Storm Warning: Where Will You Run?

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Here is what I am commanding you to do.  Be strong and brave.  Do not be afraid.  Do not lose hope.  I am the Lord your God.  I will be with you everywhere you go. Joshua 1:9 NIRV

When I was a child I was absolutely afraid of thunderstorms.  I remember many nights waking with a start, trying to convince myself it would be all right.  The only thing I needed to do was shut my eyes and go back to sleep, but to no avail.

As soon as my eyes were closed, the lightning would flash and the thunder rolled and my heart would be in my throat.  I would quickly pad down the hall to my parents’ room, knowing I would be safe there…

This is a portion of an article that I have featured on Encouragement Café  and Crosswalk today. I would love for you to read and then come back and share your thoughts and something you are thankful for in the comment section.

If you read my devotion on Encouragement Café or Crosswalk and are here for the first time, Welcome. Feel free to look at the “About Me” page to learn more about me and then share something about yourself in the comment section. I would love to get to know my readers better.

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Tucked In, Safe and Secure

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“You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

 I remember loving when my parents would tuck me in at night. They would come in, read me a story, pray, give me kiss and pull the covers up around me. I know it was only a gesture, but I felt safe, secure and loved.

This wasn’t thrown aside when I grew; it just changed vehicles, as I am the parent tucking in my own children. Today, I am able to see the same thing with my kids. It offers them a sense of peace and protection that drives away the fears that creep in as the night draws close.

Dear friend, do not worry that your chance for this peace and protection vanished with age. You see, you and I have this same kind of protection from our Heavenly Father. He promises us in Psalm 139:5 to go before us and behind. God is granting us protection from all sides. It is like a wall around us. The Lord graciously surrounds those who trust in Him with His unfailing love (Psalm 32:10).

However, it does not stop there. It goes on to say in Psalm 139 that God lays His hand upon us. Think of it this way, if you have your hand on someone’s back or even holding his or her hand, you move then he or she does, right? Well, that’s what this portion of the verse means. God is beside us every step of the way. This should bring such peace and comfort to you today.

Just like a small child dressed in flannel pajamas sliding into bed awaiting the reassurance of safety and protection from her parents at bedtime, you can be certain that God – who never sleeps or slumbers – is watching over and protecting you. Put aside those doubts, fears and insecurities because your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.

Like Jesus when tempted in the desert, we need our security based solely on our identity in Christ – who God says we are.

He says we are:

This is just scratching the surface of what God says and feels about you, His treasured creation. Nothing can keep you from the depths of God’s love.

I know it is easy to fall victim to the lies and negative chatter in your head, but you must pause and evaluate what is true and what is a lie. If this is difficult to grasp to begin with I encourage you to write out these pieces of your true identity in Christ and carry them with you on note cards or put on post-it notes on your mirror or computer. Keep those visual reminders until your true identity is so engrained in you that it is shining out to those around you.

So, dear friend, lay down those burdens and worries, God will take care of it all. No matter what the enemy may tell you, never doubt God’s love and protection for you.

Loosening the Grip of Fear

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As a mother of five kids, I have heard the phrase, “I’m afraid of____” numerous times.  This phrase is not just limited to children.  I would venture to say that even as adults, we have said or at least thought it from time to time.  However, as adults, those fears have changed.  We are no longer afraid of the dark, bugs or the monster that is hiding underneath the bed; instead we are afraid of failure, what others might think or our lack of knowledge.  Just like I want to calm the fears in my children, God longs to calm our fears.  In fact, the phrase “fear not” is stated in the Bible 366 times, that is one for every day of the year and an extra one for those really tough days.  God continually reminds us not to fear because we were not created to live in fear — “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).  We cannot let our fears control our lives and hold us back from our God-given purpose…

This is a portion of an article that I have featured on Encouragement Café today. I would love for you to read and then come back and share your thoughts in the comment section.

Palms Up

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Numerous times in the Bible we are instructed to “lift our hands” to God. Have you tried doing this with clinched fists? Let me ask you a different question, how effective can you lift up anything if your hands are not open? Try this with me, I want you to make a fist with each hand, now pick up a piece of paper, not using your fingers, just your fists, and lift it up. Now, try the exact same activity with your hands open. Which way is easier? Without a doubt, the second way is much more effective.

The very same principle can be applied to our relationship with God. What is holding you back from growing closer to God? In other words, what are you holding on to so tightly that your hands are not open to what God has for you? For me, my fears and insecurities have kept me from fully surrendered to God.

When I was younger, we were given coins for milk money at school.  I held tightly to those coins the entire bus ride.  I did not want to take the chance of losing them.  My hand would begin to cramp and hurt, but I would not let lose of those coins until I was safely at school.  When I did release the coins to the school secretary, the imprints still lingered.  It does not really matter what the object is, heavy or light, the result is the same – it is tiring. The same is true in our lives when we try to hold on to our fears, insecurities or personal agendas.  By holding on to these things, not only is it tiring, but it also is keeping us from reaching those dreams that God has for each of us. In order to accomplish this, we must not only let go of our own plans, but also step out of that comfort zone.

Fear usually is the obstacle that stands in our way. We are limited in our focus because we do not see the big picture. We must remember, “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). God’s love for us far outweighs our fear. Do not fall into the trap of letting fear rule your life. You will miss out on what God has for you.

Dear friend, God has a purpose and a plan for your life. More than that, He longs to pour out His blesses upon you. However, you and I will not be able to receive these blessings if our hands are tightly clinching the past, fears, or our own plans. We must open our hands and lay everything we have been holding onto at God’s feet. Then with our palms lifted up to Him, we are ready to say Yes to His leading. When we make that decision and step out in faith, the blessings will flow in and through our lives.

Don’t let anything hold you back from a deeper relationship with God. Lift your palms up to God today and Say Yes.