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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Walking by faith

For we walk by faith and not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Hallelujah for this verse!  If I look at myself and my circumstances, I am discouraged and defeated.  It just doesn't seem like I am making much "progress"....But when I walk by grace through faith – the same way I trusted Him for salvation – my walk is established and abundant.

Practically, how do we walk by faith?  Well, first let’s look at what it means to walk by sight.  Walking by sight means that I am governed by my emotions (or hormones!) or my circumstances.  To walk by faith is the antithesis of that – my behavior is not dictated by what I feel like nor what is happening around me.  Instead, I obey what His Word tells me to do…I am controlled – empowered – by His Spirit within me.  The life of faith is one of obedience.  To Him.

Trust – be confident – that He is at work within you, perfecting you, at work around you to accomplish His plan.  He wants us to be whole even more than we want it for ourselves!  (Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:25-30)

What is He speaking to you about today?  When you quiet your heart before Him, what is He telling you to do?  To share a good word with a neighbor?  To forgive someone who has wronged you? To give generously? To cease from a certain activity, even if it’s not a sinful one? To reconcile with a family member or a friend?

It seems counterintuitive but when we walk by sight, we are unsteady, weak, uncertain and easily thrown off course.  But when we walk by faith, we are sure, confident, strong, and effective.

Close today by reading Colossians 2:6,7 and ask the Lord to help you walk by faith and not by sight.  Then believe Him when He says He will do just that!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Who do you hang with?

He who walks with wise men will be wise but the companion of fools will suffer harm.  Proverbs 13:20

I know we are called to be a light to this dark world but in order to maintain our brightness we would do well to heed the counsel of this verse.  Walking with wise men – that doesn’t mean we never sit by a fool at our kid’s soccer game!  (Considering the behavior of most parents at kids’ sports events…we would likely be in solitary confinement if that’s what this verse intended!) Rather I believe it is calling us to choose carefully who we “do life with”.  Who are our close companions, whose company do we prefer, which people are the ones we rely on and turn to in times of need.  It is of vital importance who those people are, that they be wise, or at least learning to be wise.  Because hanging out with fools brings destruction – the phrase “will suffer harm” means to become evil, to be made worse, suddenly.

May God protect us from wanting to be with those who don’t fear the Lord.  Of course we should pray for them, share Christ with them, and show them love but there is inevitable inherent danger when we choose these kinds of folks to be our close friends. We can tell ourselves as many times as we want to that we are going to influence them for good, that we won’t wind up like them, that these folks are more fun than other options.  But mark my word – actually mark HIS Word, we will suffer harm.  And it will come without warning.

I used to work for Truett Cathy at the corporate offices of Chick-fil-A and one of my many perks was to hear his homespun wisdom on a regular basis.  My most favorite of his saying was “You’ll be the same person a year from now as you are today except for the books you read and the people you associate yourself with.  Friends will determine the quality and direction of your life.  Choose wisely.”

Amen, Truett, Amen.

As we continue in our journey to walk wise, and put our puzzle together to the Glory of God, are there some companions we need to back away from in order to avoid suffering harm? Ask God to reveal His desires for us.

Oh, and let’s also pray fervently that we will be wise companions in the lives of those around us!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to walk wisely?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.  Psalm 111:10

Last week we talked about walking wisely.  And putting the puzzle pieces together so that our lives are not foolish or wasted. Today’s reading is the place we must begin in order to do just that.  In order to be wise, we must first fear the Lord. 

So what does it mean to fear the Lord?  Doesn’t the Bible tell me not to fear?  This is confusing!

Some commentators say this means we are to respect the Lord.  Others say we should be afraid because of His power.  I am not a Hebrew scholar but I think that it’s helpful to examine the word the psalmist used when the Holy Spirit inspired him to pen these words.  The Hebrew word that we translate “fear” is “yirah” and it means abject terror, fear, awe, reverence.  Perhaps that doesn’t help you much J but let’s unpack it together.

If you and I recognize God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then the way we live is bound to be affected.  It causes us to respond in awe to His majesty in creation.  To bow in humility and repentance that He knows our every thought. To rejoice in His presence that we are always loved and accepted.  And to long to never displease Him because He is worthy of our devotion and affection and obedience.

That’s how we begin our wise walk.  And that “understanding what the will of God is” that we read about yesterday, the “putting together of the puzzle pieces”?  Well, He tells us in his verse about that, too.  That understanding – that “knowing which pieces go where” – hinges on obeying His commands. 

Today let’s pray this verse back to Him.  Ask Him to show you His glory so you can worship Him.  Ask Him to shine His light into your heart and reveal where you are falling short of what He desires for you.  (Don’t fear doing this – He is gentle and loving in His correction.  He will not show us everything at once for we could not bear it.  But when we confess and repent of whatever He shows us, He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, even that which we are not aware of !  I John 1:9,10) Then let His praises endure forever in your heart.  Rejoice that He loves you faithfully and ask Him to show you specific things to obey.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thoughts for the new year

Therefore, be careful  how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

Indeed we do live in days of evil!  Not only do we see evil in the atrocities of Christians being martyred and persecuted, the corruption of corporate greed, and the pervasive wickedness of lusts and addictions, we must admit there is evil in our own hearts.  Jealousy, anger, laziness, pride, selfish ambition, fear, depression and the like.  That’s why Scripture exhorts us to “walk wise”. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Dealing with Panic Attacks - part 2

I had alot of good feedback from the two earlier posts about panic attacks.  Thank you.  So very much.  I am grateful for your input and your encouragement.  And I'm glad to know this is indeed a relevant subject.
If you missed the earlier posts, scroll down and read them -- both are foundational for this one and the next because I will pick up where they left off but I won't recap them here.

Based on my research and interviews, I have some suggestions for what to do when panic strikes, some tips for the "real time" of a panic attack. One authority described a panic attack as "a comprehensive emotional nightmare".  Agreed.  But it's not only emotional.  It's also when your heart pounds and you can't breathe. You might experience dizziness or an inability to catch your breath.  Or symptoms that mimic a heart attack, chest pains, a heaviness in the chest.  Chills, tingling in the hands or feet, sweaty palms, flushed face, twitching muscles, trembling all over.  "Comprehensive" is quite accurate.  You are controlled by there feelings and that is helpless.