Fear Ensnares – Trust in the Lord Brings Freedom

Fear can stop us in our tracks.  It can paralyze us; it can stop whatever dreams we have from coming to fruition.  Fear of what others say or think of us can trap us into a prison so that we just stand still.  Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” (KJV) Our verse says that fear of men can ensnare us.  Trusting in God can release us from that prison of fear.

Fear of other’s thoughts and opinions of us can hinder us from stepping out into our dreams and ambitions.  However, we must trust in God’s opinions and His thoughts of us.  If He is calling us out of our comfort zone, there will be plenty of people ready, and willing, to put a damper on our desire to fulfill that call.  However, we must trust that God knows the best for us.  If He has called us into an area for our growth, He will give us the ability to accomplish it. He will encourage us to push forward.  When we put our trust in what God says about us, we can break free of the fear of what others may try to do or say to hinder us.

Our verse today says that when we trust in the Lord, we are safe!  Chains of fear are broken.  When we are fearful of failure, we can remember, “I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 CSB) When we are fearful of other’s opinions, we can go to God’s Word and read the myriad of verses of how He loves us and how precious we are to Him.  When we are fearful of a doctor’s diagnosis, we can remember that it is by Jesus’ stripes that we are healed. (I Peter 2:24)

When we are afraid, God tells us in Isaiah 43:1 “…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” (NIV) Trusting God will bring peace and joy.  (John 14:27, Psalm 94:19) We can say with David, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 NIV) Trusting in God gives us courage and boldness.  2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (NIV)

We can step out into areas that we may not be comfortable in. We can also step out in faith into areas of ministry, knowing that God is with us, encouraging, guiding, and giving us the boldness to reach out to others who need to hear of His love for them.  We need not allow fear to hold us back because we know we are safe with the Lord when we trust in Him.

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God’s Faithful Love

Well, I decided to do another Bible Journaling entry. This one comes from Psalm 103:17, “But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren.” (CSB) God’s love for us is beyond amazing. He wants only the best for us, and He showers His blessings upon us daily.

I was curious to find out how many verses in the Bible deal with God’s love. There are 310 times in 280 verses that talk about God’s love! Wow! God must really want us to know how much He loves us! I think that is amazing! I love how our verse talks about God’s faithful love! That is so reassuring! His love is not fickle, but it is steadfast and enduring. His love never fails! (Psalm 36:7) He loves us with an everlasting love! (Jeremiah 31:3) He loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to the cross to die in our place for our sins. (John 3:16)

I also love the way He wants us to know how much He loves us. He tells us so many times in His Word. He is unlike some human fathers, who never tell their children that they are loved. I know of an instance where the father never uttered the words, “I love you” to his sons, and both sons thought that the father loved the other son more. It was heartbreaking! It created a rift between the boys. Not until years later did they find out that neither son heard those words. They began to realize that their father did love them, he just didn’t know how to express it. One of those boys determined that he would always tell his children that he loved them so that there was no doubt in his children’s minds of his love for them. Every phone conversation always ended with the words from their father, “I love you.”

Just like that son, God wants His children to know how much He loves them. He wants there to be no doubt in his children’s minds of His love for them. When a child hears from their father that he loves them it brings feelings of comfort, security, peace, and joy. They know that they can go to him with everything and not be afraid that he will reject them. It is the same with our Heavenly Father. We have nothing to fear, for He is willing to listen to our heart’s cry. He wants to hear about our day. He wants us to share with Him our dreams and our plans. He wants to hear about our heartaches and those things that distress us. He wants a strong relationship with His children.

God’s love for us is unending! He is reaching out to us, asking us to come to Him and to trust Him. When we feel unloved by others, He loves us, when we feel rejected, He calls us to come and He wraps His arms around us and draws us close to Himself. If you are feeling unloved today, call out to God, and He will wrap you in His arms and tell you how much He loves you!

Confidence Begins with God

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Psalm 89:34, “My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.” (NASB) The King James Version puts it this way, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” God assures us that He will keep His promises to us, and He will not change!

Confidence coming from ourselves is very shaky. We, unlike God, change constantly. Our attitudes, our actions, our thinking, how we perceive things…all are constantly in a state of change. We find that if we rely upon our own understanding, our pathway becomes bumpy, uncertain, full of potholes. However, God does not change, ever! His yes is yes, and His no is no. (I Corinthians 1:20). Hebrews 13:8 says that “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (NASB) We gain our confidence from God.

Remember the first time you got a job and arrived the first day to take your place in the workforce? We did not have confidence in our own abilities, especially in a new situation. We had to learn the way things operated in our new situation. I know I did not have confidence in my first job. I took a summer job in a plant that distributed cassettes and 8-track tapes (yes, I’m dating myself) to customers, and I had to work in the warehouse packing orders for shipment. It was the first time I had to use office equipment to track the order (this is before computers mind you) and get it ready to go out the door. I had to get used to my coworkers, most of whom were from a different background than me, and to say the least, I was not confident in my ability to do the job. At that point, I had not learned to put my confidence in Jesus. I was a relatively new Christian with a lot to learn.

The more I worked at my job, the more confident I became. It’s the same with our daily lives with God. The more we put our confidence and trust in Him, the more assured of His promises we become and our confidence in Christ grows.

God has a plan for each of us, (Jeremiah 29:11) and His plan is different from His plan for someone else. He knows what He has mapped out for us, and He knows what is best for us. He knows how to strengthen our confidence in Him. The more He brings us through situations that seem way more complicated and confusing than we would like, the more we can find ourselves saying, “If He got me through that, He can get me through the next big hurdle.” We can look back and see how He has been faithful to us, our confidence grows, and when the next big hurdle comes (and it will) we can be confident that He will not leave us alone, He will guide our steps, He will walk with us, and He will be sure that we do not fail in the end. He will not go back on His promises to us! We can rely on Him in every situation.

I see the Bible as God’s love letter to us, from Genesis to Revelation. He loves us enough to guide us through His Word. He loves us enough to show us examples of how to live and how not to live. He loves us enough to be gracious to us in all circumstances. He loves us enough to keep His promises. He loves us enough to teach us how to rely upon Him, to take our confidence from Him.

If you are finding yourself without confidence, turn to God. He loves you and He wants to see you succeed. Your first step is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior if you haven’t already, confess your sins, and promise to live for Him daily. He will then show you how to take your confidence from Him and rely upon Him for each day, each circumstance, in all things.

Where is Your Confidence Placed?

Today’s Bible Journaling is from I Kings 8:57, “May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us.” Solomon is encouraging the people of Israel to be obedient and to put their confidence in God. He’s asking God to be with them and not forsake them. He is putting His confidence in God and what He has done in the past for the children of Israel.

Where do we place our confidence? Is it in material things, the “get everything you can” atmosphere of today’s society? Is it in people? Let’s start with the definition of confidence. Merriam-Webster dictionary says that confidence (1) is a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, (2) a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper or effective way, ( 3) the quality or state of being certain.

For me, spiritually, confidence is a steadfast knowledge that we can rely on God, that He is trustworthy. Confidence is a strong trust in someone or something. God has proven time and again that He can be trusted. He is faithful! He comes through on His promises to us. He promises to never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) The NASB says that He will never desert us! That is a promise He keeps every day! I can put my confidence in God because He has proven to me that He will keep His promises to me.

I trust in God’s leading in my life. I know that He will not lead me somewhere that would be harmful to me, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. His desire is for me to live a life that is full of blessing, a life that is totally surrendered to Him, and He wants me to have the best relationship with Him that is possible. He brings me through things that will strengthen me and cause me to draw closer to Him. He walks through the desert with me, He dances in the meadow in jubilation when I am blessed more than I can stand! He reaches out to me when I am uncertain and comforts, guides, and loves me.

Placing our confidence in someone or something other than God does not bring us joy but leads to disappointment. People will fail you, circumstances will fail you, things will disappoint and fail you, but God never fails, never disappoints. His word is truth, His love is everlasting, He is faithful in all things. The verse before our Scripture today says, “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” (NASB) Do you see in the middle of the verse? “not one word has failed of all His good promise…” He makes good on His promises.

Is there something you are trusting God to do for you? Are you overwhelmed by circumstances around you? Are you in need of confidence that He will never leave or forsake you, do you need to know without a shadow of a doubt that God will be faithful? Is your confidence in God? As I am typing this, I’m listening to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing, “More Than Enough”. It reminds me that my confidence in God is well-placed. Listen, and let the words flow over your soul.

https://www.pandora.com/artist/play/the-brooklyn-tabernacle-choir/god-is-working/more-than-enough/TR:1033624

Hold Fast

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.) (KJV) The Amplified Bible says, “Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word].” I like the way the Amplified goes deeper into the passage, stressing how faithful God is in His promises! He is reliable, trustworthy and faithful to His Word! He keeps His promises. I also like the idea of seizing and holding tightly to “the confession of our hope without wavering.”

In my mind, holding fast is like having a death grip on our confession of the hope we have in Christ Jesus. Being totally committed to what He has promised us. Our hope in Jesus gives us peace, joy, confidence in His Word, and a solid foundation upon which we can place our trust.

My husband and I are waiting on God for the sale of our house. It’s been up for a little over a year. Our house will be sold when God brings us the right person who will love our house, but the waiting has been difficult. We want to move closer to family, and it just seems like we will be here forever. I must place my hope in the fact that God has the right family or person in mind to come and purchase our house. We’ve had one person come through to look at it, and we are waiting to hear if they are going to make an offer. This is the closest we’ve come to having a possible buyer since it’s been up for sale. We are praying that God sells this house soon. My confidence, my hope, must be in the fact that God keeps His promises, for He says that He knows the plans He has for me and they are for my good, to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) and He tells me in His Word that He will keep His promise to me. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (NASB)

When things are disheartening or discouraging, we must still “hold fast” to the hope that we have in Jesus, the hope that He knows the end from the beginning in our lives, the hope that whatever comes our way is in His plan, and it is for our good. I don’t know when our house will get sold, but I trust Him to bring the right person to buy it.

Is there something in your life you are trusting God for? Then hold fast to His promise! His love for you is evident in the fact that He will keep His promises and He has the best for you in mind. He is faithful! Whatever you are waiting for, He knows, and He has a good plan for your life. Just like my husband and I are waiting for our house to sell, everything goes according to His timing…not ours. While we wait, we must choose hope, choose that confidence in His plan for our lives, and not waver in that hope.

We Hope in God and What He Has Done

Jeremiah 1422Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Jeremiah 14:22, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, For You are the one who has done all these things.” (NASB) In thinking about this verse and the hope we have in God, the thought came to me as I did my journaling page, that we can hope in God (have confidence in Him) whether we are in a time of trial or whether we are enjoying a life of ease.

God brings the rain as well as the sunshine in our lives. It is through the rainy times that we grow in our Christian walk. Just as in nature, the rain comes and causes growth. In the world around us we see the result by new vegetation sprouting up after the rains come. We hold that hope in our hearts that after the rain, comes the sunshine and a new beginning. Going through those times in our lives with Jesus causes growth as well. As we grow, we gain more confidence that He will be with us during those times.

In the sunny times of our lives we also have the confidence in God that we are not alone, He walks with us. We see His blessings all around us. We know that He will guide our walk with Him. We know and hope (have confidence) that He will direct us, whether it is in our job, or a ministry He has gifted us with, or in developing the gifts and talents He has given us.

He has given us reason enough to hope in Him. He proves over and over that we can trust in His leading. As we walk with Him, He proves Himself faithful, and with each victory we gain, we have confidence to rely upon Him in every instance. We say to ourselves, “If God can lead me through this, and I make it through to the end, He will do the same the next time I come to a hard time in my life.”

As I look at this verse, I’m struck by the question, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain?” Those false gods cannot do what our God can do. The prophets of Baal proved that when Elijah put them to the test. (I Kings 18) The prophets spent all day praying to Baal to bring fire down on a dry offering on their altar and nothing happened. Elijah put the offering on his altar and doused it with water until the water flowed over the altar and down onto the ground. He offered a prayer to God and immediately God sent fire from Heaven and consumed the offering. Our God is alive, powerful, He works in our lives, and He can be trusted. The false gods of this world are dead, weak, and ineffective. There is no hope or confidence in their abilities because they have no ability to show themselves powerful.

Our hope is certain because our God has proven Himself to be faithful. When our faith is weak, we can know that God will do as He has promised. We can depend on Him in every situation. When we struggle with issues of life, He is there to bring comfort and strength to persevere. He is more powerful than any illness, addiction, or circumstance. He loves us more than we can ever imagine, and He shows it in His care for us.

Hope That Brings Strength

 

Today we are looking at a very familiar verse to most Christians, Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (KJV) That kind of strength comes only from God! Our hope is in God. Remember, we have said that the kind of hope we are talking about is confidence…confidence in God, confidence that He will do what He has promised, confidence that no matter what we go through, He has our back, and that no problem is too big or too small for Him.

There are days we go through when it just seems like it’s too much. Everything seems harder than it should. We can barely keep ourselves together, much less accomplish a task. That’s where hope in God’s strength comes into play. We rely on His strength to get us through. When we feel we can barely crawl, He gives us the strength to walk, then to run. Our hope, our confidence is in knowing we are not alone, He walks with us, sometimes, He carries us.

Our Scripture reference talks about mounting up with wings as eagles. If you have never seen eagles fly, it is an absolutely amazing thing to see. When I lived in Montana, in the fall, the eagles would fly over the canyon in their mating ritual. It was awesome to see them do their mating dance and see the strength they had in their wings to be able to grab their talons together and fly hooked to one another. God gives us that kind of strength. We are held by God, He gives us strength to persevere through each circumstance, and our hope, our confidence, grows with each situation we face.

I know for me, God has given me strength in several instances. My husband and I have gone through a hard time over the last two years. We were married March 25, 2017, and right after that he went to the doctor for a yearly physical. The doctors found something wasn’t right and he had to have a biopsy. We waited to go on our honeymoon because my niece was getting married in May, and we decided to take it then. While we were on our honeymoon, the doctor’s office called and told us that my husband, Kraig, had prostate cancer. We both were rocked to our core. But God held us both up through the whole process of Kraig’s treatment. After having radiation treatments, a lot of prayer from family, church, and friends…Kraig was declared cancer free on October 23, 2017! His last test a few months ago showed an improvement in his test scores, in fact they were lower than previously! He still is being watched by the doctor, but for all practical purposes, there is no more treatment needed, just to keep an eye on things. We are rejoicing for God’s goodness and care. I thank Him for the strength He gave us and the hope of knowing that He is a healer.

That hope, that confidence, that God would do as He promised is what held us together and kept us from falling apart. It not only strengthened us spiritually, but also strengthened our commitment to one another. We found out that we could go through anything if we could go through that. We both held on to God, believing in His healing power for Kraig, and we gained strength.

Our Scripture says we are to “wait upon the Lord.” That means to trust His timing on things, trust that He knows our situation and knows the solution, and have the confidence that nothing that happens to us goes without notice by Him. Then we can fly like the eagles, we can run and walk, and not faint.