Tag Archives: words of faith

The Break Up

photo provided by Dez Pain.

As a young girl (of about 8 or so?), a few of my brothers and sisters hid under my parents bed, and when I went into my folks room to find my mom one of them reached out and grabbed my feet.  Of course, they all thought it was hysterically funny and I’m sure broke into immediate laughter.  But by my recollection, from the moment of ‘first grab’ to the revealing that it was them hiding under the bed (as opposed to some horrid monster who was going to tear me to pieces and then eat me alive), it was several very long and terrifying minutes!  OK, so maybe I watched a few movies I shouldn’t have been watching at my age – but back then, families rallied around the TV to watch horror movies like The Birds and The Pit and The Pendulum as family bonding experiences.    Anyways, by the time they revealed themselves, I was so completely traumatized that for many years afterwards, I adopted a new routine for going to bed.  I flipped off the light switch, took three running steps, and then leapt onto my bed to avoid anything/anyone that could be hiding under it.

It’s now 2014 and I’m well past the age of hiding under a desk with my head between my knees.  But even now, whenever I hear the sound of a low-flying plane overhead, I am immediately transported back to elementary school where we were taught the principles of “Duck and Cover” and have to fight hard to resist the urge to look outside for signs of a crashing plane or bomb falling from the sky.

I guess I’m old enough to have had some “stuff” happen in my life … and if you’re reading this blog so have you, and there is more “stuff” on the horizon.  I’m not trying to speak pessimistically or out of a doom-and-gloom mentality.  I’m just being honest.  This world does not operate (at present) in accordance with God’s original design for it, nor are we enjoying (at present) all the victory and fellowship with the Father that God originally intended when He created us.  Sure we have mountain top experiences in life – can I get a whoot-whoot for the mountain top!!  Yea Baby!!

But alas, we don’t stay on the mountain tops, do we?   As described so beautifully by Hannah Hurnard in  “Hinds Feet On High Places” , residents of the High Places are called to routinely go back down into the Valley to encourage and invite others who would also make the journey upward.   And sometimes, I do visit the valleys from a position of strength so that I can encourage a valley dweller, and invite them to dare to journey outside the boundary lines of that kingdom and change their citizenship to that of a higher and better Kingdom.

But not always, and truth be told – not as often as I would like.  I would say that for most of my 53 years, when I visit the Valley, it is because I wasn’t wearing my armor  (read earlier post) nor watching where I was going, and next thing I knew … Ker plop!

Sooner or later, I always seem to make my way back down into any number of valleys;  the Valley of Humiliation, the Valley of Loss, the Valley of Loneliness, the Valley of insert name here, hanging out with my much detested former buddies – FEAR, SHAME and all the other family members of the FEARING family! Visiting a valley for God’s purposes is one thing.  Living in the valley’s is something altogether different.  I hate the valleys!

It was about a year or so ago that the Lord began showing me how much of my life has been influenced by FEAR.   I’ve let Fear steal so much from me!  Fear of failure.  Fear of loss.  Fear of what people with think.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of screwing up my kids.  Fear of being uncovered.  Fear of rejection.  You name it, I’ve probably been afraid of it.

Faith declares a positive confident hope and expectation in the Word and promises of God, while Fear declares a negative confidence and expectation in the inability of God to do what He has declared!

 

But no more!  I am finished being romanced and courted by Fear!

It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but praise God (and thanks to countless hours of listening to faith-filled teachers like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyers, Charles Capps, and many others), I have finally gotten it through my head that God hates Fear!  And why, you ask?  Because FEAR is the complete opposite of FAITH!   Faith declares a positive confident hope and expectation in the Word and promises of God, while Fear declares a negative confidence and expectation in the inability of God to do what He has declared!  Once I finally saw it like that (like God see’s it), I made a decision!   

Me and Fear are “breaking up”!  And we are NOT going to get back together again!!   EVER!!!  

Sure, I know it’s going to require a lot of effort on my part to quit taking Fear’s calls, answering Fear’s emails, etc.   But I’m done with that liar Fear!  Who is with me??

Out of respect for your time, I’m going to close here and continue under separate posts which will be filed under a new Category entitled “FEAR NOT!”   I hope you will check back periodically, and also share your thoughts on this post in the comment section below.

Be blessed,
Jenny

Staying Positive In Difficult Times

This post was originally published under an older blog of mine in July 2011, just one month before I received a new job offer! Funny thing is that those very lessons I was learning back then (about guarding my thoughts and minding my tongue) are just as important today as they were then.  I enjoyed reading this again, as though for the first time.  I hope you do too!

It’s late, and I really ought to be in bed by now.  But after tossing and turning for the past hour and a half, I finally came to the realization that this is not going to be one of those nights when sleep comes easy to me.    Words are bouncing around in my head and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get them to shut up and leave me alone so that I can get some sleep.  And so instead of tossing and turning for another hour and a half, I have  decided to get up and put pen to paper (so to speak),  trusting that this restlessness is actually God inviting me to partner with Him to meet a need.  Believing that this writing, written as an act of obedience,  will be a blessing to somebody out there.

Today was a good day.  I was able to accomplish most of what I intended to do today, which not only included finishing a blog post I’d been working on for a few days but also catching up with a dear friend who lives in another state.  But I think what really has me so amped up at 11:58 pm are the endless “possibilities” that are before me.   Let me elaborate.

mhGv1bGFirst, a bit of background.  Just under 1 month ago, I joined the ranks of the unemployed.   I’ll be honest and tell you that it was a little scary those first few days of unemployment.  I know several people that have been looking for jobs for well over six months – and the more people you talk to, the more of those stories you hear.  And so as soon as I lost my job, I had to make a decision.  Will I listen to new reports and war stories of family and friends telling me how bleak the job market is right now?  Or will I listen to and put my faith in what the scriptures say about my future?  I choose the later!   And so for the past 4 weeks, I have been rigorously  ‘guarding’ my eyes, ears and thought life so that I am not giving a home to any fear-based thinking about what will happen if …

Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.  For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.  – Ephesians 6:11-13

When negative news reports come on, I turn to another channel.  When friends tell me how bad the job market is, I quietly rehearse in my head scriptures about God’s promise for provision to those who love Him.  When worry knocks on the door, I don’t stand around and chat with it – invite it in for a nice cup of tea, nor go out on the porch for a quick little catch-up.  Nope, I smack that door shut and then crank up some worship music so that I can’t hear the knocking anymore!

Now lest I sound like some simple minded Pollyanna, let me be very clear about one thing.  Staying positive in difficult times is not for sissies!   It requires putting on the full armor of God, because if you only put on a few select pieces, I guarantee you that your adversary (the devil) is going to attack those unprotected areas and take you out!   So put on the whole suit – the ‘belt of truth’, the ‘breastplate of righteousness’, your feet fitted with the ‘gospel of peace’.  Put on the ‘helmet of salvation’ and take up the ‘shield of faith’ in one hand and the ‘sword of the Spirit’ in the other.  And of course, PRAY!  This is a war.  And you, my friend, are a called to be a Gladiator!

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.  At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.  And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.  Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.    – Ephesians 6:14-18

In addition to guarding my thoughts, I am minding my tongue – which is to say that I’m careful about the words I allow to come out of my mouth.  Instead of giving in to the temptation to speak doom and defeat over my circumstances (i.e. I  heard that there are more than 100 applicants for every job out there, I hope I don’t run out of money before I find a job, etc.), I am instead speaking God’s Word over my circumstances!

Proverbs 18:21 reads “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (NASB).  In other words (quoting Charlie E here) … ”you will have what you say’.   Friend, if we are going to ‘eat the fruit of our words’, it only makes sense that you and I be purposeful about what we say!  We must train our tongue to speak God’s Word over our circumstances.   The scriptures are overflowing with promises of provision and prosperity (having more than enough to meet every need for every area of your life).   Cant think of any?  Read my earlier post entitled “I am: Blessed”  and then open your mouth and start speaking out loud the Word of God over your life and circumstances.

And going hand-in-hand with minding my tongue is feeding my spirit.   A couple weeks into the job hunt I hit a wall.  I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  Nobody was calling me about my resumes, but of course my estranged friends Worry and Fear were quick to come knocking on the door to share with me the latest stats on how many months I should expect to be out of work.  I cranked up the worship music.  The knocking continued.  I watched some Daystar TV.  They rang the doorbell.  Eventually, I took to loading up my Nano with just about every Podcast teaching I could find by a few of my favorite Pastors (Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Brian Houston) and started taking 6 am walks  … long walks.  Yup, with headphones on and sound teaching streaming into my ears, I opened wide the door and walked  straight past  Fear and Worry, listening to one Podcast after another (i.e.  feeding my spirit) and refusing to turn back towards home until those old cronies legs got tired and they quit following me!  By the time I got back home each day, my faith was so stirred up that I was well prepared to face the challenges of the day with a victorious attitude.   It was awesome!   I’m still replaying several of those teachings in my head even while I type this.

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that you start walking 4-5 miles a day, but do what you have to do to feed your spirit!  You can put on the armor of God and quote scripture over your circumstances til your blue in the face, but if your spirit man is malnourished, you aren’t going to have the strength and stamina to stay in the game long enough to win this battle!

Four steps to staying positive in difficult times

1.  Put on your Armor

2.  Guard your eyes, ears and thoughts

3.  Open your mouth and speak (appropriate) God’s Word over your life / situation / circumstances

4.  Feed your spirit

 

Now back to my earlier comment about being amped up about the  endless “possibilities” that are before me.   You see, while I was lying in bed trying to reel in my runaway thoughts, I got the brilliant idea to quietly speak (out loud) all the things that I am grateful for about today.  Like how grateful I am for the direction the Holy Spirit provided this morning when I was doing some writing.   How blessed I was to be able to connect with this  out-of-state friend of mine in the afternoon.   What a wonderful teaching I listened to later in the day, and how happy I am that I have learned how to release  my faith in the power of the blood to secure victory over my circumstances.  And then I started naming them off.  One thing led to another, and instead of winding down, I got so excited that I knew I’d not be able to sleep for at least another hour or two.

So there you have it.  The late night (actually, now early morning) ramblings of one very tired woman!  I’m praying that its just fatigue and a wild imagination that keeps seeing little brown shadows flitting across my office floor.   Imagination or not, I’m getting a little creeped out and am going back upstairs to bed before I succumb to the temptation to start singing the song “You’ve Got To Put Your Armor On” by Psalty The Singing Songbook.

Oh, whatever … why not! Who doesn’t like a good chorus??

You’ve got to put your armor on.
You’ve GOT to put your Armor on!
YOU’VE GOT TO PUT YOUR ARMOR ON!
SO YOU’LL * BE * SAFE!!

Side note:  my daughters loved Psalty when they were growing up, and now that I’ve discovered the Psalty collection is still available, I’m totally going to get some to share with my grandchildren!

Goodnight and be blessed!

Jenny