Fear not

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“… for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power..”  2 Timothy 1:7

The Message says it this way, “God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold..”  Power.  Boldness.  Big words for my fearful heart to comprehend.  Paul goes on to summarize the Gospel and remind Timothy of the power of God which we can rely.  He saved us.  He called us to a holy calling.  Because of his own purpose and grace.  Abolished death.  Brought life.

Then Paul slaps me in the face with it.  “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed.” (1:12) A powerful punch.

Belief = Power.  Belief = Boldness.  Belief = no fear.

So, if I have a spirit of fear does that mean I am ashamed of Him, that I don’t believe Him?  Yep, I think it does.

I know whom I have believed.  I believe.  I know.  I will walk in the power of His might… right through fear.

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Courage in the fire

When God calls us out on a limb, that is the safest place to be.  My head gets it, my heart doesn’t.  My heart is what holds me to the ground, terrified and resistant.  Stupid heart.

What if God calls us into the fire, a fiery furnace to be exact?  Check this out from Daniel 3.

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

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24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

This wasn’t just fire, it was fiery fire of the hottest nature.  Seven times hotter than normal.  Does your life seem like that sometimes?  Just can’t catch your breath or so worn down by the exhaustion.

I was there.  God had even told me, “Holly, you will walk through the fire, but you won’t be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2)

So standing in the fire, with my world crumbling around me, no hope, all lost…  I saw Him.

You see, it’s in walking through the fire that we see the light of His face.

And not only that, but my favorite part of the story of Rack, Shack, and the other guy is that everyone standing outside of the fire, saw Him.  Isn’t that the coolest??  When we are standing in the midst of fiery trials, when God is calling you there and you are trusting Him completely, then those on the outside looking in will see Him.  That gives me courage.

I love that when we are in the center of God’s will, either on a limb or in the fire, we are unbound.  No chains, no fear, just Jesus.

Today, if you are barely hanging on to that limb or you can barely breath for all the fire around you, remember to stop and look for His face.   Walk in courage knowing that your trials are not in vain, others may be seeing His face, as well.

Scaredy-cat, n. a needlessly fearful person.

Life can quickly became just about surviving the day, the next moment.  Uncertainty and fear take over and the heart is held captive, taken slave to what-ifs and how-comes.  It most certainly happened to us when medical retirement hit us in the face, side effects to medications leave my once strong man in bed all day, and baby girl’s kidney refusing to heal.

Fear hits you like a train.  Fear that you aren’t doing enough, fear that someone will die, fear that you will be left abandoned.

Fear, fear, fear.  I lived in a perpetual state of being “needlessly fearful”.

We can spend so much energy being afraid of what cannot harm us when the enemy has already been defeated and we are more than conquerors.  Yet, we live in fear and defeat.

This is where my story begins.  Where fear is defeated and courage, a good courage, takes over.

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My sister-in-law gave me this beautiful bracelet for Christmas. Isaiah 8:13 of the ESV version says it beautifully, “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy.  Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

You need fear only God.

Fear of things or circumstances or what-ifs is a lie from the enemy.  When life began to deal me more than I could handle, my hope was lost and fear had overtaken.  It was all lies.  My last great hope was to allow the Savior to scoop up the damaged pieces of my life and mend them together with His strength.  His strength would be my courage.

So, no more scaredy-cat.  It is time to walk in the strength of the Lord and this good courage that is at every kingdom child’s disposal.

A good courage today is this… “So great is his mercy toward those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:11.

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