Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fear in Review

Church was cancelled this morning.  I set my alarm for 8am, the latest I had slept in for a long time.  When the alarm went off, I reset it for 9am and got back in bed.  I am not sure why I am so tired this morning, but at 9am I easily could have reset it for 10am and went back to bed again.  But, I didn't.  Instead, I put the coffee on and sat on the couch with my Bible stuff. 

I have reached the end of my study of fear, so today I am going to do a recap of the things that stood out to me most from each lesson.  (Clicking on each title will take you to that post).

When I choose to obey and act without fear, God will protect me and I will have a great reward.

People seek silver and gold instead of the One who put the silver and gold in its place.  Instead, seek wisdom by fearing God and forsaking evil.

Abraham and Sarah Part 1 and Part 2:
God keeps His promises regardless of me trying to do it my way and doubting what God said. Don't be afraid to believe God will keep His promises.

Jacob:  (More About Jacob)
Acknowledge fear and talk to God about it.  Struggles and conflict are real - be real with God.
God says, "Don't be afraid.  Here's the plan. I will go with you." Start with the piece of the plan God has given you.

Miriam, Moses, and the Mother:
Stop watching from the sidelines and do what God chose me to do - fear or no fear.

Do what God has chosen me to do despite my fear of not being believed.

The Israelites:
When I see trouble coming: Talk to God, Reach out to a leader, Listen to the leader, Return to God.  Then: Stand still, Watch the Lord rescue me, Trust God to fight for me, Stay calm.

God and the Israelites:
God doesn't want me to be afraid of the storm.  He wants me to have a reverent fear of the Maker of the storm.

Israelites and Me:
Don't allow the fear of what could be waiting in the promised land to keep me from the God who already kept me through so much hardship.  Do not be afraid, God will fight for me, God will take care of me.

Israelites and Others:
Live life trusting that God is going ahead of me into battle, instead of fearing the battle itself.

God is with me no matter what, but if I want to be successful (God's standard, not the world's), then I have to do my part.

Having fear doesn't excuse us from doing what God asks us to do.  Knowledge can dissipate fear.  God can use your enemies to encourage you - even if they don't know it.

I will choose what I want, and not just agree to make someone else happy or keep them from getting angry.  I will take actions because God is with me and I don't need to fear.

Fear doesn't have to stop me from taking a stand for God and standing my ground.  Victory is mine.

I don't have to be afraid of what God has chosen me to do.  He is with me.  Don't focus on the fear, or the size of the task - get to work!

I can respond truthfully when I am asked how I am doing, even if I'm scared to be honest.

If I want to live in safety, I must trust in God and stop fearing man.  God will provide and He is my Protector.

The Disciples Part 1 and Part 2:
Jesus sees when I struggle and puts Himself close enough to me that all I need to do is look up and see Him.

Types of Living:
If I work only to achieve what this world considers "living" then I have missed the mark.

Speak Up:
Be more concerned with obeying God, and the eternal value that holds, than with the "quick fix" that comes with receiving praise and acceptance from others.

When people are influencing me to take on positions that I am not ready for, or that I believe is not God's timing, I can have the courage to say 'no' and walk away.  Waiting is a part of living.

Fear Prison:
God sent His Son, Jesus, to pull me out of Fear Prison.  Don't put myself back there by retreating when there is opposition.

Power > Fear:
The more I use the gifts God gave me, with power, the less fear I will have.

This study on fear has taught me incredible lessons.  It taught me a new way to live.  It presented truths to me that I had never fully grasped before.  The problem is not the initial feeling of fear - everyone has that, even Biblical giants - it is what I choose to do with that feeling.  Will it debilitate me and keep me from moving forward in what God has chosen me to do?  Or, will I go to God with it and use the power and gifts He has given me to pursue my purpose and calling? 

I am Paula and I choose Faith and Power over Fear.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Power > Fear

2 Timothy 1:6-7

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Use, ignite, make bigger, allow the Holy Spirit to blow on, your spiritual gifts
- Paul laid hands on Timothy and he received his gifts from God
- God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity ("lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed" Dictionary app)
- God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) The more we use the gifts God have us, the bigger it will grow.
ii) God gave every one a gift - we are all different and unique - we all have different gifts.
iii) Only God can give us gifts.
iv) If God didn't give us a spirit of fear, who did?
v) God gave us the power to use the gifts He gave us.
vi) What God gave us to use, He also gave us the power to use.
vii) We already have the power - we need to choose self-discipline and utilize it.

*** Spirit of Fear (not from God)     CONFLICT     Spirit of Power (from God)

4. Pose the question:

- Do I allow the spirit of fear to trump the spirit of power?
- If yes, why?
- Do I allow my feelings of fear and timidity stop me from using the gifts God gave me?
- What are my gifts?
- Do I use the power, love, and self-discipline God gave me to fan into flames the gifts He gave me?

5.  Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- When I feel fear and timidity, I need to intentionally choose power instead.

** God's power in me > my fear

- I have already figured out my spiritual gifts - start identifying myself that way!  The gifts God gave me are a part of my identity in Him.
- My name is Paula.  I have the gift of faith and I am en encourager.

6. Pray:

God, You are faithful to show me exactly what I need.   Thank You for the gifts You've given me.  Help me to use the power You've given me to overcome the fear others have given me.  In Jesus Name, Amen.


Who I Am - Blanca
God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fear Prison

This morning marks Day 28 of not pushing snooze!  I never thought this would be possible for me.  I am so thankful for the challenge that went out and that God chose snoozing for me to work on.  It has changed my life!

Acts 5: 17-20

17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”
21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- The apostles had been healing the sick.  People from the villages around Jerusalem brought their sick and possessed to be healed.
- The high priest and officials were jealous.
- Out of that jealousy, the arrested the apostles and put them in jail.
- An Angel came and opened the gates of the jail and let them out.
- The Angel gave instructions: "Go to the temple and give the people this message of life!"
- At daybreak, the apostles entered the temple and immediately began teaching.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) When you do exciting things for Jesus, some people won't like it.  When you speak up for Jesus, people will try to shut you down.  Not everyone is going to like what you're doing or saying - especially those in authority.
ii) God will provide a way of escape.
iii) Keep doing what you are called to do, regardless of how people respond to you.  If they are angry or jealous, that is their issue.  Keep doing what God wants you to do.
iv) As Christians, we are all called to share the message of life!

4. Pose the question:

- Is fear holding me in a metaphorical jail cell?
- God sent Jesus to pull me out of Fear Prison - have I walked out with Him?  Am I saying and doing what He's chosen me to?
- Do I back down at the first sign of opposition?
- Do I put m myself in prison and stop talking about God when other people don't like what I'm saying?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Get out of Fear Prison!
- Don't go back there!
- When there's opposition, stand my ground.  I don't have to back down!
- My opinion and beliefs are equally valid to anyone else's!
- Regardless of what people way, I must do an say what God has chosen me to do and say!

6.  Pray:

God, please help me to stop retreating into Fear Prison.  Oftentimes, I don't wait for others to shut me up, I shut myself up and imprison myself instead of standing my ground and standing up for You. I am sorry I retreat so easily.  I need Your courage and boldness to do what You've chosen for me.  Amen.


Fear is a Liar

Sunday, April 8, 2018


I got up when the alarm went off at 5:30am yesterday morning (yes, a Saturday!).  I did my regular routine, and read the passage for the day.  Then, I got super sleepy.  So, I napped on the couch and didn't complete my study.  Throughout the day I thought about the verse I read.  That prepared me for for today. 

This morning I again got up at 5:30 when the alarm went off and went about my regular routine.  God showed me some amazing things throughout my study.

John 6:14-20

14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” 15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.  16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” 

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- After Jesus performed a miracle, the people were ready to force Him to be their King.
- Jesus had to wait.  He knew it wasn't His time and He left the crowd.
- Jesus went into the hills to be alone.
- The disciples went to the shore and waited for Jesus.
- As it got dark, and Jesus had not returned, they got in the boat and headed across the lake.
- A storm started.
- As they were rowing, the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water.
- They were terrified. Again!  (See this post)
- Jesus said, "Don't be afraid.  I'm here!"

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) The people were ready to name Jesus King.  Jesus knew it wasn't His time.  He wasn't influenced by what the crowd wanted.  It would have been an ego boost and made Him feel good, but He knew the will of the Father.  He knew it wasn't yet God's time.
ii) When the crowd was pressuring Jesus, He left them to spend time alone.
iii) The disciples stopped waiting for Jesus - what could possibly have been more important?
iv) As the disciples rowed, a storm started.  They saw Jesus walking on the water, but didn't recognize Him.  They were terrified... again!
v) Jesus didn't calm the storm - He calmed their hearts.  He said, "Don't be afraid.  I am here!"

4. Pose the question:

- When people are influencing me to take on positions I am not ready for, and I believe it is not God's timing, do I have the courage to say no and walk away?  Or, do I say yes just to please them?
- After I do something that displays my God-given gifts/talents/abilities, and people keep complimenting me telling me I should use those gifts more, am I able to walk away and not allow my ego to take over?
- Do I take time for myself when I need it?  If the Son of God needed alone time, there's nothing wrong with me needing some!
- Are there times I've stopped waiting for Jesus and went ahead without Him?
- When situations start to get dark, do I try to fix it myself instead of continuing to wait for Jesus?
- When it gets dark, is that really the best time for me to move forward without Jesus?
- How often in my life has a storm started because I stopped waiting for Jesus and started taking matters into my own hands?
- The disciples found themselves in this situation only a short time before this, yet they were still terrified and didn't recognize Jesus.  Have I been in situations where I've ben afraid, and Jesus revealed Himself to me an helped me, but then respond in the same way when I find myself in a similar situation?
- Do I recognize Jesus in my storms?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Take time away instead of appeasing people and doing what they want, even if it's a status position such as leadership.
- Keep waiting for Jesus - His timing is perfect!
- Spend time with Jesus - that's the best way to recognize Him!

6. Pray:

God, thank You for for teaching me.  Help me to say no to the crowd and those asking/forcing me to do something, and to take time away to reflect, process, and talk to You.  Give me patience to keep waiting for You because Your timing is perfect.  Help me not to move without You.  Thank You for being with me so I don't have to fear.  In Your Name, Amen.


The Lord Our God

Friday, April 6, 2018

Speak Up

It was easier to get up this morning.  I'm thinking my body is finally accepting the fact that it is no longer a snoozing body :)

Luke 12:4-5

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.[a] Yes, he’s the one to fear.

John 7:13

13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.

John 12: 42-43

 42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

Luke 12:4-5
- Your body is just that, a body.  A dwelling place.  A shell.  WHO you are (your soul) dwells inside your body.
- The body is not where your concern should be - it's your soul - that's what lasts forever.
- God controls where your soul spends eternity - be right with Him.  Do what pleases God.  Live for Him.
- Don't allow the fear of what people may say or do to you keep you from standing up for Jesus.

John 7:13
- The people were so afraid of the Jewish leaders that they wouldn't speak up for Jesus.
- Their testimony was stifled out of fear of man.

John 12: 42-43
- Many people believed in Jesus but wouldn't admit it out of fear of being thrown out of the synagogue.
- They loved man praise more than God praise.
- They were more concerned with making people happy and getting earthy praise than pleasing God and getting His praise.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) Concerning myself with my soul and spirit and where I will spend eternity is more important than protecting my physical body.
ii) My body is the temple where Jesus lives, so I should take care of it, but my bigger mission needs to be having a healthy soul.
iii) My soul lasts forever - all eternity - my body will give out after only a few years - it's temporary.
iv) Have courage to speak up for Jesus!
v) Don't be afraid to talk about Him in public - especially in this this great land that I live in.  I don't have to hear getting beaten or killed.  We have freedom of speech and religion and association, yet somehow there's a fear to speak openly about God.  Why is that? The fear of how people will respond.
vi) Who cares how people will respond!  Don't quash your rights for fear of man!
vii) Why, when we say grace in public, for those who actually do that, do we pray quietly and discreetly?  Some people bow down wherever they are and pray to their god.
viii) Be bold and courageous! Stand up for Jesus!
ix) Be more concerned with what God thinks than what man thinks.
x) Praise of people will last a very short time - often minutes or even seconds!  Pleasing God and receiving His praise and acceptance is far more meaningful and will last for eternity.

4. Pose the question:

- Do I fear man more than God?
- Which is more important to me - my body or my soul?
- Do I avoid talking about Jesus out of fear of what others will say about me?
- Why does my fear of how people will respond hold more power than speaking about the One who saved and changed my life?
- I have the legal right to talk about Jesus - will I do it?
- Am I more concerned with the "quick fix" I get from receiving praise and acceptance from others than I am with obeying God and the eternal value that holds?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Speak up!  I have the right to speak about Jesus and pray in public.
- Before doing anything, ask: Is this for temporary pleasure or eternal peace?
- If everyone else can talk about temporary things that does not matter in the light of eternity, I can talk about God who holds eternity in His hands!
- Stop being a microwave person - someone who wants the praise and acceptance right now - from others - instead of speaking up out of obedience about God and receiving praise down the road.
- My body is just a body.  Take care of it but don't live for it.
- Spirit/Soul > Flesh/Body

6. Pray:

God, thank You for all the truths You've given me this morning.  Help me to be courageous and stand up for You.  I repent of the many times I've heard people say things about You that are not true and I've sat idly by.  Give me boldness to speak up, correct false information about You, state my opinion, beliefs, and Your Word, and not be afraid of what others may say.  My belief in You is just as valid as their unbelief in You.  Help me be intentional and proactive, and not just react out of anger.  I need Your help.  I want Your eternal praise and acceptance more than the praise and acceptance of people.  Replace my fear and feelings of insignificance with boldness and courage.  You are my Lord and protector.  You died for me, help me to live boldly for You.  Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Types of Living

5:30am start to the day.  I put the coffee on (I bought a new coffee maker - the old one taking 45 minutes to brew 6 cups just wasn't cutting it!), showered, and sat down to do my Bible study.  I was tired and had a little nap before really digging in.  How is it that I get up at 5:30 or 6 every morning but I'm still running out the door at the last minute?  

Luke 9:24-25

24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- When you do everything you can to preserve this present life, you're missing the whole point of life!
- What good is it to get all the stuff you can on earth, and live only for yourself, if you lose what is the most important thing - your soul?
- Giving up your life, as defined by the world, and surrendering to God and His plan for you, is what saves you - the real you.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

- Giving up my tangible life - my "stuff" - in exchange for the real, true life that only Jesus can give is scary!  There is nothing on this earth that will get me into a right relationship with God.  The only way my future is secure (in Heaven where I will have far more than this world could every offer) is to have Jesus in my heart and to daily live for Him.
- If I only work to achieve and obtain what this world considers "living", I have missed the mark.  The life I have in Jesus, which involves doing what He has chosen me to do and what He has put me on this earth to do, is what will bring me fulfillment and satisfaction that the world does not understand.
- "Success without fulfillment is ultimate failure." Tony Robbins.
- Jesus came to earth so I could have an abundant and fulfilled life.

4. Pose the question:

- In what areas am I seeking out worldly life instead of Godly life?
- What things am I involved in are not giving me the abundant life Jesus talks about?
- What fears are keeping me from giving up my tangible, world life in exchange for the life God has for me?
- Even if I lost everything, if I have Jesus, then I have everything I need.  Do I believe that?  Does my life reflect that?
- What benefit is it to gain the world and lose who I am?
- Am I sacrificing who I am to have worldly success?
- How do I be me, who God made me to be, without the influence of the world?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- Ask myself: Is this action for worldly pleasure or for abundant life?
- Ask myself: Will doing _________ draw me closer to what God has chosen for me or what the world considers success?
- Don't sacrifice who I am to be what the world considers successful.

6. Pray:

God, I want the life You have chosen for me - abundant life in Jesus.  In You I find fulfillment, not in the things of this world.  Help me to live that out.  My relationship with You is what is most important. "Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee."  Amen.


Lose Your Soul - TobyMac

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Day 21 - The Disciples Part 2

I made it!  The challenge put to us leaders was to do a 21 day fast.  And, I did it!  For 21 days, I have not pushed a snooze button. I got up when the alarm went off.  I have done Bible study every morning for 21 days.  

Now what?  Because I competed the challenge, does that mean I go back to my old behaviours? No! I greatly enjoy my mornings now!  I got up at 5:30 this morning because I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get study in.  God has taught me so much over the past 3 weeks - and I anticipate what He still has in store for me as I continue to be obedient.

Yesterday's passage is Mark 6:47-50.  To see Part 1, click here.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) The disciples still had a life.
ii) Jesus had left to go pray, but when the disciples were in trouble, He was right there.
iii) Jesus saw the disciples struggling - the storm was strong
iv) Jesus decided to walk near enough to the disciples that they could see Him, and choose to call out if they wanted help.
v) Jesus didn't walk up to the boat and demand they let Him help.
vi) Jesus made Himself available/present/seen and the disciples had to choose how/if they would respond.
vii) The disciples didn't recognize Jesus and thought He was something that He wasn't.  That terrified them.

** As I go about my daily life, Jesus is watching me.  He sees when I struggle and He puts Himself near enough to me that all I need to do is look up and see Him.  He is a gentleman and won't force Himself into my struggle.  I must choose to see Him and let Him in.

4. Pose the question:

- Are there times I am so caught up in doing my own thing and struggling through the storm that I don't recognize Jesus as He walks towards me?
- How often do I try to navigate the storm myself by "rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves" instead of looking up and seeing Jesus?
- How often am I afraid in the storm instead of being courageous because Jesus is right there with me?

** There will be storms - lots of them.  Thankfully, Jesus knows storms.  The wind and waves obey Him (verse 51).

5. Plan obedience and pin down that date:

- When I feel the storm rage around me, or inside me, and I'm rowing hard, struggling against the wind and waves, I will look up and see Jesus.  He is here!

6. Pray:

God, thank You for watching over me and being there in the storm.  Help me to recognize You and reach out to You.  Thank You for being a gentleman and not forcing Yourself into my storm, but for walking by and giving me the opportunity to see You and ask for help.  I'm sorry for the times I didn't recognize You.  Renew my eyes to see You and recognize You.  Help me to be courageous because You are with me.  Amen.


Praise You in the Storm - Casting Crowns
Walk on Water - Audio Adrenaline

Day 20 - The Disciples Part 1

I didn't get up as early as I wanted to.  My alarm went off at 6am, but I still didn't have enough time to complete my Bible study because I had some other paper work to do.  

Mark 6: 47-50

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning[i]Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- The disciples were going about their business
- Jesus saw they were having serious trouble - rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves
- Jesus walked on the water toward them
- The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost and they were terrified
- Jesus spoke, "Don't be afraid.  Take courage! I am here!"

See Day 21 for the rest of this study.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Day 19 - Isaiah

The alarm went off at 6 this morning.  I put the coffee on and showered, and didn't check any social media sites.  I started doing Bible study and I got really sleepy, so I dozed off for about 20 minutes.  I woke up feeling refreshed and got back into my lessons on fear.

Proverbs 29:25

Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
    but trusting the Lord means safety.

Isaiah 8: 11-15

11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
    and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13 Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
    He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
14     He will keep you safe.
But to Israel and Judah
    he will be a stone that makes people stumble,
    a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem
    he will be a trap and a snare.
15 Many will stumble and fall,
    never to rise again.
    They will be snared and captured.”

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

Fear of People = Danger
Trust in God = Safety

- Don't think like everyone else
- What the world may find fearful, I don't have to because God, the Maker of the universe, is with me
- Make God holy (set apart) in my life
- God is the only one I need to fear
- I fear God and He protects me

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) If I want to live in safety, I must trust in God and stop fearing man.  I don't know why that is so hard for me to do.  I trust that God will provide - He always has - but perhaps I don't trust His protection when I am in situations where people can hurt me.  I've been hurt a lot in my life - I didn't have the power to defend and protect myself.  If God didn't save me from being hurt in those times, it's no wonder I am afraid of people - I don't want to be hurt again.
ii) God did keep me from being hurt more than I was.  He helped me get through the tough times.  He even made me stronger because of it.  Now He wants to use those hurts to help others.
iii) The only one I need to fear is God - He holds the world in His hands.  He promises to keep me safe - by His definition, not mine.

"Fear is a powerful enemy of out faith and a strong deterrent to the believer's peace of mind." (Study Bible notes)

4. Poes the question:

- Is my fear of people bigger than my trust in God?
- Is my fear of people bigger than my fear of God?
- Hebrews says. "The Lord is my Helper, I don't need to fear.  What can man do to me?"  Do I believe that?
- What needs to happen for me to stop being afraid of people and start trusting God?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- I will give God the opportunity to prove His protection.  I need to speak up when I know I should instead of sitting quietly by.  I need to take risks and trust God to protect me.  I need to do what He's chosen me to do because He is with me.
- My fear of not doing what God chose me to do needs to be bigger than my fear of what man can do to me when I'm walking in my calling.
- God called me.  God is equipping me.  God will protect me.  God is trustworthy.

6. Pray:

God, help me not to be afraid of people hurting me.  You chose me - give me the courage to walk that out.  Help me shift my fear from people to You.  You love me unconditionally and want the best for me.  I will trust You. Amen.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Day 18 - Nehemiah

At 6:29 this morning I was having a dream.  In that dream I was praying for the wife of a friend of mine.  I was asking God to give her peace, wisdom, love, and tenderness... then the time hit 6:30 and  my alarm started beeping.  I was sad I didn't get to finish praying with J.  

I left my phone in my room this morning when I went to shower and do my Bible study.  I haven't checked it yet.  (All I saw was the 1 notification on my lock screen when I shut off the alarm.)  This is another win.  I will not check my phone until after Bible study. 

Nehemiah 2:2-3

So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”
Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?

2. Pore over the passage and paraphrase the major points:

- Nehemiah was serving the king and appeared sad.
- The king called him out on it, saying he didn't look sick but must be deeply troubled.
- Being called out by the kind terrified Nehemiah, but he replied and shared with the king why he was sad.
- God is my light and salvation - I don't need to be afraid.

3. Pull out the spiritual principles:

i) It's normal to have emotions - if I'm sad, I can feel the sadness.
ii) Like Nehemiah, when someone calls me out on my emotions, I'm terrified.  I always work so hard at hiding my emotions, that when someone asks me about it, it's scary.
iii) When asked, it is okay to answer truthfully.  I don't have to be "fine" all the time.  I am doing better at this in some situations and with some people, but not as a general rule.

** On the morning that Poppy passed away last year, I had to go to court for my job.  When I went in to meet with the prosecutor, he could tell right away that something was wrong.  My demeanour was off.  I tried to hide it but the sadness was so intense that it was noticeable.  He asked, "Are you okay?"  I was scared to answer.  Court is not a "feeling" place.  I contemplated telling him I was fine and move on and move on.  Instead, I shared with him that my grandpa had passed away that morning - about a half an hour prior.  He was sympathetic and understanding, and offered his genuine condolences.  I felt a little better just by sharing my burden with someone else.  Had I not shared, we wouldn't have connected on a personal level, and I would have continued to carry the sadness alone.

4. Pose the question:

- The story above was a time when I was truly, deeply sad and I couldn't hide my emotions.  What if I was more open and honest all the time with how I'm feeling?
- Why do I think I have to hide my feelings?
- Can I respond honestly when asked how I'm doing, even if I'm scared to be honest?
- The Lord is my light and my salvation, why should I be afraid?

5. Plan obedience and pin down the date:

- I will be more open and honest when someone asks me how I am.  I know this will be scary for  me, but it will help me recognize and acknowledge my emotions instead of hiding them.  As I move into what God has chosen me for, I need to get better at acknowledging my feelings so I can better see emotions in others.

6. Pray:

God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sin.  Thank You Jesus for rising again on the third day!  I celebrate my freedom today because of the price You paid for me. 

Thank You for being my light and my salvation.  I don't have to be afraid.  Help me to be honest, open, and vulnerable with my feelings.  You created us with emotion, and I'm sorry for living the majority of my life hiding what You have given me.  Help me on this journey to recognizing and sharing my feelings.  As I share in honesty, help other to feel they can also share with me.  Amen.