. "Gloom, Despair, and Agony" was a comedic poke at the imaginary problems of simple country folk. But more and more, it's becoming the theme song for the lives of millions of Americans, as they face an uncertain future filled with fear, anxiety, and worry.

Let me begin by saying that, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I have had to overcome my own struggles with these three spiritual adversaries and the havoc they can cause in pursuing a contented and prosperous life. It didn't matter that I knew all the Scriptures that told me that Jesus had not given me a spirit of fear, or that the Bible tells us we will endure sorrows and sufferings so that we might follow in the steps of our Savior, overcoming as He did. They did not defeat the thoughts that continued to repeat themselves over and over, keeping me in a state of instability and what the Bible calls "an unsound mind".

It wasn't until I was 40 years old, and spending some time caring for my father after his multiple bypass surgery that I understood the "spiritual mechanics" of my inability to find peace and a deeper measure of faith. As I laid in my bed, I could hear my father moaning in anxiety and worry over his health and the absence of my mother, who had passed away a few years before. At a very minimal level, I began to see where my own fears and worry about the future had originated. I was able to see his pattern throughout my childhood, and into adulthood, of worrying about finances and the unforeseen battles of life. I was just like my dad! 

But I also realized that I had accepted Christ as my Savior and Deliverer, while he had not. And I recognized that other members of our family -- aunts, uncles, and cousins -- also struggled with worry and anxiety, brought on by fear. Some were believers, some were not; but I didn't want to be like them! It would be years until I understood the Biblical concept of iniquity. And it was through my pursuit of a more intimate relationship with Jesus that I would hear the voice of my Heavenly Father which changed the course of my life. I can also look back now, and see the narrow path He led me and my husband on; a path He had carefully laid out since the foundations of the world. 

Ever since we made the decision, early in our marriage, that my husband would follow the unconventional path of a professional artist, using the talents we acknowledged came from God, Mark never doubted or worried. Even during the years of "paying his dues" and building his career -- the years of wondering if we could pay our monthly bills -- he always [simply and  resolutely] trusted God for everything. Me, not so much! I was still struggling with the trifecta of my old adversaries: worry, anxiety, and fear. It wasn't until I found myself in what I call my "seven years in the wilderness", that I submitted to God and asked Him to help me trust Him. These were the years where I found myself isolated on 129 acres, about 90 miles west of San Antonio. Without the distractions of our lives in Austin and Houston, I was faced with lots of time for meditation and contemplation. They were the years when our struggles were the most difficult, and the years my fears were the most prominent, yet they were the years that I made the most forward progress in my faith.

As I said, I had had enough of living in the shadow of the spirit of fear, and I knew my constant worrying had to be getting tiresome to my husband, although he always patiently pointed me towards trusting Jesus. Then one day, I had this profound thought. It wasn't the audible voice of the Lord, but what I had begun to recognize as His thoughts that He revealed to my mind. I heard, "If you will be faithful to Me, I will be faithful to you". Wow! What a promise! Did I have enough faith to trust Him to fulfill that vow? Could I finally let go of my earthly father's voice in my head telling me that I had to work hard to control my finances; that it was all up to me?

I'm not going to tell you that it was easy. There were many times in the ensuing years that the Enemy tried to shake my confidence in Jesus and the Father; times of struggle, wondering where the next art sale would come from to pay the looming bills. And you know what? Every time God delivered on His promise! With each divine testimony He gave me, I was learning to trust Him and not succumb to the doubt and unbelief that the devil so desperately wanted me to pick back up. I was building a history of trust with God! Even to this day, the one who got thrown out of Heaven tries to convince me that I can't trust the One who has so faithfully provided all that I need in this life.

And as I trusted God for my earthly essentials, He showed me that my husband and I could be trusted to receive greater revelations of His sovereignty in the world. And He anointed us with a ministry that has allowed us to share how He overcame our own wounds and insecurities. Because we became yoked together in trusting Him to guide us to the purpose for which we were created, we are able to see the ways that the Enemy disrupts the lives of others and builds obstacles to the discovery of their purposes for His Kingdom here on earth. One of the biggest is that iniquity in family lines that I mentioned was so prominent in my own. And I want to give you a quick synopsis on its effects, so you can break it off yourself and your family.

I want to point out both Exodus 20:5-6 and Deuteronomy 5:9-10. [Whenever God confirms His commandments again, we know this is an important precept that He wants us to get!]. They both read: You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those [generations] who love Me and keep My commandments. It is important that the body of Christ understands this spiritual principle. INIQUITY is when a sin [as in my family's case; worry and not trusting God], moves beyond a one-time occurrence, which can be confessed and repented for, and it ends. When that sin then moves into open rebellion [knowing it's a sin, but it is continued to be practiced], and is still not confessed and repented and stopped -- then it becomes embedded in the actual DNA of the family line. 

You can apply any sin to iniquity ... think of families who will say, "we're just a family of alcoholics'. Substitute any sin in that sentence -- adultery, molestation, pornography, pedophilia, lying, greed -- you get the picture. And interestingly enough, it will go three or four generations, until a righteous member of the family declares, "It stops with me"! In my case, I was the third generation, and recognized the sin of worry and stopped it. But I see it in some of my nieces and nephews, the fourth generation, because my siblings are still blinded to the iniquity in our family bloodline. And if it doesn't get stopped, it will continue unimpeded.

So, I want to summarize my testimony and speak my heart ... Don't let "Gloom, Despair, and Agony" become your theme song. Yes, the world is exhibiting lots of reasons to give in to these corresponding spirits of worry, anxiety, and fear. But if nothing else, I hope you heard how I overcame them with the help of the Lord. If, like me, you have become tired of living in a constant state of instability and not trusting the Lord, submit to Him; surrender and tell Him you are ready to be faithful to Him, choosing to believe [even in the midst of your doubt and unbelief] that He will be faithful to you. 

Take it from me, you CAN TRUST HIM! Never forget that Jesus tells us, "In Me, you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world". And that word tribulation encompasses all your trials; all your struggles, all the injustices perpetrated against you; anything that you worry about or are tempted by. And you "may" have the peace you long for -- it's up to you. But will you trust Him to be faithful to you? Start building that trust today, as you take the first step in being faithful to Him. It will change your life and set you on the path you are destined for!

2 Chronicles 16:9    For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His...