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Thursday Inspiration: Whom Shall I Fear?

31 Mar

I didn’t get to post my Sunday inspiration because I was away from home.  Now I’m back and I’m ready to get this thing started!  Prepare yourself for another loooooooong essay.  I promise, I’m going to get better about brevity and such.

My topic today is about fear.  The Bible speaks often, and very explicitly, about fear.  I could easily name about ten or fifteen verses off the top of my head (2 Timothy 1:7, Psalms 27:1, Psalms 23:4 – for example), but the point is that fear is a natural emotion that has no place in our supernatural lives.  We’re human and we are bound to be afraid of a multitude of things that really don’t make any legitimate sense.  Me?  I’m afraid of monkeys, roaches, and balloons.  I’m also afraid of rejection, losing the people that I love, and being forgotten.  The things that we fear are oftentimes the driving force behind the decisions that we make in our lives.  Fear shouldn’t be our motivation.  Our motivation should be faith.   Faith and fear, by definition, are antonyms; you can’t walk in both at the same time.  I can’t have faith in a situation and operate out of said faith if I am walking in fear and operating out of worry.  It doesn’t work like that. Fear looks at a situation and says, “what am I going to do?”  Faith looks at a situation and says, “What is God going to do?”  The times that faith and fear most often come in conflict with one another are when we are going through trials.

In your trial, faith accomplishes what fear cannot and fear creates conditions in which faith cannot operate.  Once you step out on faith, you must place all of your focus and the whole of your attention on Jesus – otherwise you will start walking in fear.  Basically, you have two options when dealing with your trial:

1.  Trial —> Distraction —> Distraughtfulness —>  Disdain —> Disappointment
2.  Trial —> Focus —> Faith —> Action —> Results

I had a cute little flow chart I created in Microsoft Word, but it would paste into WordPress.  Oh well.

Since option #2 is very straightforward (I believe), let’s start with option #1 and with Distraction.  When you are distracted, your mind becomes preoccupied by what your situation is doing to you instead of what you are supposed to be doing to your situation.  Things that may distract you are people close to you, like friends and family,  who only remind you of how bad things are instead of how good God is.  Other distractions back be haters and obstructionists who don’t want you to succeed and will hind your progress, habits and behaviors that are contrary to the Word, pity parties, and any doubt, dear, depression, or hesitation that may disconnect you from God and His Word.  If you are or become distracted, i.e. unfocused, there are ways to get back on track.  Study your Word.  This is the most effective means because you have to know what the Word says about your situation so you will know how to act.  Praying and asking for guidance is other good idea.  Part of being distracted is feeling inadequately prepared.  Pray for God to show, direct, and lead your thoughts and actions.  Finally, you should surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and positively influence your life.

Once you have become distracted, and unless you refocus, you then become distraught and distressed because of your distraction.  Now you are so wholly consumed by what is going on, you give yourself completely over to fear and worry.  There are  several reasons why being distraught is a bad thing.  First of all, due to inevitably overreacting and forgetting that the battle is already won, you allow your circumstance to become bigger than you and forget that it isn’t bigger than God.  You start to second guess all of your choices and decisions, eventually becoming scared to even move.  When you become “stuck in neutral,” so to speak, anything that comes along can push you in a multitude of wrong directions and you are unable to do anything because you are unable to guide yourself.  You lose your peace and your joy and you become an ineffectual ministry vessel because your fear taints your work.  You are unable to effectively make your way out of your trial and are very likely not to achieve any results at this rate because you are going around in circles.  It’s easy to become disoriented (I’m using a lot of words with the “dis” prefix, I see…) and confused.  You don’t know left from right, right from wrong.  In this case, you usually make the wrong decision, which leads to….

Disdain.  My, how it is easy to get to this place.  It is frustration at its finest.  Once you have become fearful, you are no longer faithful.  You lose every ounce of your faith and then begin to question why God allowed you to get in this situation in the first place.  You’re angry.  Why me?  How come?  It ain’t fair!  You are so confused, you don’t know how to get out of the hole that you’ve dug for yourself and, to be quite honest, you really aren’t looking to get out because it’s easier to find external blame than it is to find internal blame.  You have no results.  You have no victory.  Unless you can refocus on the task and hand and get your head back on straight, you disdain will only lead you to your final destination:

Disappointment.  We all know how that feels.  You think that God didn’t come through for you because you didn’t get what He promised.  What really happened is that you didn’t come through for yourself.

I could go a little further with this, but I won’t.  Basically, I’m just trying to tell you to be wary of fear.  It creates a cycle of thought and behavior that simply isn’t in keeping with your faith life.  And to be quite honest, what do we really have to fear anyway?  If are what we say we are, Believers, then we should be able to walk more confidently in our faith.  And I’m not saying this stuff to be self-righteous.  This is meant for me as well.  There’s a laundry list of things I haven’t done – am not doing – and missed opportunities that I will be held accountable for because I was operating in fear.  But if we take the time to stop and examine our fears and examine our faith, it is possible to see that our faith can best our fears every time.

The End.


Flaws and All

26 Mar

It’s late (and not that great and/or coherrent), but here’s my video post.  Try to enjoy!

Sunday Inspiration: I’m NOT Perfect…but that’s no excuse

20 Mar

Not sure what’s up with the tree covered hill in the video…but I just wanted the song…

Public Service Announcement:  I am not perfect.  I curse like a sailor (usually when I’m alone and no one can hear it), I’m a champion procrastinator, and I dislike being wrong more than I dislike monkeys, roaches, veggies, and the color orange.  I’m impatient and stubborn; I can be insensitive and incompassionate.  My left foot is bigger than my right.

I am human.  We all are.

Everybody has a set of flaws that they carry around with them like a grocery list.  Everybody has that one or two or seven things that they know they need to work on.  We all carry the banner of imperfection, however, some of us are waving it a little harder than others.  I’m going to try and say what I’ve got to say with tact and brevity:  do not allow your humanity to overcome your humility.

Now what the heck do I mean by that?  Well, two things, really.  Allow me to get all lexicographical for a moment.  Humanity (in a nutshell, a really small one) is basically human nature.  A simple definition of humility would be the that is the opposing virtue to the vice/sin of pride.  A better definition (per the definition I just looked up) is, “the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing.”  Within that definition of humility are two opposite ends of the pride spectrum:  arrogance and despair. 

On one hand, you have the arrogance that comes from believing that being human gives you a free pass to act a fool.  There are some people who feel like they are exempt from having to behave themselves, above the rules so to speak, because “everybody makes mistakes.”  You know the ones…God forgive me for what I’m about to do.    Uh, come again?  God’s mercy endures forever, but He has mercy on whom He will.  Making a mistake is one thing.  The intent to sin, well that’s another matter entirely.  That’s a form of arrogance, plain and simple.  Yes…we’re all going to mess up.  That does not mean that you should not take care to try and curb those bad habits and do whatever you can in your power to move past the things that hinder you.  That’s the equivalent of refusing to take baths on the grounds that you’re only going to get dirty again.  Like my grandma says:  holiness is right.  I’m not saying go out and buy one of them floor sweeping skirts or do something extreme.  Holiness isn’t about appearance.  It’s about making a lifelong commitment to separate yourself from the things that can and will impede your direction and dedication when it comes to the Kingdom.  And I know I’m the pot calling the kettle black.  There are a lot of things that I personal need to remove from my life and I know that I will die having never fully gotten rid of them all.  However, I will not let that be an excuse for not trying.  It’s a long process.  I’ve got to die daily.  It’s not easy and I’m going to mess up more than I get right.

On the other hand, there is despair.  A word about despair:  a professor of mine told me once that the highest – and most dangerous – form of despair is pride.  Despair is the loss of hope, the feeling that whatever it is that you’ve done is something that you can’t or won’t be forgiven for.  This is a form of pride because you have allowed your self and your sin to become bigger than God.  The second half of that definition I mentioned earlier talks about “self-abasement,” which is (from the same source), “Self-abasement is voluntary self-punishment or humiliation in order to atone for some real or imagined wrongdoing.”  I have a few issues with the idea of self-punishment.  For starters, it sort of is a slap in the face of the Crucifixion, which was the ultimate sacrifice/payment for our sins.  It’s like saying that what Jesus did is enough for what you’ve done – again, despair.  Sometimes we allow our humanity, our human nature and the fact that we are imperfect to effect us to the point that we take ourselves out of commission.  We feel like we can’t be used by God.  We feel like we can’t go to God even in prayer.  That’s a dangerous, dangerous place to be.  As I stated in another post, God has used imperfect people in spite (or perhaps because) of their sin. 

The moral of the story is this:  you are bound to fall.  When you fall, you have three options:  make excuses, lay there, or get up and keep going.  It’s really that simple.  Nobody’s perfect and no one ever will be.  God isn’t asking us to be perfect.  He’s just asking us to keep pressing toward the mark.

Have a good Sunday, everybody! 

Video killed the (wanna-be) blogging star

18 Mar

So here’s a video that I did.  It’s terrible, but whatever.