Worship, Create, Dream

This is a blog where I worship God, create new things, and show my dreams to the world!


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The Alabaster Jar

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A warm evening with a gentle breeze blowing bits of sand.  The streets are  empty. Lit candles glow  through  open windows show families enjoying their meals.   Laughter carries up and down the vacant cobblestones. Simon the Pharisee  is very delighted. Tonight he is hosting Jesus, the PROPHET whom  everyone is talking about. Almost giddily he thinks,  “Maybe I can find something out about this Man  that makes Him so special.”

Is the Pharisee, really showing an act of hospitality or are there ulterior motives?

 

Another part of town, a colder, darker part of town  contains less laughter. The meals are not filled with gaiety. Joy does not filter through these streets. The normal sound  is chaos from, wailing, unattended babies and  coughing,  sick children. If laughter is heard, it is anything but joyful.

 

The Woman’s small living quarters are in this part of town. While she lived with her mother, her house was decent. Her mother made a decent living. Now the Woman is alone. She makes her living in a sad fashion non decent manner.  Her heart is empty.

 

The Woman heard rumors. ” Could this be the Prophet.The Teacher everyone is talking about.?” she pondered. Gazing at the beautiful alabaster jar, her mind swirls..

  • “ I have no right to even think about going to that house.
  •   I caught a quick glance of Him in the market. His gentle eyes gave me hope.
  •  There will be other men in that house  who will know me possible who have known me. (she shutters).
  •   He looked into the eyes of that sick girl with such love and tenderness. With one touch a soft word,  He healed her.

 

Of course He healed her. She is holy. I AM NOT!

Could she deny the deep yearning and passion  drawing her to go to the house.and give?

 

The Woman looked again at the jar containing the costly oils for her livelihood. The jar was priceless. It belonged to her mother.

The Woman could not dwell on the matter any longer. Fear would consume her thoughts  making the decision for her if she did not move.

Quickly she wrapped a simple  shawl around her head and face  Grabbing the alabaster jar, she left her home. She could not be  bothered as she moved  to the other side of town. The fear of failure and  rejection ran rampant through her body. Beads of sweat from the brisk walk and the heat did not stop her body from shaking. She had no idea what to expect once she reached her destination.

The Woman did not consider how food would be purchased or bills paid after the oil was gone. It was not a consequence to consider now.

As unrealistic as it seemed, the intense draw to give everything to this Man was the only reality that mattered. The Woman would break her beloved jar, if she must.  She would pour out her oil, her love, her all.

 

Everyone was enjoying the well prepared meal. Food was perfect for the special guest.  Jesus was a perfect guest. Too perfect for Simon’s  taste. Nothing was happening. The evening was coming to a close with not even a tiny miracle or odd word.

 

The conversations continued. Without notice, as though covered by a shadowy protection, the Woman was on her knees in front of Jesus. Upon noticing the crumpled figured at His feet, the other men, close to Jesus gasped and moved away. They knew who she was. They knew her reputation.  Simon sneered to himself , “He can’t be as good as they say He is.  He should know what kind of a woman she is.”

Jesus looked sternly toward  Simon and said,  “Silence”.

Simon blinked being caught off guard.

 

Jesus eyes returned to the Woman. Softly and gently His gaze took in her actions, he took in her heart.  Her tears ran down her face. She could not stop crying. Raising to her feet, she broke the seal of the jar and stood over Jesus head. She tipped the jar.   The thick contents poured slowly  onto the head  beneath her.  With eyes  closed and head slightly lifted, Jesus received the entire offering, down His head, His beard, His shoulders. . This fragrant perfume flowed to his feet. The pungent aroma filled the dining area and beyond.

Moments went by. Not a sound.

No words passed between Jesus and the Woman. He looked into her eyes, into her soul as if to say.:  “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

 

The Woman unbound her hair to dry  tears and oil from Jesus.  Such deep love she had never known. It protected her from the judgemental statements against her actions.

 

” Wasteful!  If you really wanted to repent, the oil should have been sold to meet the needs of the poor,”  came  the verbal accusation on her pure act of love .  The Woman was not enslaved  by these attacks.  His love without rejection freed her.

 

Simon got what he wanted.  A card to use against this Prophet. He smiled to himself, “Either this Man  does not know the sinners, which means He isn’t a real prophet, or He does not keep the law by allowing a woman of this sort to touch Him. This Jesus cannot be the Messiah.”

 

The Woman rebound her hair as the men resumed their meal.  She gathered her shawl. With one last glance to Jesus, she turned and left the house without the alabaster jar.

 

As she walked down the street, the Woman’s  steps were light, relaxed, peaceful.  She had  no need to protect her face. Everything was  bright.  She looked to the sky. “Do stars always twinkle so beautifully?” She smiled.  Her breathing was deep and full. The Woman felt Joy. The Woman was Free..

glory of the Lord

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In this Lenten season, dare to go deep and experience the intimacy of real people referred to in the Passion stories. My story is a fictional  adaptation of Matthew 26:6-10 Mark 14:3-9,  and Luke 7:37-39. God is releasing people from fears through honest deep, intimate interaction with Him. Take His hand and walk through whatever it is He wants to show you.


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Delight in The Lord

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Psalm 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,

   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

                                                                                     ESV

Why would I experience

FEAR

                                                                         if I am receiving the desires of my heart?

That sounds absurd. Or does it?

As I was reading the devotional A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS,  I came across this statement. It  seemed rather comical.:

“If a Mercedes Benz is the desire of your heart, your heart probably needs a change..”1

Seriously, though, when was the last time you asked the question:

“What is the desire of my heart?”

God saw the true desire of my heart when I looked to Him and said YES  44 years ago. With tear filled eyes and a heart filled with more love than I had ever known, I took His Hand.

The desire of my heart was to love Him and allow Him to love me.

WORSHIP!

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When I opened my hands, my life, my heart to God and said YES  that also declared,” I trust  you. I trust You to know the desires of my heart deeper than I know them.”

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.      What was the true desires of my heart?

For me, freedom was vocal worship and music.  I could not see deep reality or intimacy in connecting with God  any way  other than participating on worship teams.  It was not for the sake of being up front. It was connecting in the beauty of worship. It was a gift to God and others.

Suddenly  a radical change took place many years ago. I was no longer  asked or needed to participate on the vocal worship teams.  Devastation hit. My heart’s desire came crashing down around me. How could I show my  extravagant, intimate love if not through music?

He is the Creator.  I am not.

God is my  creator. He put my parts together. He  knows me (Psalm 139). If God knows me that well, He also knows the needed steps to reach the core .   I thought music was  the reflection of my heart’s desire to intimately worship God and reflect that love forever. It was holy. It was good.

 What is my heart’s desire?

WORSHIP

God gave me a heart of worship not satisfied with anything less than ultimate intimacy and true freedom.   God deserves the best.

God asked : “Will you Worship Me the way I call you to Worship Me?”

My response is: “That is the desire of my heart!”

I have been answering this question in ways  I never would have imagined. It has not stopped either. My heart’s desire is to  worship  with God calling the shots. The deeper He calls me into intimacy with Him, I am free to share what I receive.

Have you lost a job? Been asked to step down from calling you felt was from God? Felt as though something has been taken away and you just do not know why?  You may feel :

  •  Pain
  •  Fear
  • Rejection toward your writing, your gift
  • Should I even try again?
  • Has God pulled the rug from under your feet. .

These questions and more are not doubting your delight in God. It is being honest. You need to run to the only One who will free you in finding your true heart’s desire. Do not run from  community either.  Run to the people in the community you can trust. Delighting in God is going to Him.  Be honest with Him in your pain and doubts so He can free you to discover the true desires of your heart.
Discovering your heart’s desire, is not a one time activity. It is a wonderful exciting journey through your entire life. God created you. He will go to those places where only He can free you. There may be fear along the ride in the uncertainties, but you are never alone.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

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Psalm 121 MSG

1-2 I look up to the mountains;

does my strength come from mountains?

No, my strength comes from God,

who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4He won’t let you stumble,

your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

Guardian will never doze or sleep


1A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS.  by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett ©2013 day 32

Thank you Anna for allowing me to use your photo overlooking the mountains. Taken by her friend Nicholas.


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GOD LOVES ME EVEN IN MY FEAR

God fiercely loves us through our flaws and imperfections—not in spite of them.1

                                                                                                         Margaret Feinberg

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As you know, God is walking me through a journey in redefining the word Fear.

Redefining might not be the correct word. Possibly the adventure (if I can call it that) is how  do I am respond to fear? How to walk  when approached/ surrounded in an attack?

If I were to look in a mirror while in a fear-filled state, who would I see? Who do you see? A strong Spirit-filled Christian who knows her joy? or someone questioning her  worth? Do I  start judging myself  as “less than?”IMG_0378

Is it safe to cry out in the pain? I am not always honest with this emotion. You get be a certain age and are duped to believe you are suppose to have it all together. How will people look at me in my  angst?  How will I be treated if they really knew  of this silly fear? Would I receive words of true encouragement or just biblical rhetoric?

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Even as Christians, do we honestly allow ourselves to open this door to our hearts? The fear to recognize and admit we have fear. The exposure of shame or pride may  become greater than the original fear itself.

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Victory through each fear happens in honesty. Admitting where you are. Fear is by no means greater than God’s love,  but something is present. The need for help is real.

                I need you God, Help me in this. Take my hand. I know the facts of “Your grace is sufficient”. I need to experience the reality of that sufficiency.  I need to see Your Face.

The following is a simple story where God walked with me. I saw fear and called myself incompetent. God saw me and gave me His Love.:

As I received  instructions for a straightforward job, I nodded my head expressing I understood the task expected of me. It was a simple task, but not one I had done for awhile. Suddenly my mind went into the question/attack mode. I was struck with thoughts flying out of nowhere saying:

  • YOU ARE FORGETTING WHAT THEY JUST ASKED YOU TO DO. THEY JUST TOLD YOU! HUH!
  • YOU WILL NEVER REMEMBER WHAT TO DO!
  • YOU WILL START DOING THE JOB, THEN FORGET AND LOOK DUMB!
  • YOU ARE REALLY STUPID!

I was never in any real danger. The whole inner conversation may  sound silly but fear has no rules. It just attacks. Big jobs, little jobs. Lots of experience, No experience.  No matter who you are, what you are doing, what is happening to you.  Fear attacks your weak points.

I know God loves me.  I am a Daughter of the King,  but lies/fear yell so loud, it is hard to remember and walk in that reality.  I needed to run into God’s arms for His reality in my weakness. This brings the victory.

Before I actually needed to perform the activity, I sat with my journal and laid my inside angst to God.  The following words poured out.:

      “Fear takes a shape of lies. Lies which yell INCOMPETENT. Reality? My brain has cross wires not completely understanding what is asked.”

    This was God’s response to me:  “ ‘Sandi I am with you. Be At Peace’.”


I could not pretend everything was fine. I went to God in my fear. I asked Him to clear my brain.The Creator of the Universe came to me in my time of need.  He stated “You are loved”.  My fear left. I completed the task in peace.

How I respond to the fear will allow God to work deeper in my worship of Him. Pride or shame can keep a top layer of fear covering the truth where God wants to take me. When I am honest with Him, or in a safe community, the lies of fear will not keep strangling me.    God’s perfect love surrounded me and cast out the fear as I laid down the lies inside calling me incompetent. I was honest about what was going on inside. That chain was broken. I could breathe.IMG_0905IMG_1837

God has something He wants to release in you. Allow Him to Love you in the way only He can love you.  As you are walking in His love, dealing with the big and little fears all around, worship will flow.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


1FLOURISH Live Loved. Live Fearless. Live Free ©2016 Margaret Feinberg p.20


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WHY READ A BOOK ANYWAY?

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I am a writer. I discovered words touch the inner part of my soul. Because words from all areas communicate to me, I want to touch and communicate through words as well.

This exploration to inner and outer lands started when I was very young. I was the type of child who had a book in front of her nose most of the time. Because I had rheumatic fever at age 13, a good portion of my youth was limited to sedentary activities. Lucky for all I enjoyed reading books.

This post is not a total break from my series on fear. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. You may be afraid to start a book because it looks too long. You may be afraid to break out of your comfort zone of genres ? Are you afraid you do not really have enough time to read.. (Kids, housework, a job, your own writing…   life)

WHY READ A BOOK ANYWAY?

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To better your ability to communicate, the more you read, the more tools in you will have in your toolbox.

  • How did previous authors write ?
  •  Study current  or past techniques explored to express and better communicate your own creativity.
  • Reading biographies help recognize you are not alone in  experiencing the pain you feel. What emotional /spiritual choices were made to handle stress or discouragement?  Is it something you want to emulate or not?

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As a mother needs to take time to relax and play with her child with no agenda, it is good  for a creative writer, to read something for relaxation. Business in all forms can get crazy, but to relax with a gentle fiction can allow your brain to go to another place and rest.

No agenda. God throws the seeds of wildflowers on the side of the road. The beauty of the purple lupine, wild daisy and Indian paintbrush have no specific value, other than to bring joy to the eyes of the drivers.   It is amazing how your heart can grow with the words you take in. It is also  fun to color books with nothing to benefit from what is created  other than watching colors bloom on a page.

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In January  from blog to blog, book titles started coming in all shapes and colors. It does not matter what creative bent you are from, they all expressed,  “README!”  Bookstores are  continuously lined with all the newly published works.

The following are a few points which might help  reach your goal  to actually finish those wonderful writings.

▪Don’t start a new read when going to bed. At least don’t use this time for intense reading. Wait until you can fully take in the author’s words. Not when you are fighting to keep your eyes open.

▪ .If your phone is a problem, turn it off while you are reading. Give the book your attention.

▪ On your days off, schedule some time to read. This is a gift you can give yourself. Relax, Learn, See a Deeper You. Expand. Bless yourself.

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▪ If a book doesn’t grab you,  don’t feel you need to keep reading it. Give it at least maybe 50 pages for a good try.  After that, it might be time to go onto the next one calling your name. Don’t feel bad. Hand the book to a friend  or donate it to  a share library.

▪ Choosing  a bigger book or a classic? This may be take more work to get into.  If you are finally tackling  The Lord of the Rings  (after seeing  the movie?)   here is a great  time to go to a coffee shop, order your favorite latte and settle in for awhile. Don’t try quick start and stop reads to see the book is worth your time. This one will take more than 50 pages.

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  • Try keeping a list of your books. After finishing the book, write down  your opinion? Would you loan it to a friend? Did it have a positive or negative effect on you? No effect at all?

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  • Audio books are ways to enjoy that literary classic or other gems  while doing  activities. Even though it is not actually reading, it allows you to finish many books you thought you did not have time for.   Jpeg
  • Hopefully this last point brings a challenge.  Check books not in your normal genre. Diversity in  authors, cultures and genre might take you out of your comfort zone.    Chose a book of Shakespearean poems. Possibly the books you always go to are nonfiction. An historical fiction could take you on a wonderful adventure you would never before considered. expand-your-library If fiction is the route you normally enjoy, picking a nonfiction or two could open a door to areas you never knew existed. It could bring a dynamic change to your life.

God will speak to you through books.  Are you willing to go past a fear in your reading?  Will you allow God to take you to places He wants to speak to  you? Go on an adventure.

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Be

      Free

            To

Worship

As

You

           Were

Created.

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Ideas were taken from this article written by Connie Ogle:

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/books/article124511389.


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Don’t Panic!

 

How can I raise my hands with complete abandonment, absolute passionate creativity if I am afraid?

How can I totally lose myself in the artistic swirl surrounding me to express deep love for My Savior when doubt  crosses my path?

No bands around me. No ropes to strangle me. No inside critical words to distract me. That is my desire.
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As much as I would love to express to each and everyone the deepest beauty of God’s love, it does not flow sweetly all the time.  I am loved in the Psalms. I am challenged by the words “COME AND FOLLOW ME”. The Creator of the Universe calls me to  Dance in His Kingdom.   This gives me a very deep jump-start at the beginning of the day.  God is GOOD. God is  LOVE!  My heart burns with a fire so deep,  I seriously believe will go on forever.

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As the day goes on something happens. I think you  know what I am talking about. I can’t  quite put my finger on it  but slowly uninvited, unwelcome guests start  making themselves far too comfortable in my space.

Not bad things, really. Just normal everyday activities. Life.

 

  • What do I have  for supper?
  • Peter’s friends are coming over, is the house clean?
  • Why doesn’t my wonderful sweet dog take a rest so I can write?
  • Bills, Clothes. Vacuum, shovel the walk.
  • Why can’t I create and say what I want to say in this blog?
  • Start a newsletter? What is that?
  • Does anyone really want to read what I write anyway?

This is just the beginning.

Left unchecked, chaos, fear or even the humdrum of life become reality instead of the Who I engaged with this morning. If I allow my mind to be encased in trivial or gigantic affairs, the lens of seeing myself as a Daughter of the King changes into being a slave to the cares of the world.

What happened? I was walking hand in hand with Jesus and suddenly,  did  I put on different glasses?                                                                                                                                                                                 When I closed my devotional, shut my bible, hit the button on my computer,  did  I end my worship walk with God saying, ” See Ya tomorrow?”

NO!

The physical worship needs to continue throughout the day. In my quiet time  I need quality time. This demands more than reading mere words on a page to fulfill my daily quotient. I need to engage in deep, extravagant relational time with the One who loves me. In that moment, seeds are sown into my heart, but it is only the beginning. When uninvited or unwelcome  guests start tapping on the door or sliding in sideways, I’m not meeting them alone. I’m still on my worship walk. The lens is far  different.

 

BUT!!!   you say….

 “I am not a super saint.” “I am not called to be Mother Teresa.”

“I am not going to be a pastor or a missionary.”

 

Are you afraid to go on this deep walk with God?  What is the alternative?  It is easy to slip into the lens of the world. But Jesus did not separate those He called to show His love.  If you said YES to Jesus, then  you are called to intimacy. To Know Him and to Show Him.

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  16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

                                                                                                            John 15:16 MSG

 

Are you  sitting with the Lover of your soul , allowing Him to gently have His way in all your walk, even after your devotional is closed? Do the cares of this world seem to loom larger than the  A.M. Bible  reading?  God extends His hand for a deeper, intimate continuous worship walk throughout the day. The deeper the walk  with God, the less the panic. He created the universe. He created you. He created me. He knows our needs.

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I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from GOD, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. GOD’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you— Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. GOD guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.

                                                                                          Psalm 121:1-8 MSGi-look-to-the-mountains

 

Be

Free

To Worship

As You Were

Created!


Thank you Anna and Nicolas for the mountain photo. Location- Guanajuato, Mexico.


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Can Fear Be A Tool?

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We say Yes to following God. That is the total desire of our heart. We want to worship Him with our whole being. What gets in the way? What fear jumps in the road and blocks our  total abandonment?

Reading  scriptures over and over. Is that the trick? Receiving all stars for knowing the  memory verses we studied in Sunday School should count for something —Right?  Going to Church Services every Sunday. Why doesn’t that make fears big and small  flee?

I prayed while sitting in between my son and daughter while riding to the MSP airport. We were on our way  to visit our relatives in Orlando this last December.  Before  we turned into the lanes where friends were to drop us off, my heart started racing:

  • Would I be able to walk through the upcoming challenge knowing exactly what I am to do?
  • Where is my passport?
  •  If I am asked a question,  will  my mind go completely blank and I just stand there?
  •  Will I be able to walk straight over the metal detector or will the beeper go off letting everyone know someone (me) is holding up the long line?

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Don’t beat yourself over the head when experiencing fear of any kind.  Instead, ask why is the emotion coming over you? Is a message, big or little, being shared through this circumstance?                                     .

Throughout the scriptures, God declares and reveals His authority. Events began in tremendous fear, but it was in walking through His lead where peace flowed.

 

Joshua knew it was his responsibility  to lead the Israelites. Moses died.  Joshua had become the new leader. Joshua was fearful. Joshua questioned would these people give  him the same trust as they gave to Moses? Many reasons for a panic attack.

The relationship God and Joshua already had caused this man to go to God and seek guidance. Here are the words of encouragement Joshua received:

Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

                                                                                                         Joshua 1:8  MSG.

 

The beauty of Joshua’s Yes  was exposed in his fear. He cried out to God. God gave Joshua exactly the words he needed. The encouragement called out the courage God put  inside  Joshua allowing him to do the YES.

In the empty slots not covered in scriptures when Joshua walked by himself, did fear try to grip his thoughts? Possibly, but Joshua was true in keeping his eyes and heart set to the direction pointed toward God. Knowing God surrounded him, Joshua was able to lay the fear where it needed to go and receive strength.

God gives strong words to Joshua ( Don’t be timid) and to Isaiah ( So  Fear Not)  in real times of real need. God promises ” God is with you every step” , and “I will strengthen you and help you.” These are not just words of a command to do something.  It is through the relationship of love already flowing between God and these men where this truth is shared and received.

In hands of a loving God, fear can be a tool showing me something,  or exposing something.  In the airport, I was completely surrounded in myself.  I got antsy. I got nervous about my passport.  I made the beeper go off and needed to be checked.  (I was wearing a metal belt. Not the smartest thing.)  I was anxious and fearful of looking stupid.

It is a small fear, but still a tool to which  God graciously used.

Fear can stop me from being the person God created me to be. It can loom large, but is it really more than silly threads I can cut with the Sword of the Spirit?

In this fear, my head had no room to hear God’s still quiet voice telling me “I love you My precious Daughter, do not be afraid”. I was protecting  myself in my fear where I would usually be open to hear His voice to see if anyone might be in need of prayer because of their anxiety.

The beauty of saying YES to our Father doesn’t matter whether the situation is as grand as leading the Israelites to the Promise Land or going through all the airport ins and outs. God is taking the hand of the one who is listening. It is an adventure to the one He is guiding, to the one obeying.

It is far more than repeating verses. It is having a conversation with the One who loves me and the One I love.img_0897img_0899 It is recognizing my weakness and my need. I empty myself and receive His strength.img_0902IMG_0169

As you release fears to the One who created the Universe, look to see if God is teaching you something in and through the process. Be free to worship as you were created.