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Friday, June 30, 2017

Python of Fear.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).

Fear has the power to wrap itself around you in such a way that doesn't even seem noticeable until you find your self trapped within its grip. It squeezes slowly until the look in your eyes knows that there is no way out. Panic sets in and you begin to fight in an erratic manner that only seems to strengthen the hold. There's now way out.

God spoke the words of Isaiah 41:10 to a people who had found themselves in the same hold of the same python of fear. They had given into their fears and their erratic behavior had led them into exile, away from the promised land God had miraculously provided. 

But now, here, He speaks to them words of truth and power that have the potential of greater influence in both their present and their future. "So do not fear, for I am with you." Fear has no power in the presence of God. God is love and perfect love drives out all fear, just as flipping the light switch sees the power of light instantly driving out the influence of darkness.

"I am your God." When you know who He is and where He is, you will find what He has for you. He is right where you are. He is your God, and He has all power, strength, and courage for where you are and for what you now face. He holds you in the palm of the strongest hand one could ever imagine. The same hand that holds the world in perfect orbit is holding you.

Don't give into the panic of the python. Fear is real, but the reality of God is more than real. Look to Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on who He is, where He is, and what you have in Him. When you are confident in who you are in Him, the power of the python is broken. Fear cannot withstand the power one has when they know the authority they have in having the mind of Christ! No fear.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Pattern is the Problem.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2, NIV).

Have you ever found yourself deeply conflicted by what you want and what you seem to get? You see people around you and it has become second nature to look at them and identify all they could do to change and how that would positively impact you for the better. There are times it seems easy to point the fingers at what others, especially those closest to you, need to accomplish, and how they will better please God at the same time. But then, you slow down and begin to realize, why do they all seem to have peace and I'm the one with the pain?

Many times, the conflict you are experiencing isn't so much between you and another person, but between the Spirit of God in you and the patterns of your own mindsets. Patterns are strategic. They are habitual. They look a certain way and they feel safe. There is definition to a pattern. Patterns give a sense of security and normalcy, even though that pattern may be based on a wrong reality. 

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Romans. Paul knew something about wrong patterns. As a Pharisee, Paul was religious, strategic, and passionate about what he believed. He knew the Scriptures, he was accustomed to the Law, and He was proficient in articulating what needed to be known. And yet, none of that brought him the full peace that only came when he surrendered his mindset patterns to be renewed by Jesus. 

Here's a fact. Your present will not change until the pattern of your mind is changed. You may be in the Word of God, but until the Word of God is fully in you, and you apply it by faith beyond your feelings, there will be no change. Your mind has to be renewed from the patterns you have been used to, that have given you the definition that makes you feel safe. They aren't safe. You don't have peace. Let God's truth RENEW your mind. Don't just let read the Bible. Let the Bible read you. Let it show you what you need to know. Let the Holy Spirit reveal the truth of what your feeling, the truth about why you're feeling it, and how you can surrender the patterns of your mind to the reality of His presence. When the pattern is surrendered, the pain can be healed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Say So.

“Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’” (Luke 5:5, NIV).

These were the first words recorded in Luke’s gospel from the man who would have much to say. Peter was a living paradox. He seem to live and speak from polarizing extremes, and yet would find such a place of influence in the mission of God’s heart for the world. 

These first words were sounded with what appears to be “defensiveness.” Jesus had asked him to do something that would have never made sense to a sane and experienced fishermen. Fish don’t live at the tops of the water during the daytime. They rest in the depths as to escape the heat of the sun.

Peter was defensive and then descriptive. He explained to Jesus why this would never work. It had been tried when conditions were right and still failed. Doing it again now would accomplish nothing better. 

“But because you say so…” Peter surrendered all that he knew, all that he felt, and all that he saw. There was something different about the words Jesus had spoken. Little did he know at that moment, but he had heard and was responding to the voice of God. That voice would change his life forever.

When God speaks, don't let a defensive reaction rob you of His divine invtervention. It’s tempting to argue why something will not work, how you’ve tried it time and again, and how futile doing another time would be. But as Peter chose to do in his moment, learn to do in your moment. Trade your “say so” for His “say so.” Because HE SAYS to do it, you will do it. Because HE SAYS you are strong, then you are strong, even when you feel weak. Because HE SAYS you are called, then you are called, even though you feel unqualified. Because HE SAYS keep trying, then you will keep trying, even though it seems that your efforts are useless. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your ears on His “say so,” and continue to respond to His word with all obedience.