Faith or Fear

A lot of what I’m sharing today I got from a sermon from my pastor Mike Erre called “Faith in an age of Fear”.  I was so impressed by it that I decided to share it and my thoughts on it with you my readers.

Matthew 6:19-34 are our verses for today.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body if your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you to much more valuable tan they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers in the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans fun after all these things, and you heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The passage starts about storing up our treasures in heaven.  This is more than just talking about money but where your heart is.  What is your main focus on things of this earth which will decay or the things of God which will never decay?

Then Jesus puts it another way talking about the eye being the lamp of the body.  During Jesus day an unhealthy eye was one who was greedy and cheap and miserly.  The healthy eye was generous, helpful and thought of as good.  The healthy eye would be carrying out God’s will while the unhealthy would not.  One is storing up treasures in heaven the other on earth.

Then He talks about the serving of only one masters either God or money.  How we can’t have it both ways it’s either or.  Either your heart is with God and that is where your treasure is or your heart is elsewhere with some other idol here on earth where moth and vermin destroy and thieves can steal.  Since we can’t take it with us it is important we make the right choice.

Mike Erre made a very good point that in America we see the don’t worry passage and think God is going to give us good things and supply all that we need.  But there are Christians who love the LORD that don’t have food or drink or clothes what do we do about that?

He believes and I agree with him that the don’t worry follows the other passages in the same train of thought.  Let me try and explain the grass of the field is thrown in the fire it is not all good for the grass.  In that day and age the birds of the air were used for sacrifice again not all good for the birds.  What they do have in common is that they don’t worry about their food or death or anything they just exist as God intended them to.

Verse 33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Could this verse in the light that bad things do happen to those that love God, actually mean by seeking his kingdom and righteousness that the things of the kingdom, peace in the midst of turmoil, faith in the face of fear, and joy in the midst of mourning are all ours to have?  Could it mean that there is an even more fulfilling and abundant life to be had than what we are told on this earth via commercials and peer pressure?  I believe the answer to be “Yes!”

I look with new eyes at the do not worry verses and realize that my hope is in God alone and whatever He has in-store for me His grace and mercy will be sufficient for me.

Lord God, let me walk boldly in faith and keep these scriptures ever present in my mind when I am tempted to fall away from a bold walk with you in my journey of faith.  I want to stand confident in Your power, grace, mercy and unchanging will. Lord help me to do just that and confront me when I falter.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 18

images-1

Today I’m grateful for my thorns in the flesh.  There have been times that I  wish they weren’t there but they keeps me dependent on God and that is where I want to stay.

images

If these thorns are the only way that I will continue to rely on God and not myself and not to become prideful, then I say, “Praise God for them!”

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m no super woman I still have times when I scream and cry to God, “Why me?” “Can’t You take these things from me?”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  –  2 Cor. 12:9

This verse is such a comfort to me, it means I don’t have to attempt to do it on my power that God is waiting to show His power through me.  What a blessing.

So thank you Lord for what You have seen fit to give me and I will do my best to be grateful for all that You give me blessings and thorns.  I know all are for Your glory and for my benefit.  Just as a loving Father does for His child.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God’s Promises – Isaiah 43:1-3

Today’s promise comes from Isaiah 43:1-3.

Don’t be afraid for I have saved you,  I have called you by name, and you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  When you cross rivers, you will not drown  When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.  This is because I, the LORD, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

What a promise!  We needn’t be afraid because we’ve been saved.  He knows us intimately by name and calls us His own.

images-1

No matter what kind of trouble we go through, waters of our life or the rivers of our life or when we are walking through the fires of life, God is there and will not allow anything to hurt us.

images

This is a hard concept to understand.  Don’t those circumstances in and of themselves cause us hurt?  Let me put it this way when your going through the fire of life God promises that you won’t be burnt and the flames won’t hurt you.  That doesn’t mean that your clothes might not get singed and you’ll reek of smoke.  But by contrast of what your going through and what God is doing for you even behind enemy lines is ultimately for your benefit.

He doesn’t promise that while going through the water and river that we won’t get wet but He does promise that we won’t drown.

We all face problems in our lives and some of those problems are a daily source of conflict for us.  But God promises that He is bigger than the conflict and His protection is available to every believer on a daily or hourly basis, whatever each individual needs.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 15

images-2

Today I’m grateful for the ability to be content.

images

The Lord has blessed me with the ability to basically have what I desire and know what it is to live relying completely on Him to get you through the month.  I have learned to be content in each situation.  For which I’m eternally grateful.

He has taught me how to be content in His leading.  How He restores my soul with quiet waters and makes me lie down when needed.

images-4

He knows what is best for me and always has that in mind.  To know that He has my best interests in mind and that I’ll never lack for anything that I really need, is very comforting and brings much contentment.

images-1

Just like His eye is on the Sparrow so is it on you and I.  From the fact that He cares for such a little bird and knows just how it’s doing, we can confer that He is even more concerned about us.  Whom He sent his Son to die for us.

images

I love this song and it rings in my heart!  Because His eye is on the sparrow I know He watches me.  And if that isn’t cause for contentment I don’t know what is.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 14

images-2

Today I’m grateful for the fact that in Christ I am a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  –  2 Cor.  5:16-21

How can one not be grateful for God making it possible for us to be new that we might be reconciled to Him?  What an honor and blessing!

images-1

God could have wiped His hands of us so many times in history.  With the first sin He could have decided I’m done with them they made their choice against Me, but that’s not who God is.  His love wouldn’t allow Himself to turn His back on humanity when humanity has turned it’s back on Him time and time again.  Anytime that He did divorce Himself of mankind once they cried out to Him, He responded.  That’s just the way of love.

God’s ultimate act of love was; that He loved sinful man so much that He sent Christ to pay the penalty of our sins thus reconciling us to Him and making us new and the righteousness of God through Christ.

images

If God never did anything else for me my entire life I would sing His praises my entire life for this awesome blessing!  Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord, God Almighty!!!  Thank you my Savior for dying for me and all sinners!!!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

Today I’m grateful for my Lord and how gracious He is to me.

The more we’re grateful for the more things come to mind to be grateful for.

“My mom taught me years ago that Thanksgiving is about remembering to focus on good things, even in the presence of bad things.  Recent experience has shown me how remembering those bad things can actually bring divine goodness and mercy into sharper focus.  In the context of being lost, being found is more wondrous.  In the context of being persecuted, finding acceptance is more precious.  In the context of being sick, being healed is more miraculous.”

I’m grateful to God for all that He has allowed me to go through!  A bad marriage so that I may appreciate and recognize a wonderful relationship.  Being in a wheelchair so that I can appreciate being out of the wheelchair.  Being Bi-polar with it’s ups and it’s downs so that I might rejoice in the beauty of a normal day.  Not everyone knows that gift.  Maybe you know it for other reasons of things that you suffer through to enjoy a day of peace and rest from it.  I’m grateful for my parents divorce so I could see my dad and stepmom’s marriage and love for one another.  What a gift that was to me!  I thank God for being homeless, so I appreciate all the shelters He’s provided me and my lovely apartment now.  I thank God for both my dad and stepmom’s lives, what an example they set.  I thank God their in heaven out of all the pain they were in at the end of their lives. It has taught me to cherish the living while they are still here.  I’m grateful for the abuse in my life, now being treated lovingly like a lady is all the sweeter.  I thank God that He saved me from myself, life is now so precious to me.  How could I have ever been so determined to end it?  Praise You Father for rescuing me from that mentality!

A Prayer

“Dear God, how thankful I am for your gracious rescue!  Help me to remember, every moment of every day and night, to live in a way that shows my gratitude and thanksgiving to you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

By Lisa Harper  November 22nd  entry “Growing Deep Roots of Gratitude”  from “Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year”

Both the above quote and prayer are from the same place.

I know this is after Thanksgiving but is it ever too late to thank God for all He’s done for us?  I think this is a good daily exercise.  Let me know what your thankful for.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 11

Today I’m grateful for what my Savior did for me.  He made it possible for me to accept Him as my Savior.  He paid the price that was needed for all of my sins and all the sins ever committed when He was stripped whipped and beaten and put on the cross for the transgressions of all time.

What a precious gift He gave the world and at what a horrible price.  But after He died on the cross He raised from the dead on the third day.  Breaking death’s victory and making possible for anyone who believes by faith in Jesus Christ what He did for them and repents of their sin and asks Christ into their lives can become a child of God.  Now it is possible to be heirs of the King of Kings through faith in Jesus Christ.

God is good to us in that respect.  Even though man has turned his back on God time and time again.  Yet God seeks out man even to the point of sending His only Son to earth to pay the penalty that we owe.

Which makes Him a just judge because the penalty for sin must be paid but although we are guilty and deserve the penalty of death Jesus Christ came and paid that penalty for each of those willing to accept the gift He did.

I started this 30 days of Gratitude without thinking that I would be facing surgery during this month.  My right elbow is having surgery do to nerve damage.  I’m going to be recuperating for two weeks so I don’t know how or if I’ll be able to continue this series after Thursday.  It is my intention to restart where I’m stopped at when I’ve healed.  Your prayers for my healing is greatly appreciated.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 8

Today I’m grateful for…all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me.

“27All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  28Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  –  Matthew 11:27-30

Thank You for willing to reveal Yourself to me.  I know it was my choice but I also know that You knew ahead of time that I would choose you.

Thank You for a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.  Thank You for being a place where I can find rest for my soul.  Rest for my soul is something that is needed so much and I’m so appreciative that You give that.

Lord You are so good and so loving!  Thank You for coming down to earth to be our Savior and for being obedient to the Father even when You wanted “this cup taken from” You.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to do but I’m eternally grateful to You for doing that for me and all the sinners that have ever been and will ever be.  You just never fail to amaze me!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 7

Today I found myself blessed with the reuniting of a dear friend and her family.  She is blessed with a wonderful husband and the sweetest 16 year old daughter I’ve met in a long time.

I’m so grateful to God for bringing us back together again after two decades of being apart.  God is so good!  I’m also grateful for Facebook for being able to find her in it.

Since we’ve found each other we both have been through a lot and it was so good getting to catch up in person today!

Never take friends for granted they are also so very important.  May I encourage you to keep in contact with your friends from your youth.  This friend was from back in college and that makes her so special because she knows my history and my family and that is just something that can’t be replaced by anything else.  So if there is someone you have been wondering about may I suggest that if your involved with someone but the person your thinking about is a same sex friend look them up and let your loved one know if you find them.  Share how they are a part of your life with your loved one and include them in it.

I’m fortunate enough that my loved one was a part of my girlfriend and my’s past in college.  We were all a part of a group called Zeta Chi.  My it was so good hearing those words again today.  It’s been years since I’ve heard those words and I miss all those special people that were a part of that college group.

My prayer is that God will reunite me with some of the other women of that group in the future.  We shared things in the past that are special and I care about those girlfriends very much and have a fond place in my heart for them.

Lord bless all my friends those I’m in touch with and those I may be reunited with  and those that I may have to wait until I’m with You in heaven.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

Today I am still grateful for God’s creation but in a more intimate way.  I have a little Chihuahua Schitzu mix.  Other then my Lord and boyfriend she, Tessa is the love of my life and cheers me on a daily basis.

Last December the Lord directed me to her at the shelter and I have been blessed by her calm nature for a Chihuahua and rare barks.  The above photo is when I first got her.

She does love to kiss, which I am attempting to curb.  I don’t care for her tongue in my mouth which happens far too often than it should have.  She loves to cuddle whether it be mommy, daddy or a new friend.

She delights me and it is a blessing from God to watch her each day and her antics and the fun personalities that she shows me.  She loves to play.  One of her favorite games is what daddy calls rabbit.

He uses two fingers as ears that are attacking her.  She absolutely loves playing with her daddy and I love watching them play together.  They are so cute.

She likes to perch on her tower.

I’m so grateful to God that He had the creativity to create dogs they are, other than God and other human’s, man’s best friend or third or second if you don’t know God best friend.  Sorry to be so serious but I believe that even in enjoying God’s creation we must keep our priorities straight.  Even though animals are wonderful we mustn’t let them take the rightful places of God and human companionship.  But even so I would not want to be without the blessing of my dear Tessa of whom I’m so grateful God directed me to.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!