No Fear

I’ve never stared down a Grizzly Bear waiting to charge.  I’ve never taken shelter from a Category 5 hurricane.  I’ve never personally experienced a war, or a host of other very fearful events that some people I know have gone through.  I am thankful that so far in my life I have not had to deal with any of those things, but I will admit that there have been many times when I was fearful.

I was terribly afraid when my father had open-heart surgery.  I was only a teenager and I feared for my father’s life.  I was frightened when my youngest child took a deep breath moments after she was born and her lung collapsed.  It was like time stood still until the doctor said she was okay.  I was terrified when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Not a day went by during treatment that I wasn’t in some way dreading the surgeries and chemo and the possibility of losing the battle with cancer.  To a lesser degree, my kids will attest to the fact that I am a constant worrier for their safety and well-being.  I don’t rest easy until I’ve heard from them, especially when they’ve been traveling any distance, even if it is just ten minutes across town.  I tell them, “Mama worries.”  They roll their eyes and say, “No kidding!”

One of the scariest moments of my life was just before I said, “Yes!” to Jesus.  That may sound strange, but I’m being honest.  I knew I needed Him, but I also knew I was totally unworthy of the Love only He could offer to me.  I had done it my way for so long and I had come to realize that it was getting me nowhere.  I was lost and I needed a Saviour!

I felt like I was getting ready to plunge off a cliff into some mysterious unknown if I didn’t do something drastic and I was absolutely terrified.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to let go of my life even if it was destructive.  I’d been wallowing in the mud so long, I was now pretty comfortable there.  My then boyfriend, Charles, (who would later became my husband), had shared the Gospel with me but I still wasn’t ready to make a commitment.  I also thought I should get myself together first before I started following God because I was convinced He wouldn’t have any use for me as I was.  I had done too many things to be ashamed of.  I just wasn’t good enough for Jesus.  There was this spiritual tug-of-war raging inside of me, an inward battle of wills, mine against the pull of God.  Finally, when I ran out of excuses, I let go of the rope and fell into His Embrace.

Peace.  That was the first thing I felt when I said, “Yes!” to Christ.  I knew Jesus would not love me more or less than He did right then.  I would never be able to work hard enough, or do enough to have Him love me more.  He had completely forgiven me of my past, the Holy Spirit would be my constant companion in my present, and my eternal salvation was secure for my future.  Repenting of my sin, accepting Jesus as God’s only Son, and believing that He died on the Cross and rose again three days later, freed me to live my life without condemnation.  I was, and still am, forgiven.

I am also human.  Fear and worry are very hard to let go of.  When I feel those emotions bubble up inside me, I seek refuge in the comfort of Scripture.  Circumstances in life, like battling cancer, or being in the middle of a raging storm may be scary, but I know God is in control.  No matter what life throws at me, I need not be defeated by fear.  I can rise above it as long as my focus is on Jesus and not on my circumstances.

I’ve compiled a list of 50 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Combat Fear.  If you are experiencing fear and worry in your life right now, draw near to the One Who can calm any storm you might face.  You are not alone.  Accept the Amazing Grace He offers to you.  Remember, Jesus will not love you more or less than He does right now.  He loves you exactly as you are, and exactly where you are.  The exciting thing is, He will not leave you as He first found you!  He has a plan and purpose for your life!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-21

(If you have never said “Yes” to Jesus, read: The Gospel Message – Get it?  Got it?  Good?)  ❤

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Signs of the Apocalypse?

Mexico was struck with a massive 8.1 earthquake this morning.  As I read the report, I also read the comments that readers were posting about it and the other meteorological events around the world.  It is obvious that many believe that we are witnessing sure signs of the Apocalypse, and the return of Christ in the very near future.  Some believe the hurricanes, and fires burning out of control in Canada, and all the other natural disasters this past year are due to climate change.  Even a Hollywood actress, Jennifer Lawrence said that the hurricanes are Mother Nature’s “wrath” for Trump’s presidential victory.  Wow.  I know President Trump gets blamed for just about everything nowadays but this borders on the absurd.

I honestly do not understand what is going on in our world today.  I’m sure many of you feel as I do.  It’s like the world is spinning off-kilter on its axis.  Threat of nuclear war, racial violence, moral upheaval, and now catastrophic weather…it’s got to add up to something doesn’t it?  Apparently someone has even written that the world will end on September 23rd because all the heavenly signs from the total eclipse of the sun last month to a special aligning of planets and a secret code found on pyramids in Egypt claim that a meteor will collide with Earth on that day with apocalyptic results.  Well, just like the last time someone prophesied the world would end on a specific day, I plan on doing my laundry.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m convinced that many of these happenings in the world today may be God’s way of getting our attention.  Scripture tells us that He can use nature for His own purposes.  He could certainly use these signs and wonders to get people to think about their own mortality and to ponder on eternal things.  I know I have been more prayerful, brought to my knees by world events.  I have an urgency to share my faith more openly, and pray even more fervently for my friends, family and neighbours who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I do not have a fear of death, my worry is that my loved ones will be “left behind” and never experience eternal life with Jesus that is promised to all believers.  That’s my hope.  That’s my future.

In the meantime, I watch like millions of others and ask what can I do?  I don’t understand what’s going on in our world today, but I can prepare myself for any eventuality.  I pray for those who are persecuted (Hebrews 13:3), who are in harm’s way, who do not have a voice to speak up for themselves.  I pray for the lost (John 14:6), and for the widows and orphans (1 Timothy 5:3-16).  I pray for peace that surpasses understanding to fall like a healing balm on all peoples who live in fear (Philippians 4:7).  I pray for those who are ill, who are suffering and are scarred by inner and outer wounds inflicted on them by trauma in their past and present (James 5:14).  I pray that God will intervene in all their lives and heal them, and protect them (Isaiah 63:7-9).  I pray people will have the scales removed from their eyes so they can see Jesus (Isaiah 35:5).  I pray for revival (2 Chronicles 7:14).  In the midst of all this upset in the world today, I pray…

…and until I see Jesus face to face, I carry on with my life knowing that God is in control.

Psalm 46 

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

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In Harm’s Way

As yet another catastrophic hurricane smashes into the Caribbean Islands on a trajectory route towards the U.S. Gulf coast once again, I am glued to the news channels.  First Hurricane Harvey and now Irma, followed closely by Jose, threaten to destroy everything in their path.  Having visited Varadero, Cuba twice, I wonder what will be left of that small resort town after Irma blows through.  There are Canadian tourists stranded there, not to mention all the wonderful people who live and work there.  My heart is heavy with worry for them all.

In Houston, the mop-up after Harvey is barely started, and they may need to brace for another wallop from Irma.  If not in Houston, then Florida can expect to take a hit.  I have friends who holiday there, Canadian Snowbirds who escape winters here to head for warmth there.  What will happen to their holiday retreats I wonder?  The economic impact of Harvey will be felt for years and I’m sure Irma’s havoc will be even more costly.

Then of course, there’s the human toll.  Frightened families who have fled or are fleeing the storms, trying to explain to terrified children why they are forced to sleep on cots in evacuation shelters, or that their homes are no longer habitable.  I cannot imagine it.  But, I have seen the resiliency of people, the heroism and bravery of first responders as well as ordinary people who have come to the aid of those who have lost so much.  I will say it again, crisis can bring about the very best in humanity.

I cling to that as I watch Irma’s rampage now.  There are already people gearing up to come to the aid of all those in need once again.  I can’t be there physically, but I can do my small part by sharing with my readers a few links to credible organizations who will act as the comforting hands and feet of Jesus to those who need it.  Please share this post with all your contacts so that they too may give generously of their time and finances to these organizations:

American Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross

Samaritan’s Purse

NAMB (North American Mission Board) Disaster Relief

SBC Disaster Relief

When you have responded financially to the people in need, then join with me to pray for those in harm’s way right now.

Dear Jesus,

I come humbly before You, asking that You calm the storms that are now spinning out-of-control in the Atlantic Ocean right now.  I pray for Your hand of protection on those people who are in harm’s way right now.  Shelter them, comfort them, and lead them to safety.  Lord, those that do not know of You, may they learn of You and experience You by seeing how Your children come to their aid.  May Christians model what it means to be a follower of Christ, even in the darkest of days or in the most tragic of times.  May we all be found faithful to lift one another up in prayer during this time.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

 

 

 

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