Do It Scared

August 31, 2014

My commercial pilot husband tells me that before taxi, pilots sometimes would say: “The only thing keeping us here is fear.” (That’s a joke, travelers!)

Is that true in your life? Is fear the only thing keeping you in a bad situation? Is fear keeping you from doing something you know is right?

How do you do what you need to do even though you are afraid? How do you do it scared?

What not to do

When Moses sent out twelve men to spy out the land, ten reported back that the people were too strong for them and that they could not take the land. They said: “we became like grasshoppers in our own sight” (Numbers 13:33).

The Lord promised to give them the land, but the ten forgot His promise and relied on their own sight, their own judgment.

They allowed their fear to keep them from acting.

What to do

Queen Esther needed to approach the King to save the Jews from destruction. However, going to the King without being summoned was a potential death sentence. Her uncle told her: “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” She determined to approach the King. “I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4: 14, 16).

Queen Esther knew she might be killed. But approaching the king was the right thing to do. So she prepared to do it scared. She, her maidens, and the Jews in Susa fasted for three days. When she approached the king she had on her royal robes.

She managed her fear and acted.

How do you do the right thing even though you are afraid?

Paul said in Macedonia there were “conflicts without, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5). Paul didn’t tell us about his fears, but the Bible tells us a lot about how to keep going.

1) When you know the right thing to do, deliberately choose to do it. Remember, not acting is also a choice. Choose whom you serve (Joshua 24:15, Hebrews 11:25).

2) Remind yourself who God is. God is in control, and He loves you. Fear God, not your circumstances. Look at what you need to do through eyes of faith. “Do not be afraid … remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight . . . ” (Nehemiah 4:14).

3) Remember, God is with you and God is for you. You are not in this alone. Remember your value to God. (For example, Luke 12:28, Philippians 3:20, 2 Timothy 4:18, Hebrews 2:16.) You are a child of the King. Set your hope on Him. You can do it.

4) Determine to act. Determine to trust Him. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You” (Psalm 56:3). “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). We are not in control, but we are deeply loved by the One who is.

5) Change your focus. “Set your mind on things above” (Colossians 3:2). Set your mind on God’s interests (Mark 8:33). Do not focus on “what if.” Don’t focus on outward things (2 Corinthians 10:7). Keep your eyes on God. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Peter became frightened when he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the wind (Matthew 14:30). We can’t directly eliminate fear, but we can substitute fear with faith, thereby driving out the fear.

6) Determine to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you” (1 Chronicles 28:20).

Questions for you:

When do you tend to act (or not act) out of fear rather than faith?

When have you determined to act, even though you were scared?

What advice do you have for others?

Oh, Grow Up!

August 24, 2014

Oh, grow up!

Have you ever had that said to you?

Probably.

In a nice tone of voice?

Probably not.

But God says it nicely. Paul said it nicely. Peter said it nicely.

“We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

“Long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).

We are to grow up into our salvation.

We have already been given every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

We have already been given everything pertaining to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)

Our potential is glorious.

We’re like little puppies with huge feet. Like a young boy with huge feet and hands. Like an acorn that can grow up to be a huge oak tree.

We just need to grow up into our potential.

And even better, God is helping us grow up and He will continue helping us until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6; 2:13)

This is so very encouraging to me.

I didn’t have a good day yesterday. And I didn’t handle it well. I made several wrong turns getting to a place I’d been before. I went to two gas stations that had mal-functioning pumps. And my low fuel light was on. Traffic was awful. I wanted to get home. (I wonder if this has anything to do with my need to grow in patience! See I Want it Now! ) But I learned from it. Before I got out of bed this morning I told my Father I was determined to keep Him in mind and view every thing coming at me this day as His appointment. I am determined to cooperate in His “strength-training” program. I am determined to grow up.

What is happening with you? Are you conscious God is helping you grow up? How’s it going?

I want it NOW!

August 18, 2014

“O Lord, please give me patience.

And give it to me right now!”

This would be funnier if I hadn’t actually done that.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. As we grow as Christians, we grow in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

So … being impatient about not being patient is being impatient about not being mature.

We are born into the Christian life as babies. God then works throughout our lifetime to mature us. He works in us to want to do His will and He works in us to actually do His will (Philippians 2:13).

It’s a process. And not all of it is fun.

Impatience is a sign of immaturity. It goes along with irritation, grumbling, and self-pity. At the core, impatience is impatience with God. (And that is not good!)

When we’re impatient, we’re saying to God: “I don’t like Your schedule! Step on it!”

Or: “I don’t like where You put me. Put me over there, NOW!”

Looking further underneath, impatience is:

Believing we know better than God;

Not believing He is in control;

Not believing He loves us;

Wanting our own way and not His, which is rebellion.

And I started out thinking impatience was not this awful.

Here are the steps I am going to take:

I am going to work at recognizing, as quickly as possible, when I am impatient.

I am going to remind myself that He is in control over the situation and its timing. Whatever is making us impatient is part of His plan for us in our growth and in our service to Him.

 I am going to remind myself that He loves me.

 I am going to remind myself that He is working to make me into the image of His Son.

 I am going to remind myself that I am His servant, that I owe Him my life.

Lord, I want to learn to be patient. Please help.

P.S. And then I went to the grocery store … it was packed. I was in a hurry. I did – finally – think of the steps I determined to take when I became impatient. Finally! I am still learning!

Why, God? Why?

August 11, 2014

Q. Why, God? Why?

A. [silence]

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Nazi concentration camps, wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. He said those who survived had to have a future goal, an aim, a purpose. “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

But Christians are told not only to endure trials and suffering, but to patiently endure. We are to rejoice in our trials. We are to give thanks in everything.

And all that without (usually) being given a specific reason why.

Moses asked “Why?” “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight … So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once … (Numbers 11:11, 15).

The Lord’s didn’t answer “Why?” But the Lord came down and spoke with Moses. And He put His Spirit on 70 elders to share the burden.

Over and over, Job asked “Why?’ The Lord never answered the question. But He did show Job He is the sovereign creator; that He is God, and that Job is not.

It is unlikely the Lord will answer our “Why?” questions, either.

The Bible does tell us a lot about why, however.

God reasons: “that you may know that I am the LORD;” “for My name’s sake;” to keep His oaths, His promises, His covenant; to fulfill the Scriptures.

Human reasons: to prepare us “for an eternal weight of glory;” “so that we grow up into Christ;” “so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you;” because of “His own purpose and grace;” to increase our endurance, which builds character, which results in hope.

Fundamentally, though, we must remember His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable.

He is God. We are not.

We must remember that He is sovereign. He is in control. He loves us. God is good.

We must trust Him.

He is unlikely to answer “Why?” So let’s ask other questions. What am I to learn from this? What do You want me to do? How can I honor You through this hard time? Who do You want me to talk to about this? About You?

Let’s ask Him questions He will answer.

Questions for you:

When have you asked “Why?”

Did you get an answer?

What might have been the answers to “What…?” or “How….?”

Our God-Given Work

August 3, 2014

What are you going to do today? Is your God-given work on your list?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

 1. God prepared good works for us to do,

 AND

 2. God prepared us to do those good works.

Isn’t that cool?

We all have work of various sorts: school-driven, children-driven, employer-driven.

All is to be done for the glory of God. Every role, as student, as parent, as employee, as employer, is a ministry. In every role we have opportunities to demonstrate our faith and love for the Lord.

Sometimes the Lord will give us specific areas of focus or people to help. When I was working, I sensed that He wanted me to approach much of my work with the idea of developing others.

In addition, every child of God has work God assigned.* It can be anything, from talking with a stranger at the store, to encouraging a fellow-believer, to relocating to the end of the world for ministry. It can be something to plan. It can be an unexpected opportunity.

We must stay alert.

Now that I am retired, I especially welcome knowing God has work for me to do. People can shrivel up in retirement if they don’t have something meaningful to do. Those who enter retirement planning to devote their days to golf or bridge, for example, often do not do well long-term.

But I know, and you can know, that God has prepared work for us. He has a purpose for me. He has a purpose for you. No matter where you are in life, God has work for you.

What is my “to do” list today?

I am to strive to know Him better, stay connected with Him, help others know Him, and urge them on. More specifically, today I think I am to write about some of the things He has shown me that might be useful to others.

What do you think you should be doing today to walk in God’s good works?

*There is a crucial first step. To people in a society oriented to righteousness based on works, Jesus told them the work of God was to “believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). That is, salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. (See Becoming a Child of God.)

The Last Knock

July 28, 2014

“Christ gives last knocks.”*

He says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20).

That verse is often used in evangelism. In context, though, it was Christ’s message to a lukewarm church. Because they were lukewarm, “I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:16).

Have you sensed that the Lord wants you to do something? Pray for someone? Tell someone about the Lord? Confess something? Forgive someone? Is He knocking at your door?

At some point, there is the last knock. What if today was Christ’s last knock for you?

“Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…’” (Heb 3:7-8).

Three times in twenty verses the author of Hebrews says: “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

TODAY!

Are you responding to His voice? Or ignoring it? Have you not yet done what you know He wants you to do?

Act on it today. Today might be the last knock.

We must make sure we are not lukewarm Christians. Are you zealous? Do you have a sense of urgency? Are you focused on keeping His word? Are you pressing on to become more like Christ?

Are you listening?

Am I listening?

Is He knocking at your door?

—-

* “I remember M’Cheyne says, ‘Christ gives last knocks.’ That is a very sorrowful thought. He knocks at the door, but there is such a thing as a last knock, and there are those who will get their last knock before long. He will never knock again. May God give us their souls this day!” Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life. Compiled and edited by Robert Hall. Emerald Books. 1993.

Why did Lazarus Die?

July 23, 2014

Hard times come for each of us.

We have a choice how to interpret those difficulties and we have a choice how to respond.

If we can see God’s love behind, through and in front of the event, we are much more apt to respond in a way that honors Him.

If we can see a purpose in the pain, we can overcome.

We act and speak out of the heart, so we need to get our hearts right.

The role of Jesus’ love in Lazarus’ death hit me recently (John 11:5-6).

When Jesus heard Lazarus was ill, He stayed where He was two more days. He stayed where He was until Lazarus died.

When Jesus arrived, both Martha and Mary told Him they knew if He had been there, Lazarus would not have died.

But Jesus wasn’t there and Lazarus died.

Martha and Mary were plunged into grief.

And why did Jesus not go to them until after Lazarus’ death?

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So … He then stayed two days longer …” (John 11:5-6).

Because Jesus loved them, He deliberately stayed away until after Lazarus had died.

Because Jesus loved them, Lazarus died.

Because Jesus loved them, they saw Jesus bring Lazarus back to life.

Because Jesus loved them, He proved He was the resurrection and the life.

Because Jesus loved them, this hard time came. It was for their sakes.

The purpose of the pain was for the glory of God:

– so that the Son of God may be glorified (v 4)

– so that the disciples might believe (v. 15)

– so that they (the people standing around) may believe that You sent Me (v. 42).

If you are a Christian, there is a God-given “so that” in your pain.There is a purpose in your pain. God’s love is behind your hard time. . Because Jesus loves you, you are going through something. Not in spite of Jesus, but because of Jesus.

You may be in the middle of something hard. Consider why the Lord’s love for you may be behind it.

Think through the benefits of Lazarus’ death. Which of those apply to your situation? What other benefits have you seen? What other benefits seem likely?

Remember that God brings good out of everything for His children (for those who love God and are called according to His purpose). He is conforming us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:28-29)

Choose to believe God loves you before, during, and after your trial.

Choose to believe God is bringing good out of your tragedy.

Choose to believe this trial is helping you grow.

Where is your heart? Can you reinterpret your hard time to see God’s love in it?

Please share how God revealed Himself to you in one of your hard times.

Do you know the secret of Christian growth?

July 21, 2014

The secret of life is “One thing. Just one thing … stick to that and everything else don’t mean s—.”

That’s Curly’s advice to Mitch in the movie City Slickers. But Curly told Mitch he had to figure out the one thing himself.

Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about the secret of life. For those outside of Christ, the One Thing is to answer correctly Jesus’ question: “Who do you think I am?”

Christians also need to identify and pursue the One Thing in order to grow. Here are some clues:

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30)

“Hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).”

First. All. Hunger. Thirst.

Consistently.

I certainly don’t meet those, especially consistently. I doubt you think you do.

We have good company though: Paul said he hadn’t arrived either.

Paul said the one thing he did was “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Paul was pressing on to become more like Christ.

Christian growth means we must: Press on. Zealously pursue. Be relentless. Be energetic. Strenuously strive. Strain forward.

Concentrate on becoming more Christlike. Keep Him top of mind.

Short words. Difficult task.

I want pressing on to be more like Christ to be my one thing also. Some days it is.

God is making us into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He uses a lot of different people and circumstances and events as His tools to make us more like Christ. That is His work.

But we cannot be passive in this. We have responsibilities. We have a race to run.

And we cannot do it alone. We need reminders. We need help. We need one another.

Please share what you have learned so we can press on together.

What are your keys to:

Consistently put the Lord first?

Keep on pressing on?

Christian growth?

How can you help others towards Christlikeness?

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

June 21, 2014

Are you satisfied where you are in your Christian walk? Me neither.

We have good company: Paul wasn’t satisfied either.

Paul says he forgot what was behind and pressed forward to what was ahead (Philippians 3:14). That is what we need to do also.

This website is dedicated to pressing on: finding hope ahead, forgetting past sins and victories, overcoming barriers, handling trials, learning how. And moving forward together.

My hope is that we can help each other energetically pursue Christlikeness. I hope we can challenge ourselves and each other. I hope we can learn from each other. I hope this site will become a conversation rather than a one-way talk. I don’t want to be on a soapbox; I want to be part of a dedicated group of Christians pressing on.

Let’s go!

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When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?

When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? helps Christians not fear bad news, shows them how to handle current trouble, and helps them emerge stronger on the other side.

If when storms come will you be ready.

About me

I'm a Christian, wife, retiree, and author.
I love studying and putting knowledge into action. I'll share what I'm learning, encourage you, and urge all of us to press on to become more like Christ.

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