How to Overcome Fear (Part 3 of 23rd Psalm)

We have the prettiest country drive to church. On the way, we pass by a sweet, quaint little church with sheep grazing in front of the church. I love looking at sheep, but studying sheep is what I should do. Why?

The Bible compares us to sheep.

  1. Sheep are not very wise.
  2. No domesticated animal is as helpless as the sheep. The sheep are so unwise, they don’t even realize they are helpless.
  3. Sheep are fearful.
  • We can learn much about ourselves from studying sheep.
  • We can learn much about how tenderly the Lord cares about us from studying the Shepherd.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Psalm 23:2a

The shepherd works hard for his beloved sheep, so they will have a green pasture for nourishment and rest. The shepherd clears the rough, rocky soil, tears out bushes, roots and stumps. He plows the soil, seeds it, and irrigates the pasture so the sheep will have a green pasture.

The Good Shepherd does this same thing for us.

  • The Good Shepherd provides rest in His presence if we will only keep our eyes on Him.
  • The Good Shepherd provides us nourishment when we look into His Word.
  • The Good Shepherd provides for our needs as we pray in dependence on Him.

He does not promise a life of luxury, but He will always provide the pasture needed for the moment. The Shepherd lays himself down as the door to the sheepfold. ‘Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:27

Did you know that sheep have the character trait of refusing to lie down unless they are 100% free of fear?

I have a hard time being at peace when I worry and when I am in fear. I cannot get the rest I need either. I cannot properly do the good works the Lord has planned for me if I worry. Why? Worry means divided mind. Fear can shut me down for the day. Worry drains us and drags us down.

In the flock of sheep, there is much tension. Let us see if we can relate to these sheep.

  1. One cause of tension is the problems in the world such as the wolf wolf~which devours the wondering sheep.  Sheep think they will do fine on their own. The good shepherd desires to protect the sheep. What worldly thing is devouring our thoughts? If we know how to worry, we know how to meditate on God’s Word. Rehash His Word instead of rehashing fearful thoughts.
  2. The sheep can become irritated from bugs. They stomp their feet and shake their heads when it comes to flies. The good shepherd soothes the sheep by applying ointment on them to keep the irritants away. What irritates us? What makes us impatient? Have we taken it to the Good Shepherd and told him all about it?
  3. There is friction among the sheep as they compete with others for the best grazing land. There are sheep that want to be “top sheep” and they have a “butting order.” The jealous irritable sheep, which is usually the older female sheep called ewes, will look over at other sheep resting. The
    Bighorn sheep
    Bighorn sheep

    ornery ewes cause problems by running over to butt the different sheep. They want what the other sheep have. Sometimes a terrible fight will break out if the other sheep stand up to the ornery sheep. Shepherds say that the less aggressive sheep thrive the best, because they are the most contented. They are peaceful sheep. Is that a lesson for you and me? The sheep that did not feel the need to defend often avoided the conflicts that others experienced. They avoided the injury of being butted too. The good shepherd intervenes in the conflict to stop it. Are we jealous of what someone else possesses?  How do we handle differences of opinions? Do we stand up for our rights in an appropriate way? God blesses the humble sheep. God blesses the contented sheep. When we are grumpy, we run the risk of hurting others, especially family. Am I a  peacemaker? “And be at peace among yourselves.” 1Thes.5:13 The way to overcome jealousy is to be happy for those whom we have tended to envy.
    “Blessed (happy) are the peacemakers…” Matthew 5:9

  4. Sheep are fearful of the unknown. Sheep worry. Sheep get fearful of rabbitshadows and even a little rabbit hopping by. Are we fearful of the unknown future or of a situation? What do you fear right now? Usually, the things I worried about never came true, but were little rabbits and a waste of time and energy. Worrying about the future robs me of the strength I need today.  Worrying for the future robs me of today’s joy I could have had. We must put our fears on the Shepherd’s shoulders and trust Him to take care of us. He will.

Overcoming fear~ To be continued in the next post~

4 Reasons Why Bad Things Happen To People

Why do bad things happen to people? Why do bad things happen to innocent children, Christians and law-abiding citizens? What does God say in His Word?

The Bible teaches that bad things happen to both bad people and innocent people, just as it it rains on both non-Christians and Christians.

God says bad things happen to everyone. “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45   Also, good things happen to both the just and the unjust, so let us not be surprised when the bad guy seems to be prospering.  Payday will come to the bad guy someday. 

bad things happenWhen something bad happens to you, dear Christian, KNOW these two truths:

  1.  God loves you all the time. God cares about you. God is concerned about you.
  2.  God is good all the time. God is good when something bad happens in your life.

 

In fact, it would be wise to memorize these two truths before something bad happens. God loves me and God is good all the time!

4 Reasons why bad things happen to people:

  1. Consequences of people’s actions. God gives everyone a free will. (Genesis 2:16,17-From the beginning, man was given free will from God to choose right or wrong.)
  2. Satan attacks people. (I Peter 5:8)
  3. a. God tests His children. (Deuteronomy 8:2)    b. We suffer for God’s glory.  (I Peter 4:19)  c. If we backslide, like a loving Father, God chastens His children to get them back on the right track. (Hebrews 12:6-11)
  4. Mystery: Things just go wrong, and we don’t know why.

Why Does God let bad things happen to good peopleWhen Christians suffer:

  • We must not blame God when something evil happens (such as murder). God is never behind sinful actions.  God gave free will to everyone and did not make anyone a robot. I am thankful God gave us all a free will, but sad that some misuse that free will to do evil. God cannot sin and is never behind evil actions. God is also not to be blamed for accidents, such as a car accident.
  • We must never harshly judge another when something bad happens in their life. We don’t want to be like Job’s friends, who wrongly judged him with harshness. The Bible teaches Job was not at fault in the least when he faced sufferings, but his friends put the blame on him. In reality, Satan attacked Job. God is never pleased with harsh judging of others.

When Satan attacks, his purpose is to discourage the Christian, so the Christian will quit on God. Resist Satan by standing firm in Christ while weathering the storm. (Read: I Peter 5:8-10) Job never quit on God.

When evil happens to someone, let us not say, “It was God’s will,” because evil is never God’s will. God may take the consequences of a bad situation where sin or an accident was involved, and miraculously turn it around for good, but God is never behind sinful or wrong actions. Remember, people have free will.

  • I just finished a study on Ruth. Naomi and her husband made a bad decision to move to a worldly city, but God eventually turned the consequences of that bad decision for good. (Ruth 4:13-22)
  • God was not behind the evil decision of Joseph’s brothers selling him Joseph soldinto slavery, but God took the consequences of that sinful action and turned it into good. (Genesis 45)

Sometimes, we may suffer as a consequence of our own wrong action. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption…” (Galatians 6:8)

God will let us know if this is the case. We need to confess, repent and get right with God. We may still have to live with the consequences of our actions, but let us get right with God. God can then miraculously turn our messes into successes.

Another reason we suffer at times is so God will be glorified.  The disciples judged that sin was the reason that the man was blind. The disciples asked Jesus, “who sinned?” Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  John 9:3,4

God lovingly tests our faith through suffering, so we will be stronger. I don’t like problems in life, but God knows they will make me stronger and better.  God is shaping our faith to better use us for His good purpose.  “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good peopleLet us never use our suffering to give up on God.  Most of us want to run from suffering, to get out of suffering, to relieve suffering, to numb suffering, to reduce suffering, but do we want to be good at suffering?

Let us not waste our suffering.

How do we suffer well? In this life, expect suffering. When suffering comes, embrace suffering by allowing the Lord to walk with you through it.

Some of the greatest people in history are great because of suffering well. In the midst of suffering, others are watching, and that is when our Light can shine the brightest.

  • Your Spirit never leaves me even when I’m hurting.Bad things happen to good people
  • I don’t have to bear that burden on my own.
  • You carried all the pain and buried all the shame when you made that rugged tree your righteous throne.
  • Because of You, I will never walk alone.

Lyrics by Bryan Free

Forgiving Is The Most Christ-like Thing We Can Do (Part 2)

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:22-32

Walk the high road.
Walk the high road

We walk the high road intended by Jesus Christ when we forgive. Nature is unforgiving. We descend to the level of animals when we do not forgive.

When we trusted Jesus to save us from our sins, we gained Resurrection Power within to forgive! That same Power that raised Jesus from death to life resides within you and me. We receive grace from God to forgive when we ask Him.  Tap into the Source of forgiveness and get the strength needed to press on toward the goal God has for you. He has wonderful plans for you!

  • Pray for the individual who hurt you. This is so key in forgiving others…yes, I have personally done this. Prayer heals wounds.
  • If possible, make contact and let the person who did the offending know they are forgiven. Yes, I have personally done this too and received healing. Forgiveness does not excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying us.
  • Humbly seek forgiveness with those the Lord brings to mind. Even if the person you contact will not forgive you, be at peace. We cannot force people to forgive us. By seeking forgiveness, we have done what is right and pleasing to the Lord.

When making contact, be prepared to let go of all expectations of that person. The person who did the offending may not say, “I was wrong”, or “I am sorry.”

I am grateful for most of my school teachers, because they were good teachers. But, I had a verbally abusive junior high public school teacher. This teacher seemed to enjoy humiliating me in front of the class. She would tell the class how stupid I was, how I should not have won a math award, nor been in the honor society or chosen to be the principle’s helper. She called me some non-flattering names. This teacher would also whack the blackboard or my desk with her yardstick barely missing my face. As a result, I remember being physically ill often that year.

One day, this teacher ranted at me and called me stupid for the last time. It happened right before a test. I had studied hard for the test and she said I could not take the test and was getting a failure grade. I ended up walking out of the class. My Dad and the principal eventually came to my rescue. Yay for my Dad!

When I told my children this story, they wanted to see the teacher’s picture. I got out my Junior High yearbook and turned to the picture of my former abusive teacher. Someone had penned in a mustache and googly eyes on the teacher’s photo…now who could have done that?

classroomAfter I was saved at age twenty, I decided to call this teacher. Of course, she remembered me! She was almost fired as a result of her ill treatment of me. She was able to keep her job by promising to never treat another student badly again.

I picked up the phone, but I started shaking all over when I first heard her voice say, “Hello.” I shuddered, feeling like I was that fearful Junior High school child again, but quickly asked God for strength. He gave me courage. My reasons for calling my abusive teacher were:

  • I wanted to know why she was abusive to me.
  • I needed healing.
  • I wanted to tell her I forgave her.
  • I wanted to share the plan of salvation with her.

My former teacher basically told me she did not like shy children in her class. I calmly relived some of her past abuse, explaining how it was wrong, and I let her know that her thinking was faulty.

My former teacher laughed. Yes, she did. It was during her laughter that my hurt turned to mercy for this teacher.  I realized she was a miserable person and took it out on shy defenseless children.

I said, “I forgive you.” I gave her the plan of salvation by sharing my testimony sunflowerswith her. Then I said again, “Because Jesus forgave me, I forgive you.”

Children grow up, and it was healing for me to have a good calm adult-to-adult phone conversation with my former abusive teacher. Hopefully, my forgiveness of this teacher was a healing time for her too.

The way people treat us is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about us.  Let us teach our children this truth.

Now, some of you reading this post have gone through much worse than having a verbally abusive teacher.  I know people who have gone through nightmares and came through victorious in Christ, and others have not gone through so much, yet quit on God. The ones who came through victorious are such a tremendous encouragement to me to finish well and trust God through it all. God will give each of us the strength to forgive. Grace is desire plus power God gives us to do His will. Forgiving is the will of God.

If we know we need to seek forgiveness, let us make contact with the person we offended and tell them:

  • “I was wrong for ___________.”
  • “Will you forgive me?”

I have humbly made contact and sought forgiveness to all those whom the Lord has brought to mind over the years. I even made contact with someone I knew while I was in elementary school. I received such kindness after I told her that I was wrong and asked for forgiveness. She replied,  “It’s alright. Kids will be kids.” We had the best conversation.

Seeking forgiveness has been very healing for me. I believe it was healing for those I contacted. Even if we may feel the other person was 90% wrong, we should seek forgiveness for our 10%.

At the end of the day, a relative of mine will ask this question to those in his household, “Have I offended anyone? Do I need to seek forgiveness?” How Christ-like is that!

My prayer for each of us:

Lord, I seek healing love, power, strength and grace from You to forgive those who have hurt me. Instead of choosing the low road, from this day forward, I choose to walk the high road of forgiveness. Help me to take the necessary steps to seek forgiveness from those I have offended. Forgiveness is Christ-like and I desire to put on the mind of Christ. I am so thankful to You for writing my name in the Lambs Book of Life.  When my sin nailed You to the cross, You erased my guilt with All is Forgiven!  I praise You, my Saviour. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Dear Reader, Are you burdened with an unforgiving heart? Do you struggle with Easter lily~crossguilt? I have been there and it is miserable! Please let me know if you would like for me to intercede for you. God wants you to experience an abundant life of joy! Choose life! Choose joy!

For extra reading about forgiveness, see my post “Exchange Bitterness for Kindness and Forgiveness.

Loving People
Austen, watching out for little sis, Brianna.

Yesterday, four-year old Austen was asked, “What is your favorite thing in all the world to do?”

Austen: “Loving People!”

Adults can learn so much from children!

 

Forgiving is the Most Christ-like Thing We Can Do (Part 1)

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:22-32 I am currently memorizing these powerful verses. Would you like to join me?

Is your biggest struggle in life, “forgiving others?” Having an unforgiving heart can turn the best of people into the most miserable of people.

Sunday, in Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF), the teacher spoke on forgiveness.  I will share the lesson, because I thought it was super good.

Paco's FatherIn a short story, Ernest Hemingway writes about a Spanish father who wanted to be reconciled with his runaway son. The despairing father searched all over Spain to no avail. He then placed an advertisement in the local newspaper.

“Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”

But, Paco is a very common name in Spain, and when the father went to the hotel the next day, there were eight hundred young men named Paco waiting for their forgiving fathers!

How desperate we are to be forgiven!  People hunger for reconciliation! Inside of us is guilt, pain and sorrow. We need forgiveness to free us from guilt. Forgiveness entered the world through the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Forgiven
Forgiven!

I was gloriously saved during the Easter season. On April 6, 1975, I trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour! My Father said to me, “Linda, All is forgiven!” Forgiveness is such peace! I have resurrection life inside of me. The Holy Spirit gives me resurrection power to forgive others.

It is sometimes hard for Christians to forgive those who have betrayed them, spoken harsh words, ravished their reputation in public, or abused them.

It is extremely difficult to forgive when we take on an offense for others. How many wives have taken on an offense for their husband or children? I can certainly raise my hand on that one.

I went through an awful time of bitterness for taking on an offense for a loved one.  My loved one came through it with flying colors. It took me one year to completely forgive. That was the most miserable year of my life.  One day, I prayed for my enemies and sent them a gift with a note of kindness attached letting them know all was forgiven. At that moment, instead of bitterness, I had compassion and mercy for my enemies.

Reminder to myself: No one has ever crucified me, but I crucified Jesus. He forgave me, so I should forgive others. (Ephesians 4:32)

How we forgive has much to do with how we deal with anger.

Marriage and anger: This is what some people say about their marriages:

  • We don’t get mad, we get even. (Getting even is never right)
  • We explode and then kiss and make-up. (Explosions leave a mess)
  • We just suppress it and keep it to ourselves. (Suppressing never helps)

None of these methods of dealing with anger works.

Anger When we get angry, sin, and go to bed with sinful wrath, we give place to the devil.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26,27

What is the foothold in your life? Hurtful words? Someone slandering you, your husband or your children? Public humiliation? Abuse? False accusations? I agree that these footholds are some of the hardest things to overcome, but with God all things are possible. He will give the needed grace to forgive.

It grieves the Holy Spirit when we don’t forgive. Why?

  • We have within us Resurrection Power to forgive.
  • Jesus forgave us, so we should forgive others.
  • God has planned good works for us to do, and we will not accomplish them if we don’t forgive.
  • We hurt our testimony, the body of Christ, and our witness.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30,31,32,

forgiveNature is unforgiving. We descend to the level of animals when we don’t forgive.

We walk the high road, intended by the Lord, when we forgive. Forgiving others is the most Christ-like thing we can do.

To be continued in next post~

I Am Praying for Each of You

Four times in Scripture, Paul says that he makes mention of the Christians in his prayers. I wondered if Paul prayed for the many individual believers by name. After reading the following Scriptures, what do you think?

  1. Romans 1:9  “…without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.”
  2. Ephesians  1:16,17 “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom…”
  3. Philippians 1:3,4,6 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
  4. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.

Today, I decided to pray for each of you, who are on my “heavenboundhomemaker” flowersfacebook page, by name on a regular basis. I can sometimes put a face with the name as I look at your photo.

I love how Paul prayed for the Christians to have a spirit of wisdom and for the good work the Lord had begun in them to continue.  I pray the same for each of you, and for your children to grow up to love the Lord with all their hearts.

In my Quiet Time today, I read Matthew 7: 11,12. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Right after the Prayer Scripture, God says, “Therefore.” Whenever the Lord says therefore, we are to ask, “What is it there for?” After His lesson on prayer, God then says for each Christian to do unto others what they would want others to do unto them. This is considered the “golden rule” and is tied in with prayer.

We all need to decide how we want to be treated and then treat others this way. My list goes something like this:

  1. Pray for me.praying
  2. Seek to understand me.
  3. Don’t judge me harshly.
  4. Appreciate me.
  5. Don’t gossip about me.
  6. Forgive me.
  7. Care about me.
  8. Encourage me.

I want to treat others this way too, so I go through the list again and change the word, “me” to “you.”  What a different perspective.

#1. I pray for you.

Dear friends, I am praying for each of you individually, by name, making I am praying for youmention of you to the Lord. If you would like for me to pray more specifically for you and your family, please send prayer requests privately to my facebook inbox, “heavenboundhomemaker” ….We are living in desperate times, and I believe the desperate measure is fervent prayer.

Since I wrote this post, I have already lifted up all 222 friends on facebook with a request to our Lord to meet the needs in your family, to give you each a spirit of wisdom and for your children to grow up to be mighty in the Lord, loving Him with all their strength. I love my new prayer ministry, and it helps me to feel better connected with each of you.

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” (Martin Luther)

If Martin Luther could take 3 hours each morning to pray, I can take the time to intercede for my faithful facebook friends, and regularly pray for each of you by name. Please private message me for more specific prayer requests and or praises.  I will immediately stop to fervently pray for you…as soon as I see the requests.

Remember, God loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) Today, let butterfly flowerus be attentive to God’s hugs sent our way! And, let us not forget to tell Him, “Thank You!”

P.S.  I just realized there are many, who have subscribed to getting my posts via e-mail, who are not on the heavenboundhomemaker facebook page, so I am praying personally for each subscriber and their household on a regular basis also.I am excited about this prayer ministry.

Heavenboundhomemaker facebook friends and subscriber friends, please drop me a line anytime letting me know how to pray for you, and any praises, because I am praying God will work mightily in each of your lives. Every time I have seen a major breakthrough in my life, in the lives of my family members, and in the lives of other believers, it has been because of prayer.